PICTURES: Offaly students recognised at Scriobh Leabhar awards evening

The art of storytelling is alive and well

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly


A number of Offaly students have been recognised with prizes at the 2018 Scriobh Leabhar awards.

There was palpable excitement in the Midland Park Hotel, Portlaoise recently when over 400 teachers, principals, parents, grandparents and pupils converged to celebrate the publication of over 610 books written in Irish by 670 pupils from 11 schools in Laois, Offaly, Kildare and North Tipperary in the Scríobh Leabhar 2018 project.

They were among the 1000s of primary school pupils throughout the island of Ireland who were inspired again this year to use their creative skills and compose, design and publish their very own book in Irish as part of Foras na Gaeilge’s Scríobh Leabhar project. This exciting project is co-ordinated by Laois Education Centre.

Since its launch in the 2006/2007 school year, more than 66,000 pupils have participated in the Scríobh Leabhar project nationally. As part of this initiative, children not only write their own books, but they also have the opportunity to read and discuss stories written by children in other schools.

Teachers also have a central role in Scríobh Leabhar and they are offered in-service courses in the Education Centre to help them support the pupils with their efforts.  

The Scriobh Leabhar project links the curricular areas of Visual Arts, and Gaeilge, while also promoting integration with practically every other curricular area for teacher and pupil. It is a particularly valuable tool for teachers to develop pupil creative writing and develop oral language skills‘ through the medium of Irish.

Guest of Honour on the night was Niall de Búrca, one of Ireland’s finest traditional storytellers. He has featured in theatre, radio and at many festivals including Féile Earraai, the CS Lewis Festival, and The National Children’s Book Festival. Abroad he
has performed and held workshops in countries as diverse as Poland, Argentina, Italy and The Netherlands.

He is recognised for the diversity of his stories and his particular strength is he has an ability to reach all ages and in fact with the same story; Niall is a familiar figure to many Irish children through his innovative school programmes. His “Storytelling as a Tool of Education” workshops are highly recommended by educators.

In May 2002 he received a Medal of Excellence from the Heidleberg school district in Germany for his work with young authors.
Jim Enright, Director of Laois Education Centre welcomed all present and stated that Laois Education Centre was delighted to be in a position to offer the Scriobh Leabhar project to schools. He commented on the quality and presentation of the books which represented a very diverse range of topics all of which were beautifully and artistically illustrated.

Jim further stated that the project aims to awaken childrens’ interest in Irish books, by encouraging them to design and write their own books ‘as Gaeilge’.  The programme is run completely through Irish, and ‘we have had very positive feedback
from the schools involved last year’.

Jim thanked his colleagues in the Education Centre who had done enormous work in co-ordinating and organizing the project in particular Yvonne LaCumber, who administered the project Edel Keating from the management committee of Laois Education Centre who helped on the evening of the Awards Ceremony. Jim also thanked Foras na Gaeilge for their support of the project.

He thanked the principals and teachers who supported their pupils, read other class books and helped with recommending awards. 110 pupils were presented with a medal and a certificate of participation on the evening and each of the 670 participating pupils received a certificate of participation and a Scriobh Leabhar pencil pack.


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