Island of Ireland Winners

For the final period of the First World War centenary, Glasnevin Trust and Never Such Innocence (NSI) partnered to extend the NSI poetry, art, and song competition for children and schools across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. 

We were delighted to receive a host of excellent entries inspired by the First World War from children and young people aged 9-16.  We are proud to celebrate the hard work and creativity of children from across the Island of Ireland as they play their part in commemorating the centenary and leaving a legacy for generations to come.

On this webpage are some outstanding examples of the creative work that children and young people have submitted, to mark the centenary.  Every single entrant to the competition received a personalised Certificate of Commendation to thank them for taking part, and many children and young people joined us at Glasnevin Cemetery Museum in December 2018 to receive their certificates - more about this event here

 “It has been a great privilege to see the outstanding collective contribution by children from across the Island of Ireland for the centenary.  These entries are a profoundly moving testament and demonstrate the tremendous emotional intelligence of today’s children and young people.  I hope you enjoy and are as moved by these works as I have been.”
– Lady Lucy French, Founder and Chief Executive of Never Such Innocence


Art Ages 9-11
Republic of Ireland

Poetry Ages 9-11
Northern Ireland

Somewhere among the clouds above....
by Ruben White from County Donegal

A56-604 Somewhere among the clouds above .jpg

For a Horse
by Matthew Heaney from Lough View Integrated Primary School, County Down

Four fast hooves clip, clip, clopping
Fine high head nodding, bobbing
Smartly stepping, forward going
Wind wafting, soft mane flowing

Long legs lithely trot, trot, trotting
Following orders, slowly stopping
Heavy sack slinging, broad back breaking
Once more starting, muscles aching

Frightened heart thud, thud, thudding
Big brown eyes stinging, streaming
Terrible noises, screaming, moaning
Poisoned air gasping, groaning

Sinews burning, throb, throb, throbbing
Deep in mud, struggling, straining
Smells so dreadful, shocking, stinking
Breathing harshly, downward sinking

Strong neck tensing, pull, pull, pulling
Not giving up, snorting, striving
Journey completed, panting wheezing
Heavy load lifted pain now easing

Heroic war horse – worth remembering!


Song Ages 9-11
Northern Ireland

Poetry Ages 9-11
Republic of Ireland

All Together  (song lyrics)
by Year 7 (2017- 2018) Ballinderry Primary School and Nursery Unit, County Antrim, written in a workshop facilitated by Never Such Innocence Artist in Residence, Marty Longstaff

Often in life its easy keeping to yourself
And hiding all your feelings from everyone else
But if we take the time to look into our hearts
We will see how similar we really are 

The wind up in the trees
Our hopes and our fears
Our laughter and our tears
(We are, we are)
Look at you at you and me
All the differences you see
Over here they're skin deep
('Cause we are, we are)

We are all
We are all
We are all
(We are, we are)
We are all,
We are all,
We are all
(We are, we are) 

I miss my family, I miss my friends and dog
So each and every night I say a prayer to god
I pray that one day I'll get to see them soon
And I know that you are feeling the exact way too


A Place Beyond the Hills
by Piran McSweeney from County Dublin

Guns are screeching
Bombs are falling
Soldiers dying
Families weeping
        But I will keep going,
I will go over the hills,
To meet peace

      Far, Far away

 A place where war cannot catch me
A place where there are no bombs
Guns or Canons

        No Families weeping and soldiers dying

I will keep going and follow my heart
I will bring my soul

To a place with Peace.
Beyond the hills,
                Far, Far away  



Poetry Ages 11-14
Republic of Ireland

Art Ages 11-14
Northern Ireland

War Terror
by Ken Dunphy, from Kilrossanty National School, County Waterford

by Rebecca Radcliffe from Carrickfergus College, County Antrim

NI A79 Winner.JPG

In August 1914 the start of the war
Irish men in their thousands answered the call
To help free small nations the newspapers read
For these hungry men t’was the need to buy bread
Dublin city at the start of the war
Was a place of hunger, sadness and poor
The men had no jobs the lockout still strong
No money, no food, no doctor, all wrong
The answer to their sad plight then
to France went these bold brave men
Thousands died, thousands injured
Why, oh why, their children cried


Art Ages 11-14
Republic of Ireland

Poetry Ages 11-14
Northern Ireland

Between the Crosses
by Kate Dwane from Kilrossanty National School, County Waterford

Like We Should
by Tara Winton from Strathearn School, County Antrim

ROI A79 Winner.JPG

There is still
A place in the line
Waiting for you 

But this place is reserved
For a fit strong man
Will you fit it?  

For even in war
Where soldiers are needed,
Women aren’t allowed. 

Still, I’ll do my part.
I’ll take up other jobs.
I’ll be a nurse.
I’ll be a cook.
I’ll ration the food.
I’ll make the clothes.
I’ll take care of the children.
I’ll comfort.  Care.  Help. 

Then my sweetheart leaves
To do his part
For he is the fit strong male they are looking for.
I’ll write to him like I should.
I’ll wait for him like I should.
Then he will come back like he should.
But then he doesn’t come back
And I’m left mourning
Like I should. 

This war.
This war is tearing things apart.
Breaking people’s hearts.
Taking people we thought were ours.

But I’m still helping like I should
Though still crying like I should
And still trying like I should.

Women are fighting too.
We are helping.
We are mourning.
We are trying.
We are fighting.
We are fighting like we should.


Poetry Ages 14-16
Republic of Ireland

Art Ages 14-16
Northern Ireland

by Alannah Szajda from County Waterford

Battle of the Somme 1916
by William Pinkerton from The Royal School Armagh – Combined Cadet Forces,
County Armagh

NI A1011 Winner, Battle of the Somme 1916.jpeg

July 28th 1914, that is when it started,
His bag he packed and then he parted.
The train he climbed with 30 others,
Who he soon would refer to as his brothers. 

“Christmas time and it will all be done”
So they all joined up for a bit of fun.
But soon it came and then soon it went,
Maybe it was summer that they meant. 

Battle after battle and bullet after bullet,
“Just grab your gun and the trigger, PULL IT”.
The bombs boomed above his head,
The muddy trenches filled with bodies dead. 

The colour red stained his brain,
He knew he’d never be the same.
He watched as those he loved got shot,
Their bodies, they began to rot. 

So there on in he began to ponder,
The thought he bared of, “How much longer?”.
The gun he placed at his head,
“I love you mum” was the last word he ever said. 

The bullet left a sickening dent,
The telegram they soon sent.
His body battered in a heap,
His mother cried herself to sleep. 

So here’s a poem to the mum,
Who lost her son in World War One.


Poetry Ages 14-16
Northern Ireland

The Poppy
by Becki Pinkerton, from The Royal School Armagh – Combined Cadet Forces, County Armagh

Under the ground of the battlefield I grow,
I symbolise the memory of fallen heroes from long ago
I am an emblem for all to show
Their respect to so many whom they did not know.
I am a common field poppy – Papaver rhoeas
An elegant wildflower, distinctive and red
I’m the only one to grow in barren battlefields
I’m a comforting blanket, for our heroes alas dead.
In 1918 Monia Michael created me in silk
That I could be an emblem to last and not wilt
And in the UK on 11th November 1921
I became the flower on which Remembrance Day was built.
That was such a long time ago
Yet each year I am out there on show
Representing men, women and animals
Who gave their lives for the peace we now know.
So perhaps this year on Remembrance Sunday
You could give me a little place
On the Jacket, or jumper you’re wearing
I won’t take up very much space
Would you wear me with pride as you remember?
Yes I’m the red leaf, black centre and green stem
I represent the sacrifice of ordinary people
Caught up in wars not created by them.
I have no religious conviction
I just happened to grow where many fell
So will you help me to say ‘We will remember them’
And their stories to our children tell.