On National Poetry Day | Irish poetic reflections upon the sea

On National Poetry Day, here are four brilliant Irish poems that reflect upon the sea and Ireland’s coast.

We hope you enjoy the poems below!


Lovers on Aran by Seamus Heaney

The timeless waves, bright, sifting, broken glass,

Came dazzling around, into the rocks,

Came glinting, sifting from the Americas


To posess Aran. Or did Aran rush

to throw wide arms of rock around a tide

That yielded with an ebb, with a soft crash?


Did sea define the land or land the sea?

Each drew new meaning from the waves’ collision.

Sea broke on land to full identity.


The Rose of Silence By Ella Young

In a green stillness hidden from sun and moon

Under the sea,

A blossom swings by the High-Queen’s doon.

On a silver tree;

And every poet has dreamed since time begun

Of that hidden place,

But only those who have said farewell to the sun

May come to the doon by the silver tree

Or find in hollow or height,

Under the still green tideless sea

The Rose of Silence and Night.


Poet unknown,  found in Early Irish manuscript dating from 850 AD

‘Bitter is the wind tonight

It tosses the ocean’s white hair

Tonight I fear not the fierce warriors of Norway

Coursing on the Irish sea‘


All Day I Hear The Noise Of Waters by James Joyce

All day I hear the noise of waters

Making moan,

Sad as the sea-bird is when, going

Forth alone,

He hears the winds cry to the water’s



The grey winds, the cold winds are blowing

Where I go.

I hear the noise of many waters

Far below.

All day, all night, I hear them flowing

To and fro.

About the Author

Daniel Farrell
Interested in all things on the Irish coast and sharing the best of it. // Email: Daniel@coastmonkey.ie // Follow on Twitter: @DanielsSeaViews