Latest News


Listen to Ireland Professor of Poetry Annual Lecture 2014

The Solace of Artemis, Paula Meehan’s Annual Lecture as the Ireland Professor of Poetry took place on Thursday 27 November 2014 in the Synge Theatre, Trinity College Dublin. You can listen to the lecture now here.


Eavan Boland delivers the 2014 Michael Littleton Memorial Lecture entitled “Has Poetry a Future?”

The Michael Littleton Memorial Lecture is an annual public lecture for radio on topics of wide-ranging interest and concern recorded in front of a live, interactive audience for broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1.

The 2014 Michael Littleton Memorial Lecture was delivered by poet and academic Eavan Boland and is entitled “Has Poetry a Future?”. The event took place in the RTÉ Radio Centre, RTÉ, Donnybrook, Dublin 4 on Monday, 15 December 2014. The lecture was followed by a short Q&A and was broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on 26 December at 7pm.

Listen to the lecture now


Winners of Poetry Aloud announced

The winners of the eighth annual Poetry Aloud competition, organised by Poetry Ireland and the National Library of Ireland were announced on Friday 5 December at the final round of the competition, held at the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Poetry Aloud, an annual poetry speaking competition for post-primary school students across the island of Ireland, was launched in 2006.  Since then, it has grown enormously from just a few hundred entries to over 1,700 this year alone.

Megan Nar, from St Louis Secondary School in Monaghan, won in the junior category. Sion Flanagan, from Mary Immaculate Secondary School in Co Clare, won in the intermediate category, while Cian Siggins, from Coláiste Éinde in Co Galway, won in the senior category.

The Poetry Aloud competition comprises three stages: the regionals; the semi-finals; and the final, and this year, over 118 schools took part in the competition at 18 regional heats in venues across the country. This year’s finalists were then chosen at two semi-finals involving 149 participants.

From the three national category winners, an overall winner is chosen each year, and awarded the Seamus Heaney Poetry Aloud Award.  The overall winner receives a prize of €500, and the perpetual trophy designed by Meath-based sculptor, Fiona Smith-Darragh. This year, Megan Nar from St Louis Secondary School in Monaghan was awarded the Seamus Heaney Poetry Aloud Award and presented with the trophy by judge, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. The 2014 judging panel also included Director of the Abbey Theatre, Fiach Mac Conghail; and Director of Poetry Ireland, Maureen Kennelly.

Book tokens to the value of €300 are also presented to a teacher from each winning school to contribute towards adding new stock to the school library.

The late Seamus Heaney was a significant supporter of Poetry Aloud.  In 2009, he was presented by the British Library with the David Cohen Prize for Literature.  In addition to the main award, the winner each year nominates the recipient of a subsidiary prize, In nominating Poetry Aloud for the award, Seamus Heaney cited the extraordinary way in which the competition seeks to celebrate the joy of speaking and listening to poetry as well as the fact that there is a strong North / South dimension to the competition.

This year, Poetry Aloud is partnering with The Works, RTÉ Television’s flagship arts show, and RTÉ Radio One’s The John Murray Show on RTÉ, A Poem for Ireland, The Best-Loved Irish Poem of the Last 100 Years. Finalists and winners from this year’s competition will appear on The Works reading a selection of Ireland’s best-loved poems.


Michael Smith

Poetry Ireland are saddened to hear of the death of poet, translator, Aosdána member, and former editor of Poetry Ireland Review, Michael Smith.

Read Michael Smith’s obituary in The Irish Times


Garda Vetting Seminar

With the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Act 2012 scheduled to commence, Poetry Ireland and the National Library of Ireland jointly hosted a seminar on Garda Vetting for organisations and persons working with, or who provide services for, children and young people in the area of the arts and arts-in-education on 7 November. A second seminar is planned for early 2015.

Read Sylvia Thompson’s Irish Times article on Garda Vetting (8 November 2014).


Siobhán Parkinson wins Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award for Literature.

Poetry Ireland would like to congratulate Siobhán Parkinson on winning the Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award for Literature. A writer, publisher, editor and translator, she has published more than twenty books since 1992, winning numerous awards, and her books have been translated into multiple languages. She has held numerous Writers in Schools with Poetry Ireland, with a particular emphasis on working with children with special needs, and has been writer in residence to Dublin City and the Irish Writers’ Centre, Marino Institute of Education, Waterford City, and the Church of Ireland College of Education.  Siobhán is a former board member of Children’s Books Ireland and was also the inaugural Laureate na nÓg from 2010-2012. She is currently published by Little Island Press.


Francis Harvey

Poetry Ireland/Éigse Éireann is saddened to hear that Donegal poet, playwright and fiction writer Francis Harvey has passed away at the age of 89.
Read Francis Harvey’s obituary in The Irish Times


Galway Kinnell (1927-2014)

Poetry Ireland/Éigse Éireann is saddened to hear of the death of Galway Kinnell.
Read Galway Kinnell’s obituary in the New York Times.


RTÉ A Poem for Ireland

The Best-Loved Irish Poem of the Last 100 Years

What is your most-loved Irish poem of the last century? RTÉ A Poem for Ireland is a major new RTÉ campaign which aims to get the public talking about the poems they feel are the most-loved Irish poems of the past 100 years.

In this era of centenaries, RTÉ looks back at the Irish poems and poets of the past 100 years and asks the public to help us identify the Irish poems of the past century that we love the most. Whether it’s a poem you studied at school and loved; one that stood out for you at a wedding or funeral, a poem you came across at an important moment in your life, or one your father or mother used to recite; whether it’s a love poem, a political poem, a poem about nature, life, loss, emigration, and whether it’s in Irish or in English, it doesn’t matter. As long as it’s an Irish poem, published in the last century, and you love it, then tell us, and tell us why you love it.

The campaign will be spearheaded by The Works, RTÉ One’s flagship arts show, and RTÉ Radio 1’s The John Murray Show in partnership with Poetry Ireland and An Post. RTÉ’s A Poem for Ireland will roll out over the course of six months, from its launch on The John Murray Show and The Works on September 26th to the unveiling of the Irish public’s final choice in March 2015. It will be accompanied by a major digital site where the public can nominate, read and vote for poems. The digital site will build in scale and content as the campaign progresses.

Phase 1: Nominations (26 September– 14 November 2014)
During the first phase of the campaign (September – November 2014) the public will be asked to nominate the Irish poem(s) of the past century they feel the Poem For Ireland Jury should include on a list of ten poems that will go forward for public debate and discussion in January 2015. The poems can be in Irish or in English and can cover any topic: life, politics, relationships, history, nature, emigration, loss, social issues, love. As long as the poem is an Irish poem, published between January 1914 and December 2014, and it stands out for you in some way, then it’s eligible for consideration.

A dedicated website on RTÉ.ie will allow people at home and abroad to suggest poems for inclusion on the final list of ten poems. An Post is supporting RTÉ A Poem for Ireland with a Freepost address, to enable as many people as possible to take part, free-of-charge, in this national effort.

Once the nominations close, a jury of poetry experts and lovers will be tasked with compiling a list of ten Irish poems that tell the story of Ireland over the past 100 years in the words of its great poets. Their choices will reflect the most popular choices from the public nomination process; but their task is also to include the widest possible range of poets, subjects and eras, in order to enable the liveliest possible national conversation about Irish poetry of the past 100 years once the list is announced.

Poetry Ireland has also partnered with RTÉ for RTÉ A Poem For Ireland. Poetry Ireland and The National Library of Ireland’s Poetry Aloud project is a nationwide poetry reciting competition involving over 1,600 schools. The competition fosters a love of poetry among secondary school students throughout the island of Ireland.  The students taking part in this year’s Poetry Aloud competition will be encouraged to choose Irish poems from the past 100 years to recite. And the 2014 Poetry Aloud winners and runners-up will be filmed reciting one of the ten poems from the final list. Their performances of the shortlisted poems will be broadcast on RTÉ One during the six-week final stage of the campaign.

Phase 2: Voting (30 Jan – 8 March 2015)
A brand-new landmark RTÉ One documentary telling the story of Irish poetry from the bards to the present day will launch the 6-week voting campaign in January 2015. The shortlisted ten poems will be announced on 30th January 2015 and over the next six weeks, the public will have the chance to engage with all ten shortlisted poems, across television, radio, online and mobile, and vote for their RTÉ A Poem For Ireland.

The RTÉ A Poem for Ireland winning poem will be announced live on RTÉ One on 13th March 2015 and published by An Post on a free postcard.

Special Advisor to the Campaign

Niall MacMonagle

Niall MacMonagle is a writer, lecturer, critic and broadcaster. He taught English at Wesley College Dublin and writes a weekly art column for the Sunday Independent. He has edited several anthologies including Lifelines, Real Cool, Outside In, Slow Time, Off the Wall, The Open Door Book of Poetry and the textbooks TEXT: A Transition Year English Reader and the Poetry Now anthologies for Leaving Cert. He has served on the Board of the National Library of Ireland. Niall also founded the Poetry Aloud competition twenty-one years ago, a national competition which encourages secondary school students to recite poetry, and which last year saw students from over 1,600 schools participating.

The Jury

John Kelly (Chair)

Writer and broadcaster John Kelly presents RTÉ Television’s flagship arts show, The Works. He also presents The John Kelly Ensemble on RTÉ lyric fm and Radio Clash on RTÉ 2XM. Over the years, John has interviewed many leading figures in the music and arts world and has written several books including From Out of the City, published in April 2014 by Dalkey Archive Press.

Damien Dempsey
Damien Dempsey is often described as an urban poet. He has been an avid fan of poetry from a young age and his lyrics draw on the works of a wide range of poets and writers, both from Ireland and beyond.

Catriona Crowe
Catriona Crowe is Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland. She is also a member of the Royal Irish Academy and Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Limerick. She contributes regularly to the broadcast and print media on cultural and historic matters.

Maria Johnston
Maria Johnston received her Doctorate in English Literature in 2007 and has since worked as a Lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, the Mater Dei Institute (DCU) and Oxford University. She is a well-known poetry critic and is currently working on a book on contemporary Irish poetry.

Anne Doyle
Anne Doyle has a BA English and History and a postgraduate diploma in Education from UCD.  Her love of books and literature led her to take up a job as a librarian. After a stint at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Anne joined the RTÉ Newsroom, retiring in 2011. She says: “I read poetry for pleasure. I’m not academically knowledgeable about poetry, but love it. It’s in the heart.”

John FitzGerald
John FitzGerald is a graduate of UCC (BA in English and Philosophy, 1983), University College Dublin and the University of Wales at Aberystwyth. He is the University Librarian at UCC. In his professional roles John has consistently fostered and promoted literary activities – around poetry in particular– most recently in acquiring for UCC The Great Book of Ireland.

Rióna Ní Fhrighil
Rióna Ní Fhrighil is a lecturer in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures in the National University of Ireland, Galway. She teaches contemporary Irish-language prose and poetry at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. She is editor of Filíocht Chomhaimseartha na Gaeilge (Cois Life, 2012), a collection of critical essays on contemporary Irish-language poetry. She has published numerous academic articles and book chapters on contemporary Irish-language poetry.

Social Media:

Twitter: @RTEPoetry #rtelovepoetry


For further information:

Sandra Byrne, RTÉ Radio Senior Press Officer, Tel: 01 208 2506/ 087 249 3048                 email:

Sinead Harrington, RTÉ TV Press Officer, Tel: 01 208 2667/ 087 666 9311


Celebrate Culture Night 2014 with Poetry Ireland

Poetry Ireland celebrates the power of poetry in six locations across Dublin and Wicklow on Culture Night 2014.

This year on Culture Night (Friday 19 September), Poetry Ireland is presenting readings, performances and open mic opportunities in atmospheric venues is  around Dublin, in collaboration with Hodges Figgis, Children’s Books Ireland, Irish Georgian Society, Irish Writers’ Centre, the Arts Council and Wicklow County Council.

The events on the evening include storytelling for children and an open mic session hosted by Dermot Bolger at Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street, spoken word and music performances at the Irish Georgian Society with artists including Iarla Ó’Lionáird and Temper-Mental MissElayneous, screenings of two films directed by Alan Gilsenan and readings by winners and finalists from the Trócaire Poetry Ireland Competition at the Irish Writers’ Centre.

Poetry Ireland will also present special guests including Diarmaid Ferriter, Dónal Lunny, Paul Murray and Alan Gilsenan reading from the critically acclaimed anthology Poems that make Grown Men Cry at the Irish Georgian Society and at the Arts Council tent in Merrion Square.

Poetry Ireland @ Hodges Figgis, Dawson Street (Friday 19 September, 5-9pm)

Poetry Ireland and Hodges Figgis present storytelling for children with author Debbie Thomas (5pm) and storyteller Nuala Hayes (6.10pm), along with readings by young finalists from ‘It’s up to us’, the Trócaire Poetry Ireland poetry competition (5.30pm). Students from CBS James’s Street, St Paul’s CBS, Brunswick Street and St Aidan’s Community School, Tallaght will perform as part of WRaPParound, an initiative of the Junior Certificate Schools Programme Library Project and Poetry Ireland, which brings performance poetry and spoken word into the classroom (from 7pm). Aspiring poets are invited to participate in an open mic session hosted by Dermot Bolger (7-9pm), as well as readings by writer Paul Lenehan (7.30pm) and poet Colm Keegan (8.30pm). Culture Night at Hodges Figgis also includes a signing by author Derek Landy and a performance by the St Patrick’s Cathedral Boys’ Choir.

Poetry Ireland @ Irish Georgian Society, South William Street (Friday 19 September, 6-9pm)

Poetry Ireland and the Irish Georgian Society (IGS) present ‘A Moment in Time’, spoken word and music in the beautifully restored City Assembly House, an eighteenth-century building of historical, artistic and architectural importance, now home to the IGS. The line up for the evening includes poet Moya Cannon (6pm), poet and hiphop artist Temper-Mental MissElayneous, folk duo Twin Headed Wolf (7pm), singer songwriter Mick McAuley, sean nós singer Iarla Ó’Lionáird, actor Will O’Connell (8.30pm) and performance poet Erin Fornoff (8.50pm). Two films directed by Alan Gilsenan, Paul Durcan, The Dark School and The Green Fields of France will also be screened during the evening.

In the Irish Georgian Society (7.45pm) and in the Arts Council tent in Merrion Square (6-7pm) Poetry Ireland will also present readings from Poems that make Grown Men Cry (ed Anthony and Ben Holden) with special guest readers including historian Diarmaid Ferriter, musician Dónal Lunny, novelist Paul Murray and writer/film-maker Alan Gilsenan.

Poems That Make Grown Men Cry is an anthology in which one hundred men – distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theatre and human rights – confess to being moved to tears by poems that continue to haunt them. Their selections include classics by visionaries such as Walt Whitman, WH Auden, and Philip Larkin, as well as contemporary works by masters including Billy Collins, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, and poets who span the globe from Pablo Neruda to Rabindranath Tagore.

Poetry Ireland @ Irish Writers’ Centre, Parnell Square North (Friday 19 September, 7.30-10.30pm)

This year Poetry Ireland, Irish Writers’ Centre and Children’s Books Ireland are delighted to collaborate to present readings for all ages on Culture Night. ‘Takin’ the Mic’, a special open mic event, welcomes writers and performers of all genres to participate on the night (7.30-10.30pm). The evening will also featureperformances by Shirley McClure and readings by winners and finalists from the Trócaire Poetry Ireland Competition with Trócaire Poetry Ambassador Geraldine Mitchell.

Poetry Ireland @ Bray Library (Friday 19 September, 6pm)
Join Booker winning novelist and short story writer Anne Enright at Bray Library as she reads from her recent work.

Poetry Ireland @ Blessington Library (Friday 19 September, 6.30pm)
Poetry Ireland and Blessington Library present ‘The Science of Flann O’Brien’ with Dermot Diamond and Fergus Cronin.