Council hosts civic reception for Fermanagh poet, Frank Ormsby, Ireland Professor of Poetry  

4th February 2020

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Civic Reception   Elected Representatives

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council recently recognised Irvinestown-born poet, Frank Ormsby on his appointment as Ireland Professor of Poetry at a civic reception held in the Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen.

Mr Ormsby was joined at the civic reception, by his wife Karen, daughter Orla and family and friends, including Mr John Edmund, Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, one of the sponsors of the role of Ireland Professor of Poetry.

The academic chair was established in trust in 1998, by the Arts Council for Northern Ireland and the Arts Council (Ireland) in partnership with Queen’s University, Belfast, University College, Dublin and Trinity College, Dublin to commemorate the awarding of Nobel Laureate for Literature to Seamus Heaney. Mr Ormsby is the eighth holder of the position and will serve a three year term.

Speaking at the civic reception, the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Siobhán Currie said “Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is delighted and privileged to be honouring one of our own this evening.

Frank has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as an educator, poet and editor. In a teaching career spanning almost 40 years at Royal Belfast Academical Institution, 34 of which as Head of English, Frank influenced generations of young people passing on his love of literature and most particularly his love of poetry. His appointment as Ireland Professor of Poetry, following in the footsteps of such giants of contemporary Irish poetry, such as the late John Montague, who also had strong connections with our district and your great friend, Michael Longley, is an indication of the high esteem in which Frank is held by his peers.”

Commenting on the accolade bestowed upon him Mr Ormsby said “I want to thank the council for having honoured me in such an imaginative and generous way. I am heartened by the fact that, in singling me out for this honour, they have demonstrated their commitment to the arts, literature and poetry. Fermanagh has always inspired, and continues to inspire, my work, which is grounded in its landscape and people. Every journey home brings a renewal of my love for this, the place of my birth.”

As Ireland Professor of Poetry, Mr Ormsby will spend a year as Professor in Residence at Queen’s University, Belfast, University College, Dublin and Trinity College, Dublin.

The evening concluded with Mr Ormsby reading a selection of his work to the guests.