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On Friday 6th December, Kathleen Malone travelled to Dublin to compete in the Final of Poetry Aloud, 2019. From 1600 entries, 28 took part in the final in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior categories held at the National Library of Ireland. Students travelled from Antrim, Clare, Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Laois, Louth, Monaghan, Sligo, Tipperary and Wicklow to take part. Kathleen was the only student from Northern Ireland to compete in the Intermediate category – what a remarkable achievement!

The Final was held in the Library’s Reading Room, a historic part of the building where W.B Yeats and James Joyce penned their famous masterworks. Kathleen recited from memory “In Lieu of Carols” by Frank Ormsby and “And Death Shall Have No Dominion” by Dylan Thomas. The 2019 judging panel comprised of Director of Information Services and University Librarian at University College Cork, John FitzGerald; Poet and film maker, Luke Morgan; and Director of Poetry Ireland, Maureen Kennelly. The judges remarked on “the marvelous way the students were able to bring the words to life” – Kathleen’s recitation was simply mesmerizing.

Poetry Aloud is the annual poetry speaking competition for post-primary school students across the island of Ireland. It comprises of regional heats, semi-finals and the national final. The Poetry Aloud competition, run by the Library in conjunction with Poetry Ireland, was honoured at a gala ceremony at the British Library in London. In nominating Poetry Aloud as the recipient of the Clarissa Luard 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.

Well done Kathleen! And thank you to Mrs Craig and Ms Smyth for accompanying Dr Mort to the two events in Dublin.

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