My Visit To The Oireachtas – By Emily Walsh, Pres, Castleisland

Emily Walsh after being presented with her award by an Cathaoirleach of Seanad Eireann and Kenmare native, Senator Mark Daly. Included are Emily’s mom, Noreen and sister Laura also a student of Presentation Castleisland. Photograph: Maxwell Photography

Presentation Castleisland student, Emily Walsh writes here about her trip to the Oireachtas – an occasion she describes as ‘a phenomenal experience, a day that I will never forget.’

On January last, I entered a competition to mark the anniversary of the centenary of the 1921-1922 Treaty. I chose to write about Austin Stack, my local connection to the Dáil Éireann members who were involved in the debates during the period December 14th 1921 to January 7th 1922.

Austin Stack was part of the first delegation to London, led by Eamon De Valera and later fervently opposed the Treaty. He also fought in the Irish Civil War.

The competition was open to all secondary school students nationwide and I was winner of the power point presentation category where I used QR codes that helped the judges to quickly and easily access the relevant documents.

On Monday, June 23rd I travelled to The Oireachtas with my mother and sister where I was welcomed by Conor Reale, education officer of the Oireachtas and Senator Mark Daly who presented me with my certificate.

We were treated like celebrities when we were given a tour of Leinster House and one of the highlights for me was being able to read the original proclamation from 1916. We were also given a copy of this as a memento of the day.

I bonded with the other attendees from various schools around the country and we were later led to a meeting room where we were given the opportunity to talk about our essays over a delicious three course lunch.

It really was a phenomenal experience, a day that I will never forget!

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