Our Team

We are made up of an entirely voluntary committee, whose interests range from writing to bee keeping to the history of graveyards and much much more......

Our mission is to showcase contemporary poetry, local, national and international, foster the development of emerging writers and consolidate poetry in local cultural life bringing it to the widest possible audience.

Committee Members

Padraig Holmes: Chairman

Born in Roscommon Town and a Strokestown resident since 1989 Padraic Holmes joined the committee in 2016. He 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.

Maria Donoghue: Treasurer

Maria is a native of Galway and moved to Strokestown in 1979. She practices as an accountant in Longford town and joined the committee in 2018.

Pat Compton: Vice Chairman

Pat Compton is a native of Clooncagh, Strokestown.  Together with Merrily Harpur he founded the Strokestown International Poetry Festival in 1999.

He is deeply committed to furthering the social and economic status of the region.  He has worked in An Post all his working life and has recently retired and is now spending time paddling the length of the nearby Shannon.

Shane Lynskey: Vice Treasurer

Shane Lynskey is a native of Strokestown. He was educated at Scoil Mhuire Secondary School, Strokestown. He holds a Bachelor of Civil Law (B.C.L.) from University College, Dublin (1976) and qualified as Solicitor in 1978. He has practised in Longford Town and Strokestown. He is active in many local organisations. He is an active member of Roscommon Historical Society and is one of the founding members of the Poetry Festival.

Melissa Newman: Director

Melissa is a Forester who was brought up in Dublin and moved to Strokestown with her husband and two daughters nineteen 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 is committed to recognising the beauty and importance of diversity within not only the environmental world, but also within humanity. She has been a member of the Strokestown Poetry Committee for the past 15 years.

Mary Dolan: Secretary

Mary is a native of Kildare, having moved to Strokestown nearly forty years ago.  She and her husband farm close to Strokestown.  She works as the secretary in the SCDA Office in Strokestown.  She has been a member of the committee for the past sixteen years.

Anne O'Leary

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: www.writing.ie   and www.reviewsgate.com.  She works part-time in UCD and also as a freelance copy editor. 

Gemma Flanagan

Gemma Flanagan is a native of Strokestown. She was educated in Our Lady's Bower, Athlone. She graduated as a primary school teacher from St. Patrick's College Drumcondra in 2002. After 11 years teaching in Dublin Gemma moved back home to Strokestown and now teaches in Longford. She will always remember meeting the wonderful Seamus Heaney at the festival in 2006 and this is her second year on the committee. She is married to David who is an invaluable volunteer for the festival.

Advisory Group

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
Paddy Bushe
Vincent Woods
Eva Bourke
Cathal Ó Searcaigh
James Harpur
Moya Cannon
Pat Boran