Irish History Competition Helps Bridge Gap Between School and College

Screenshot of Irish online award ceremony 2022 | Photo: National University of Ireland Galway
Screenshot of Irish online award ceremony 2022 | Photo: National University of Ireland Galway

Building on its 2021 popularity, the Irish National History Competition returned another bumper crop of 18 high-calibre finalists from more than 80 entries. Such was the standard in 2022, organisers pushed their online awards announcement to ensure greater consensus among the judging panel.

Competition co-ordinator Luke O'Donnell praised the quality of this year’s finalists in particular, and lauded the virtues of crucial and critical skills so apparent among competition entries, and their relevance for students’ futures. “Wherever you may go later on, career-wise or travel-wise, you will find yourself employing that same critical analysis and clarity,” he said.

This year's award ceremony on 11 May 2022 played out online, as it did during the height of Covid. Luke O’Donnell commented: “We would much rather have held it in person like we did two years ago. In 2021, we came out of Covid which is why the online delivery was much more Covid-induced, whereas this year’s decision was perhaps more Covid-aware”. The online decision was mindful of those students sitting public exams and finishing school in the following weeks.

Maeve Gilmore, a previous competition winner, said “the skills I learned made that transition from secondary school essay-writing to academic university-style writing much more manageable.” Miss Gilmore's own submission explored a landmark criminal case in the North of Ireland (UK), Dudgeon v United Kingdom. It was largely responsible for setting the legal precedent which ultimately resulted in the Council of Europe requiring that no member state could criminalise male or female homosexual behaviour. Numerous essays were submitted that dealt with family histories and local circumstances. In particular, Ireland’s War of Independence, the Irish Civil War, and The Troubles all featured again.

Overall competition champion Oisín Mac Aindreasa (2022) was his school’s second competition winner, and wrote of the local and national economic and political impact of the 1919 Limerick Soviet, (when Trade Union personalities took control of the city in response to British Army control and martial law). In second, Rosin Eglinton focused her investigation on the role of women in the 1984-85 UK Miners’ Strike and impact on feminist advancement in coalified communities; and in third, Antaine O Sé stressed the significance of the Siege of Dun an Oir on the Gaelic society around Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry.

Competition Champion 2022: Oisín Mac Aindreasa, Colaiste an Eachreidh, Baile Atha an Ri
Competition Runner-Up: Roisín Eglinton, Mercy College, Sligo
Competition Third-Place: Antaine O Sé, Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Co. Chiarrai

This year, candidates were once again divided into year-specific categories, more precisely into the fourth, fifth and final year of secondary school, to level the playing field. Students were put into the categories of Transition year (4th year), Senior Cycle (5th year) and Leaving Certificate (6th year) as already classified in 2021.

Watch the whole award ceremony by following this link.

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