A student from Glenamaddy Community School in County Galway has won the national Poetry Aloud Award with his recital of a Seamus Heaney poem.

Luke Dolan was named the overall winner of the prestigious competition which attracted over 300 entries from around the country.

The annual event is a celebration of the art of poetry speaking.

Poetry Ireland says it engages students with spoken poetry, building confidence and pride in their written heritage.

Luke said that finding his 'poetry voice' has been a wonderful experience which has been nurtured through his school.

"I've been in the finals at the National Library of Ireland for a number of years but to be named the overall winner is amazing," he said.

"I received a cash prize of €600 which was a nice surprise and I've got a beautiful trophy as well."

Luke chose the poem "Digging" by Seamus Heaney because it resonated with his own rural Irish upbringing.

"It's a great poem because although he's a poet, Seamus Heaney appreciates where he came from and what the generations before him did.

"His father was digging the potato drills with a shovel. His grandfather too was digging in the bog and living a very traditional rural way of life.

"So he draws on their manual labour and their digging the ground but he too was digging metaphorically with his pen."

Luke Dolan believes a poem is experienced on a different level when it is read aloud.

"It's not just about reading the words. Hearing poetry aloud brings a new level of understanding.

"It's not about acting either. You can't just recite and act it out. You have to get inside the poem and feel it from the inside.

"Even afterwards you don't just clap. You have to let the poem hang and sink in."

Poetry Ireland said that having the students return to the National Library of Ireland after running the competition virtually since 2020 was "a joy".

The late Seamus Heaney, a supporter of Poetry Aloud, said the award "brings poetry into the memory and affections of the young in a way that will make it a lifelong possession and value."