Skip to main content

Ireland in Schools

Making learning fun & challenging
About us*
New url, 28/03/2012
Why Ireland?*
Free resources
Latest resource*
Irish teachers*
Irish pathways*
'A good read': English*
Eng & Literacy: Primary*
English: Secondary*
Favourite poems*
Anthologies - themes
Demise: Gaelic Ireland*
Northern Ireland poets*
Anthologies - general*
Butcher's Dozen
Natural functions*
Soot by Ciaran Carson*
Irish poets in IiS units*
Irish Leaving Cert 2*
Interactive lessons*
Res: Poetry*
History: Flashpoints*
History: Primary*
History: Secondary*
New KS3 History PoS*
Supporting SHP/NI*
Irish historical fiction*
More subjects*
D&T/Food technology*
Religious education*
Controversial issues*
St Brendan at Sudley*
You are a Pirate!*
Pirate Grace O'Malley?*
Truth re Coffin ships?*
Responding to Famine*
Irish immigrants*
Simple quizzes*
O'Brien Press
2006: Mainstream?*
Thank you*
Contact us*
Site Map*
Favourite poems & anthologies
A few of Ireland's leading poets have long graced the curriculum in Britain in Years 10-13.
Ireland in Schools has been trying to ensure that more Irish poets are studied in these years and in earlier years of schooling because of the quality of their poetry and the range of issues addressed

Students’ responses have justified this attempt by demonstrating their appreciation and enjoyment of poetry and knowledge and understanding of Ireland. Particularly gratifying is the work of students who usually write half a page but become expansive when responding to contemporary Irish poems.
These notes on Irish poetry have been arranged into five main pages:
1. Two favourite poem - this page        3. Bardic poetry        5. Anthologies - general 
2. Anthologies - themes                     4. NI poets               6. Irish poets studied

Click here for a list of IiS resources for poetry.

Modern favourite
The fast-paced Smugglers of Mourne, a narrative poem in a historical with setting telling and chilling illustrations setting by Martin Waddell (Longman, 0-58212-195-7), is enjoyed for its own right as much as for the cross-curricular work it inspires.
Tom and Nancy dramatically evade capture by the spy Ranaghan and the Excise men, ‘dark shapes in the night’, sailing away forever from the Mountains of Mourne in ‘the dark ship that was awaiting/to take them on board,/Tom and his brave Nancy Bell.’
An excellent example of how to create drama and tension in a story, it also serves as an introduction to the beauty and mystery of the countryside in Northern Ireland.

Ancient favourite
'The Butter' by Tadgh Dall Ó Huigínn in the late 16th century offers an amusing health warning against the dangers of eating butter at that time.

There was a beard sprouting from it,
Bad health to the fellow's beard
A juice from it as venomous as poison
It was tallow with a sour draught taste.

Irish Poetry for Children - Is There Any? by Mary Shine Thompson - no longer available