From Pugilist to Poet: foremost Irish Poet in Birmingham passes away peacefully
Patrick McGrath, Waterford born poet based for much of his life in Birmingham has passed away peacefully at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital aged 84 on Monday the 9th of November.
He published poems, essays and was a regular columnist for many years with The Harp newspaper.
He wrote widely about many topics but particularly about Ireland in the great depression of the 1930’s.
Patrick first distinguished himself as all army Irish boxing champion (Welter Weight and Light Midldle Weight Champion in 1951 and 1952) before moving to Birmingham where he settled in Small Heath with his wife Jeannette and had 3 children, Anthony, Susan and David.
He spent many years as a respect local builder around Birmingham and Solihull – living in Small Heath, Hall Green and Shirley, whilst maintaining a passion for local politics and poetry. He inspired his son David to become Birmingham’s youngest Councillor in 1986.
Commenting on his passing Birmingham author and historian Dr Carl Chinn said, “Patrick was a wonderful storyteller and a man who gave much to our city. I was proud and privileged to have known him. His life will live on through his writings and his words.”
As well as a prolific columnist he published poetry and contributed to other published anthologies of poets and writers – collecting a fan base across Birmingham and beyond.
It will be his poetry however for which Patrick will be best loved and his son David has offered these words written by Patrick as a call for peace in the wake of the Paris atrocities. The poem is called – simply – ‘Peace.’
‘Peace’ by Patrick McGrath (1931-2015)
Peace is a rose in the border whose sweetness to all do impart
Peace is the gentle recorder of kindness that springs from the heart
With horror she witnesses violence – she weeps for the anguish and pain
She retracts to her corner of silence – in battle you seek her in vain
In a world of strife and sorrow – in a land of hope and mirth
Let us raise a flag of unity – and pray for peace on earth.
Patrick’s funeral took place on Monday November 30th 2015 at Robin Hood Cemetery and Crematorium.