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Limerick Coders Receive Top Accolades at National Scratch Coding Finals



Ciarán Conlon and Callan Hennessy Scoil An Spioraid Naoimh, Roxborough, Ballysheedy, Limerick at the annual National Scratch Coding Competition organised by Lero. Pic. Brian Arthur

Limerick students were to the fore at the annual National Scratch Coding Competition organised by Lero

Holly, a fifth-year student of Bremore Educate Together Secondary School, pictured with her award at the 14th national finals of the annual competition at University of Limerick today. Pic. Brian Arthur

Limerick students were to the fore at the annual National Scratch Coding Competition, organised by Lero, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software and the Irish Computer Society.

Fourteen students from Limerick were among the prize winners at the 2024 Scratch Finals which took place in University of Limerick on Wednesday.

Holly Wright, a fifth-year student of Bremore Educate Together Secondary School Balbriggan, County Dublin was the overall winner at the national finals of the annual competition, now in its 14th year, where Ireland’s best young coders from primary and post-primary schools from all over Ireland presented their project to the competition judges. The keynote address at the finals was given by BT Young Scientist Winner 2024 Seán O’Sullivan.



Holly’s project, Internship at Fernandos, was designed and built using Scratch, a visual programming language that makes it easy to create interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art and share these creations on the web.

Cian Portley and Daniel Carmody from Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom, were winners in the fourth to sixth year category while Amelia Bray, Aisling Ryan, Cullen Guinan from Milford National School were second to fourth class category winners.

Judges’ awards were presented to: Ryan O’Connor, Banogue National School; Sesandu Wasala, Eve Ryan, Eoinín Shinners, Cillian Flynn from Milford National School; and, Dara Keane, Ray Dillon, Ciarán Conlon and Callan Hennessy, Scoil an Spioraid Naoimh, Roxborough.        

Lero’s Education and Public Engagement Manager, Dr Clare McInerney, said Lero’s involvement in the Scratch competition is crucial for a critical reason:

“Software is everywhere, it is all around us and it has never been so important that children and young people learn not just how to use it but also how it works. At Lero, we support software skills at every stage of education. It is part of our mission to foster and grow coding skills and computational thinking among younger children, teens, and those far older.

“What we witness at the culmination of the National Scratch Competition Finals is the payoff of months of hard graft by the contestants, their teachers and families – and let me tell you – it’s awe-inspiring. Their projects are an amazing combination of science, technology, imagination and ingenuity – showing off just how much fun coding can be. It leaves me wondering what these finalists will do next?” she added.

Irish Computer Society Secretary General Lucy Hayes believes the National Scratch Competition is where young coders of tomorrow get to flex their creative muscles and showcase their abilities.

“Technology can be a game-changer if you know how to use it, and Scratch proves just that – it’s all about having some fun while learning some very worthwhile skills.  

“It’s a near certainty that some of the people here in UL today will be the IT leaders of tomorrow, but even if they take different routes, I’m sure their engagement in the competition will set them up as savvy digital citizens,” she added.

AWS has been a sponsor of the competition since 2019. Joanne Reynolds, Community Engagement Manager, AWS, recognises the importance of the competition in growing young people’s understanding of technology.

Dara Keane and Ray Dillon Scoil An Spioraid Naoimh, Roxborough, Ballysheedy, Limerick the Annual National Scratch Coding Competition. Pic. Brian Arthur

“We are continually impressed by the quality of the projects created by Ireland’s young people and highlighted in the National Scratch Coding Competition Finals. It has been a privilege to witness the enthusiasm of these young people, their creativity and their proven coding abilities,” she said.

Dr McInerney said this year, there were more than 398 entries with 63% male and 36% female participants.

“We congratulate Holly and all today’s finalists and those who supported them on their journey. Our panel of 15 judges were so impressed by the quality and originality of the projects that some have asked to come back next year,” she added.

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Limerick students were to the fore at the annual National Scratch Coding Competition organised by Lero and the Irish Computer Society.
Sesandu Wasala Milford National School, Castletroy, Co. Limerick. Pic. Brian Arthur

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.