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Patients and Staff in Irish hospitals receive a ‘Menu of Poems’ for Poetry Day Ireland

Poet Theo Dorgan selects ‘Menu of Poems’ for patients and staff of Irish hospitals for Poetry Day Ireland 

To celebrate Poetry Day Ireland today (Thursday 27 April 2023), a Menu of Poems was distributed throughout Irish hospital wards, waiting rooms and other healthcare settings for patients, visitors and staff to enjoy. The poetry was selected by Poet Theo Dorgan.

Menu of Poems takes the form of a short anthology of poetry distributed annually to healthcare users in a range of healthcare settings. Produced by Saolta Arts on behalf of Arts and Health Co-ordinators Ireland, supported by Poetry Ireland and HSE Health Promotion and Improvement, over 10,000 people in healthcare settings will receive the Menu on Poetry Day Ireland.  The anthology includes Mary O’Malley’s poem The Hare, Pat Boran’s poem Hedge School and Mary O’Donnell’s poem Unlegendary Heroes. The poets involved have also kindly recorded the poetry and it is available at and the Menu is available to anyone working in a healthcare facility to print and distribute in their own locations. There is also a bonus available on the website Theo’s own poem The Promised Garden

Since its conception in 2008, Menu of Poems has been a positive development in the lives of both patients and those who work in healthcare settings across Ireland. The poetry is circulated on meal trays in hospitals and other healthcare settings with participating healthcare providers organising readings and workshops for Poetry Day Ireland.

Theo Dorgan, Poet and Editor of the 2023 Menu of Poems, said: “This is a marvellous venture and it's a pleasure and an honour to contribute to it. Now more than ever we need words that speak to us in the direct language of the heart. I chose these poems in the hope they will help steady the hearts of readers as they have steadied mine.”

Liz Kelly, Director of Poetry Ireland, said: “Poetry Ireland is once again delighted to be involved with the Menu of Poems project in 2023.  Theo Dorgan has imaginatively selected powerful, thought-provoking poems that we are sure will bring great pleasure to all who read them. Saolta Arts has done a tremendous job in producing and sharing this remarkable menu of poems.’’

Margaret Flannery, Arts Director at Saolta Arts, said: “Menu of Poems continues to grow its audience annually and I am delighted to work with my colleagues in Arts and Health
Co-ordinators Ireland, the HSE and Poetry Ireland to realise this special project. With the recordings and download available online the poetry can be accessed all year round in all healthcare settings for everyone to enjoy across the country.”
The following hospitals and centres will participate in Menu of Poems 2023:

Saolta Arts and Saolta University Health Care Group incorporating:

  • University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park University Hospital;
  • Mayo University Hospital;
  • Portiuncula University Hospital;
  • Roscommon University Hospital;
  • Sligo University Hospital; and
  • Letterkenny University Hospital.

Community Healthcare West;
Arts for Health Partnership Programme, West Cork;
Arts and Health Programme at Tallaght University Hospital;
Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary Community Health Organisation;
Cork Kerry Community Health Organisation;
Kildare County Council Arts and Health Programme;
MISA Creative Life at St James’s Hospital;
Naas General Hospital Arts Committee;
St Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network in Dublin;
St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin;
University Limerick Hospitals Group incorporating

  • University Hospital Limerick;
  • Limerick Maternity Hospital;
  • St. John’s Hospital;
  • Ennis Hospital;
  • Nenagh Hospital;
  • Croom Hospital;

Waterford Healing Arts at Waterford University Hospital and
West Cork Mental Health Services Arts and Health Programme

For more information on the Menu of Poems project and if your hospital or healthcare facility would like to take part email 

Downloadable version and recordings available at:
For information on Poetry Day Ireland visit

The article above is specific to the following Saolta hospitals:: 
All Hospitals