by Conor Dempsey
“Poor old dear Paul Horan”, a Trinity nursing lecturer sharing a name and perhaps “literary as well as criminal aspirations” with Joyce’s character from Finnegans Wake, was arrested on 10 August after writing words of a Jonathan Swift poem on the wall of the Tavern Pub in Carlow.
Horan, a published poet, inscribed in marker the words of an eighteenth century poem written by Swift after a visit to Carlow town that read: “Small town, poor people; high church, low steeple.” Horan had been celebrating his forty-first birthday the night before his artistic endeavour, which occurred early the following morning.
The story was reported in two local newspapers, The Carlow People and The Carlow Nationalist, as well as in The Sunday Independent. Speaking to Trinity News, Horan reiterated the apologies he had made in those publications as well as in writing to the publicans involved. He added that he wished to apologise to the College community if his actions have been damaging to Trinity’s reputation.
Horan, who was released after a caution for criminal damage, has said to Trinity News that his actions constituted a prosecutable criminal offence, that he was treated leniently, and that things “could have been a lot more serious”. Horan repeated that it was “a stupid thing to do”.
When asked what he would say to any Trinity student with their own literary aspirations, who might follow in his footsteps, he made it clear that he was not proud of his actions and did not advocate graffiti, literary or otherwise.
He did point out however that when done tastefully, as on the outside of the Bachelor’s Arms pub on Bachelor’s Walk, poetry can make a charming addition a pub’s exterior.