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Annual Poetry Competition

Trócaire’s annual poetry competition uses the arts to raise awareness about the leading global justice issues of our time.

Poetry Competition

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

2018 Award Winners

Trócaire is pleased to announce the winners of our joint 2018 poetry competition in partnership with Poetry Ireland, on the theme ‘Until Love Conquers Fear’. The winners in each of the six categories are:

  • Adult Published – ‘Disclosure’ by Daragh Bradish - a powerful study of gender dynamics in a small village.
  • Adult Non-Published – ‘Ainganiff’ by John Donaghy - a story of how simple acts of love can unite communities.
  • Post-Primary Senior – ‘Blanket’ by Jade Moore – using metaphor to explore how a mother’s love is carried across and through time.
  • Post-Primary Junior – ‘The Olive Tree’ by Sinéad O’Reilly – a young boy’s reflections on a peaceful past, now destroyed by conflict, and his dreams for the future.
  • Primary Senior – ‘The Sea of Hope’ by Elise Carey-McGibney – a group of families evacuate their burning town, and hope for a better future across the sea.
  • Primary Junior – ‘Love Conquers Fear’ by Jude Rogers – a joyful moment when a frightened young boy is comforted by his dog.

Sinead and Elise are both former runners-up in this competition, and we are delighted that they entered again this year. Congratulations to all of this year’s runners-up too, and thank you to everyone who entered. You can download this year’s poetry booklet here.

Until Love Conquers Fear 2018 poetry competition booklet

 

2018 Awards Ceremony

Our poetry competition uses the arts to raise awareness about the leading global justice issues of our time. The competition opens for entries from mid-January to Easter each year. The 2018 awards ceremony took place on Thursday 24th May in the National Library of Ireland.

All the 2018 winners together with Eamonn Meehan, Trócaire executive director, and Maureen Kennelly, director of Poetry Ireland. Photo : Garry Walsh

All the 2018 winners together with Eamonn Meehan, Trócaire executive director, and Maureen Kennelly, director of Poetry Ireland. Photo : Garry Walsh

Elise from Fenit, Co. Kerry, won first prize in the primary senior category with her poem, 'The Sea of Hope'.

Eileen Casey from Dublin, reads her poem 'The Power of Poems'. She came runner up in the adult published category.

2018 Theme - ‘Until Love Conquers Fear’

This year’s theme was quite complex, so we invited the poets to explore the theme through the lens of this short poem, below, which identifies practical ways that love can conquer fear:

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

Our competition is always 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 Darah 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; primary level junior and senior cycle students; and second-level junior and senior cycle students.

The 2018 competition closed for entries on Friday 16th March 2018.

Judges

Over the years, the panel of judges has included many 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:

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