Poetry Aloud Poetry Speaking Competition
Poetry Aloud, an annual poetry speaking competition for post-primary schools, organised by Poetry Ireland and the National Library of Ireland in partnership with University College Cork.
Poetry Aloud is an annual poetry speaking competition open to all post-primary students on the island of Ireland. It is organised by Poetry Ireland and the National Library of Ireland in partnership with University College Cork. Since it was launched in 2006, Poetry Aloud has grown from just a few hundred entries to almost 2,000 entries in 2017.
The late Seamus Heaney was a significant supporter of Poetry Aloud. When he won the David Cohen Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Literature, he nominated Poetry Aloud for the accompanying Clarissa Luard Award, and he remarked, “I truly believe Poetry Aloud deserves all the support it can get, because it promotes literature, and, in particular, poetry, widely, intimately and to inestimable effect. But fundamentally, I choose it because it brings poetry into the memory and affections of the young in a way that will make it a lifelong possession and value”.
The competition is open to all students attending a second-level school on the island of Ireland. The first round of Poetry Aloud 2023 will consist of virtual competition in lieu of on-site regional heats.
We will outline here how the competition will run this year.
• Participating teachers to select students to represent their school from any of the three categories (Junior, Intermediate, Senior)
• Teachers will submit a phone video recording of the students speaking the prescribed poem from memory (professional recording is not required) See guidelines at the end of the form.
• A panel of qualified adjudicators representing Poetry Ireland and the National Library of Ireland will adjudicate the entries.
• The closing date for submission is Friday 29 September
Students speak one poem according to their category
Junior Category: Overhead by Jamie O’Halloran
Intermediate Category: The Lookout by Jane Clarke
Senior Category: At the court of the curlews, Magheramore by Martin Dyar
Junior: 1st and 2nd year from Republic of Ireland & years 8, 9 and 10 from Northern Ireland
Intermediate: 3rd and 4th year from Republic of Ireland & years 11 and 12 from Northern Ireland
Senior: 5th and 6th year from Republic of Ireland & Upper and Lower 6th forms from Northern Ireland
Watch highlights from Poetry Aloud 2022
Watch highlights from Poetry Aloud 2020
Watch highlights from Poetry Aloud 2019
Watch highlights from Poetry Aloud 2018
Watch highlights from Poetry Aloud 2017
Watch highlights from Poetry Aloud 2016
Watch finalists from Poetry Aloud 2013
In 2014 Poetry Aloud partnered with The Works, RTÉ Television’s flagship arts show, and RTÉ Radio One’s The John Murray Show on A Poem for Ireland, The Best-Loved Irish Poem of the Last 100 Years. Finalists from the Poetry Aloud competition appeared on The Works reading a selection of Ireland’s best-loved poems.
In April 2014, Niall Ó hAnnagáin, Poetry Aloud’s 2013 winner, joined poets and musicians including Paul Muldoon and Paul Simon on stage at the National Concert Hall in a special tribute to Seamus Heaney. Fifteen-year-old Niall, who was the youngest person on stage, spoke 'Mid-Term Break' to great acclaim.
2022's winner was Luke Dolan who recently appeared on stage at the Abbey in 'An Afterwards: A Celebration of Seamus Heaney' alongside Michael Longley, Vona Groarke, Stephen Rea, Donal Lunny and many more.
Alice Mackle, St Patrick's Academy, Dungannon, Co Tyrone
|2020||Caitlín Ní Raoghaill, Gaelcholáiste Cheatharlach, Askea, Carlow|
|2019||Ellie Reynolds, Lismore Comprehensive School, Co Armagh|
|2018||Majella Votta, Mercy Secondary School, Co. Kerry|
|2017||Brendan Mac Domhnaill, Coláiste Oiriall, Co. Monaghan|
|2016||Nathan Quinn O’Rawe, De La Salle College, Belfast, Co. Antrim|
|2015||Kevin Fitzpatrick, St. Macartan's College, Co. Monaghan|
|2014||Megan Nar, St Louis Secondary School, Co. Monaghan|
|2013||Niall Ó hAnnagáin from Coláiste Ailigh in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal|
|2012||Shauna Hession, St Michael's Holy Faith Secondary School, Co. Dublin|
|2011||Corey Duffy, Christian Brothers Grammar School, Co. Omagh|
|2010||Aoife Franklyn, St Andrew's College, Co. Dublin|
|2009||John King, Belvedere College, Co. Dublin|
|2008||Samuel McGovern, St Andrew's College, Co. Dublin|
|2007||Niamh Kenneally, Ursuline College, Co. Sligo|
|2006||Katherine Wade, Ursuline College, Co. Sligo|