Boys used Yorkshire landscape as their muse


Rhyming couplet: two Irish brothers win Ted Hughes poetry awards in Britain

TWO IRISH boys will tomorrow night be presented with prestigious awards by the British poet laureate, Andrew Motion, for their poems about the Yorkshire landscape.

Dualtagh Grundy (7) and his brother Hugo (6) were among 700 budding poets to enter their poems in the first annual Ted Hughes Young Poets Competition, which is being held as part of the Ted Hughes Festival in the former poet laureate’s birthplace, Mytholmroyd, in Yorkshire.

This year’s festival marks the 10th anniversary of Hughes’s death, and the awards are being presented in the village tomorrow evening.

Motion was one of the judges.

The boys’ mother, Siobhan Grundy, said she got a phone call from the festival organisers to say both boys had won in the age six to 10 category. “They said there was one overall winner and two runners-up but they won’t tell us until tomorrow which the boys have won.”

She explained the family moved from Dublin to Yorkshire in 2002, “when the house prices in Dublin were going through the roof”.

“We couldn’t even rent, things were so expensive. We were living with my dad, Billy McDonnell, in Rathmines. I was doing a bit of teaching and my husband Adrian is an occupational therapist.

“People were queuing up, wanting him to work but we were forced to go because of the house prices.

“Dualtagh was born in Dublin and Hugo was born a few months after we arrived.” The family is now living in Hebden Bridge, in the Pennines.

The boys entered the competition when Siobhan picked up entry forms in the local community centre.

“Dualtagh wrote his himself and Hugo composed his orally while I wrote it out for him. The poems are about the landscape around Yorkshire.

“A journalist from the BBC asked me did I think the boys picked up on the spirit of Hughes and I felt a bit of a fraud really because they’re not from here. But the kids always love reading and having poetry read to them.

“They love Patrick Kavanagh and Hugo loves things like The Hobbit. They watch a fair bit of rubbish on the telly, too, though.”

Asked what their reaction to winning was, she said they didn’t really fully understand it.

“They are looking forward to getting the money, though.”

Runners-up will get £50 and the winner £100 in their category. “They have plans already for it,” she said.