Poetry Day Ireland 2016 Lesson Plans: Post-Primary

Watch Eileán Ní Chuilleanáin read and discuss her poem 'All For You', then follow the lesson plan below. Ideal for students studying for Leaving Certificate English.


'All For You'
by Eileán Ní Chuilleanáin 

Once beyond the gate of the strange stableyard, we dismount.
The donkey walks on, straight in at a wide door
And sticks his head in a manger.

The great staircase of the hall slouches back,
Sprawling between warm springs. It is for you.
As the steps wind and warp
Among the vaults, their thick ribs part; the doors
Of guardroom, chapel, storeroom
Swing wide and the breath of ovens
Flows out, the rage of brushwood,
The roots torn out and butchered.

It is for you, the dry fragrance of tea-chests
The tins shining in ranks, the ten-pound jars
Rich with shrivelled fruit. Where better to lie down
And sleep, along the labelled shelves,
With the key still in your pocket?


  1. Where has the poet arrived? Is it well described? Would you like to be there?
  2. A present is something you give someone you love. What unusual gift does the title of this poem refer to?

Did You Know?

Personification is when you assign the qualities of a person to something that isn't human.


  1. The descriptions in this poem bring the house alive. List some of the examples of personification that you can find in the poem.
  2. What do you think ‘the rage of brushwood’ means?

Exercise 1:

This poem tells the story of two people arriving at a strange house on a donkey.

Imagine reaching a mysterious place.

Make a list of everything you can see, hear and smell.

What does it feel like being there?

Now add everything you have imagined together and make a poem.

On a Journey

Poetry takes us on a journey. It makes us think and feel. It raises questions.

Exercise 2:

Where have the poet and her companion arrived from?

Were they escaping from something? What was their journey like?

Write about what happened before this poem begins.

Lesson plan by Enda Wyley

Download Poetry Day Ireland 2016 poetry posters for secondary schools:

» Julie O'Callaghan 'My Life' poster
» Matthew Sweeney 'Smile' poster

Share your students' work!

We'd love to read and share poems written by children in response to our lesson plans. Email us with any poems you'd like to share and we'll upload a selection to our website and Facebook page.