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December 7, 2015
National winners announced at ninth annual Poetry Aloud competition


Monday, 7th December 2015

National winners announced at ninth annual Poetry Aloud competition

The winners of the ninth annual Poetry Aloud competition, organised by the National Library of Ireland (NLI) and Poetry Ireland, were announced on Friday, 4th December at the final round of the competition, held at the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

Poetry Aloud is an annual poetry speaking competition for post-primary school students across the island of Ireland and was launched in 2006.  Since then, it has grown enormously from just a few hundred entries to over 1,800 entries in 2015. The prescribed poems in this year’s competition are all by William Butler Yeats, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the poet’s birth.

Speaking at the final, Bríd O’Sullivan, of Learning and Outreach at the National Library of Ireland, said: “Poetry Aloud has become one of the highlights of the NLI’s calendar and we are pleased to welcome the Poetry Aloud participants to the NLI once again to celebrate the joy of speaking poetry.

“Throughout the competition, the wonderful recitals of William Butler Yeats’ work have been very moving. It is fitting that today’s final takes place adjacent to the NLI’s exhibition, Yeats: The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats.

“It is a remarkable achievement to reach the final, especially considering the record number of entries received this year. We would like to extend our congratulations to all involved today.”

National Winners of 2015 Poetry Aloud

The Poetry Aloud competition comprises three stages: the regionals; the semi-finals; and the final. This year, 122 schools took part in the competition at 20 regional heats in venues across the country. Today’s finalists were then chosen at two semi-finals involving 134 participants.

There are three participant categories: Junior, Intermediate and Senior.  A national winner is chosen from each category by a panel of esteemed judges and receives a prize of €300.  The 2015 judging panel included poet, Colm Keegan; Director of Irish Studies at Emory University, Professor Geraldine Higgins; and Director of Poetry Ireland, Maureen Kennelly.

The 2015 Poetry Aloud national winners are:

  • Junior category: Kevin Fitzpatrick, St Macartan’s College, Monaghan, Co Monaghan;
  • Intermediate category: Nuala Whittle, St Kevin’s Community College, Dunlavin, Co Wicklow;
  • Senior category: Alice Magorrian, Assumption Grammar College, Ballynahinch, Co Down.

From the three national category winners, an overall winner is chosen each year, and awarded the Seamus Heaney Poetry Aloud Award. This year, Kevin Fitzpatrick was awarded the Seamus Heaney Poetry Aloud Award and presented with the trophy. The perpetual trophy is designed by Meath-based sculptor Fiona Smith-Darragh. The overall winner also receives a prize of €600.

This year’s Poetry Aloud runners up, who each receive a book token, are:

  • Junior category: Roisin Ferguson, Maryfield College, Drumcondra, Co Dublin;
  • Intermediate category: Harry Deacon, St Andrews College, Booterstown, Co Dublin;
  • Senior category: Aisling O’ Connell, Notre Dame Secondary School, Dundrum, Co Dublin.

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.

For further information, visit www.nli.ie.


 Contact: Louise Archbold, DHR Communications 01-4200580 / 087-2601145

 Notes to Editors:

 About the National Library of Ireland

The mission of the National Library of Ireland is to collect, preserve, promote and make accessible the documentary and intellectual record of the life of Ireland and to contribute to the provision of access to the larger universe of recorded knowledge.  It is open, free of charge, to all those who wish to consult the collections for material not otherwise available through the public library service or an academic library. The Genealogical Office, the Office of the Chief Herald in Kildare Street, and the National Photographic Archive in Temple Bar are all part of the National Library.

About Poetry Ireland

Poetry Ireland connects people and poetry. As the national organisation for poetry in Ireland, we serve all 32 counties and receive support from The Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and The Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Through our publications, readings, educational programmes and resource services, we are committed to achieving excellence in the reading, writing and performance of poetry throughout the island of Ireland.

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