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Poetry Competition

Would you like to change the world? Do you think the world will be different in forty years time? Do you enjoy poetry? Yes? Then why not enter our exciting poetry competition!

Trócaire Poetry Competition


Trócaire and Poetry Ireland are delighted to announce our second poetry competition with the theme ‘Today’s Children, Tomorrow’s World’  The closing date for entries is Friday 1 March 2013 and the competition will be judged by John F. Deane, Éamonn Meehan and Mary Shine Thompson.

Prizes for different categories include choices such as a stay at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, a year’s subscription to Poetry Ireland Review, professional feedback on your poetry through Poetry Ireland’s Critical Assessment Service and, for younger entrants, the prizes range from a Kindle to book tokens and a visit to your school by an author.

Poetry Competition

The word ‘Trócaire’ itself means ‘mercy’, or ‘compassion’. While the concept of mercy is timeless, Trócaire itself will be forty years old in 2013. Throughout these forty years, Trócaire has been hard at work in Africa, Asia and Latin America, bringing about real and lasting change, and sharing these stories of hope with people here in Ireland.

Poetry Ireland is also devoted to words and storytelling, through the art of poetry, so it was natural for us to work in partnership together. Who better to challenge stereotypes and stuffy rhetoric than those mavens of creative thought, the poets of Ireland?
Words can take you on a journey, to places you never expected to go.  When we launched the first Trócaire and Poetry Ireland competition in October 2011, we had no idea how far this journey would take us.

The poems opened doors to arts and literary festivals in 2012, including Kilkenny, the Mountains to Sea Festival in Dun Laoghaire, and drew packed audience during Culture Night in Dublin and at workshops at Baboró International Childrens’ Arts Festival in Galway.

The first awards ceremony was held at the National Library of Ireland in May 2012. Geraldine Mitchell’s winning poem, ‘Basso Continuo’, was dedicated to renowned musician, Vedran Smailović, the Cellist of Sarajevo. We were honoured when he agreed to play at the ceremony. Geraldine’s poem has since been translated into Bosnian, and published in a newspaper in Bosnia.  And now, would you believe, word has spread to Zimbabwe, where a parallel poetry project for young people will be run through Trócaire’s office there.

Poetry Comopetition Awards

This journey has now brought us full circle, back to Trócaire’s headquarters on the South Campus of NUI Maynooth in Kildare. This year’s competition launch was hosted on campus by the School of English, Media and Theatre Studies, facilitated by Dr Moynagh Sullivan. Joseph Woods, manager of Poetry Ireland, introduced poet Rita Ann Higgins, who formally launched the competition, and read from her work. Three of the winning poets also read their winning entries to an appreciative audience: Geraldine Mitchell read ‘Basso Continuo’, Eva Slevin read ‘A New World’ and Claire O’Reilly read ‘History of the World’.

You can download an application pack here or from Poetry Ireland

Limited copies of the booklet of winning poems, entitled ‘Imagining a Just and Free World’, are available, by e-mailing your name and address to [email protected]



Top: Last year’s booklet and this year’s entry form.
Middle: Moynagh Sullivan, Joe Woods, Rita Ann Higgins, Trish Groves, Geraldine Mitchell and Clare O’Reilly at the launch of the Trócaire Poetry Ireland competition in Maynooth University.
Bottom: Top Left: Joe Woods of Poetry Ireland, Moynagh Sullivan of the School of English Maynooth University and Trish Groves of Trócaire. Top Right: Rita Ann Higgins prepares for her reading.
Bottom left and right: Audience members at the launch of the Trócaire Poetry Ireland competition.
All photos: Alan Whelan/Trócaire.

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