Lecture 13 April 2017

Author: Dermot Bolger

Dermot Bolger


Glenua & Friends

“The Lonely Sea and Sky”

The Story of Irish Seafarers on hazardous voyages to War-Torn Europe


Dermot Bulger

Thursday 13 April 2017 at 20:00


Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club, Ringsend

Entry €5 (in aid of RNLI)

Book Cover: Lonely Sea and Sky

Book Cover: Lonely Sea and Sky

Dermot Bolger reads from and discusses his novel, The Lonely Sea and Sky, written in memory of Irish seafarers like his father who undertook dangerous voyages to Lisbon during World War Two.

The Lonely Sea and Sky charts the maiden voyage of fourteen-year-old Jack Roche aboard a tiny Wexford ship, the Kerlogue, on a treacherous wartime journey to Portugal. After his father’s ship is sunk on this same route, Jack must go to sea to support his family – swapping Wexford’s small streets for Lisbon’s vibrant boulevards: where every foreigner seems to be a refugee or a spy.

The novel is based on a real-life rescue in 1943, when the Kerlogue’s crew risked their lives to save 168 drowning German sailors – members of the navy that had killed Jack’s father. Forced to choose who to save and who to leave behind, the Kerlogue grows so dangerously overloaded that no one knows if they will survive amid the massive Biscay waves.

Dermot Bolger is one of Ireland’s best known poets, playwrights and novelists. The Lonely Sea and Sky is his thirteenth novel. His stage adaption of Joyce’s Ulysses is being staged by the Abbey Theatre during the 2017 Dublin Theatre Festival. His New and Selected Poems, That Which is Suddenly Precious, appeared in 2015. Bolger writes for most of Ireland’s leading newspapers and in 2012 was named Commentator of the Year at the Irish Newspaper awards. His father was a crewman on the Kerlogue’s sister ship, The Edenvale, which also made those dangerous wartime crossings to Lisbon.

Click here for a review of this book by Joe Ryan

The novel is based on events in 1943. Click here for an historical account of this ship: MV Kelogue by Marie-Claire McGann.

Posted in Archive-Lecture