In a Gaeltacht region with a rich history of storytelling, a school is keeping the tradition alive and well
The 390-pupil Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne on Kerry's Dingle Peninsula produced three winners at last week's Press Pass Awards, an annual Newspapers in Education initiative that rewards original journalism among transition year students.
The overall winner was Tomás Ó hUallacháin, who took on the challenge of writing a feature about a 'Sportsman I Most Admire'. He eschewed famous names for a local hero, cyclist Tomás Mac a t-Saoir., from Ballyferrriter. Also flying the flag for the school was Kate Ní Dhubháin, whose story about conflicting local passions over an upgrade to a dangerous stretch of road took first place in 'News', followed by Ciara Ní Bhruic, who wrote about the anxiety felt by students affected by the disruption caused by the ASTI dispute over junior cycle reform.
Two teachers of English at the school, Fergal Daly and Fiona Kirwan, are passionate about Press Pass and their students have participated since its second year.
Daly explains that they see great value in it for students who have just come through junior cycle and its exams, "when most of the work they would have done in English was prescribed", setting them up for the more critical thinking required at senior cycle.
Kirwan says that one of the many benefits of the initiative is the way it can draw out ingenuity and talent in students who might not otherwise be known for academic brilliance.
The programme is run by Newsbrands Ireland - the public face of Ireland's newspaper industry - to improve literacy and critical thinking skills, while helping students to develop a deeper understanding of news media and how it communicates about the world around them.
It is supported by the Department of Education and Skills. Some 8,000 students participated this year.