Patrick Kavanagh gives an amusing, insightful and moving account of his life and work despite his dislike for talking about himself.

In 'Self Portrait: Patrick Kavanagh', the poet made his debut on television. In this extract, Kavanagh tells the audience of his dislike of talking about himself and comments on the growth of interest among the media in "personal data".

...I dislike talking about myself in a direct way: the self is only interesting as an illustration. For some strange reason, whenever we talk about our personal lives, it turns out to be both irrelevant and untrue. Even when the facts are right, the mood is wrong...


This episode of 'Self Portrait' featuring Patrick Kavanagh was broadcast on 30 October 1962.

RTÉ Guide, Patrick Kavanagh 30 October 1962
RTÉ Guide, Patrick Kavanagh 30 October 1962

The 'Self Portrait' series profiled writers, poets, actors, and dramatists. Portraits in the series included Sylvia Beach, John B. Keane, Kate O'Brien, Louise Gavan Duffy, Sir Tyrone Guthrie, Harry O'Donovan and Sam Thompson.

'Self-Portrait' was a series of intimate studio monologues with distinguished Irish men and women. It provided a unique opportunity to hear and see significant individuals presenting themselves in their own words and voices enriching their presentations with personal stories and examples of their work.

Kavanagh's script for this 'Self-Portrait' programme was later published by The Dolmen Press in 1964 © Patrick Kavanagh.

In 2004 to honour the centenary of Patrick Kavanagh's birth, RTÉ Archives remastered this Self-Portrait programme. Later that year the programme was repackaged and rebroadcast as 'The View Presents...' on 29 November 2004.

Explore the life and work of Patrick Kavanagh one of Ireland's best loved poets through his own words and the accounts of those who knew him.