Munster Literature Centre
Ionad Litríochta an Deisceart

The Farmgate Café National Poetry Award was established in 2019 with sponsorship from one of Cork’s most loved restaurants, The Farmgate Café. The partnership between the Munster Literature Centre and the Farmgate received the Business to Arts 2019 Best Small Sponsorship Award.

The Farmgate Café National Poetry Award


Submission Details

The award will be €2000 for the best full-length poetry collection published in the previous year by a poet residing in Ireland. All entered books must be in English. Translations will be accepted as long as the translated poet resides in Ireland. An eligible translated example from previous years would be Diary of Crosses Green by Cork-based Galician poet Martín Veiga, published by Francis Boutle, UK. Collected and Selected volumes are not eligible unless the book is work being translated into English for the first time.

There will be three judges who will not meet or consult one another. Each judge will assemble ten favourite titles, awarding ten points to their first favourite, one point to their tenth favourite. All points will be collated to generate the winner.

As of 2023, in a year where a debut collection does not win the overall Farmgate Café National Poetry Award, the highest scoring debut collection in the competition will be awarded the separate Southword Debut Poetry Collection Award. This award is for €1000.

The Award is an initiative of the Munster Literature Centre, sponsored by the Farmgate Café in Cork City.

  • Interested publishers should enter four copies of each book, posted no sooner than January 9th and to arrive no later than January 30th
  • Publishers are advised NOT to use registered post, as an attempted delivery at an inconvenient time or day may result in a package being returned to sender
  • Publishers should provide full contact info to receive acknowledgement of receipt
  • Publishers should assure entered poets’ commitment to attend the award ceremony if selected as winner
  • The winning poet must commit to attending an award ceremony at the beginning of the annual Cork International Poetry Festival. The festival will provide travel expenses, meals and two hotel nights to the winner on this occasion
  • A shortlist of six titles will be published in April; the winner will be informed at the beginning of May through their publisher

Eligible poets with minor presses or presses based outside the country are advised to inform their editors of the availability of the award.

All entries (sent by publishers only, four copies of each entered collection) to be sent to Farmgate Café National Poetry Award, Munster Literature Centre, Frank O’Connor House, 84 Douglas Street, Cork, T12 X802, Ireland.

Previous Winners

2023 Farmgate Café National Poetry Award

Medea’s Cauldron by Deirdre Brennan
published by Arlen House (2023)


Colm Breathnach, Eleanor Hooker & Thomas McCarthy.


The shortlist in alphabetical order was: Medea’s Cauldron by Deirdre Brennan (Arlen House), The Weather-Beaten Scarecrow by James Finnegan (Dore Press), Space by John Kelly (Dedalus Press), Jamais Vu by Paul Perry (Salmon Poetry), Raised Among Vultures by Molly Twomey (Gallery Press), and The Church of the Love of the World by Grace Wells (Dedalus Press).

2023 Southword Debut Poetry Collection Award

Raised Among Vultures by Molly Twomey
published by The Gallery Press (2023)

As of 2023, in a year where a debut collection does not win the overall Farmgate Café National Poetry Award, the highest scoring debut collection in the competition will be awarded the separate Southword Debut Poetry Collection Award. This award is for €1000 and was won by Molly Twomey for Raised Among Vultures (The Gallery Press).

2020 Farmgate Café National Poetry Award

The Gravity Wave by Peter Sirr
published by The Gallery Press (2019)


The judges this year were UK-based poet and academic Ailbhe Darcy, US-based poet and academic Thomas Dillon Redshaw and Cork-based poet and publisher Billy Ramsell.


The shortlist in alphabetical order was: When the Tree Falls by Jane Clarke (Bloodaxe Books), The End of the World by Patrick Deeley (Dedalus Press), May Day 1974 by Rachael Hegarty (Salmon Poetry), The Gravity Wave by Peter Sirr (The Gallery Press), and Threading the Light by Ross Thompson (Dedalus Press).

2019 Farmgate Café National Poetry Award

A Quarter of an Hour by Leanne O’Sullivan
published by Bloodaxe Books (2018)


The judges this year were Cork-based Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, London-based Maurice Riordan and Paris-based Professor Cliona Ní Riordáin.


The shortlist in alphabetical order was: Orpheus by Theo Dorgan, The Last Straw by Tom French, The White Silhouette by James Harpur, Notions by John Kelly, Love The Magician by Medbh McGuckian, and This One High Field by Michelle O’Sullivan.

Leanne O’Sullivan, inaugural winner, said “I’m honoured to be the inaugural recipient of the Farmgate Market Cafe National Poetry Award, particularly for this book which means so much to me. I’m grateful to the judges for choosing that book and to Kay and Rebecca of the Farmgate for all the support they have shown poetry down through the years.”

Prize judge, Maurice Riordan said of the winning title, “Leanne O’Sullivan is possessed of a haunting lyric voice which, in A Quarter of an Hour, draws us into an area of surface tension where personal crisis – a husband stricken and then recovering from a deadly illness – interacts with our experience of the non-human. ‘Dawn’, the poem that gives the book its particular title and focus, captures in its evocation of the dawning world the ‘here to not here’ of becoming; and as readers we are given access throughout to that dimension between the mundane and the mythic that normally eludes articulation, but here finds expression in limpid, precise poems. At once tender, exploratory and grace-filled, this finely orchestrated collection attests to the wholeness of natural life and, resonant with folkloric wisdom, it re-awakens the spirit to a fresh sense of the mystery and precariousness of our world. It is an astonishing achievement.”

Rebecca Harte of the Farmgate Market Café said, “We opened the doors of the Farmgate Café in the English Market in 1987. Since that time poetry (and in particular, Cork’s community of poets) has been part of our working life and is a key element of what makes the Farmgate Café special. So, it seems fitting, in our 25th year, that we would inaugurate the Farmgate Café National Poetry Award, and support richness and diversity of poetry in Ireland.”

Director of the Award Patrick Cotter said, “I’m delighted we have a new award exclusively for poets living and working in Ireland. Without the generosity of the Farmgate Market Café, stalwarts, in their support for the arts, this award would not be possible.