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Annual Poetry Competition

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.

Poetry Competition

'Until Love Conquers Fear' is the theme of the 2018 competition.

2018 Theme - ‘Until Love Conquers Fear’

This year the competition explores the theme ‘Until Love Conquers Fear’.

The video below outlines four ways that this can become a reality.

Until Love Conquers Fear

Fear is the deafening sound of war.
Love is the hand that quietens it.
Fear is the voice that’s never heard.
Love is breaking the silence.
Fear is the truth that’s locked in the dark.
Love is the courage that frees it.
Fear is the hunger that starves all hope.
Love is the food that feeds it.
As long as pain exists, as long as suffering is here,
We will stay.
Trócaire. Until love conquers fear.

Categories for entry

The competition is FREE to enter and 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 David Butler, Lorraine Carey, Angela T. Carr, Nicki Griffin, 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.

The 2018 competition is open for entries from Monday 23rd January 2018, and closes on Friday 16th March 2018. To enter, please visit the Poetry Ireland website where you can download an application form or enter online.

This year, teachers also have the option to receive Certificates of Participation from Trócaire for all of their students who enter the competition, so please do tick the box if you wish to receive these.


Over the years, the panel of judges has included well-known, established Irish poets, editors and academics such as Mary Shine Thompson, John F Dean, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Theo Dorgan. Our judges for 2018 are Aidan Clifford, formerly of the CDETB Curriculum Development Unit, poet Nessa O’Mahony, and Trócaire’s Patricia Groves.

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.

Education and youth arts

Exploring global justice through art forms such as poetry, performance, music and painting is a fun and creative way to engage young people in complex issues. The competition also connects to the formal schools’ curriculum across many subjects, including Geography and English.

Previous winning entries

Booklets of the winning poems from previous years are available to download here:

2017: Before the Storm

2016: Forced to Flee: "This is our exodus" ​

2015: Feeling the Heat

2014: It's up to us

2013: Today's Children, Tomorrow's World


Romero Award

This year Trócaire is also launching the Trócaire Romero Award – an award for youth and schools who wish to raise awareness on a global justice issue.  Poetry is a great example of an arts-based awareness raising project and so we would like to invite you to submit your class’s entries as contenders for the Romero Award too! Find out more