The winning project was entitled ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary – The Mystery of the Medal’.
The project focused on a WW1 medal that was discovered in Donegal but traced back by the pupils concerned to the Hynes family in Tipperary.
The medal originally belonged to Philip Hynes who died while serving with the British army during WW1.
The medal was brought to Donegal by the dead soldier’s nephew who was a member of the IRA stationed in Donegal during the civil war.
The medal was lost in Donegal and remained undiscovered for 90 years until it was found by a local man, Benny Gallagher, while digging his garden.
In awarding the prizes, Minister Ciaran Cannon congratulated the pupils of Scoil Cholmcille and their teacher, Christy Gillespie, for their endeavours in bringing such an eventful story to life.
“This is a fantastic story which highlights the impact of the “Decade of Centenaries” on one family. The ‘Mystery of the Medal’ would have remained untold were it not for the excellent research and detective work undertaken by the primary school children in Scoil Cholmcille and their teacher,” said the Minister.
“It a considerable achievement for a primary school to be the overall winner in a competition that it is open to both primary and post primary levels.”
The schools history competition is a jointly funded initiative of the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Education in Northern Ireland. This joint cross-border initiative forms part of the ‘Decade of Centenaries’ commemorations which are being organised to mark the centenary of the many important historical events that occurred in the period 1912-1922.
The competition invited primary and post primary students from schools across Ireland to examine the impact of a particular event or person from the decade 1912–1922 on their local area. Out of the 182 projects received, 12 winners were selected by a three person panel chaired by Professor Mary Daly of University College, Dublin.
As well as the overall winning project there were four provincial winners and seven other winners. The provincial winners came from 6th class in Scoil Mhuire, Moycullen Co. Galway; 5th Year pupils in Meánscoil Iognáid Rís in Naas; pupils in 5th and 6th class in Kilrossanty National School in Co. Waterford, and Year 10M pupils from Drumragh Integrated College in Omagh, Co. Tyrone.
Minister Cannon praised the efforts of all of the winners, “Your work reflects very positively on yourselves as individuals and classes. It also reflects very well on your teachers and school communities who have clearly provided able support and encouragement to your efforts. I hope this competition has stimulated your passion for history that will stay with you forever.”
Minister Cannon also thanked everyone who had submitted a project to the competition for their efforts.
The overall winning entry received book tokens in the value of €1,250 along with a year’s subscription to History Ireland. An edited version of the overall winning project will also be considered for publication in History Ireland. All of the 12 winning projects will be published on-line on the Scoilnet website (www.scoilnet.ie).