1916 Commemorations: Poetry Competition

Home  /  Schools  /  Post-Primary Schools  /  1916 Commemorations: Poetry Competition

Róisín Finnegan, winner of A Poem for Ireland, Dublin Castle 6th May 2016

Róisín Finnegan, winner of A Poem for Ireland, with Séan Ó Foghlú (L), Department of Education and Joseph Nugent (R), LGMA

Dublin Student Wins Grand Final of: A Poem for Ireland


Róisín Finnegan, a pupil at Holy Faith Secondary School, Clontarf was announced as the  winner of A Poem for Ireland at the Grand Final which took place in Dublin Castle on Friday 6th May, 2016.poetry competition

Thousands of budding poets in post-primary schools across the country were composing furiously since the beginning of the year, working on their entries for A Poem for Ireland, the national poetry competition for Ireland 2016. The theme ‘Your Ireland, past or present’ and the historic events of 1916 inspired large numbers to enter the competition. The entries came in a wide range of poetic forms, from ballads, sonnets and odes to free verse, rap and even the occasional limerick. Poems were sent in English, in Irish and in some cases in both.

Every entry went forward with the chance of being chosen to represent the school at a county final organised by the local public library service. Each county final was held during March 2016 and winners were selected by county judging panels of experts. Each of these winning entries were then reviewed by the national judging panel and shortlisted to eight national finalists, who presented their poems at the Grand Final on the 6th of May in Dublin Castle.

On the day, each contestant had their moment to convince the judges and sway a packed audience for the chance to be the national winner and claim the €1,000 overall prize. Groundbreaking Irish band Seo Linn performed live at the event and brought the house down.

Despite some very stiff competition, Róisín was declared the winner was awarded her prize by the Secretary General of the Department of Education, Seán Ó Foghlú.

A Poem for Ireland is an initiative of the Local Government Management Agency, the Department of Education and Skills and the public library services of the local authorities and is part of the national Ireland 2016 centenary events.

National Judging Panel

Chair:  Brendan Martin, County Librarian, Wicklow County Council
Panel: Gabriel Rosenstock, Poet and Member of Aosdána
Helen Walsh, County Librarian, Clare County Council
Maureen Kennelly, Director, Poetry Ireland
Tom French, Poet and Local Studies Librarian, Meath County Council