An initiative of Gerry Murphy, Poet, and Kay Harte, ‘the poetry wall’, which is on permanent view in the Farmgate Café dining room, is a unique collection of poems, by Cork, Irish and international poets, commissioned by the Farmgate Café in 2005 to celebrate Cork’s year as European Capital of Culture. Known locally as ‘The Great Wall of Cork’, this wonderful collection of framed prints based on handwritten poems forms a distinctive and unique poetic installation encased in a linear display cabinet suspended along the inside wall of the dining room over punters and patrons. Such was the response to the project however, the total number of poems exceeded the initial dimensions and so four extra poems in two pairs bookend the cabinet, completing this unique collection.
Part of the Farmgate Café and Market lore, The Great Wall of Cork was officially ‘launched’ on Friday 13th October 2006 at 6pm. To celebrate this beautiful installation, Gerry Murphy and Senator Brendan Ryan opened the exhibition with the help of Tomás Ó Canainn (poet and musician) on uileann pipes with Nuala (his daughter) accompanying her father on fiddle. A very special occasion, friends and poets gathered for an evening of music, song and poetry, food and drink in the ancient Irish tradition. Sadly five of the contributors have died subsequent to their contributions, Michael Davitt, Greg O’Donoghue, Seán Ó Tuama, Tomás Ó Canainn, and more recently John Montague.
In October 2018 President Michael D Higgins visited the Farmgate Café and, surrounded by some of the city’s best-known poets, playwrights and authors, added his own handwritten composition Stardust to the poetry wall.