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Patrick Kavanagh Centre in bid to buy iconic barn

November 24, 2014

The Patrick Kavanagh Centre in Inniskeen says it is seeking funding in a bid to purchase a barn made famous in a poem by the renowned poet, which has recently been put up for sale.

In his 1936 poem ‘Inniskeen Road: July Evening’, Patrick Kavanagh referred to Billy Brennan’s barn which was used for unofficial dances in the 1930s and 1940s.

The barn was bought by a local farmer about ten years ago and is now being sold along with three acres of land.

The poem is very familiar to generations of Leaving Certificate students in the south as it has featured in the Irish curriculum since the early 1970s.

Art Agnew, who helps run the Patrick Kavanagh Centre, says the barn is of “huge significance”.

“There’s not a young person that did up to O-level and A-level that doesn’t know it.  Even if you were away and you told people you were from Monaghan, they would quote the famous lines from the poem,” he said.

Although the centre operates on a voluntary basis with no funding, Mr Agnew says he hopes they will be able to find enough money to buy the barn, as it is part of the centre’s Kavanagh trail.

Mr Agnew said the centre is run on a voluntary basis with no funding, but he hopes they will be able to find enough money to buy the barn, as it is part of the centre’s Kavanagh trail.

“It’s one of the places that people like to see on the trail and it allows their imagination to fly,” he said.

“There’s nobody yet who doesn’t stir when they remember dances from when they were young.  It would be too important for us not to keep access to it, or for it to fall into the wrong hands.”

Auctioneer Daragh O’Rourke, who is selling the property, said there had been “good interest” in the barn already.

“We have two very definite groups who are interested in renovating it, people who would look after it and people who would have literary connections with Patrick Kavanagh,” he said.

“The barn is not anything spectacular in itself, but it’s what it represents. It’s the only barn with a poem about it after all.”

There is no official asking price for the property, but Mr O’Rourke said he believed it could fetch between €50,000 to €100,000.

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