Winners of 2020 Poetry Aloud poetry speaking competition announced

25th November 2021

The winners of the 2020 Poetry Aloud competition, organised by Poetry Ireland and the National Library of Ireland (NLI), in partnership with University College Cork (UCC), have been announced.

Poetry Aloud is an annual poetry speaking competition for post-primary school students across the island of Ireland. It has grown year on year since its launch in 2007.

The competition has three categories: junior, intermediate and senior. 

The 2020 Poetry Aloud winners are: 

Junior category: Seán O’Sullivan, Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom, Limerick

Intermediate category: Abi Flanagan, Castlerea Community College, Castlerea, Roscommon

Senior category: Caitlín Ní Raoghaill, Gaelcholáiste Cheatharlach, Askea, Carlow

From the three national category winners, Caitlín Ní Raoghaill was chosen as overall winner and awarded the Seamus Heaney Poetry Aloud Award. The perpetual trophy is designed by Meath-based sculptor Fiona Smith-Darragh. The overall winner receives an additional €300. 

The three runners up are:

Junior category: Heather Hannon, Colaiste Mhuire, Ballygar, Galway

Intermediate category: Eva Staunton, Santa Maria College, Louisburgh, Mayo

Senior category: Daniel Nordon, Institute of Education, Dublin & Palesa Hlongwane, Presentation Secondary School, Tralee, Kerry

The late Seamus Heaney was a significant supporter of the competition. In 2009, he was presented with the David Cohen Prize for Literature by the British Library.  In addition to the main award, the winner of this prize each year nominates the recipient of a subsidiary prize of £10,000. 

Seamus Heaney nominated Poetry Aloud for this subsidiary prize, citing 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 prize was invested to ensure the long-term future of the competition.