Festival of Disappearing Traditions




Through a Department of Foreign Affairs Initiative to support and maintain the Tradition of Storytelling, a West Cork school was invited to link through Skype with an International and Local school in Uganda. This initiative was co-ordinated locally by West Cork Education Centre and the Arts Officer for Cork County Council.

Pat Speight, one of Ireland’s best known storytellers was invited to share some interactive stories with both Ugandan and Irish children through Skype.

History was made at Our Lady of Mercy NS, Bantry, Co. Cork on Friday November 19th 2010 when children from a school in Kampala, Uganda, linked up with second class pupils using Skype as the medium of communication. Excitement  built up during the previous week as the principal Mrs Daly and class teacher Mrs Power had to check the skype connection a few times to make sure everything was in order for the special event.

On Friday November 19th, at 9.30am Irish time and 12.30pm, lunch time in Uganda, the link took place. Pat Speight from Cork had travelled in advance to the school in Kampala. He told an interactive story to the Ugandan and Irish pupils. Pat also sang an interactive song for the Bantry pupils. They certainly did West Cork proud by responding with a song from their religion programme called ‘Circle of Friends’.

It was wonderful to see that two groups of children so far apart could chat to each other live from the comfort of their classrooms and the children from Bantry could see their Ugandan friends on the big screen of their interactive whiteboard. When Pat Speight, more fondly known as ‘Pat the Hat’, returned from Uganda, he visited Our Lady of Mercy NS to support the continuation of this wonderful link between Bantry and Kampala.

West Cork Education Centre was delighted to be involved in this project which not only supported the tradition of storytelling but also demonstrated the notion that the ‘world is at our fingertips’ and in this case it certainly was at the click of a computer mouse! Friendships were developed across the world and children from each school enjoyed their experiential learning while also seeing the potential of skype and the world of technology which is accessible from their classroom.