Celebration for the Armagh winners of the National Astronomy Competition

Link to photos and videos from the event

Pupils from the Royal School Armagh have been invited to a superb astronomy-inspired show of music and dance performed by pupils of Mount St Catherine’s Primary School, on Friday 16 April. The show celebrated the Armagh winners of a national astronomy competition in which the children from both schools took part. The prizes, sponsored by Discover Science and Engineering, were given by the competition organiser, Terry Moseley of the Irish Astronomical Association, and the all-Ireland coordinator of the International Year of Astronomy, Dr Miruna Popescu of Armagh Observatory. The competition winners were James Leetch and Edie Mea McCartney from the Royal School Armagh, and Orlaith O'Halloran, Kaneesha O'Hara, Emma Murtagh, Dylan McCann and Paulina Harabin, from Mount St Catherine's Primary School Armagh. 

Breda Naughton, principal officer in the Department of Education and Science's Integration Unit, who was invited as a special guest to the event, congratulated everybody who has been part of this competition, in particular the students of both Armagh schools. She said “I hope that participating in this competition has opened your imagination to the wonders of the world around us. The light of stars is what you see no matter where you are, in Armagh or anywhere else in the world.” Joan Shine, adviser for science with the Southern Education and Library Board, remarked “It is fantastic that you make such great links with your community.” She continued “Well done everybody, I’m delighted that you are so interested in astronomy!” 

Peter Gildea, Principal of Mount St Catherine’s School, concluded the event by congratulating all the children who entered the competition. He also praised their teachers, Ms Hart, Mrs Campbell and Ms McNicholl from Mount St Catherine’s and Mrs Swan from the Royal School Armagh, as well as Dr Miruna Popescu, who inspired them with the beauty of the sky in astro-art workshops that were part of the programme of activities for the International Year of Astronomy 2009. 

The songs and dances that the children have performed on Friday also mark the beginning of a new programme called OASES, a peace and reconciliation project supported by the European Union through the Southern Cluster Partnership, in which the Armagh Rhymers and Miruna Popescu will use astronomy to bring people together "under the selfsame sky". 

Joan Shine (Southern Education and Library Board), Miruna Popescu (Armagh Observatory), Breda Naughton (Department of Education and Science), Ann Swan (Royal School, Armagh), Brenda Campbell, Peter Gildea, Anne Hart (Mount St Catherine's School, Armagh), Terry Moseley (Irish Astronomical Association) and the Armagh winners of the national astronomy competition:  James Leetch and Edie Mea McCartney, from the Royal School Armagh and Orlaith O'Halloran, Kaneesha O'Hara, Emma Murtagh, Dylan McCann and Paulina Harabin, from Mount St Catherine's Primary School Armagh

Armagh Observatory - Astronomy Education