As part of RTÉ’s build-up to the 2016 commemorations, they launched a project named A Poem For Ireland last September which asked the public to name their best-loved Irish poems of the past 100 years. Thousands nominated over 130 eligible poems between them, and then an independent jury was asked to whittle that down to just 10 poems which they've now put to a public vote.
The shortlist of 10 has been announced and they’re now reaching out to fans of Irish poetry in Ireland and all over the world, to choose their best-loved of the ten.
All 10 poems are featured in full on the RTÉ A Poem For Ireland website - along with information on each poem and poet, plus video and audio clips from the RTÉ Archives. The site also features performances of each poem by past and current finalists of Poetry Aloud, the national poetry-speaking competition for secondary school children throughout Ireland.
Catriona Crowe, Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland said: “I think the poems we have chosen from a large number of public nominations fairly reflect poetic concerns of the last hundred years, from Yeats' iconic Easter 1916 to Aibhe Ni Ghearbhuigh's Filleadh ar an gCathair, with wonderful poems from Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Sean O'Riordain, Eavan Boland, Paul Durcan, Patrick Kavanagh, Paula Meehan and Louis MacNeice which deal with the personal, the political, childhood, love, domestic life, history and humour in their various ways. 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. The coming weeks, will, we hope, encourage people to read these poems, to read others too, and to vote for the one they like best. A national conversation about poetry can only do us all good.”
Voting will remain open until Sunday March 8th and Ireland’s Best-Loved Poem of the Past 100 Years will be announced on Friday, 13th March 2015.
The full shortlist of poems Is:
1) A Christmas Childhood by Patrick Kavanagh
2) A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford by Derek Mahon
3) Dublin by Louis MacNeice
4) Easter 1916 by William Butler Yeats
5) Fill Arís by Seán Ó Ríordáin
6) Filleadh ar an gCathair by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh
7) Making Love Outside Áras an Uachtaráin by Paul Durcan
8) Quarantine by Eavan Boland
9) The Statue of the Virgin at Granard Speaks by Paula Meehan
10) ‘When all the others were away at Mass’ [from Clearances in memoriam M.K.H., 1911-1984] 3, by Seamus Heaney *
What's your favourite Irish poem? Vote here: apoemforireland.rte.ie