More than 60 young people from all over the country finally received their coveted gold Gaisce medals after several years of hard work.
The dedicated recipients were awarded their medals at the 30th Gaisce Awards ceremony in Dublin Castle yesterday afternoon, where they were honoured by President Michael D Higgins who attended the event with his wife Sabina.
A group of protestors gathered close to an entrance of the city centre site shortly before their arrival, but the President's security detail was notified and an alternative entrance was used.
This comes just two weeks after he was subjected to vile taunts at a public engagement in Finglas.
Speaking at the event, President Higgins paid tribute to our youth and said they were amongst the worst hit in the economic downturn.
The participants who received the gold award had previously completed the bronze and silver medal tasks after taking on a series of physical and personal challenges, as well as participating in community work. They completed hundreds of hours of work across four different categories.
Among yesterday's recipients was Mark Gilligan from the Navan Road in Dublin.
The 19-year-old played Gaelic sports, is in a band and spent several weeks working in Zambia when he was in secondary school.
"For the gold, I played Gaelic and hurling. I am in a band and for my community work I did my elderly neighbour Mona's shopping," Mark said.
"I still do it now, so I made a friend."
Loreto College Foxrock graduates Lisa Condon and Leila Smith also received their gold medals yesterday. Lisa said that the programme helped instil a sense of empowerment in her.