Decade of Centenaries History Competition


Congratulations to Charlie Quinn in S3B who was recently awarded a first place prize in the Decade of Centenaries History Competition.

The decade 2012–2022 has been categorised as the ‘Decade of Centenaries’- it marks the centenary of a number of important historical events and developments that occurred in the period 1912–1922, in Ireland. The Department of Education created a competition for the submission of history projects based on these events/developments. The competition invited students to submit written projects under the following four headings: Revolution in Ireland, Ireland and the First World War, Women during the revolutionary period in Ireland and War of Independence.

Charlie entered his project ‘Brothers in arms: The Neilan Brothers & the 1916 Rising’ into the competition under the ‘Revolution in Ireland’ heading. This was a topic which Charlie completed extensive research on during Second Year when completing a display style project on ‘The Past in my Place’ for his History Classroom-Based Assessment.

The Neilan Brothers happened to live in the house which Charlie lives in now. Charlie’s family were were contacted by the last surviving member of the Neilan family in 2016 when she was invited to Ireland for the centenary celebrations. She visited Charlie’s home and told Charlie and his family all about Gerald and Arthur Neilan who were involved in fighting during Easter week 1916. This sparked Charlie’s interest in the fascinating story of two brothers fighting on opposite sides during the 1916 Rising.

When told about the Decade of Centenaries competition Charlie decided to enter a very impressive project on the Neilan Brothers. He entered the Competition in May of this year. In June of this year we were contacted by UCC to let us know that Charlie had been awarded first prize in the Post Primary category of Revolution in Ireland. Charlie received a beautiful certificate from UCC and we hope to attend an official prize giving ceremony in UCC in the near future where Charlie will be presented with his first place trophy for his fantastic project!

Ms Laura McKay

Here is Charlie’s project summary:

‘I entered my project, Brothers in arms: The Neilan Brothers and the 1916 Rising’ into the Department of Education and Skills ‘Decade of Centenaries’ Irish History Competition in May 2020. I won the Post Primary Category ‘Revolution in Ireland’.

I did my history CBA for the Junior Certificate on the Neilan brothers and the 1916 Rising. My history teacher, Ms McKay had encouraged us to enter the history competition over lockdown and once I got her permission to use my CBA project, I transferred it into a word document and entered it.

I became aware in 2016 that the house that I have lived in since I was born was once the home place of the Neilan family from circa 1900 to 1950. They were a wealthy middle class Catholic family who fled a large estate in Roscommon after their father died and their home was attacked by the Irish rebels. There were 12 children and the boys attended the Jesuit Clongowes College as boarders and went on to become doctors and military pilots. Shirley Mowbray, a daughter of one of the brothers (Charles Neilan) arrived at our door in March 2016 and told us the fascinating story of two of the brothers, Gerald and Arthur Neilan. Gerald fought for the British army on Easter Monday 1916 and Arthur fought against him for the Irish Volunteers. Gerald became the first member of the British Army to die on Easter Monday after he was shot in the face by an Irish Volunteer. Their niece described the devastating effect that this had on the whole family for generations. My project is based on the story of Gerald and Arthur Neilan.’

Charlie Quinn (S3B)

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