On Friday, 16th December 2022, the local community in Cobh, Co. Cork, welcomed the installation of the Poetry as Commemoration Jukebox during a launch event on the Promenade. The Poetry Jukebox contains recordings of 20 commemorative poems by various writers including W.B. Yeats, Maire Mhac an tSaoi, John Hewitt, Leanne O’Sullivan and more.  All of the poems relate to events that took place 100 years ago and shaped the lives of people living in Ireland. Members of the public can listen to any poem by simply winding the handle and pressing a button. The Poetry Jukebox brings poetry into public spaces and offers a unique  and creative way for people to participate in the Decade of Centenaries. 

At the launch event, author and member of the Irish Defence Forces, Ruairí de Barra, led attendees in a minute’s silence to pay respects to Pte Seán Rooney who was killed on mission in Lebanon on the 14th of December. Cllr. Anthony Barry officially launched the Poetry Jukebox citing the importance of inclusive commemoration during the Decade of Centenaries.

Creative Producer of Poetry as Commemoration, Dr. Catherine Wilsdon, praised the community spirit demonstrated in Cobh during preparations for the installation. On behalf of UCD, she thanked Ruairí de Barra, Ian McDonagh (Arts Officer), and Mary McSweeney (Cobh Municipal District) as well as local representatives from Tidy Towns and Chamber of Commerce.

Maria McManus, Artistic Director of Quotidian – Word on the Street, was also in attendance and spoke of her hopes for a permanent Poetry Jukebox in Cobh. Find out more about plans for this at https://www.cobhpoetryjukebox.com/