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Irish Poetry Reading Archive


The Irish Poetry Reading Archive captures and preserves the rich and diverse landscape of poetry in Ireland. The archive records and curates these voices, making them freely available and preserving them for future generations.

It is an archive of national scope and significance which serves a national and international community of readers and scholars with interests in Irish poetry. Find out who has added their voice to this collection at (opens in a new window)https://libguides.ucd.ie/ipra/readingsatoc.

  portraits of poets reading for the Irish Poetry Reading Archive

About the Archive

Since 2014, the Irish Poetry Reading Archive has recorded over 200 poets based in Ireland as well as Irish poets living abroad.

Poets read a selection of their work and give a brief overview of the context and circumstances that influenced the writing of each poem.  These audiovisual recordings of poems in both English and Irish are made available to the public via (opens in a new window)YouTube. They are also preserved in the (opens in a new window)UCD Digital Library.

Poets also provide a handwritten manuscript of the poem. To date, this collection consists of over 1000 handwritten poems.  These are scanned and made available alongside the video recording on the UCD Digital Library.

The archive is managed by UCD Library. The UCD School of English, Drama and Film and the UCD School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore have been pivotal in developing the vision of this archive which will help to build strong direct links between teaching, scholarship and popular interest in Irish poetry. UCD Library has also collaborated with Poetry Ireland, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with poets and publishers of poetry in Ireland.

We are very grateful to the poets already featured in the archive for helping this to create this repository of Irish poetry.

(opens in a new window)Irish Poetry Reading Archive: Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera (PDF)

A selection of portraits of poets reading at UCD Library

logo for UCD Poetry

We are very happy to work with poets, in Ireland and abroad, recording their readings and adding new voices and content. We will also endeavour to invite back poets who have already been recorded to read a new selection of their work. From 2023 a fee of €150 will be paid to each poet who records for the archive.

To have your work included in the Irish Poetry Reading Archive please contact (opens in a new window)ipra@ucd.ie.

UCD Special Collections has unique collection strengths in the area of Irish literature and in poetry in particular.  Built up over the last forty years, the poetry collection is a unique gathering of important first editions, literary magazines and anthologies representing the work of a wide range of poets from the late 19th to the 21st century. It also contains the archives of important literary figures.

An assorted sample of printed poetry materials in UCD Special Collections  A shelf of books and papers including poetry on a table

UCD Special contains material in both the English and Irish languages including the libraries of Thomas Kinsella, Austin Clarke and Dennis O’Driscoll, the Jack and Máire Sweeney collection, the Curran Laird collection, the Rake Yeats Collection, the Joseph Hassett collection and the archives of poets Patrick Kavanagh, Frank McGuinness, Seán Ó Riordáin and Maurice Harmon.  These collections complement the Irish Poetry Reading archive

As poets come in to read for the archive, we acquire their most recent published collections which they sign while in UCD.  In this way we continue to build the physical book collection alongside the audiovisual archive and the manuscript collection.  Thanks to the generosity of poets who have recorded, we have also built up an eclectic collection of poetry ephemera and archival materials such as notebooks containing drafts of poems.

Please see UCD Special Collections for more details.

Over recent years we have developed a digital archive of websites relevant to Irish poetry in the 21st century so that they are available to researchers of the future. This is especially important because material published on the web is vulnerable to loss or change.

Web-archiving is defined as the process of collecting, preserving, and providing enduring access to web content. To preserve this information for the future, a version of a website is captured at a particular point in time is collected and archived digitally. This archived version can be navigated like a live website.

UCD Library archives these materials in the public interest and we make them available for the purposes of research and private study.

Explore the Web archive of Irish Poetry at (opens in a new window)https://archive-it.org/organizations/1846.

(opens in a new window)Screenshot of a website

Poetry as Commemoration

(opens in a new window)Poetry as Commemoration 2022-23 encouraged people on the island of Ireland, to build a greater understanding of our shared past through creative engagement with archival materials  relating to the War of Independence and Civil War. It involved 150 creative writing workshops, the deposit of 600 new poems by members of the public, the commissioning and publication of ten new poems in a fine press book entitled Grief’s Broken Brow by The Salvage Press and the dissemination of poems to the public via the poetry jukebox. This project was funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht Sports and Media and was part of the Government’s Decade of Commemorations programme.

(opens in a new window)A group of people gathered around a glass exhibition case

Poetry in Lockdown

The (opens in a new window)Poetry in Lockdown project (May 2020-October 2021) captured in poetry some of the experiences of the pandemic for the UCD Community. It holds the work of UCD students, staff, and alumni and from those with associations with the University, and from the wider community.

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UCD Special Collections

James Joyce Library, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7149 | E: special.collections@ucd.ie