Yesterday the Gaisce Gold Award Ceremony took place in St Patrick’s Hall with our very special guest, the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.
The ceremony celebrated the fantastic achievements of 65 Gold Gaisce Awardees. Many of whom have previously achieved both their Bronze and Silver Gaisce Award.
We were also incredibly fortunate to have the absolutely wonderful Maria Walsh on board as the MC for the event.
This year the Gold Awardees brought along an item from their Gaisce journey to present at a showcase for President Michael D Higgins. The showcase included a whole range of items, from walking boots used on the Camino de Santiago to a Christmas Angel from Uganda to a gospel choir robe.
Of the items on show Gaisce CEO Yvonne McKenna said,
“The items brought along here today just show how unique each Awardees Gaisce Journey is. They are just a snapshot of our Awardees incredible journeys”.
Irish Youth Music Awards band ‘JANAJ’ opened up the ceremony with two spectacular songs, setting the tone for the afternoon ahead.
Gaisce Chairman, John Concannon, also spoke at the ceremony, praising the Awardees for the over 10,000 hours they have collectively contributed to their communities.
Before the Awards were presented, the President of Ireland, who is also the patron of Gaisce, gave a passionate and inspirational speech to the Awardees on the need for civic engagement:
“In our ever-changing world, Ireland needs capable and committed young people. You, along with those who have gone before you, have demonstrated that you are interested in being such young people; young citizens who can play an important role in achieving justice, peace and sustainability in our shared future’’.
As each Awardee was called up on stage to receive their Gold Gaisce Award, Maria Walsh read out a description of their Gaisce Journey. This ranged from the highlight of their journey to ‘3 words to describe Gaisce’. The answers were as varied as the Awardees’ experiences. One Awardee’s highlight was “arriving at the Cathedral in Santiago after walking 115km of the Camino de Santiago, the sense of achievement was indescribable and it is because of participating in Gaisce that I was giving that opportunity”. Another Awardee described Gaisce as ‘Truly Character Building’.
It was only apt that an inspirational young band closed what was such a fantastic occasion. We were very lucky to have four piece rock band ‘The Strypes’ perform two of their hit singles to close out the Gaisce Gold Award ceremony.