Saturday, March 17, 2018

Prompt #308 – Ancestors

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit!  
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 

This is always a special day for me – a day to think about my Irish ancestors and to re-read the works of the Irish poets I love most. The earliest surviving poems in Irish date to the sixth century, and Ireland has produced many poets including Lathóg of Tír Chonaill, Thomas Kinsella, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney, Patrick Kavanagh, Paul Muldoon, Eavan Boland, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Mary O’Donoghue, Elaine Feeney, and Noelle Vial. Below are some poems by a few (just a few!) of my favorite Irish poets.

 Bain sult as (enjoy)!

I've visited Ireland several times. (And, yes, I've kissed the Blarney Stone – Blarney Castle is pictured above!) The first trip was a kind of going home – not for myself but for my great grandfather Patrick Kenny who brought my family to America in 1889 and for my dad who never got to Ireland. Ancestors, family, and homeland are traditional and recurrent themes in Irish poetry. We went green in an earlier prompt, so this week let’s adopt an Irish-type theme and write poems about our various ancestries, our different nationalities, our people – our “roots.”

Some Ideas:

1. Write a poem about the country from which your ancestors came.
2. Write a poem about your ancestors.
3. Perhaps you’ve come to this country from another. Write a poem about making the decision to leave the country of your birth and to settle in a new country. Or, write a poem about your homeland.
4. Write a ballad about one of your ancestors (or a current family member).
5. Alternatively, you just might want to write a poem about St. Patrick, shamrocks, Guinness, Irish Wolf Hounds, or something else that’s wonderfully Irish, whether you’re Irish or not!

Sample Poems:


  1. This is great! Happy St. Patrick's Day, Adele!

  2. Amita Jayaraman (Mumbai)March 17, 2018 at 1:34 PM

    A lovely idea to remember our ancestors in poems.

  3. I've already started the ancestors poem! Thanks for this prompt!

    1. Glad the prompt works for you, Sandy! All the best with your ancestors poem.