Irish Award Ceremony 2018

Ella McCaffery, one of the three Irish prizewinners 2017/2018 | Photo: Breaking the SEAL
Ella McCaffery, one of the three Irish prizewinners 2017/2018 | Photo: Breaking the SEAL

On 30 May, 2018, the prizewinners of the Irish history competition received their awards in the Moore Institute of the National University of Ireland in Galway. The competition was organised by “Breaking the SEAL”. As in previous years the choice for a focus topic was open.

All students were recognised for their participation and received a copy of their work published in the “Handbook of Second Level Education Research”. Twelve shortlisted students presented their works to the audience and a panel of judges. Three were selected as winners and received the award of “Winner of the Irish National History Competition 2018”. All finalised received a certificate of achievement and the winners of the competition received an additional certificate as well as their formal invitation from EUSTORY to make their applications to attend the Next Generation Summit in Berlin later in 2018.

A total of 150 students participated in this year’s competition. Students who submitted entries were aged between 16 and 18 with the majority of the applicants aged 16. Paul Flynn, one of the organisers of the Irish competition, explains: “This is reflective of the high stakes examination process that Irish students experience in the final year of the second level study which often has a negative effect on additional or extracurricular engagement.”

Topics submitted to the competition were varied, however, some general trends did emerge. Unsurprisingly the 1916 Rising was a common topic given that the centenary celebrations were held across the country in 2016. Variances on the submissions were limited and entries generally presented an overview of events. A small number of submissions looked at family history in relation to this topic. The development of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) was also another common topic. Various events during World War II were investigated and reported upon.

Paul Flynn explains the next steps: “Going forward, it is our intention to keep the topic of the competition open in 2018/19, however, we will continue to use the data collected to inform the development of the competition in 2019/20 where the selection of a topic may be piloted with a number of relevant schools.”

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