News and Views

UCC fosters love of poetry

28 Jun

UCC has become a partner in a unique competition whereby second-level students memorise poems and then recite them aloud in heats culminating in a final in the National Library of Ireland.

Poetry Aloud is an annual poetry speaking competition for post-primary schools, presented throughout the island of Ireland by Poetry Ireland and the National Library of Ireland. The two partners have this week announced that University College Cork has joined as a partner on Poetry Aloud in a new 10-year agreement.

The Architecture of the City by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

The only competition of its kind in Ireland, students participating in Poetry Aloud commit poems to memory and then speak the poems aloud at heats, regional finals and at a national final that takes place each December in Dublin.

Since it was launched as a national programme in 2006, Poetry Aloud has grown from just a few hundred entries to over 1,800 entries in 2017.

President of UCC, Professor Patrick G O'Shea, was joined by Poetry Ireland’s Director Maureen Kennelly and Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the National Library of Ireland at Poetry Ireland’s headquarters in Parnell Square this week to announce UCC as a major new partner for Poetry Aloud.

As the alma mater of many of Ireland’s finest contemporary poets including Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Theo Dorgan, Paul Durcan and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, UCC is the ideal partner to join Poetry Ireland and the National Library of Ireland in plans to significantly expand the competition’s reach in all 32 counties, exposing many more students to a wide variety of poems in a supportive and generous atmosphere.   

Speaking on the occasion, Professor Patrick G O’Shea noted: “UCC has a very rich connection with poetry dating back to one of our early innovators George Boole who as well as being one of the world’s finest mathematicians was also a very well-regarded poet.  The tradition of stellar poets emerging from UCC continues to this day and we are proud of the ongoing achievements of contemporary poets Graham Allen, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Leanne O’Sullivan, and Martin Veiga who teach here at UCC and cultivate the next generation of poets in many languages. These connections to poetry make our association with Poetry Aloud even more meaningful for us."

Maureen Kennelly, director of Poetry Ireland believes that “the benefits of participating in Poetry Aloud are immense, and heart learning (as opposed to learning by rote) and speaking poetry helps greatly the development of cognitive and imaginative capacities. To know a poem by heart is to own a great work of art forever and Poetry Ireland is very much looking forward to working alongside UCC and the National Library of Ireland to bring this wonderful celebration of poetry to many more students.  It is especially fitting that we are announcing this partnership here at our new home in Parnell Square as UCC is one of our foundation sponsors, achieved through their purchase of the Great Book of Ireland in 2013.”

For more about research and courses in the UCC School of English visit here

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