Songs and poems that make Rathdowney a special place welcomed for local contest

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly



Rathdowney in Laois the focus of competition

Poets and songwriters are being urged to get creative as entries are now open for the 2021 Rathdowney Song & Poem Contest.

The contest, which is now in its second year, is dedicated to bringing the stories and tales of this parish to life. It’s a platform to celebrate the art of writing and music and all levels of skill are welcome.

The organisers say it supports creative minds through the arts of songwriting and poetry whilst competing for over €600 in cash prizes. 

In its first year in 2020, those behind the project said it saw an amazing amount of songs and poems entered.

"It was stunning to see all the talented writers in the area emerging and even some international writers getting involved.

"The standard was very, very high and each poem or song was praised and lauded on social media as each entry was posted up on the Rathdowney Song & Poem Facebook page after it ended. It was a huge success and a feel-good project," say the organisers. 

The Irish folk music legend Johnny McEvoy will be added to the judging panel for songs and Laois poet and short story writer Dr Arthur Broomfield will also be judging the poems along with local historian Jack McDonald.

"We’re delighted to welcome them to accompany the rest of the panel from last year, blues & roots radio DJ/producer/musician David Dee Moore, the fantastic local music teacher in Rathdowney’s St. Fergal’s College, Vicky Murphy, and local folk group duo, The Finns," they add. 

Sponsored generously by local Rathdowney businesses, Breslin’s SuperValu, Midland Hardware, and The Card Stand, the Rathdowney Song & Poem Contest is open for anybody who has an interest in songwriting or poetry.

"You don’t need to be from the area, and we invite anyone who enjoys some creative writing to enter and enjoy the experience, and who knows your entry may end up being published in a book like last year or on a compilation CD at the end of the year.

"It’s free, and you can enter as many times as you like, as long as it’s in any way relating to the Rathdowney area," say the organisers. 

Send entries to rathdowneysongandpoem@gmail. com More details and guidelines on the Facebook Page: 

Here's a flavour from the first year. Paul O'Brien came in second place with his song Paul O’Brien for his song Rathdowney On That Special Day.