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These are Ireland's 10 favourite poems

And we still have to choose the best one of them…

Image: YouTube


People around the country have chosen their personal favourites for the RTÉ A Poem for Ireland Project, and the shortlist of 10 has been revealed tonight.

The project aims to discover Ireland’s favourite poems of the past 100 years, and the winner will be selected by an independent jury from public nominations.

Five of the poems were announced on this morning’s John Murray Show on RTÉ Radio 1 while the remaining five were announced this evening on RTÉ One’s The Works, hosted by John Kelly.

Choose your favourite

The RTÉ A Poem For Ireland website is where you can head now, as for the next five weeks the public are being asked to choose their favourite from the shortlist.

The deadline for public voting is Sunday 8 March, and the winner will be revealed on Friday 13 March.

You can find audio clips and lots of information about the poems and poets on the official website.

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RTÉ’s John Kelly described the list as “interesting” and “pretty representative of poetry in the period we’re talking about”.

Of course, what’s not on the list must also be part of the discussion now, and I’m sure there’ll be plenty to say about what’s there and what’s not. Why this poem? Why not that one? You can see why I insisted on not having a vote! I know too many poets.

Catriona Crowe, Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland, said she thinks the nominated poems “fairly reflect poetic concerns of the last hundred years, from Yeats’ iconic Easter 1916 to Aibhe Ni Ghearbhuigh’s Filleadh ar an gCathair”.

Our guiding principle was that the poems selected be good poems, and also accessible to the large number of people in Ireland who love poetry.

To vote, go to the official site or send your choice by Freepost to A Poem For Ireland, PO Box 12575, Freepost F5087, Dublin 4.

Here are the 10 nominated poems:

  • A Christmas Childhood by Patrick Kavanagh
  • A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford by Derek Mahon
  • Dublin by Louis MacNeice
  • Easter 1916 by William Butler Yeats
  • Fill Arís by Seán Ó Ríordáin
  • Filleadh ar an gCathair by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh
  • Making Love Outside Áras an Uachtaráin by Paul Durcan
  • Quarantine by Eavan Boland
  • The Statue of the Virgin at Granard Speaks by Paula Meehan
  • ‘When all the others were away at Mass’ [from Clearances in memoriam MKH, 1911-1984] 3, by Seamus Heaney

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