Skip to main content
17. 6. 2024
17. 6. 2024

National Poetry Day – April 27

Thursday April 27th is National Poetry Day in Ireland. On this special day we want to celebrate Wild Nephin National Park’s naturally dark skies that are now the internationally gold tier accredited Mayo Dark Sky Park. Beneath The Night Sky is written by Michael Chambers, Head Guide here in the National Park. This poem features in the new collection of poetry ‘Dánta in the Dark’ put together of this year’s International Dark Sky Week here in Mayo. You can pick up a free copy of this collection at the Ballycroy Visitor Centre on Thursday April 27th.

About the Poem
Beneath The Night Sky was inspired by a collection of stories that Michael grew up listening to. He has fond memories from his youth in the Valleys beneath the Nephin Beg Mountains, going along with his mother to visit neighbours for a chat over a cup of tea and heading home afterwards when the stars had lit up the night sky. Often along that journey home, they would stop to look at the stars in the sky above and the shadows of the surrounding mountains. Michael’s mother had a great way of seeing the beauty in everything, even in the darkness of night and how this was a magical time when fairies were awake; shooting stars above were souls on their way to heaven; the giant down the hills rising up and lifting the moon high above in the night sky. This moon would shine down on the hidden places in the mountains where people would gather for mass in penal times. The ravens were the messengers of the Morrígan looking for the souls of those who were lost during the Great Hunger, to help them return to the heavens. As the years rolled by Michael always kept those evenings with his mother close to his heart and even to this day when he looks up at a clear night sky he can feel her hand in his while walking along the old roads with the wonderful skies above that today are part of the Mayo Dark Sky Park. See Michael recite the poem at the following link:

Beneath the Night Sky
I recall as a child
How the night played on my mind
The call of the raven outside the window
Lost souls crying as the wind did blow
I would call my mother to my side
To explain what creatures dwelled outside
That I could hear passing by
Each night under the starry sky

Now don’t you worry my dear child
Is what my mother would say
For when the sun sets down beyond
The fairies come out to play
In valleys beneath the mountains high
They will gather under the darkened sky
To sing and dance in song once more
In their many forts throughout old Shramore

From a lonely mountain after the eve
A giant rises from his tomb
Reaching out beyond his own Corrslieabh
He rises up the moon
Its pale soft light shining down
Lights up again the holy ground
Where pilgrims once came to pray
For hope and a bright new day

Then from a door in the mountain side
A goddess will appear
For she lights up the stars far and wide
You see on nights so clear
She flies out disguised as a raven
To call lost souls back up to heaven
From shallow graves filled by blight
They will shine now in eternal light

So child don’t you fear
The creatures of the night
For the wrongs of the day
Their magic will put to right
When you see the pale moon rising
The distant stars shinning
Remember that a new day
Just for you is on the way

With the passing of those days and nights
The years have rolled on by
This world has stolen like a thief
The innocence of that young boy
But even now as I stand a man
I journey back when I can
To view the moon and starry sky
Through the eyes of that young boy.