Irish Poetry To Let You Escape


Here are some of our favourite poems that have appeared in the Old Moore’s Almanac over the past few years. Enjoy!


Mother Mayo

by James Gallagher, County Louth

An eerie silence hangs, townland after townland

Stonewalls stand testimony to where houses stood

Now with weeds overgrown, the old folks have passed on

And the birds from the nest have flown

Don’t cry for me on Black Sod Bay

Or in the wet lands ’round the Moy

You dispersed me to the four winds when I was just a boy

I’ll be home soon

But not when the gorse bush is in bloom.

Before we grew up

That great big liner sat out there in the bay

To bring us to America

Or instead we could catch the cattle boat

From North Wall to Liverpool via Birkenhead

Some done well and melted into the tapestry of life

Wherever they went

Others never got past the pillage of their youth

Or loss of their homeland

After a life of hardship and toil

They had one request

To come back and be buried in Irish soil.

I am that homeless man you see

At Shepherds Bush or on the road near Camden town

The business man on the high street

Or the landlord of the crown

You gave us a hard edge, soft centre

And a colourful personality too

With your mountains and lowlands

And the myriads of wild flowers, that grow

In the wet lands, in Spring and Summer

In the end we’re all

Your lost sons and daughters, Mother Mayo

I’m older now and much wiser too

And any bitterness I have for you is done

Like dew after the morning sun I’ll go home soon

And I won’t care if the gorse bush is in bloom

I’d like to be around when the Atlantic spray

Comes up over Achill sound or down in Ballina

To see the salmon leap in my native Swinford

For the Autumn fair, or in Kiltimagh

For the ‘Culchie Come Home’

And I’d like to hear the curlew cry away out in Erris

As she soars into the clear blue Mayo sky

Hold me in your arms, Mother Mayo

I came home to you and beneath your sod, to lie.

Our House Was A Home

by Bernadette Tierney, Killywaum, Co.Cavan


We didn’t have taps, or toilet, or bath,

Outside the house was an old stone path.

There was no television, computer, or phone,

No such luxury graced our home.

A turf burning stove to cook every meal,

But at the time, it was no big deal.

We grew our own veg, we had chickens and sheep,

The mobile shop would call every week.

Each evening the bells would call us to pray,

We all sat together for meals each day.

But through all the years where ere I might roam,

The one thing for sure, our house was a home.

Field Sundays

by Niall McGrath, Co Antrim


The old man stands in the hill field

Looking across the river

Flowing through the valley

As it has done since the Ice Age,

Pines could he have done more

In this incarnation?

He can barely get off the tractor,

Stumbles to the ridge-fencing surrounding

The souterrain under the hill field,

Stares into its cavemouth

In amazement and, for a moment,


Winter Warriors

by Clare McAfee, Ballycastle, County Antrim


The snowdrops are mustering their forces,

Green spear tips thrusting through the frozen ground.

They invade the lands that winter captured.

Before they rise, no other flower is found.

They have probed a chink in winter’s armour.

Throughout the barren earth their ranks will grow,

Cleverly brandishing white flags of truce

To camouflage their presence in the snow.

Unnoticed by the foe the allies marshal.

Bright crocus hosts press winter to retreat.

Then proud daffodils’ golden trumpets blow

Triumphantly proclaiming his defeat.

But gallant Gallanthus, I salute you.

You are the vanguard which leads spring’s troops through.


by John Jennings, Galway City, Ireland 


Summer Haiku

Sun shine on the screen

Sun light on the passer by

No work done today



The world is changing

Trees and grass and peace are gone

Don’t leave me behind



Claustrophobic crawl

Cars obscure my journey’s end

Discourteous traffic

The Wind

by Margaret Boles, Rathgar, Dublin


The wind is like a creature today,

Wily, devious and cunning,

He tries to sneak in, enlarge

The cracks in our old house

Chases clothing on the line,

(He’ll steal them, if he can),

Wreaks havoc with our slates

Does battles with umbrellas,

Turns a cool day into

A cold day,

As he wriggles up my sleeves

And writhes about my ankles!

It’s no day to be about!

A January Garden

by Margaret Boles, Rathgar, Dublin


Out in the January garden

Damp cloying clay underfoot,

And yet robin and his friends

Are daily singing, busy with

Their courtship rituals as

They promise to soon be busy

Building, creating, renewing,

Spring with its memories

Of past struggles with

Death’s Angels, is yet

A time of lightness,

When spirits can lift

Once again.

Thank You Flowers

by Joe Staunton, Kinvara, Galway


The fine flowers grow,


Us their colour

Smell and grow

But not all in a row

Some of them grow fast

Some of them slow

But none of them last.

Flowers, fine flowers,

Are nourished,

By rainy showers.

Beautiful full flowers

Are Nirvanic

Are nowers.

Beautiful and undull

Full flowers.

A Lament for Gerry

by Rita McDonnell, Glasnevin, Dublin


Oh!  It may be someday I’ll go back to Ireland

If it’s only at the closing of my day.

Oh! Sure I was only a slip of a girl when I left my native home

Attracted by the bright lights of London Town

And sure I was even more foolish beguiled by an Italian boy

Who took me even further from my home.

Every year I would journey home with my children two

And sure they love the blessed place

Especially John, as if it was their own.

As long as I have breath in my body,

I’ll ferry to and fro, no foreign land can hold me

When my heart is in Ireland Mother Ireland.

Or watch the sun go down on Galway Bay

Oh its maybe someday I’ll go back to Ireland.


by Brigid Smith, Co Cavan


Forever you will remain young

In our memory, Connie

Untouched by age,

Not growing old

That treasured memory

Ever in our hearts

To hold.

With your good friend Philip

The love of nature

You did share.

Enjoying all its beauty

On your travels everywhere

May you be now in heaven above

Where partings are no more

We hope to meet you

When life is done

Upon that golden shore.

Bright Day

by Mary Guckian, Ringsend, Dublin 


Glad winter has passed

And spring is here again

As bright evenings give

New life to our projects.

Colour spurts from corners

Of our gardens and patios

While hedges hide movement

Of birds building nests.

Leaving our heavy coats

At home, we are embraced

By warm air, celebrate

The slow withering of

Another winter season.

The Barn Owl

by Marie Howden, Bawnboy, Cavan


I catch a mouse every day

The barn is full of straw and hay

I live alone on an ancient beam,

Where once there was a party scene.

I grow wiser and wiser with every day

I hope I’ll live to see the day

When the horse and cart

Will bring home the hay.

To A Bee

by Joe Staunton, Kinvara, Galway


Bee, leave that money alone.

Your job/task is making pure honey,

Which you give to us in a honeycomb.

The hive – that is your home,

That’s where you jive, and feel alive.

Flowers too, are good for you.

Bee, leave that money alone,

Your job/task is making pure honey,

Which we get from your pure honey comb.

The Rookery

by Irene Caswell, Mallow, Co. Cork


Rooks to me are precious:

They soar on high, beneath the distant clouds,

Then gliding down, alight upon our world;

In iridescent plumage,

With beady darting eyes

And an age-old wisdom in their parchment faces.

Crows flock together in dusky waves

Eerily like wise old sages,

Clucking and chattering as they peck;

Doting parents of their toddling chicks,

With touch as gentle as a silky feather,

Their caw a cosy murmur.

They guard our sheltered skies,

By night reposing

Among the plumes of lofty ancient trees,

Between this earth and Heaven;

If only I could share their timeless dreams

And sleep beneath their wings!

Many Times a Child

by John Brett, Tallaght, Dublin


I sat upon the river’s bank and watched its restless waters flow,

And I thought of its rocky voyage this far,

And the long miles it still must go,

I watched while life like shapes emerged,

And hurriedly passed along,

Like dreams that crowd our minds at night,

So real and then they are gone.

And as I sat and gazed and mused,

I didn’t realise, that those rushing laughing waters,

Had the power to hypnotize.

My head was full of future plans.

My imagination bulging at the seams.

But my mind instead went sifting,

Through the cinders of old dreams.

Though I never moved from where I sat, beside the river wild.

My soul went wandering back in time, to where once I was a child.

I saw familiar hills and fields, as I rambled down the lane.

And I met old Jip who made it clear, how glad he was I came.

It was like he had waited for me all this time,

Faithful to the end.

Through salty tears, I rolled back the years, and hugged my playful friend.

I saw the countryside covered in snow just like a Christmas card,

I heard my uncle curse the cows, as he drove them through the yard,

I heard the cuckoo’s joyful chant in the merry month of May,

And I helped my father make sugans, to secure the cocks of hay.

I saw the rabbits scurry, and I heard the corncrake,

I saw my mother’s healing smile, and I smelt the apple cake.

I recognised each birch tree by the path, as I make my way to school.

The thought of lessons, discipline, and class, depressed me as a rule.

I heard the music from the band, on a Sunday afternoon.

As I walked to the dance floor by the metal bridge,

Where folk danced beneath the moon.

I admired all the pretty colleens, like I used to do before,

When each night I fell in love again, with one or two or more.

Then suddenly reality returned, I was no longer hypnotized.

I scrambled slowly to my feet, and wiped my tear-filled eyes,

Some children had come to the river bank, I presume to fish or play,

And I wondered if one day they too would sit and dream

Just as I had done today.

Because if I had learned one thing today, as I sat by the river wild,

It’s that I would be a man just once, but many times a child.

Spies in the Sky

by Marie Tully


There are spies in the network

There are worms in the room

They’re on our computers

All over our schools

They’re high on the buildings

They’re inside our shops

They’re protecting our assets

While marking out plots

There are lots on our transport

Buses and planes

They’re on red lights you run

They’re on top of street names

They’re are spies in the sky

That computers compute

Mechanical minds

Built to suit.


by Teddy McGrath, Kilmallock, Co Limerick


The old man he wanders, on down the street

He pauses in the hope, that old pals he may meet

Lonely he stands, as his pals are all gone

So he hopes now himself, that his time won’t be long

Many years have gone by, since he lost his dear wife

Bruno his dog, is his friend now for life.

Their days are all filled, with a walk to the park

Where Bruno is let loose, to run and to bark

On a bench the old man sits, and lights up a fag

While Bruno looks on, as his tail he does wag

Time to get up, and make their way home

And call to the butcher, for some meat and a bone

The old man he worries, as they wander along

What will happen to Bruno, if God calls him on.

Home for the night, he cooks up a feast

Food for the old man, and food for the beast

The day has been long, they have both stood the test

Night darkens in, so it’s time for to rest

Daylight then comes to banish the dark

The old man is up, just like the lark.

He struggles down stairs, and his spirits do sag

No Bruno to greet him with a bark and a wag.

The faithful old dog, has gone from this world

The old man stays in, as his grief does unfold

He pauses in thought, no more reason to live

He has used all the care, in life he could give

He has lived his best, and played out his role

Then quietly he sighs, and gives up his soul

The day passed onward, and then comes the night

Neighbours then notice, in the house there’s no light

Police are called on, the doctor comes too

When it is God’s will, there is nought one can do.

I rambled by, this house in the dark

My memories ran back, to the days in the park

Where the dog and his master, went for fresh air

I walk in the park now, and I miss them there

That vacant space will never be the same.

The dog I knew Bruno, but not his master’s name

The space will be vacant, I suppose for some time

Maybe some fine day, I will make it mine

If the time comes, that I take up that space

I will know in my heart, that I have run the good race.


by Margaret Boles, Rathgar, Dublin


In mortal combat

Skin and feathers

Iron gripped

Each breast locked firmly

In the other’s bill

Oblivious to anything

Even the less colourful lady

The fight was presumably about.

The mother in me

Sought to separate

These colourful warriors

But if for a second

Bill and chest unlocked

It was only momentary

My efforts to separate

These fighting boy drakes

Unsuccessful in anything

Except scaring away

Their lady!

Little Sister and Brothers

by Gráinne Lawlor


What are little sisters made of?

What are little sisters made of?

Soothers and mischief

Not always the plaintiff

That’s what little sisters are made of!

What are little brothers made of?

What are little brothers made of?

Lions and monkeys

Who act funky

That’s what little brothers are made of!

A Piper Strange

by Brigid Smith, Kilnaleck, Co Cavan


A piper played on the street,

Enthralling all with music sweet.

He may come from far away,

But from where, no one could say.

The townsfolk they did feel so sure,

The blithe songbirds

He could allure.

With his melodic tunes so sweet,

A striking figure in dress so bold,

He could have been the Pied Piper of old.

His playing captured one and all,

Even the children, he did enthral.

Then, as shades of night came down

That piper strange, he left the town.

Each wondering as he went his way

Would return another day.




The grey skies, so heavy with drips

Time for a pint, to dry the lips

Irish people, they talk so much

Lucky they have a verbal touch

Irish people always so late

Even when meeting a mate

They dilly, they dally

They twist and joke

They really wish they didn’t smoke.

They spent too much money last year

And can’t pay off their cards I fear

Never mind, let’s have a drink

Quickly before we start to think

Oh look at the lovely baby

I could have four more, maybe.

Anyway we going for a quick break

Forget the mortgage, fun’s at stake!

To Lanzarote, Spain and Mallorca

Lucky we are such good talkers

Cos when we get back we face the bill

Is the bank manager my mate still.

Never mind, let’s go for a drink

Quickly before we start to think!


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