Many individuals helped in many ways during the writing of this book and it is a pleasure to acknowledge them here: Michael Allen, Fran Brearton, Garrick Davis, Andrew Fitzsimons, Tomas FUrstenzeller, Sylva Fischerova, Daniela Furthnerova, Robert Greacen, Ales Klegr, Tereza Limanova, James McCabe, Peter McDonald, Síle Ni Bhroin, Stepan Nosek, Lrnn o Braonain, Dennis O'Driscoll, Colm Quinn, Jack Quinn, Christopher Ricks, Ray Ryan (who came with the idea), Pavlina Saldova, Moynagh Sullivan, Bill Tinley and Tereza Vohryzkova. And thanks go to Audrey Cotterell for her copy-editing.

Especial thanks go to the following, who commented in detail on one or more chapters: Louis de Paor, Selina Guinness, Maria Johnston and Jill Siddall. Matthew Campbell supported the project from the beginning and read the manuscript in the final stages. I am extremely indebted to him for his valuable criticism and encouragement. Also, David Wheatley was a constant support, source of information and valuable objection throughout the writing of this book. Much of my understanding of Irish poetry developed out of our conversations and correspondence since the early 1990s.

I also wish to thank the Princess Grace Irish Library, Monaco, as well as the Ireland Fund of Monaco, for providing a month-long haven in 2005, which enabled me to get about a third of this book written.

The final draft of the book was prepared while I was teaching for a semester at the Department of English at Villanova University, Pennsylvania, and I would also like to acknowledge their support here.

Research funds were provided by a Research Grant from the Czech Ministry of Education awarded to an interdisciplinary collective at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague ('Foundations of the Modern World as Reflected in Literature and Philosophy', MSM0021620824).

The excerpt from 'For my God-daughter, B. A. H.' and 'Water Baby' by Michael Hartnett is reproduced by kind permission of the Estate of Michael Hartnett and The Gallery Press, from Collected Poems (2001). 'Love Poem' by Maurice Craig is reproduced by kind permission of the author.

The book is dedicated to my parents Anna and Jack Quinn.

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