Stephen Murphy Image-B&W | Drumshanbo Written Word Festival

Stephen Murphy

The People’s Poet

Stephen Murphy has often been called the people’s poet. His work is scathing, controversial, warm and full of insight into the world of today. He tackles the things which matter to us as individuals and as a collective, and draws his inspiration from the wildness of the land that shaped him. 

Stephen first rose to national prominence back in 2014, when a video of his poem Was it for this?‘ gained significant traction on-line. Recorded outside his barn at his home in North Leitrim, the poem delved deep into Ireland’s past and present, and within months his performances saw him described as a highlight of the Electric Picnic by Kitty Holland in the Irish Times, who described Was it for this? as ‘a searing attack on the corruption, pettiness, small-minded politics, greed and hypocrisy that marks so much of modern Irish society’. In October of that same year, he left his village in Leitrim to speak at the first Right2Water protest in Dublin, and his world changed.

He was invited to perform all around the country, alongside a host of household names such as Christy Moore, Glen Hansard, Paula Meehan, Damien Dempsey, and a who’s who of Irish cultural life. In 2016, he was the only poet invited to perform at ‘Reclaim the Vision of 1916’, the Citizen’s Centenary of the Easter Rising outside the GPO in Dublin, one hundred years to the day since Pearse first read out the proclamation from the same place. In October of the same year, President Michael D. Higgins described him as ‘A splendid, wonderful, courageous, young poet’ and that he puts Stephen ‘up there with those times I Heard Ginsberg, and I think of that long poem, Howl’, after Stephen received a standing ovation from the Abbey Theatre for his poem ‘Before you push the chair’ at Brendan Kennelly’s 80thbirthday celebrations.

‘From the Sea Hound’ is his first collection of poetry.


Subscribe to our newsletter