Maynooth Community College
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Leaving Cert Poet Ní Chuilleanáin Visit to 5th Year English Students

Leaving Cert Poet Ní Chuilleanáin Visit to 5th Year English Students

Leaving Cert Poet Ní Chuilleanáin Visit to 5th Year English Students

On the 10th of November, the well-known poet and academic Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin visited MCC thanks to Poetry Ireland's generous funding for second-level initiatives. Chuilleanáin is a newly featured prescribed poet on the Senior Cycle English curriculum for examination in 2024. Given her impending and much-awaited visit, our fifth-year English classes kicked off their academic year by delving into Chuilleanáin's universal themes, which shift between realms and spaces.

The enigmatic poet spoke in-depth about some prescribed poems and gave insightful background context for each poem which often stem from her rich life experiences of grief, motherhood, and love, as well as observations of the ever-evolving Irish society through which Chuilleanáin has risen to both challenge and thrive in.

Senior students welcomed her engaging recitation of 'Street' and 'The Bend in the Road' amongst others, which took an hour to work through. Chuilleanáin then fielded question after question from an enraptured audience. Students were inspired to learn that the spritely poet has been writing since the age of nine and will turn 80 in two weeks. The many fifth-years who lined up for photographs and written autographs after the workshop noted her energetic delivery and deeply thought-provoking remarks, much to Chuilleanáin's amusement.

One student remarked,' I found it very inspiring that she has been writing for over 70 years, and it was nice to see her in real life and hear her talk about her poems'. One of our visiting Italian students was thrilled to converse with the poet in fluent Italian and said, 'this day really helped us acquire a perspective of what lies behind her poems.' Thank you to both Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Poetry Ireland for their time and generosity in supporting MCC’s teaching and learning.

Collaboratively Written by MCC’s 5th Year English O. level class.



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