The following pages present the text of External Affairs, which is a companion volume to the anthology Night & Day. External Affairs publishes in its entirely and without being interwoven with work by other voices, Bolger’s original “Night & Day” sequence which traces twenty-four hours in his native city. In these poems Bolger imaginatively reinvents the thoughts of commuters in a succession of snapshots taken amid the rush of busy lives. These poems were first published across South Dublin County as wall murals, as posters in libraries or motor tax offices, or as words and video images projected onto pavements at night.


* click on a title below to view


Ballymun Incantation

Travel Light

Tuning Up

“Culna Dear, Don’t Come Any Nearer Me…”

Seamus Ennis in Drumcondra


Bold Doherty

O’Neill’s Cavalcade


Sonny Brogan’s Jigs

The Piper Patsy Touhey plays in Cohen’s Variety Show, New York, 1905

The Frost is All Over

“O’Neill’s Music of Ireland”

The Nomad

First Book

In Memory of George Best

Carmen’s Garden in Flanders


Commissioned under South Dublin County Council’s INCONTEXT3 per cent for art scheme, these poster poems contained an invitation for writers from South Dublin County to join in Bolger’s imaginative journey by sending him poems. The entire text and the photographs from resultant anthology, Night & Day, which interweaves Bolger’s poems with work by twenty-eight fellow poets, is available elsewhere on this website,

But External Affairs publishes Bolger’s original sequence as a separate work and places it in the context of other lives that his poetry has tried to capture in recent years. This book contains Ballymun Incantation, a poem written to be recited by actors and local people at a public wake to mark the demolition of the first Ballymun tower block and Travel Light, a poem about the workmen who built the Dublin Port Tunnel.

It also contains Bolger’s acclaimed The Frost is All Over sequence, which explores the relationship between traditional musicians and the tunes they play and recounts the often forgotten lives of the custodians of that music in Ireland and abroad.

Members of the public are welcome to download one or more of these poems for their private reading, however all poems here remain the copyright of Dermot Bolger and may not be published or recorded or broadcast in any other medium or form without the express permission of the author who may be contacted here…info@dermotbolger.com.

“I think of Bolger as Dublin’s Pasolini or, conversely, of Pasolini as Rome’s Bolger. Bolger’s poems are Dublin Elegies to lay alongside the Roman Elegies of Pasolini.” - Paul Durcan