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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Record number of inspirational young people honoured with Gaisce gold by the President

King of the cube: Cathal Seabrook, of Clarehall, Dublin
King of the cube: Cathal Seabrook, of Clarehall, Dublin
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

Completing a version of the Rubik's Cube in 10 seconds and doing the camino four months after tearing a tendon off your knee - that's the level expected to take home a Gaisce gold award.

Throw in some taekwondo and you've got the work of Cathal Seabrook (18), from Clarehall, Dublin.

A record 78 inspirational young people were honoured with their prestigious Gaisce gold awards at Dublin Castle by President Michael D Higgins.

The President's Award was founded in 1985 and this year's awardees hail from 26 counties and 52 Gaisce award partners.

Cathal said the award was his "proudest achievement".

The teenager had begun with the bronze award in transition year in school. He said he was able to fully solve the Rubik's Cube by then.

Nathan Cafolla with his Gaisce awards at Dublin Castle
Nathan Cafolla with his Gaisce awards at Dublin Castle

"So for Gaisce Gold I decided to learn the variations of the Rubik's Cube," he said.

"I figured out how to solve it completely by myself. It took me about a month and a half."

Cathal also completed the camino in Sarria, Spain, which was even more of a challenge.

The camino was undertaken in March this year, four months after he tore his patella tendon in his knee.

Abbie Moloney from Longford
Abbie Moloney from Longford

Meanwhile, Abbie Moloney, from Killashee, Co Longford, was awarded for her endeavours in woodwork, swimming and volunteering with young people with special needs.

She also undertook a 60km canoeing expedition from the Royal Canal Mullingar Harbour to the 46th Lock Clondra Harbour.

Abbie (19) - whose dad is a carpenter - said the items she built were practical for use at home.

Among those were a work bench, a foot stool and a small chair for her dog.

When asked about the volunteering Abbie said it's something she'll be keeping up.

Launching the awards, President Michael D Higgins spoke about engagement and inclusiveness in communities.

He said he was struck by the adventure groups that travelled from Malin Head to Mizen Head.

Mr Higgins said he was pleased the Gaisce award could be spread to prisons. He also spoke of families in direct provision.

"In our direct provision services this year we will have families and children who maybe are there far too long," he said.

This year's gold awardees have successfully completed five challenge areas for 52 weeks or more - volunteering with a charity or community group; developing an existing skill or learning something new; becoming more active through sport or exercise; taking part in a four-day adventure while discovering the great outdoors; and broadening their horizons on a five-day residential stay.

Irish Independent

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