Irish Finals and Award Ceremony Brings Hollywood-Feeling to Galway
With a varied online finalist presentation and award ceremony, the Irish National History competition’s organisers made the most of a rather difficult situation. In a time when most face-to-face celebrations have to be cancelled, the Irish online celebration was able to create an atmosphere similar to the Oscars with the suspenseful revealing of prize winners at the end of their ceremony.
The competition’s organisers, Breaking the SEAL at NUI Galway, decided to broadcast their ceremony as a livestream on 30 July. Opening the livestream, Paul Flynn, Lecturer and Programme Manager at Breaking the SEAL, expressed his excitement about the quality of the presentations. “We are very excited about the enthusiasm that young people demonstrated as part of the participation in this project”, he stressed in his opening words.
Viewers could get a glimpse of enthusiastic works after Flynn’s introductory words: Six finalists were selected among the nearly 50 entries that were handed in this year and that included some official contributions in Irish language for the first time in the competition’s history. These finalists were then able to present their research during the ceremony.
Given the wide range of topics, it is not hard to believe how difficult it was to select these works, as Flynn remarked. The finalists chose different media to present their works: Some showed a presentation with voice-over, others sent in small videos in which they presented their findings.
After the finalists’ presentations, the view turned behind the scenes, so to speak: Joseph Nyirenda, Programme Coordinator at Breaking the SEAL, expressed his thanks to institutions and individuals supporting the competition as well as to participants and teachers. Two of the competition’s judges congratulated the finalists as well, especially for not losing their enthusiasm or stopping their efforts under the current, rather difficult circumstances.
One of them, Luke O’Donnell, emphasised the benefits that the young people gained through their participation: “If you take anything away from this exercise it is that you are now officially historians and are no longer pouring through the textbook for your information but you’re digging and delving for your own. You’ve effectively re-written the textbook on your own niche elements!”
During the following minutes of the livestream, Paul Flynn revealed the prize winners in the carefully designed last part of the ceremony. He opened the still sealed envelopes and announced the following prize winners: Jessica Mc Donagh gained the third prize for her work focusing on the changing views on education among Irish Travellers. The role Boeing played for the US Air Force during World War II was the subject of Adam Kingi’s contribution that won the second prize. The first prize went to Brónagh Holmes for her piece dealing with protesting women in Buenos Aires who demand information about the destiny of their disappeared children and grandchildren.
If you are interested in finding out which connection an Irish nun had with the baseball team The Cincinnati Reds, why one of the finalists chose to study a British lord’s disappearance and who played an important part in challenging traditional roles among the Irish Travellers, you can still access and view the ceremony on youtube.