Trócaire Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition 2016

An annual competition open to published poets, un-published poets, spoken word poets and students. 

Ireland is renowned for its literary and cultural heritage, as well as for its generosity in supporting those in need around the world. Trócaire and Poetry Ireland's annual poetry competition brings these two elements together in a creative way, using the arts to raise awareness about the leading global justice issues of our time. This competition is unique, because poets are invited to explore a different global development theme each year. The competition is also free to enter.   

Forced to Flee: "This is our exodus"

The theme for the 2016 competition was 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 is our exodus" is a quote from Ahmed, a refugee from Iraq, 2015.

This is our exodus from Trocaire on Vimeo.
A video about the refugee crisis by Irish aid agency, Trócaire, which is supporting refugees in the Balkans.


The Trócaire and Poetry Ireland competition is open to young people and adults alike, at all stages in their writing careers. Poems in English or Irish, written or spoken word, are welcome in all six categories: 

Published poets
Unpublished poets

Junior: 1st-3rd year
Senior: Transition Year-Leaving Certificate

Junior: 3rd/4th Class
Senior: 5th/6th Class

Competition calendar

Entries open in January each year, and winners are notified in early May. 


Entries for the 2016 competition were judged by poet and former competition-winner Jane Clarke, Aidan Clifford, Director of the City of Dublin Education and Training Board's Curriculum Development Unit, and Trócaire's Trish Groves. 

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.



Winners: Two-week stay at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig OR a Tablet OR time in a recording studio to the value of €300 (for spoken word poets), plus subscription to Poetry Ireland Review for one year OR assessment of work through Poetry Ireland's Critical Assessment Service. 

Runners-up: Tickets to a literary festival to the value of €250, plus subscription to Poetry Ireland Review for one year OR assessment of work through Poetry Ireland's Critical Assessment Service. 

Highly commended: Book Token, plus subscription to Poetry Ireland Review for one year OR assessment of work through Poetry Ireland's Critical Assessment Service. 


Winners: Kindle Fire plus visit by an author to your school

Runners-up: Book token plus visit by an author to your school

Highly Commended: Book token

The winning poems are also published in booklet form, and distributed to arts festivals and community events, and through schools and poetry readings. Winners and runners up are invited to read at our lunchtime awards ceremony at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin, and many past winners have gone on to read at events around Ireland, including Culture Night and the Mountains to Sea Book Festival in Dun Laoghaire. Winning poems will be considered for publication by the editor of Poetry Ireland Review

How to Enter

Entries are now closed for the 2016 competition

» Please read the competition rules before entering

» Read the work of 2016's winning poets
» Read the work of 2015's winning poets
» Read the work of 2014's winning poets

For updates about the competition, please visit us on our Facebook page: and
or follow us on Twitter: @PoetryIreland and @trocaire.