Schools Awards in Wexford Town

As part of Poetry Town Wexford, Schools Awards took place, with primary and secondary school students invited to submit poems in six different categories. They could write a poem about their town, a local place, or a person from the area.  

Schools in the town were contacted with details of how the Awards work. Entries opened on 3 September and closed on 30 September.  

About the Awards 

Awards entries were judged anonymously. An independent adjudicator was appointed for each town who shortlisted the submissions, and Poetry Ireland made the final decisions on the awards. 

Full information, including details of the categories, can be found on the Rules and Conditions of Entry PDF. 

Winners - Wexford Town

We're delighted to announce the winners in the Wexford Town Poetry Town School Awards:

  • Etain Doolan (Presentation Secondary - 5th/6th year category) with her poem 'Walks on St. Helen’s Beach'
  • Cáit O’Carroll (Presentation Secondary - 3rd/4th year category) with her poem 'An Cósta Thoir Theas'
  • Aoibhe Broaders (Presentation Secondary - 1st & 2nd year category) with her poem 'The Charity Shops'

Walks on St. Helen’s Beach - Etain Doolan

Standing by the car, 
opposite the dock, 
I look out. 
“We used to come here all the time. 
A breeze brushes past my cheeks 
and the sea’s gentle rhythm 
settles in my ears. 
Lips purse into a grim smile, 
“Not really…Sorry.” 

A primitive post appears, before rickety steps 
and I pause for a second. 
“It’s one way, Mammy, 
you need to follow the man. 
Go round this side.” 
Moments from another life, 
Maybe something’s in there after all. 

Soon my toes find purchase in cool sand 
and I search in vain for some familiar sight, 
finding none. 
Disappointment stings,  
all the more bitter 
for its likelihood. 
We’ve spun ten times round the sun 
since my feet last touched this sand. 
I’ve doubled in height alone, 
what other outcome could be expected? 
Yet, still, I tuck away the sliver of regret  
for another day. 

The walk is nice but short. 
The dog enjoys it, at least. 
I nod when Mam asks to go back, 
privately glad and secretly guilty for it. 
I turn and halt,  
The new view enough to make  
my breath catch. 
Suddenly I am both six and sixteen, 
And caught in some strange limbo between. 
Sat on Dad’s shoulders, 
with two tired little feet, 
plucking nonsense from sea air 
of pirates in submarines 
and mermaids with seaweed for hair. 
Now, my arms linked with Mam, 
our strides keep pace with the waves, 
treading along the foot-beaten path. 
Two pictures overlap in my mind, 
one familiar outline becomes clear. 

The sky above St Helen’s 
is streaked with pink and blue, 
and in the bay a shining half-moon. 
How many times have I seen this? 
How many times have I missed it without knowing? 
As we three walk back to our car, 
I feel a puzzle piece slot into place  
somewhere deep inside. 
A hole I didn’t realise was empty. 

It’s a little like coming home. 

An Cósta Thoir Theas - Cáit O'Carroll

Tell me, mo leoithne an tsamhraidh, 
the town that battles its shores 
in which she waits for me. 
Who told me in my troubled sleep, 
where reside my aislingí nár fíoraíodh, 
“Love is an island, in which we grow old, 
follow an solas beannaitheach. 
Find me, mo leannán, mo ghrá, 
to the town of marbh Garman Garbh. 
Follow me to Inisfáil" 

The Charity Shops - Aoife Broaders

When you go in to Wexford Town 
and you’re in the mood for a look around 
You probably think of Penney’s or Shaws  
Maybe T.K Max so you can wonder around the aisles 
noticing a new candle or notebook each time you look on the shelf 

You might find some bits and bobs that you’d consider buying for a hefty price 
But where you’ll find the real treasures are charity shops, 
Places where you will only find older ladies with funky handbags 

Pop into Barnardos where you might find 
A tea set coming from Russia made from Antique Sterling Silver 
With each cup having its own intricate detail on the rim 
And the handle of the sugar bowl being slightly chipped 

Look into the window of Anne’s Charity Shop where you’ll see 
A crocheted doll with a yellow rain hat and pink overalls 
With the buttons carefully sewn onto the straps, 
Someone’s hard work somehow ended up on the shelf of a charity shop 
Longing for you to give it a new home 

Find a beautiful butterfly brooch in Oxfam, 
The wings set with alternate sapphires and rubies 
Dated back to 1880, Probably passed through dozens of families 
Only to wind up next to a box of buttons on the shelf in a Wexford charity shop 

Maybe you’ll still go to Penney’s, T.K Max or Shaws 
But why not find something special and spend money on a good cause  
So next time you pass, maybe have a stop 
To take a browse in the charity shop 


Schools Workshop

Wexford Town Poet Laureate Sasha Terfous hosted a session with Leaving Cert students at Presentation Secondary School. The Presentation College was started in 1818 and is the oldest in the town.