Gathering 2018

The Results!

Well-known author, Alan McMonagle and acclaimed poet, Noel Monahan have adjudicated the Inaugural Padraic Colum Gathering Poetry Competitions and the following are the 2018 winners. Our thanks to all who contributed...

Adult Category

First prize winner:

Margaret Nohilly

Joy of Books (after Jessie Wilcox Smith)

Just the little size of her,

not more than four or five:

scraggy, short brown hair,

mirth in her eyes;

ensconced in floral cushions

in a lattice window seat.

A glare from settled snow

illuminates the page she bores in,

propped on drawn-up knees,

more books strewn round her feet;

oblivious to sounds within the house,

or skirmishes outside.

How privileged this little girl,

to know such transport, and so young;

yet deprivation might as likely

spark a hunger for enlightenment,

escape, even a single book,

good-fortune-come-upon, could spur.

Though not a natural reader as a child,

I'd languish without books, my daily

food; and poetry my element, I space 

my raid on novels: engagement

with new characters less urgent

than to linger over words.

(Inspired by the painting 'Picture Books in Winter')

Second prize winner:

Glen Wilson


Third prize winner:

Gareth Igoe



Anna Stockdale



Helen Fallon



Emma Kervey



Fred McIlmoyle



Patrick Holloway



Emily Cullen



Mary Melvin Geoghegan


Young Persons’ Category

First prize winner:

Ellen Kenny - age 16

Living this life

All the times I never accepted a dare, 

Hiding shaky hands and feeling scorn that wasn't there 

Treading carefully behind as they all ran ahead 

They're all that remains of the life I never led. 


All of the friendships I left disregarded 

As I built up barricades in the struggle to stay guarded, 

There's more bridges to burn if I follow this thread, 

Leaving only the ashes of the life I never led. 


All of the chances where I never spoke up 

For fear that one wrong move would make me burn up 

The "could've been" scenarios play out in my head 

And they're all that remains of the life I never led. 


And yet,         

Time isn't up, opportunities lie ahead 

To love, break and learn, to say what was unsaid 

What's gone may be gone, but can I go on playing dead? 

Or maybe I'll start living the life I never led. 

Second prize winner:

Bébhinn O’Brien - age 16


Third prize winner:

Cara Martin – age 13



Kate Byrne – age 17



Eleasha Flood – age 14

Festival Programme 



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