Heritage Week #Sustainability

The Ask!

This year the Heritage Council chose sustainability as the theme for Heritage Week. Museum of Childhood Ireland asked children for their thoughts on the word Sustainability in prose, or verse.

Attention budding Poets and Writers! When you hear the word SUSTAINABILITY what comes to mind? Would you like to explore your ideas, express your understanding, let us know what comes to mind, through poetry or a short piece of writing? We’d love to hear what you have to say!

Muireann, 14. Heritage Week 2022

The Judges!

We were honoured to have the following fantastic judges

John O’Donnell

John O’Donnell was born in 1960. He has published three previous collections of poems, Some Other Country (2002), Icarus Sees His Father Fly (Dedalus Press, 2004) and On Water (Dedalus Press, 2014). Sunlight: New and Selected Poems, with an introduction by Niall MacMonagle, is published by Dedalus Press in 2018. His awards include the Hennessy Award for Poetry, the Ireland Funds Prize, and the SeaCat National Poetry Prize. As a fiction writer his work has appeared widely in recent years, and in 2013 he received the Hennessy Award for Fiction. A senior counsel, he lives and works in Dublin. He has been a member of the Board of Poetry Ireland, among other institutions, and has served on the Board of The Arts Council.


Alannah O’Neil Murray

Alannah O’Neill Murray is a disability advocate and is deeply interested in equitable access for disabled people in cultural spaces. They are the creative director of Suaimhneas and have written a book of poetry called Fleur about love as the lifecycle of a flower, the second run of which raised money for the LGBTQ+ charity Shout Out


Sinead O’Reilly

Sinead O’Reilly is a young poet from Wexford and one of the youngest poets ever to be published by The Irish Times for her ‘Ode to the Milkman’. She is a four-time award winner in the Trocaire Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition, and has been commended in the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, the Patrick Kavanagh Student Poetry Awards and the RVEEH poetry competition. She was selected for the inaugural Edna O’Brien Young Writers Bursary. In 2019, she read alongside Paula Meehan at the Write By The Sea Festival in Kilmore Quay. Sinéad is a founding member of the Museum of Childhood Ireland Youth Voice team. 

Ciara Aoife O’ Síoráin

Ciara is a writer, reviewer and English language teacher living in Rome. She is passionate about all things literature and ancient history. As a Trinity College Dublin MA in Children’s Literature graduate, Ciara is on the Children’s Literarature team at the Museum of Childhood Ireland.


Yvonne Reddin

Yvonne has a background in Journalism. Her writing includes articles on social issues from Alzheimers, community topics, profiles on companies, travel pieces, film/book reviews, to press releases and more.  She has her first book out soon containing interviews with a variety of people in business, community, and the arts who she interviewed during the pandemic, and is also writing a children’s book.


Yvonne Reddin


The Prizes!

Books on Writing, Poetry, Sustainability, and Nature, cinema vouchers, plus items made from sustainable sources: Organic handmade wool ‘Between the Seams’ cat basket, hand turned oak bowls, and organic wool toys from the Museum of Childhood Ireland

The 15 Finalists!

What I understand by Sustainability 

‘Our house is on fire’-Greta Thunberg’

We are all dependant on the environment for food,air, and water. In my opinion it is vital to protect and save our dying planet, and sustainability is an extremely important factor in doing so. 

Sustainability is a relatively new concept but its importance has spread rapidly throughout the world, due to exposure in the media. And schools have became  conduits for issues of social justice. From school strikes lead by Greta Thunberg to petitions on the Internet, climate change has become a pressing issue in the lives of young people.

Sustainability is the idea of existing and developing without depleting the natural resources for future generations to come. It is also a practical and sensible approach for the economy too. It can improve health, increase safety and save money. For example driving less reduces pollution and wear and tear on roads, creating safer conditions while saving money.

In my own life I try and be sustainable as possible, whether that is taking public transport instead of driving, or buying from secondhand shops. The environment plays a huge role in healthy living and our existence on earth and I believe that sustainability is the key to nurturing our home. 

Speaking of homes, it is more sustainable to reuse existing housing stock than to knock buildings down and build new houses. All our empty and derelict buildings should be used. 

‘ sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.’- McGill university.

Sinéad, 17 years


Sustainability! Inbhuanaitheacht!

Ní mór dúinn ár bplainéad maireachtáil mar sin NÍ MÓR dúinn a bheith inbhuanaithe. 

Is amadán muid mura ndéanaimid!

Saoirse, 12 



By Sustainability I mean

Reduce, reuse, recycle, 

Be green 

All things we should be doing 

To keep our planet healthy and clean.

Laragh, 13



Baineann Inbhuanaithachta

Le hathruaithe beaga is

Féidir linn a dhéanamh

Chun cabhrú lenár

bplanéid a chosaint.

Michael, 16


Sustainability means…

Can we keep this going?…add your language to this 
























Paul, 11


When I hear the word sustainable 

I think of green. 

Green fields, green plants, green recycling bin. 

I know it means far more than that,

But that’s what I think for the min!

Jason, 7



Solar panels, wind farms, reusable energy, Hydroelectric dams, tidal energy, Geothermal energy,

All aid sustainability.

Juliette, 13


Sustainability is: 

When WE as Individuals,

When WE as a society, 

Provide for OUR needs, 

Without ruining the futures of Our children. 

Mia, 10



Mind the planet

Mind the ocean

Mind the resources 

When it is gone…

It’s gone for good 

Tara, age 14



Buy secondhand 


Capture rainwater

Reuse what we already have at hand 

We’ve had enough new stuff

But don’t despair 

Listen to us

We’ve got this 

But help us

Grow vegetables 

Eat vegetables 

Plant trees

No more fossil fuels

Save the bees

Anna, age 14.


What I understand by the word sustainability…

Satisfy your wants and needs for now

Don’t risk your future ones and 

Remember in May, no mow!

Megan, 13 


Sustainable Future

If we put our heads together 

We know the solution

If we work together 

We’ll get things done 

In harmony Islandwide together 

The timeline is the long run

In harmony worldwide together 

Beneath the sun 

Li, 16


Sustain Us All

Collect rainwater, dig, compost, grow

Recycle, reuse, zero waste

Zero plastic, fossil fuels no

Walk, cycle, and sail

Wind, solar, water energy

Then we and our planet will prevail

Thomas, 12


Sustainability-What we could do

When did we begin to get it badly wrong?

We need to step back

Look at history,

learn from it

And then go on

Cliodhna, 16


What do I understand by Sustainability?

I understand that we are polluting the oceans and the land

Poisoning our our planet EARTH

And there is no magic wand

We have to live with the consequences of the actions of man

As best we now can

Paddy, 11

Judges Comments!

“I’m so filled with hope by the talent of our young people! The writing and poetry on the theme of sustainability really made me think.”

“Thanks so much for your entries. I look forward to seeing these young writers go from strength to strength! “

“Thanks for allowing me to read these interesting contributions. Please tell all the children involved that the standard was very high. Please also tell them that with contributions like these, I think the future of our planet is in good hands.”

“I really enjoyed reading the submissions. They all offer a unique perspective with some really vibrant voices and I hope they all keep writing.” 

” To judge this competition was an interesting but a rather difficult task considering the sheer volume of entries submitted. I had to take into consideration personal style, content and an element of sincerity or passion that I always also look for in a writer, no matter what age. I think I can safely say that the 15 chosen finalists all have elements I was hoping to find, and I’d like to offer each of them my congratulations. I will eagerly await their next work!”

Congratulations Comhghairdeachas

Congratulations to all our Heritage Week Prose/Poetry Competition winners from the judges, and the team at the Museum of Childhood Ireland and to all the talented entrants, also our wonderful collaborative partners for Heritage Week 2022 Thank You – Míle Buíochas