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Gaelscoil Phádraig Naofa are Ulster Champions!

March 25, 2013

The children of Gaelscoil Phádraig Naofa have been very busy over the last few weeks – On the 8th March a cast of thirty actors and musicians from Rang 5, 6 & 7 competed in the regional final of the Irish language drama competition ‘Comórtas Scoildrámaíochta na hÉireann’ in Newry City Hall. This competition is open to competitors of all ages from bunscoileanna, secondary schools and Irish language youth clubs, and it was a huge achievement when the Crossmaglen children scooped awards for ‘Best Bunscoil’, ‘Best New Script’ and the coveted ‘Scoth-Léiriú na Féile’ for best overall production of the festival.

Their play, entitled ‘Taibhsí an tSléibhe’ or ‘Ghosts of the mountain’, written by Gaelscoil teacher Bláithín Mhic Cana and produced by herself and Múinteoir Karla Ní Chasaigh, is about a young boy called Liam (Seán ó hAodha) who is less than impressed when his teacher (Courtney Nic Giolla Fhionndáin) decides that this year’s class trip will be to Slieve Gullion. But the mountain puts Liam under a spell in which he meets the many famous faces, past and present, who have links to this historic region – Finn MacCumhail (Kyle Mac Lochlainn) and the Cailleach (Faye Nic Giolla Phádraig)4, Oliver Plunkett (Annie Nic an tSaoi), Peadar Ó Doirnín (Tiarnán Mac Con Mídhe), an Easter Rising commander (Rónán Mac Giolla Phádraig), and he even meets Mícheál Ó Muireachartaigh (Seanán Ó Mothlaigh) and Kieran McGeeney (Tiarnán Mac an tSaoi)!  The opening scene sees another local hero, Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich, played by Pearse Larkin, recite a piece written by the late Cardinal, describing the rich historic and cultural past that surrounds us here in South Armagh; as he says, ‘Insíonn gach bóthar a scéal féin’ – every road tells it’s own story. This is an idea that the children have really embraced, and it’s fair to say that Tomás Ó Fiaich himself would be extremely proud of the depth of knowledge the children now have about their local area, and of course, he would be particularly proud of their fluency and passion for their native language, of which he himself was a keen promoter.

The Children’s hard work and sheer talent was rewarded yet again on Thursday past, in the Ulster Final, held in an Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny, where they beat off stiff competition in their category from every county in the province, and won the RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta trophy for best Bunscoil. They will now compete in the All-Ireland Final in Mullingar next month, on the 18th April, and we wish them a huge Adh Mór as they fly the flag for Irish-medium education, and the whole community in South Armagh – go n-éirigh libh!

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