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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.

Before the storm

'Before the Storm' was the theme of the 2017 competition. A booklet of the winning poetry is available to download at the end of this page.

Categories for entry

The competition is FREE to enter and 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.

The next competition opens for entries on in January 2018. Details to be confirmed. 


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. Our judges for 2017 are award-winning poet Jane Clarke, Aidan Clifford from the CDETB's Curriculum Development Unit and Trócaire's Trish 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