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Trócaire’s Annual Poetry Competition 2016

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Poetry Ireland and Trocaire annual poetry competition 2016

Trócaire’s annual poetry competition, in association with Poetry Ireland, uses the arts to raise awareness about the leading global justice issues of our time. The annual competition is open for entries from mid-January to Easter each year, with an awards ceremony in the National Library of Ireland in May and is free to enter.

The theme of this year’s competition is Forced to Flee: “This is our exodus”.

A great human tragedy continues to unfold in Syria and in the wider Middle East. Over 250,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict, 12 million are homeless and more than 4 million of them are refugees, mostly in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

A river of distressed humanity flows into the heart of Europe from this conflict. While the overwhelming European response is to welcome these people, there is also a realisation that something important and irreversible in taking place before our eyes.

It is the strong sense that we can no longer isolate ourselves in our secure and wealthy fortress Europe from the rest of a humanity suffering poverty, war and injustice.

This year’s competition is open for entries on this theme until Wednesday 16th March 2016.

Winners will be notified by Friday 6th May, and prizes will be awarded at a ceremony on Thursday 26th May.

Categories for entry

The competition is open to young people and adults alike, at all stages in their writing careers. Many published poets have participated in the competition, such as Afric McGlinchey, Dairena Ní Chinnéide, Ann Joyce, Karen O’Connor, Wilma Kenny, Mary Turley-McGrath, Eleanor Hooker, Jane Clarke, Geraldine Mitchell, David Mohan and Breda Joy.

There are six categories in the competition: two for adults and four for children and teens: published and non-published adult poets; first level junior and senior cycle students; and second-level junior and senior cycle students.

Click here for entry information.


Trócaire are pleased to welcome poet Jane Clarke, a winner in the 2015 and 2014 competitions, to their judging panel in 2016. She will join Aidan Clifford, Director of the City of Dublin Education and Training Board’s Curriculum Development Unit, and Trish Groves, Trócaire’s competition organiser.

Over the years, the panel of judges has included well-known, established Irish poets such as Mary Shine Thompson, John F Dean, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Theo Dorgan.

Each year, the winning poems are published in booklet form and presented to the winners at the awards ceremony. The booklets are also distributed at events throughout the year, including poetry readings, Culture Night, literary festivals and schools workshops, ensuring a wide readership.

Previous winners

You can read last year’s winning entries on the theme ‘Feeling the Heat’ by clicking here

The 2014 winning poems are here.

Give it a go

I was lucky to be selected as the winning poet in the post-primary category in both 2014 and 2015. Being involved in this poetry competition really encouraged me with my poetry. The competition also opened up lots of other opportunities for me like reading at Culture Night (in the same room as Derek Landy) and being part of the Mountains to Sea Festival. This year I find that I am no longer eligible for entry as a secondary school student so it’s time to swim in the big pond with the adult fish (poets). Wish me luck!


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