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Sunday 19 August 2018

St Brigid's pupils win all-island schools history competition

Sixth class pupils from St Brigid’s NS in Greystones with their award. Photo by Tomas Tyner, UCC.
Sixth class pupils from St Brigid’s NS in Greystones with their award. Photo by Tomas Tyner, UCC.

Mary Fogarty

Sixth class pupils at St Brigid's National School in Greystones have won first prize in the 'Decade of Centenaries' all-island schools history competition.

The students of Mr Dodd's and Ms Murray's sixth classes won the top award for primary schools in the Women's History section of the competition, which was sponsored by the Department of Education, Mercier Press and UCC's School of History and supported by 'History Ireland' magazine.

St Brigid's entry was based on research originally done for a dramatic re-enactment of scenes from the lives of Muriel and Grace Gifford, Kitty Kiernan, and Sinead De Valera, women who all had a connection to Greystones and the revolutionary period of 1916 to 1922.

In September 2017, they performed at the La Touche Legacy's annual Festival of History at the invitation of the La Touche Legacy committee. The students were fascinated to discover that, as children, the Gifford sisters enjoyed holidays with their family in Greystones.

They were interested to hear that Kitty Kiernan and Michael Collins were considering buying 'Brooklands' on Trafalgar Road, as this house is directly opposite the entrance to St Brigid's NS.

However, students discovered that it was Sinéad de Valera who had the closest links with St Brigid's, as a number of her children attended the school and she herself helped the Holy Faith Sisters improve their Irish.

Principal Máire Costello was delighted to announce that they had won this award and she congratulated both classes and their teachers. A group of the children represented the school at the prize giving in the Aula Maxima of University College Cork on Monday, May 21.

The students received a history trophy and mini-library from the Mercier press website to the value of €200. All winning entries will be digitised online and one of the winners will be considered for publication in an issue of 'History Ireland'.

'It takes a village to raise a child' and the children from sixth class St Brigid's would like to acknowledge the encouragement of George Jones, local historian Rosemary Raughter and the members of the La Touche Seminar committee, whose original invitation to participate in the La Touche Seminar inspired the children's interest in this particular aspect of local history.'

The pupils of St Brigid's take a lively interest in local history and have a busy local history blog, thegreystones.edublogs.org.

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