Ireland’s 100 favourite poems

Ireland has produced several great poets including two Nobel prize winners in WB Yeats and Seamus Heaney.

Irelands favourite poems. Image copyright Ireland Calling. Seamus Heaney photo copyright Sean O'Connor CC2

Here we present Ireland’s 100 favourite poems as voted for by readers of the Irish Times. We have added notes and analysis on some of the most popular.

Oscar Wilde

1. The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W. B. Yeats
2. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W. B. Yeats
3. Mid-Term Break by Seamus Heaney
4. The Song of Wandering Aengus by W. B. Yeats
5. Raglan Road by Patrick Kavanagh
6. Easter, 1916 by W. B. Yeats
7. When You are Old by W. B. Yeats
8. Canal Bank Walk by Patrick Kavanagh
9. Stony Grey Soil by Patrick Kavanagh
10. The Stolen Child by W. B. Yeats
Padraic Pearse
T11. An Old Woman of the Roads by Padraic Colum
T11. In Memory of my Mother by Patrick Kavanagh
T11. Sailing to Byzantium by W. B. Yeats
T11. The Wild Swans at Coole by W. B. Yeats
15. The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith
T16. The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde
T16. September, 1913 by W. B. Yeats
T18. Digging by Seamus Heaney
T18. A Christmas Childhood by Patrick Kavanagh
T18. The Wayfarer by Padraic Pearse

T21. Advent by Patrick Kavanagh
T21. I See His Blood upon the Rose by Joseph Mary PlunkettJoseph Mary Plunkett and Grace Gifford
23. The Great Hunger by Patrick Kavanagh
T24. Lament for Thomas McDonagh by Francis Ledwidge
T24. The Mother by Padraic Pearse
T26. The Planter’s Daughter by Austin Clarke
T26. Caoineadh Áirt Úi Laoghaire by Eibhlín Dubh Ní `Chonaill
T26. Among Schoolchildren by W. B. Yeats
T26. The Second Coming by W. B. Yeats
30. Inniskeen Road, July Evening by Patrick Kavanagh

T31. Lines Written on a Seat on the Grand Canal, Dublin, ‘Erected to the Memory of Mrs Dermot O’Brien’ by Patrick KavanaghSeamus Heaney
T31. An Irish Airman Foresees his Death by W. B. Yeats
T33. Clearances by Seamus Heaney
T33. Epic by Patrick Kavanagh
T35. Another September by Thomas Kinsella
T36. The Lost Heifer by Austin Clarke
T36. A Disused Shed in Co Wexford by Derek Mahon
T38. June by Francis Ledwidge
T38. Snow by Louis MacNeice
T40. Personal Helicon by Seamus Heaney

T40. Mise Raifteirí an File by Antoine Ó RaifteiríWB Yeats
T42. Mirror in February by Thomas Kinsella
T42. Cuírt an Mheán Óiche (The Midnight Court) by Brian Merriman
T42. Cill Chais by Aodhagán Ó Rathaille
T42. The Fiddler of Dooney by W. B. Yeats
T46. The Blackbird of Derrycairn by Austin Clarke
T46. Blackberry-Picking by Seamus Heaney
T46. Spraying the Potatoes by Patrick Kavanagh
T46. A Pint of Plain is Your Only Man(The Workmans Friend) by Flann O’Brien
T46. Anois Teacht an Earraigh by Antoine Ó Raifteirí

T46. The Circus Animals’ Desertion by W. B. YeatsMaeve Binchy. Photo Copyright - Jon Kay CC3
T46. The Fisherman by W. B. Yeats
T53. Ecce Puer by James Joyce
T53. Incantata by Paul Muldoon
T53. Cúl an Tí by Seán Ó Ríordáin
T53. To a Child Dancing in the Wind by W. B. Yeats
T53. The Tower by W. B. Yeats
T58. Night Feed by Eavan Boland
T58. She Moved Through the Fair by Padraic Colum
T58. Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney

T58. Requiem for the Croppies by Seamus HeaneyJames Joyce
T58. Autumn Journal by Louis MacNeice
T58. Dublin by Louis MacNeice
T58. Dark Rosaleen by James Clarence Mangan
T58. The Meeting of the Waters by Thomas Moore
T58. Bean Sléibhe ag Caoineadh a Mhac by Padraic Pearse
T58. The Ballad of Father Gilligan by W. B. Yeats
T58. Red Hanrahan’s Song about Ireland by W. B. Yeats
T69. The Faeries by William Allingham
T69. Pangur Bán Anonymous
George Bernard Shaw
T69. Follower by Seamus Heaney
T69. Padraig Ó Conaire, Gaelic Storyteller by F.R. Higgins
T69. To My Darling Daughter Betty by Tom Kettle
T69. The Fool by Padraic Pearse
T69. The Splendour of God by Joseph Mary Plunkett
T69. Sheep and Lambs by Katharine Tynan
T69. Broken Dreams by W. B. Yeats
T69. Down by the Salley Gardens by W. B. Yeats
T69. Under Ben Bulben by W. B. Yeats
T80. Valparaiso by Pádraig de Brún
Brendan Behan
T80. A Cradle Song by Padraic Colum
T80. A Drover by Padraic Colum
T80. Woodman by Patrick Deeley
T80. Christmas Day by Paul Durcan
T80. Going Home to Mayo by Paul Durcan
T80. Death of an Irishwoman by Michael Hartnett
T80. Postscript by Seamus Heaney
T80. Station Island by Seamus Heaney
T80. Father and Son by F.R. Higgins
T80. For Rita With Love by Pat Ingoldsby
Patrick Kavanagh. Image by Patrick Swift
T80. Pegasus by Patrick Kavanagh
T80. An Bonnán Buí by Cathal Buí Mac Giolla Ghunna
T80. ‘Tis the Last Rose of Summer by Thomas Moore
T80. An tEarrach Thiar by Máirtín Ó Direáin
T80. Oíche Nollag na mBan by Seán Ó Ríordáin
T80. Mise Éire by Pádraig Mac Piarais(Padraic Pearse)
T80. The Host of the Air by W. B. Yeats
T80. Leda and the Swan by W. B. Yeats
T80. A Prayer for my Daughter by W. B. Yeats
100. All Legendary Obstacles by John Montague

T = Tied

Other favourite Irish poems

The Angel’s Whisper by Samuel Lover
The Banshee by John Todhunter
The Battle of Benburb by Robert Dwyer Joyce
Come to me, Dearest by Joseph Brenan
Distance by John Boyle O’Reilly
The Famine Year by Jane Wilde
Flowers I Would Bring by Aubrey Thomas de Vere
The Irish Peasant Girl by Charles Kickham
Lay Him Away on the Hillside traditional ballad adapted for Private James Daley
Let Me Carry Your Cross For Ireland, Lord by Thomas Ashe

Richard Pigott the Forger by William Topaz McGonagall
A Lost Friend by John Boyle O’Reilly
A Mother’s Love’s a Blessing by Thomas Keenan
My Mother Dear by Samuel Lover
On the Death of Jim Larkin by Patrick Kavanagh
A Place in Thy Memory by Gerald Griffin
Remembered Joy – Irish funeral poem
St Patrick’s Breastplate by St Patrick
Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral by James Royce Shannon
What a Friend We Have in Jesus by Joseph Scriven

When Erin First Rose by William Drennan
The Workman’s Friend by Brian O’Nolan
My Land by Thomas Osborne Davis

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