Forty Foot Press

The Compass

Poems by Children from

Monkstown Educate Together N. S.,

Edited by Anne Fitzgerald

"The children of Monkstown Educate Together National School deserve the highest praise for these fresh and imaginative poems. It is wonderful to see how the children’s environment and its history have served as a starting point for their writing.

The insights which we find in these poems will make all of us look with newly — opened eyes at our surroundings and appreciate how truly perceptive a child’s vision can be.

It has been a pleasure to read these poems and to look at the drawings which accompany them."

Robert Dunbar

Lecturer, Critic and Broadcaster

The Compass

(Dublin, Met Press, 2004)

ISBN 0-9545261-1-2

Cover Illustration © Emily Kearney

Introduction to The Compass

Mary Stuart


Monkstown Educate Together N.S.,

Dun Laoghaire Harbour, past and present, was the main theme for the poetry workshops with Anne Fitzgerald. Children were asked to imagine the experience of the people who built Kingstown Harbour, who sailed from Dun Laoghaire, who made a living from harbour life. Anne encouraged the children to draw on many poetic conventions – rhyme, alliteration, couplets etc. - in expressing themselves. Every child wrote with a different perspective reflecting the diversity and richness of human life. In every poem, the child’s perspective is evident through simplicity and playfulness. Each young poet demands that we check our compass and look at life in a new way, or seek another direction.

Children at play tend to run in random directions. They cover space in search of friends, freedom and fun. Time is measured in terms of family, fun, friends and freedom. When set the task of writing poems, children reflect their view of the world and this is the beauty of an anthology of poems by children.

We are delighted to publish a volume of poems that celebrates local history and childhood realities. We are indebted to our sponsers, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and Catherine Cotter, friend of the school, without whom this publication would not have been possible. We are grateful to Poetry Ireland and Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council for financial support.

We hope you enjoy our children’s work.