Leap school takes the top prize in history project

June 22nd, 2017 7:10 AM

By Southern Star Team

Overall winners in the Schools category in the Skibbereen Heritage Centre ‘Stories of the Revolution' project were Leap National School. Photographed with the pupils are Terri Kearney (project leader, Skibbereen Heritage Centre); Sue Harrington (project co-crdinator); Mary Crowley (Skibb and Bandon

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Leap National School has been awarded a €400 prize as the overall winner of the schools’ folklore project Stories of the Revolution. 

LEAP National School has been awarded a €400 prize as the overall winner of the schools’ folklore project Stories of the Revolution. 

The project, organised by Skibbereen Heritage Centre, invited primary school children to collect stories relating to the 1916-1923 period from this area. It was based on the renowned Irish Folklore Commission which gathered so much important local history and folklore from school children in 1937.

The response to the project was phenomenal, with over 235 children from 12 schools submitting over 220 individual entries, each of which contained multiple stories relating to the 1916-23 period. 

‘The standard was exceptionally high,’ said Conor Nelligan, Cork County Council’s heritage officer. ‘It is clear that all of the participating students gave it their all.’

The winning Leap school’s students submitted a wide range of stories about the revolutionary period, including accounts of curfews, safe houses, the Black and Tans, arms dumps, attacks and ambushes, Cumann na mBan activities and men going into hiding. The local stories offered an insight into what life was like for the people of West Cork during this turbulent time.

The overall individual student, Katie Scannell of St Joseph’s National School Skibbereen, was also awarded a €400 prize, sponsored by Skibbereen and Bandon Credit Union. 

All of the 235 participating students’ essays will be sent to Cork Archives.  ‘We are delighted with the outcome of the project,’ said Terri Kearney, Stories of the Revolution project leader. ‘These local stories are the fabric of history and will be lost forever if they are not recorded.’

Mary Crowley, Leap NS principal, said the senior classes participated in the competition and lots of local people visited their classroom to tell stories. ‘Others gathered stories from grandparents and older members of the community. The stories reminded us that even though Leap is a small area, geographically far removed from the well-publicised activities of Easter Week 1916, Leap people played an important role in the subsequent War of Independence and Civil War,’ she said. 

‘We’ll never read the names of many of these ordinary people in the history books, but thanks to this project, some of their stories which might otherwise be lost, are now recorded for future generations.’

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