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Poetry Day Ireland

To celebrate Poetry Day Ireland on Thursday 2 May 2019, a Menu of Poems will be distributed throughout Irish hospital wards, waiting rooms and other healthcare settings for patients, visitors and staff to enjoy. The poetry was selected by poet Ailbhe Darcy. Ailbhe Darcy from Dublin, but now based in Wales was in Ireland for the Cúirt International Festival of Literature, where she read at an event and launched the Poems for Patience Series at University Hospital Galway.

Menu of Poems takes the form of a short anthology of poetry which is distributed annually to healthcare users in a range of healthcare settings. Produced by Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust on behalf of Arts and Health Co-ordinators Ireland, supported by Poetry Ireland and HSE Health Promotion and Improvement, over 10,000 people in healthcare settings will receive the Menu on Poetry Day Ireland. The anthology includes poems by Marianne Moore, Muriel Rukeyser and Tara Bergin. The Menu is also available to anyone working in a healthcare facility to print and distribute in their own locations.

Justine Foster, West Cork Arts Centre is a long time member of Arts and Health Coordinators Ireland, and distrbutes the poems through the eleven healthcare settings that take part in Arts for Health programme, ‘This project is a wonderful example of arts and health organisations working together to bring arts into healthcare settings for people who may not otherwise be able to engage with poetry and the arts. It connects us through a shared experience”

Since its conception in 2008, Menu of Poems has been a positive development in the lives of both patients and those who work in healthcare settings across Ireland. The poetry is circulated on meal trays in hospitals and other healthcare settings with participating healthcare providers organising readings and workshops for Poetry Day Ireland.

Ailbhe Darcy, Poet and Editor of the 2019 Menu of Poems, said: “What a pleasure and a privilege it has been, to be allowed to choose the poems that will be served up in hospitals this Poetry Day. I think poetry should infiltrate every space and institution, should be there to stop us in our tracks at every turn. The Menu of Poems is a little, lovely contribution to this much-needed poetry revolution.”

Maureen Kennelly, Director of Poetry Ireland, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust and Arts and Health Co-ordinators Ireland on this truly uplifting project for Poetry Day Ireland. To quote Seamus Heaney, “good poetry is strong enough to help” and to have the opportunity to help spread the positive power of poetry in healthcare settings is something we immediately felt we wanted to support.’’

The following hospitals and centres will participate in Menu of Poems 2019: Arts for Health Partnership Programme, West Cork; Arts in Health at Cork University Hospital; Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary Community Health Organisation; Galway, Mayo Roscommon Community Health Office; Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust and Saolta University Health Care Group incorporating University Hospital Galway, Merlin Park University Hospital, Mayo University Hospital, Portiuncula University Hospital, Roscommon University Hospital, Sligo University Hospital and Letterkenny University Hospital; Kildare County Council Arts and Health Programme; Naas General Hospital Arts Committee; National Centre for Arts and Health, Tallaght; South Tipperary General Hospital; South Tipperary Mental Health Services; St. Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny; St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network in Dublin, University Limerick Hospitals Group incorporating University Hospital Limerick, Limerick Maternity Hospital, Ennis Hospital, Nenagh Hospital and Croom Hospital; Waterford Healing Arts Trust; West Cork Mental Health Services Arts and Health Programme and Wexford General Hospital.

For more information on the Menu of Poems project and if your hospital or healthcare facility would like to take part email

Downloadable version available at:

For information on Poetry Day Ireland visit