Poetry Programme

Olivia O'Leary with guests Thomas McCarthy & Sarah Clancy1

Presenter Olivia O’Leary explores the diverse and vibrant world of poets and poetry in the Poetry Programme on Sundays on RTÉ Radio One at 7:30 pm. In 2018, there were six weekly spring programmes, beginning on Sunday 25 March 2018. In the autumn/winter series, there will be 14 episodes and a one-hour Christmas special.

Listen back to previous programmes.

The first Poetry Programme video, featuring Pat Boran reading his poem ‘Learning to Dive’, was released on 3 August 2018.


25 March 2018 – Leanne O’Sullivan and Jackie Kay

1 April 2018 – Psychiatrist Jim Lucey and poet Jean O’Brien discuss poetry and mental health. Also a reading from Shine/Strong poetry award winner Rachael Hegarty.

8 April 2018 – Sinead Morrissey. Also a reading by Damian Gorman of his contribution to the Poetry JukeBox poems marking the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

15 April 2018 – Irish language poet Louis de Paor and bilingual poet Doireann Ní Ghriofa

22 April 2018 – interview and readings by Eavan Boland. Also a poem from Paul McNamara.

29 April 2018 – Readings by Colm Keegan and we mark the 80th birthday of Thomas Kinsella


Across the 2017 series we met established and acclaimed Irish poets, including Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Siobhán Campbell, Nessa O’Mahony and Frank Ormsby, international poets, such as Liz Lochhead, Mark Roper and Luke Kennard, and a new generation of poets, like Sean Hewitt, Elaine Cosgrove and Susannah Dickey. The programmes also looked back to poets of the past, marking the 50th anniversary of Patrick Kavanagh and the 90th birthday of Richard Murphy.

From Slam Poetry to Yeats, from Donne to Durcan, from Bishop to Boland, the Poetry Programme is for everyone who loves poetry. And those who just don’t know it yet.

The Poetry Programme is a Rockfinch production for RTÉ. Series Producer: Claire Cunningham.

Rockfinch also produced the 2015 and 2016 series of the Poetry Programme, which were presented by Rick O’Shea.