Poet Niamh Twomey Announced as Winner of The Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Competition 2023

Poet Niamh Twomey Announced as Winner of The Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Competition 2023

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Co Clare poet Niamh Twomey was announced the winner, with her poem ‘Airmead in the Glen’, of the Desmond O’Grady International Poetry Competition 2023 by competition judge Eleanor Hooker last night at the Desmond O’Grady Memorial Reading held in The People’s Museum of Limerick. Eleanor Hooker said about the winning poem:

‘Airmead in the Glen’, the poem I’ve selected as the winning poem, is a beautifully balanced poem – grief at sibling loss and the powerful affirmation of the healing power of nature is told in the myth of Airmead. Airmead was the Celtic goddess of healing and a member of the Tuatha de Danaan. When King Nuada loses his arm in battle, Airmead’s brother Miach fashions one of flesh. Airmead brings it to life with her restorative powers. Their father, Dian Cecht, kills Miach in a jealous rage and buries his body in the battlefield, he scatters the medicinal herbs Airmead draws up from his burial place, so that future generations may not know the curative power of plants.

‘Airmead in the Glen’ is ‘narrated’ by a grieving Airmead, and even if one isn’t aware of the myth, the exquisite language the poet employs to sing its tender song captivates the reader.

What appealed to the ancients was the portrayal of Airmead as a kind and gentle woman, who was altruistic and who sought to heal without thought of reward or favour. What appeals to me in the ‘Airmead of the Glen’ is that the poet absolutely captures that essence.’

Niamh Twomey is a poet from Co. Clare. Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies such as Rattle, Banshee, Local Wonders: Poems of Our Immediate Surrounds, Southword and New Irish Writing, among others. Her work won the 2022 Trim Poetry Competition, was commended in the 2021 Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition and shortlisted in the 2021 Well Review Pamphlet Competition. In 2020 she received an Arts Council Agility Award and a mentorship through the Munster Literature Centre. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from University College Cork and is currently working on her first collection.
The memorial reading and Competition is an annual event held by The Limerick Writers’ Centre, last nights featured readers were Jamie O’Halloran, Ciaran O’Driscoll and Eleanor Hooker. Two highly commended poets were also in attendance Billy fenton and Felicia McCarthy, who also read their poems. The winning poem will be posted on www.limerickwriterscentre.com
Photo: (Left to Right)
Felicia McCarthy, Jamie O’Halloran, Eleanor Hooker, Ciaran O’Driscoll, Dominic Taylor (LWC), Niamh Twomey, Tom Muldowney (LWC) and Billy Fenton.
The Winning Poem by Niamh Twomey.

Runner up – ‘Before and After’ by Lauren O’Donovan
Highly Commended:
‘Forgives’ – Billy Fenton
‘Any Given Sunday’ -Jules Whiting
‘Collar’ -Davan Duffy
‘Fish on Skulls’ -Pauline May
‘East End, Inishbofin’ – Felicia McCarthy
‘January’ – Cian Ferriter
‘New Year’s Eve’ -Barry Ryan
‘The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters’ -Simon Copstello
‘The Inspiring of Molly Headd’ -Patrick Deely
‘Unframed’ – Ger Sheehy
‘Levee’ -lee Stockdale
‘Old Bones’ – Joann Hinz
‘Pagan Battleground’ – Nathanael O’Reilly







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