Strokestown International Poetry Festival Resounding Success

The 18th Strokestown International Poetry Festival took place from Thursday 28th April to Sunday 1st May 2016.
The festival commenced with a poetry workshop facilitated by the internationally acclaimed poet, James Harpur.
Friday evening saw the finals of the schools’ poetry competitions with an appreciative audience in the Percy French Hotel. A large number of entries saw Jamie Nugent, Scoil Mhuire Strokestown emerge as winner of the Post Primary Competition. Mia Fitzmaurice from Ballinlough Primary School took the 1st prize in the Primary Competition.

The Official Opening was performed by Mr. Eugene Murphy, our newly elected TD for Roscommon/East Galway. The finals of the Percy French Comic Verse competition followed with adjudication by a previous winner, Margaret Hickey. First place was awarded to Michael Moriarty from Artane, Dublin.

Left to Right: Aedin Ni Ghadhra, Eilean Ni Cuilleanain (Irish Judge), Shane Lynskey (Honorary Treasurer), Eugene Murphy (TD, Roscommon Galway), John Murphy, Beatrice Garland, Paddy Bushe (Judge at Strokestown International Poetry Competition)

Strokestown Park House was the setting for the readings by the Shortlisted poets which took place throughout the day on Saturday, followed by the final of The Roscommon Poets’ prize. This competition is open to poets resident in, or associated with a writers group in Co. Roscommon. Local man Laurence Henson, Strokestown took first prize.
To commemorate the Centenary of the 1916 Rising, an event on the Poets and Poetry of the period was devised by Margaret Hickey, and involved a large number of readers. Saturday evening concluded with the final of the Duais Filíochta Dhúbhglas de hide, judged by Professor Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáín with First Prize awarded to Louis dePaor, Oughterard, Co. Galway.

Bright and early on Sunday morning, readings resumed at 10am, with some guest readers, Margaret Hickey, Gerry Boland and Jane Clarke.

‘Cyphers’ magazine, edited by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Macdara Woods was launched by James Harpur with readings from a selection of magazine contributors.

The launch of new poetry collections by Paddy Bushe and Macdara Woods, published by Dedalus Press with introductions by James Harpur and Vincent Woods proved very popular with poetry lovers. There were readings by Pat Boran and Grace Wells (Dedalus Press), and Rosita Boland, Sean Lysaght and Tom French (Gallery Press).

The highlight of the festival was the 18th Strokestown International Poetry Competition, judged by Paddy Bushe and Grace Wells. John Murphy, Dublin repeated his success of last year by taking the coveted first prize, with second price to Beatrice Garland, London (previous winner), and third prize to Jed Myers, Seattle, USA.

The festival concluded with the ever popular Pub Poetry Competition, hosted by The Hayloft Bar. Local woman, Suzi Spollen emerged as the winner.

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