A Sonnet in Remembrance

Poet & dialysis patient Martin McShea marks historical landing at Crooke

Martin McShea

This weekend is an auspicious one in Waterford, as several events are taking place to commemorate the 850th anniversary of the landing at Crooke, County Waterford by King Henry II.  The Barony of Gaultier Historical Society (BGHS) is holding a number of commemorative events and our own Martin McShea, poet, retired history and PE teacher, BGHS member and renal dialysis patient, has penned this fascinating sonnet in remembrance.  (See below also for audio recording by Ray McGrath)


by Martin McShea

What if FitzEmpress really came ashore

Near Passage East on Crook’s fine saffron beach?

To dock, not enter quay, for he must preach

On Luke’s day following, by Strongbow’s door,

A sermon of his power to heal the poor.

Empress Matilda’s son! You came to reach

Beyond these city’s oldest walls and teach

Support for church reform and regal law.

Your countenance severe shows stern resolve,

The colour red portrays a passion deep;

But Ireland’s force will not be found asleep

When duty means ‘guard faith’, as powers devolve.

So welcome Henry, soldiers one and each,

To Crook, and thence to hear your sovereign’s speech.


Ray McGrath

Audio recording of sonnet:

Waterford man Ray McGrath recited Martin’s poem on the beach at Crooke this morning (24 October) as part of the BGHS commemorative walk from Crooke to Waterford, following the route taken by Henry 850 years ago.  Click here to listen to a recording in Ray’s beautiful, rich tones.