Northern Ireland news

Belfast poet Pádraic Fiacc's funeral to be held

Poet Pádraic Fiacc. Picture by Mal McCann

THE funeral of Belfast poet Pádraic Fiacc will take place in the city this weekend.

The Irish-American writer, born Patrick Joseph O'Connor, died peacefully at a south Belfast care facility on Monday aged 94.

His Requiem Mass will be held on Saturday at 11am in St Malachy's Church, followed by burial at Milltown Cemetery.

Fiacc achieved acclaim when he was published in New York in 1948 and won the George Russell (Memorial) Award in the late 1950s.

President Michael D Higgins was among those who praised his work – and visited him a week before his death.

The president has described Fiacc as producing poetry of "outstanding originality, where we encounter an honest confrontation with truth and an unflinching engagement with the reality of the everyday".

Born in Belfast in 1924, Fiacc lived his maternal grandparents in the Markets area until his family emigrated to the US in the late 1920s where he grew up in Hell's Kitchen, New York City.

He summed up his philosophy of life in the contention that "war and poverty are crimes against humanity".

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