Rosaline Callaghan is a poet who lives in Derry.
I live in Derry with my darling Tuxedo rescue cat, Beannacht – Blessing .
Before I started writing poetry full-time, I was a barrister and, before that, had a
range of different jobs; juggling employments at whim to travel and quell the far-away
sickness. My mother suggests my theme tune should be ‘I was born under a
Just to shake things up, at age 58, I was diagnosed with Hereditary Amyloidosis –
which originates from a 15-mile ribbon of coastline on North West Donegal; with
50,000 people affected worldwide where it was dispersed by the Irish Diaspora – a
progressive, ultimately fatal disease for which there was no hope until recently. The
gift of a game-changing, gene-silencing treatment is bestowed upon me by lovely
nurses who administer infusions to me, every three weeks, in my home.
I hold my lineage in other ways too, having travelled extensively throughout Ireland,
soaking in her culture, traditions, history, myths and mystery, and they form the
touchstone of my inspiration.
Poetry can be of both personal and cultural consolation. In Chinese, the word poem
is made up of two different characters – one meaning temple , the other meaning
word – a combination of language and the sacred. In Irish, the word for poem is dán,
which can also mean a talent, a gift, or destiny, and I believe there is a more
pronounced, collective call for the wisdom and consolation of poetry for the strange
times in which we have found ourselves as a species.
I am 61, scared of heights and five feet tall. My time is now divided between an
Amyloidosis support group I founded, writing, ignoring housework, killing
houseplants, building a website – Wild Storyteller – and cuddling my cat – when he’s
not in his cat cave behind the telly.