May 28, 2016

About Us

The Strokestown International Poetry Festival Committeestown park 2


Pat Compton: Hon. Chairman
Shane Lynskey: Hon. Treasurer

He is a native of Strokestown. Educated the Convent of Mercy and Marist Brothers’ Primary Schools and Scoil Mhuire Secondary School. Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.) from University College, Dublin (1976). Qualified as Solicitor in 1978. Practised for 24 years in Longford Town and then in Strokestown for 7 years. Retired in 2009. Active in many local organisations –

Vice-President, County Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society;

Chairperson, Board of Management, Scoil Mhuire Secondary School, Strokestown;

Chairperson, Board of Management, Cloonfour Primary School, Rooskey;

Hon. Treasurer, Strokestown Community Development Association;

Hon. Treasurer, Strokestown International Poetry Festival;

Former Chairperson, Strokestown Dramatic Society.

Paddy Bushe, Hon. Director, who lives in Kerry, is a poet, editor and translator. He has published ten collections of poetry, seven in English and two in Irish, as well as four books of translations. He has also edited Voices at the World’s Edge: Irish Poets on Skellig Michael (Dedalus 2010). Ó Choill go Barr Ghéaráin (Coiscéim 2013) is a translation into Irish of the collected poems of Sorley MacLean. A new collection, On A Turning Wing, was recently published by Dedalus. Among his awards are the Michael Hartnett Award and Duais an Oireachtais. He has had a long association with the Strokestown International Poetry Festival, as attendee, prize-winner and director.. Paddy Bushe is a member of Aosdána

Melissa Newman, Hon. Assistant Director, is a Forester who was brought up in Dublin, and moved to Strokestown with her husband and two daughters fifteen years ago. She lived in New Zealand for six years where she completed a Masters in Women’s Studies. After retiring from forestry several years ago, she now works for the ETB teaching Horticulture and Social Skills. She has been a member of the Strokestown Poetry Committee for the past 12 years. She does not write poetry!
Mary Dolan: Committee

Noelle Lynskey, now living in Portumna, is originally from Strokestown. She is Director of Shorelines Arts Festival, Portumna for the last 9 years and founder and member of the Maple Poetry Group and Portumna Pen Pushers as well as Ballinasloe Peers. In the past, Noelle read at Cuirt Literary Festival, Baffle, Inis Cealtra Arts Festival, Terryglass Arts Festival, Clifden Arts Festival and Cos Cos, with poems published in many anthologies and literary magazines including Crannóg, Skylight, Scríobh, Roscommon Anthology and West 47. Awards include Baffle, Scriobh and the Hannah Greally award.

Margaret Hickey won the Political Satire prize in the very first Strokestown International Poetry Competition, back in 1999, and has been an occasional judge and a dedicated visitor to the festival ever since. In recent years, the comic verse category has been reshaped as the Percy French competition and if the standard of past years is maintained, this is certain to be a highlight of the festival.

She is a writer who lives beside the Shannon, and she plans to follow her first book, Irish Days, with a history of Ireland seen through the prism of food and drink, with the provisional title Ireland’s Green Larder, to be published in 2017.
Anne O’Leary: Committee

Anne O’Leary M.A. was born and grew up in Strokestown and has been attending the poetry festival since the first one in 1999.  Anne loves working with words and would describe herself as a literary “odd job” woman who is very active in the Irish arts and cultural community.  Her book reviews and opinion pieces appear regularly in Books Ireland magazine as well as online sites:   and  She works part-time in UCD and also as a freelance copy editor.

Padraig Holmes: Born in Roscommon Town and a Strokestown resident since 1989 Padraic Holmes joined the committee in 2016. Worked locally as a practicing vet for fifteen years before joining the Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine as a veterinary inspector in 2004. He is married to Jacqueline with four daughters. Also serves as a committee member of Strokestown Show, Sliabh Ban AC, Longford Beekeepers Association and school Board of Management.

Advisory Group

Eiléan NíChuilleanáin
Vincent Woods
Eva Bourke
Cathal Ó Searcaigh
James Harpur
Moya Cannon
Pat Boran