Poetry Competition

Literature has been a core strand of our festival since its inception in 1976. In recent years, Edna O’Brien, John Banville, Paul Durcan, Dermot Healy, Mike McCormack, Donal Ryan and Kevin Barry have joined us to share their work. An annual highlight is the poetry competition which has attracted increased entries each year with a corresponding increase in prize money. This year’s first prize is €1,000. 

There is an entry fee of €10 for up to three poems. The closing entry date is Sept 1st, 2018. Winners will be announced during the festival on Thursday the 25th of October 2018 at the Open Mic evening. Shortlisted entrants will be notified one week in advance and invited to attend an open-mic night before the prizewinners are publically announced.

The Judges
John McAuliffe

John McAuliffe is an Irish poet who has lived and worked in England since 2002. His fourth book, The Way In, was published in 2015 by The Gallery Press, as were Of All Places (2011), which was a PBS Recommendation. Next Door (2007) and A Better Life (2002) was shortlisted for a Forward prize. He co-directs the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester where he teaches poetry and co-edits The Manchester Review. He also writes a monthly poetry column for The Irish Times.

Ger Reidy


Ger Reidy has won several national poetry prizes and has received an Arts Council bursary. He is the author of Pictures from a Reservation and Drifting Under The Moon. Poetry Ireland, referring to Reidy's poems comment  "that they have Kavanagh like realism and eye for the particular.... his poems echo the grounded concision of Larkin". Ger’s latest book Before Rain was shortlisted for the Pigott Prize at the Listowel Writers Festival. His first collection of short stories Jobs for a Wet Day was published in 2015 and was nominated for the prestigious Edge Hill Prize. Poetry Ireland referred to Reidy’s poems as having a “Kavanagh-like realism and eye for the particular... his poems echo the grounded concision of Larkin”.

Competition Rules

    • The closing date is strictly October 5th.
    • Entries must not, by the closing date of submission, have been published or broadcast in any medium.
    • Entries must be entrant’s own work.
    • Entries should consist of no more than 40 lines.
    • The adjudicators will not enter into any correspondence concerning the competition.
    • The decision of the judges is final.
    • You may enter as often as you like provided entries are accompanied by the appropriate fees.
    • Writer’s identity will not be seen by the judges.
    • We prefer you to apply online but if you must you may post your poem & payment to; Westival, C/O The Leeson Enterprise Centre, Altamont St, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland. F28 ET85