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Poetry Competition Trocaire 2021 - Pathways to Peace

The Trócaire Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition 2021

Pathways to Peace

The winners and runners-up are across six categories: adult published, adult unpublished, primary junior, primary senior, post-primary junior and post-primary senior.

Jane O’Hanlon from Poetry Ireland said: “With winners from nine counties again this year, we’d like to thank everyone who entered and to those who helped and encouraged them.

“This has been a difficult year, particularly for schools which had to close again for part of the year. We really appreciate everyone – teachers, parents and young writers – for their continued interest and support for the Trócaire Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition. The adult categories this year feature Mary Turley-McGrath – a previous winner in 2014 – and the quality of the poetry is, again, superb.”

The annual poetry competition raises awareness about current global citizenship, justice, ecological and equality issues. This year’s theme explored the effects of conflict on people’s lives and how, with pathways to peace and the support of others, people can try to put the pain of conflict behind them and rebuild their lives.

As a physical awards ceremony is not possible due to Covid-19 restrictions, Trócaire and Poetry Ireland will celebrate the winners of the competition with a streamed video event, while a booklet of the winning poems is due to be published in 2022. The event will be streamed on Poetry Ireland’s YouTube channel on Culture Night (Friday, September 17th) at 6pm.

Poetry Ireland and Trócaire would like to thank the judges of this year’s competition: Catherine Ann Cullen (Poetry Ireland Poet in Residence), Aidan Clifford (retired former director of the Curriculum Development Unit) and Joanne McGarry (Campaigns and Volunteer Manager at Trócaire). Many thanks also to our TY Remote Placement, Sinéad O’Reilly, a previous winner and runner-up, who provided admin support this year.

Trócaire-Poetry Ireland award winners:

Adult Published Category – Winner: ‘As We Were Leaving’- Attracta Fahy. Runners-up: ‘Omar’s Song’- Mary Turley-McGrath; ‘Toll Road’- Jean O’Brien.

Adult Unpublished Category – Winner: ‘The Table’ – Sinéad Griffin. Runners-up:

‘Féileacán’ – Gormfhlaith Ní Shíocháin Ní Bheoláin; ‘The Winding Path’- Caroline Bracken.

Primary Junior Category – Winner: ‘Every little helps’ – Preksha Utekar.

Primary Senior Category – Winner: ‘Journey to Peace’- Liam York. Runners-up: ‘Peace on the Horizon’ – Hannah Murphy.

Post-Primary Junior Category – Winner: ‘Forgiving the past’ – Naomi Wall. Runner-up: ‘Running’ – Cara Maguire.

Post-Primary Senior Category – Winner: ‘Hold me, my friend’ – Essie Toyo Wuddah. Runners-up: ‘Under Construction’ – Sarah Fitzgerald; ‘Living for Light’ – Varshika Mecheri; ‘I mbróga no mbochta’ – Aedamar O’Callaghan.

Trócaire and Poetry Ireland launched their annual poetry competition on March 15th 2021. The closing date for entries was Friday 7 May 2021.

Their competition was FREE to enter and was open to young people, children and adults alike, at all stages in their writing careers, and there are some great prizes.

Entries were made online or by post. 

This year the competition explored the theme of conflict; how families who have lost their homes and loved ones to war are rebuilding their lives through love and friendship. Fleeing their homes with nothing but the clothes on their back, families trek through dangerous territory with no food or water for themselves or their children. When they reach safety, the struggle continues to earn money, grow food and attend school. But with pathways to peace and the support of others, they are able to start new lives based on love, friendship and kindness, and to try and put the pain of war behind them and begin again.

Poets of all ages were encouraged to explore the theme, from a local to global perspective

Categories for entry

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, John Donaghy, Dairena Ní Chinnéide, Ann Joyce, Karen O’Connor, Wilma Kenny, Mary Turley-McGrath, Eleanor Hooker, Jane Clarke, Geraldine Mitchell, David Mohan and Breda Joy.

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 opened: Monday 15 March 2021
Deadline for applications: Friday 7 May 2021
Awards Ceremony:        Online Awards Ceremony on Culture Night, September 2021


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