Students get involved with the entertainment as Seo Linn perform at the awards ceremony in the Watershed
Kilkenny Education Centre recently held a joint awards ceremony to honour the 29 winning primary and post-primary poets selected from almost 500 entries from 21 schools in a Poetry Competition on Poetry Day.
Awards were also received by 164 young authors from 19 primary schools for their participation in the Scríobh Leabhar project, held in conjunction with Foras Na Gaeilge. In total, 700 primary pupils wrote and illustrated their own Irish Language books across a range of topics in the Scríobh Leabhar project.
The awards ceremony was organised in conjunction with Poetry Ireland. A huge crowd, including teachers, principals, parents and grandparents, attended the celebration event at the Watershed Leisure Centre.
Director of Kilkenny Education Centre Margaret Maxwell welcomed the children, their teachers and parents.
“Kilkenny Education Centre is very proud of the rich examples of creativity and innovation that have emerged in the work of the students in both of these projects, in English and in Irish,” she said.
“These projects provide a stimulus and support to teachers in encouraging and motivating students to engage in creative expression resulting in poems and stories such as those being honoured today.”
In the poetry competition, the adjudicators highly commended all the poems, written on the theme ‘School Life/ Learning’.
In the Scríobh Leabhar project, the fact that the children not only write and illustrate their books as Gaeilge — but that they also share them with children in other schools who read them and nominate the special ‘Gradam’ Award winners — is a unique feature.
Representing Foras na Gaeilge, Principal of Gaelscoil Osraí Séan O hArgáin said he was hugely proud of the children who had taken part, and congratulated Director Maxwell and all the staff and volunteers of the Kilkenny Education Centre. He had a strong message for teachers and parents present.
“As we celebrate Bliain Na Gaeilge, it is crucially important that we give every support to the Irish Language, particularly in schools where Irish is the second language of instruction,” he said.
“In order to encourage children to write in Irish, we must also continue to promote the reading of Irish inside and just as importantly, outside of schools.”
The former principal of Presentation Primary School Maria Kelly and Chairperson of Kilkenny Education Centre Eithne McKenna presented the awards for both projects.
The star attraction on the day was undoubtedly Seo Linn, an Irish Language band who, through their combined love of Gaeilge and Ceol, have successfully promoted Irish among young people. Three of the band — Kevin, Daithí and Keith — are Kilkenny natives.
Winning poetry was also displayed at the event and there was a slideshow of all the books which had been awarded a Gradam, compiled by Willie McTiernan.