PUPILS at St Colman’s National School in New Quay this week received European recognition for their artistic endeavours.
The young people attending the small North Clare school were chosen by the European Committee of the Regions to take part in a competition to communicate their region’s Christmas traditions through art.
Children from eight member States of the European Union participated in the drawing competition and the best three drawings from each primary school were awarded prizes. The children explained also about the traditions in their homes and even gave an introduction to Christmas culinary practices and customs.
In New Quay, celebrations like the annual Christmas Day swim, the community Christmas party as well as the tradition of placing a candle on the window on Christmas Eve featured among the winners. The children entered the competition in late October, dwelling on Christmas a little earlier than many of their peers across the country are encouraged to.
“The project was great because it focused in on Christmas customs in this region and in the country. Often we think of Santa Claus and we forget the particularly Irish customs and the community things that happen in New Quay at Christmas. It was wonderful to take a look at them and realise how important they are to the pupils and the community here. Taking part also gave the children a lot of confidence,” explained Carmel Thynne, principal of the 42-pupil school.
The winning pupils in the school were very happy with the art sets, which arrived this week along with Committee of the Regions merchandise for the rest of the young people who took part.
The European Alliance group in the committee started the project in 2009 engaging children in a learning process about Europe, the regions and traditions.
In 2010, the committee highlighted the role of celebrations in the regions. Because of this, they chose the theme of My region, my Christmas.
The three winning entrants from New Quay had their work exhibited in Brussels alongside images by pupils from Belgium, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.
First prize-winner in New Quay was 11-year-old Siobhán O’Dea.
“My picture represents how much we welcome Mary and Joseph into our homes. Irish people light the candle on Christmas Eve to show that if Mary and Joseph were still looking for a place to stay they would be very welcome. Back then Mary and Joseph couldn’t find a place to stay and no one would welcome them into a house or help them but today, they are very welcome,” she explained.
Nine-year-old Ellie Nolan was named in second place for her depiction of the annual Christmas Day swim at the Flaggy Shore. Caoimhe Campbell, 11, came third in the school for her picture of the Santa Party, a community gathering which takes place every year in early December.
Anyone wishing to see all the winning entries can do so by logging on to www.ea.cor.europa.eu.