Tuesday, 5th May 2020: A new initiative to encourage children to create inspirational stories about Ireland’s lighthouses has been launched today as part of Cruinniú na nÓg by Josepha Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Cruinniú na nÓg 2020, our national day of free creative activities for children and young people under the age of 18 – is a collaboration between the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the Creative Ireland Programme, Local Authorities and RTÉ.
The ‘Become A Young Storykeeper’ initiative, developed by The Commissioners of Irish Lights’ (Irish Lights) tourism and community partnership, Great Lighthouses of Ireland, and creative writing organisation Fighting Words, is an invitation and call to all 7-12 year olds to create an original story inspired by lighthouses.
Speaking about the collaboration, Yvonne Shields O’Connor, CEO, Irish Lights, said, “From the distant past to the present day, lighthouses play a vital role in ensuring safety at sea.
Lighthouses along with buoys and electronic aids are an important part of an interconnected system keeping our coasts safe and providing safe passage for local and international maritime traffic. This is vital to our island ensuring that supplies like food, fuel and medicine and so much more can reach us.
Lighthouses are evocative, powerful and heroic and have inspired stories, poetry and music. We are delighted to now invite our younger storytellers to bring their imagination to the fore and to capture the tale of a lighthouse in a way that is meaningful to them, and to allow them to become the next generation of young Storykeepers.”
For most of their history, lighthouses were run by lightkeepers, who ensured the guiding light was always on. While lighthouses are now automated, people can still visit them and learn their stories from the storykeepers who share the history, science and technology of these special buildings.
Writers are also keepers of their stories that they create and share. In these uncertain times, creating stories keeps people interconnected and helps us all travel through life’s channels.
Seán Love, Executive Director of Fighting Words, said, “For hundreds of years lighthouses have ensured the safety of seafarers by helping them find their way. Lighthouses are places of wonder that can provide safety and guidance on a journey through danger. Creating stories is another way that people help and guide each other. The symbolism of the lighthouse pushing us away to keep us safe is very apt right now as the nation contends with the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Celebrating Every Young Storykeeper’s Creativity
Submissions open on Tuesday May 5th and close on Tuesday May 19th, during which time every child is encouraged to be creative and invent a story that will be included in a digital magazine to be launched as part of Cruinniú na nÓg on June 13th and featured on the websites of Great Lighthouses of Ireland and Fighting Words.
All children who submit a story will receive a family ticket to visit any one of Great Lighthouses of Ireland Visitor Attractions to be used when they re-open in accordance with Government guidelines.
A number of stories will be selected to be animated by the Fighting Words volunteer team of illustrators and animators and will feature on both Great Lighthouses of Ireland and Fighting Words websites.
Great Lighthouses of Ireland and Fighting Words are extremely grateful for the media support for this initiative provided by The Irish Times, our media partner for this initiative. Become a Young Storykeeper will be promoted both in print and in The Irish Times digital platform throughout the submission period and afterwards.
For entry details, inspiration and more information about Young Storykeepers as well as full terms and conditions, visit https://www.greatlighthouses.com/storykeeper/ and www.fightingwords.ie/storykeeper.
Notes to editor
Cruinniú na nÓg is a flagship initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme’s Creative Youth plan to enable the creative potential of children and young people. Ireland is the first, and only, country in the world to have a national day of free creativity for children and young people under 18. Due to the Covid-19 crisis all Cruinniú na nÓg events will be delivered online at https://cruinniu.creativeireland.gov.ie
Irish Lights and Great Lighthouses of Ireland Partners
Great Lighthouses of Ireland is a project funded and developed by the Commissioners of Irish Lights a maritime organisation delivering an essential safety service around the coast of Ireland, protecting the marine environment, and supporting the marine industry and coastal communities. In supporting Great Lighthouses of Ireland, Irish Lights are committed to the development of a sustainable economic model and the reinvention of individual lighthouses as visitor attractions and unique self-catering accommodation that contribute to local communities.
Today, Irish Lights operate over sixty lighthouses around the coast of Ireland, all of which continue to play a vital role in maritime safety. www.irishlights.ie
The mission of Irish Lights is Safe Navigation at Sea. We are a maritime organisation delivering essential 24/7 safety and navigation services around the coast of Ireland (North and South), 365 days a year.
Great Lighthouses of Ireland partners include the Irish Landmark Trust, the Royal Society for Protection of Birds Northern Ireland, Forbairt Fhanada Teoranta (Fanad Community Group), Clare County Council, Ballycotton Sea Adventures, Hook Heritage limited, Valentia Island Development Company, Kerry County Council, Clare Island Lighthouse, Cape Clear Ferries and Titanic Foundation. Great Lighthouses of Ireland is also supported by Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland and Tourism Ireland.
Great Lighthouses of Ireland
|St John’s Point, Co Donegal||Hook, Co Wexford|
|Fanad Head, Co Donegal||Fastnet Rock Boat Tours|
|Rathlin West Light, Co Antrim||Ballycotton, Co Cork|
|Blackhead, Co Antrim||Galley Head, Co Cork|
|St John’s Point, Co Down||Valentia Island, Co Kerry|
|Wicklow Head, Co Wicklow||Loop Head, Co Clare|
|The Great Light and Titanic Walkway, Belfast||Clare Island, Co Mayo|
Co-founded by Roddy Doyle and Seán Love in 2009, the aim of Fighting Words is to help children and young people, and adults who did not have this opportunity as children, to discover and harness the power of their own imaginations and creative writing skills. At its core, Fighting Words is also about something much broader and more inclusive. It is about using the creative practice of writing and storytelling to strengthen our children and teenagers – from a wide range of backgrounds – to be resilient, creative and successful shapers of their own lives.
Fighting Words provides free tutoring and mentoring in creative writing and related arts to as many children, young adults and adults with special needs as we can reach. Our programmes and workshops are delivered mainly by volunteer writing tutors. Fighting Words operates in 15 locations on the island of Ireland.