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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 competition is open for entries from mid-January to the 29th of March this year, with an awards ceremony in the National Library of Ireland in late May.

Amdo Paska tends her crop at Palabek Refugee Settlement Camp in Uganda. Photo: Mark Stedman.


This year the competition explores the theme ‘Land is Life’. The videos below shows how one family and their community has been forced from their land, and how they are working to build a new life for themselves. Poets are encouraged to explore a local to global perspective, and reflect on Ireland’s own history of hunger and migration.

The Global Refugee Crisis’ – Explores how people forced from their land, focusing on Syrian refugees in Lebabon.

Leaving Home: The Stories of Brigit and Sami’.- This animation, written for children, tells the story of how Brigit’s family was affected by the Irish potato famine in the 1840s, and how Sami’s community in Syria is being devastated by war today.


The competition is always FREE to enter and is open to young people, children and adults alike, at all stages in their writing careers. Many published poets have participated in the competition, including, in no particular order, Daragh Bradish, Eileen Casey, Joseph Horgan, 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.

This year’s competition is open for entries from Friday 18th January 2019, and the deadline for entries has been extended to Friday 29th March.

To enter, please visit the Poetry Ireland website where you can enter online or download an application form. 


This year’s panel of judges is the overall winner of our very first poetry competition in 2012, published author and poet Geraldine Mitchell, together with Aidan Clifford, formerly of CDETB’s Curriculum Development Unit, 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.


Human Beans’ - Little Sprout discovers how to make the world a better place for every bean.

Trócaire produces educational resources for schools, and this year the focus is on land rights. For a full list of resources, visit the primary schools land rights page. 

You can download a copy of the primary teachers’ resource, with lots of cross-curricular activities at . Curriculum links are listed on Page 6.


Our poetry competition connects to the formal schools’ curricula in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, across many subjects, including Geography, History, Religion and politics. 

See Page 4 of the post-primary teachers’ resource on Land Rights for a full list of curriculum links: 


Winners of the 2018 competition outside the National Library of Ireland, May 2018. Photo: Trócaire/Garry Walsh

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

2018: Until Love Conquers Fear

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

This year’s competition is open for entries from Friday 18th January 2019, and closes on Friday 15th March 2019. 

To enter, please visit the Poetry Ireland website where you can enter online or download an application form.