Bloomsday 2024: Young Author Competition

Diary of a Selkie in The Future. By Maggie

Wednesday the 16th of June

I wake up as normal to the sound of the strong, gentle silver lappings that lead to my home in Cullane underwater City splashing against the rocky land. The city is the most fantastic place I have ever been with its happy underwater creatures and incredible stalls selling all kinds of food and garment for the creatures of the lough. The best of all is the outstanding castle made of smooth, white, stone which seems to shine and glitter like a massive diamond. My family moved there before I was born from the harsh seas of the Orkney Isles. I miss my family – but most of all I miss my four little sisters Abhann, Citri, Sirbe, and the youngest Oigeth.  

I’ve never understood why humans want all these terrible world-wrecking gadgets! The human children never play along the lakeside, splashing each other with cool lake water in the summer morns anymore. I guess I do not completely understand humans so much.

I get out of my bed but my head feels drowsy and aches badly as if I’ve been drinking mead all night long.  I pull on my woolen dress (It’s extremely hard to find them these days because people don’t seem be in need of sheep or wool anymore!) and tie up my long, black and silver, bedraggled, hair. I need to go to shop for I have nae food left to eat. I hoist my feet into my large, sheepskin boots.
My human legs feel cracked and overused as I stand up. I can’t keep living like this or I will never see my family ever again.

I plod slowly down the abandoned human road, trying to spot any birds or squirrels but, like always, I am left woebegon and disappointed for I remember that times have changed since I came ashore. People have changed too. Their personalities have downed. There is so much war going on that the world is falling apart. Their large corporations are tearing down wildlife and putting unsightly machine factories in their place.

Oh I wish I could stop it all but I am just ONE selkie. I reach the town that I used to call Tulach. (Nowadays they call it Tulla2119) I walk vigoursly in the direction of the human “grocery store”. I stop and peer in the window of the flashy human clothes shop to see what stupid clothing these humans treasure the most.
I cannot believe what I see on sale as a unusual coat.
MY SEAL SKIN!

Ulysses through the knee-deep snow. By Laragh

The icy wind whipped across Ulysses’ face as she trudged through the knee-deep snow. Her numb fingers clutching what was left of her snowboard, she looked around for any sign of life, a glimmer of light, a lone hut, anything. All she could see for miles was snow. An entirety of white – a whiteout. 

Her body grew weaker, minute by minute – she slowly began losing the ability to move. “I should have stayed in the hut, at least I could rest, I was safe,” she muttered to herself. However she knew that wasn’t entirely true. She hadn’t been safe by herself; she had no chance there, no hope, but at least it had been warm, warmer than the freezing, inhospitable arctic plains of Dublin she was currently desperately scouting. She’d have starved there eventually or died of loneliness, or both. 

Just yesterday she had been sitting in her grandfather’s cabin in County Dublin, a once cheerful old shack, full of life, laughter and love, reading, and hearing stories of Ireland back in the old days before climate change transformed the lush landscape. But with granddad Joyce gone It now felt empty, she felt empty, felt like she’d lost her sanctuary and so she had set out on her epic journey. 

Her thoughts of her grandfather kept her going, as she heaved herself through mountains of glacial snow, on a desperate quest to find someone, anyone…. All of a sudden, through the clouds of snow, a dark shape appeared, breaking the monotonous, endless white. Heart leaping, she quickened her pace as fast as her numb body would allow. But as quickly as it had appeared, the shape seemed to melt back into the snow, and it was gone. “GodDamnIt! I’m not just freaking out here, I’m going crazy too”, she muttered to herself. 

At this point her body could no longer move, every hair on her face had turned to ice, her breath shallow and her heartbeat began to beat slower and slower. She wasn’t sure if he was dead yet, but she knew she would be very soon. 

Her body gave way, falling quietly onto a soft bed of snow. This was it. “I’m coming grandpa” she said softly. “I’m coming…”  

“Oh no you’re not” came a loud voice from in front of her. A moment later she felt her body being lifted off the ground, as her eyes closed and her mind blacked out. 

Ulysses awoke. “Where am I?” she spluttered, feeling warm, a soft tingling all over her body, like popping-candy in her veins.

“Don’t worry, you’re safe now” came voices from nearby, somewhere in the room. She sat up, covered by warm layers of animal skin, looked around, and saw an old but welcoming cabin, like her grandfather’s, and through the window, a village of similar cabins with a glimpse of a stone tower and a frozen sea beyond.  A group of people were gathered nearby smiling their welcome to Sandycove

Cyber City by Aisha

It was wet. Soaking wet. Rose officially hated it. Though she was inside, she still hated it. The downpour had lasted an hour by now. Rose lay on her bed, staring at her phone, which was the size of an A4 page. The window beside her displayed the incandescent glow of sky-high flats.

Hovercars were beeping and violent shrieks were heard within earshot of her window. The rain cascading off the panes was the only calming noise. Rose was currently in Dublin for the summer holidays of 2124. This modern- day, virtual metropolis was historically home to Vikings and Celts. Every building was pulsing with electricity and adverts flashed on colossal billboards, drawing the attention of any passerby. Rose glanced at her smartwatch. 10:53. She turned off her phone, rubbing her eyes from the bright light. Rose sighed, irritated. Then a familiar chilly hand tapped her shoulder, causing shivers to spread over her.

“What’s the matter, pet?” the voice softened.

Rose only grunted. She sat up and looked at her robot friend, Lily, in a sorrowful manner. Lily sat tentatively next to her, tipping her head to the side. “Maybe you need something to eat?” she proposed. Rose nodded as Lily tidied up her belongings. She tapped a blue button near her desk, causing it to fold up into the rectangular dent in the wall. The desk perfectly matched the pastel wallpaper. You couldn’t even tell it was there. Next, Lily clapped her steel hands, which opened the wall beside the desk to reveal Rose’s walk-in wardrobe. Lily grabbed a blanket and they proceeded towards the automatic door, exiting the room.

At the breakfast table, Lily located the necessary components for the Robotic Meal Maker. The contraption looked like a massive microwave. It had a large transparent screen, side controls, and a timer. Rose stared longingly at the food

Lily was taking out: burger and chips – her favourite! That was the best part about the Robotic Meal Maker; your food would be ready in seconds. After she was done, it was 11:24 – the ideal time to play in the Gravity Room. Her feet were suddenly swept off the ground as she entered. Toys floated and swirled around. After a few hours, she felt exhausted. Pressing a button on the wall, she slowly drifted back to the ground, as did the toys. Despite all the fun, she still felt melancholy. “Why don’t you speak to your best friend Niamh?” Lily suggested. “Great idea!” Rose responded, taking out her phone and placing it on the floor. She crouched down and pressed ‘Hologram Mode’ on the screen. As she typed ‘Niamh’ in the name bar, Niamh appeared via the projection on her phone. They talked to each other until Rose heard the doorbell ring. To her surprise, it was her parents! They had come home early. She hugged them both tightly.

She decided that even though the world was so tech now, nothing was better in the world than seeing her parents.

Same Moth by Willow

Once upon a time, in 2124, a girl called Sienna was walking along a pebble path. There were many graves around her, some featuring a few dead poppies. She looked over a high stone wall. Kids playing with hoverboards and doing AI things. Sienna was an only child, and she had no one to play with. She exited the old iron gate and parted leaves on a bush, then stumbled through.

Yelping, she fell into nettles. It hurt a lot. Sienna felt tears welling up. She let them fall.

“Are you OK?” asked a thickly accented Texan voice. Sienna opened her eyes. She saw a girl with short black hair and green eyes. The girl offered her a hand. “My name’s Pauline.”

“Sienna.”

“Do you want to be friends?” she asked. Sienna nodded. Then Pauline stared at a big rock with faded letters spelling Curragh. “Humanity has changed a lot, since a hundred years ago. My granny described it differently.”

Sienna agreed. Drones were flying about carrying takeaways and AIs were everywhere shearing sheep. She said, “What do you want to do?”

“Let’s play.”

Smiling, they ran off through the gorse bushes. They descended towards a lake. Pauline jumped in. She splashed Sienna. Laughs glided over the water. As the morning sun turned to the afternoon the girls sat on the shore. Sienna looked at the reeds. She spotted something fuzzy.

“Look!” she said. “It’s a caterpillar.” “Cool!” Pauline said.

“I think it’ll become a butterfly.”

“No,” Pauline decided. “It looks like it will be a moth.” “It’s pretty.”

Then the girls went over to climb a tree. They each brought some lunch. Pauline talked about school. “You know, it’s my school’s 120th anniversary next week,” said Sienna, pointing at a rusty-coloured building. “Whoa. Come on, let’s play.”

An evening light glazed the land. Finally Pauline’s dads called her. “Bye Sienna,” she said, hugging her. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” Then she left on her hoverboard.

“Bye,” croaked Sienna. She knelt down near the reeds. She looked at the caterpillar in a cocoon. Sienna started to sob. The sadness was overwhelming, blinding her.

When the tears left her eyes, she noticed wings sprouting out of the cocoon. Suddenly, it transformed to a moth, emerging from the case. It flapped away. She smiled. Sienna dragged herself to her feet. She started to follow it. The moth was disappearing so she ran.

Many things had changed throughout time humans evolved. But moths had stayed the same. Tiny remnants of old. That was why she needed to follow it. Pauline stared at the sky. Her dads were inside the house. She saw a moth gliding along. Her heart tugged after it. Then she ran. She came around a corner.

“Sienna!” Pauline screamed. Sienna smiled. Everything seemed weird. Regular things weren’t regular back when things were simpler 100 hundred years ago realised Sienna. But still it was great having met Pauline. They probably had sad and good times too.

Then they hugged happily.

Newry dinosaurs by Adanna

Picture the setting. Me. My town in the year 2124. 2124 is only a 100 years away. A day in my life imagined. It looks very different to now. Skyscrapers frame the skyline. Minimum 10 stories tall. The world has changed. For better or worse? Who knows. Just changed. 

I wake up early, grab myself something nutritious from the InstaMake and get ready to go to McClelland Park, a reminder of olden times Newry, to meet my friends, all girls, from towers 1, and 2. It is protected by our housing project.  We have the day off from our research project for school where we are trying to work out how to cope with some of the dangers unleashed with DNA retrieval. 

A museum and arts group have put together a day of retro play and readings from a very old book called Ulysses, with a picture of person in a hat and glasses on it, and we are curious about it and the simple games they used to play long ago. The light just manages to reach the centre of the space, a few flowers bloom, and it feels great to be out here. We have uncomplicated fun meeting others from our Newry sector who are at the event, playing ring toss, painting…the atmosphere is relaxed. 

We are playing a skipping game when suddenly over the chanting of an ancient rhyme we feel it, boom, boom, BOOM…

The Down Dinasaurs have broken through their enclosure barriers again – rampaging our way. We press the warning buzzers. Activate the screens. 

But too late, the music is too loud and we didn’t hear the danger in time…

I remember an idea we’ve been working on in our research project. 

I use the system for the event to call on everyone to, on the count of three, scream as loud as they can, for a long as they can. 

I can’t believe they listen to me, but they do – every single person, and the sound echoes throughout the city….

In the deafening silence after this we hear…

Nothing. 

Suddenly a message comes through – the dinosaurs have been seen by the sea at Warrenpoint. We won’t see them again.   Life returns to normal. 

2124 by Kepa

I woke up only to hear the sound of thunder and lightning. I sit up and grab my phone. I start scrolling online. When my mother calls me down for breakfast, I get up but my legs are asleep. Instead of taking the stairs, I take the elevator downstairs, where I see my mother and grandfather. I ask the AI to turn on the TV while I’m making breakfast. I look out the kitchen window to see nothing. Nobody went outside any more. Maybe because people were only allowed outside for 30 minutes or people think it’s just too dangerous. The sky is always covered in black clouds. When I finish my breakfast I go to watch TV. Five minutes later, my 200 year old grandfather comes into the room. He tells me to turn off the TV and to go and play. He’s always saying that when he was 100 years old people used to go outside all the time. I ask for 10 more minutes. He walks into the kitchen. I turn on the news. On the headline I see North Strand gone. I’m worried – my best friend Thomas lives there. I decide to find my friend. I take the car and I ask it if it can take me to North Strand. On the way, I check my phone to check the weather forecast. These days it is usually wrong. It’s set to snow at two o’clock. I check my watch, It’s 1:59. Hopefully it’s wrong. As I get out and try to look for Thomas’s house all I can see is a swamp. I start walking. The water is up to my chest. I try to remember the way to Thomas’s house. Then to my surprise it starts snowing and the water starts to go up, It’s nearly up to my chin about a minute later. I can’t even touch the ground and just as I think my luck can’t get any worse, I see a figure. My first thought is that maybe he or she is stuck and I should go and help them but I then realise that they are the ones getting closer. The water is getting deeper. I look down and then up again only to see nobody. I’m getting nervous. I start picking up speed. I finally see Thomas’s house, but no, this wasn’t a house anymore, the roof was gone, furniture, bricks, everything. I see Thomas. I shout at him. A second later I’m grabbed by the leg and pulled underwater. I look into the water to see who or what this was. It was some kind of creature. It’s green, scaly skin, its huge eyes and sharp teeth. My only idea is to kick it as the creature lets go. I swim for my life. I can feel it close behind me. I finally get to Thomas’s house or whatever you call it. Now I see Thomas. He’s delighted to see me. I ask him how we will get out of the swamp. He says the Irish army are on their way. Five minutes later we see the helicopter. We get on with Thomas’s family. When I get home, all I can think of is that Year 2124 is some crazy year. 

Sligo by Rosa

Hi there, recently, someone from the past (2024 to be exact) wanted to know what the future was like. Our town decided that somebody should write a letter about a day in their life in the future. So, we had a raffle and I won, so here goes:  

7am: My robot butler wakes me up and makes me breakfast. I grab my tablet and press my new app, ‘ThinkAbout’. You think about something and it happens. Obviously, it has its limits: you can’t have anything food-related (my robot butler does that) and you can’t have anything in the future. I thought about getting changed into my uniform and counted to 10 in my head.

7.15am: I rushed downstairs and finished my homework which was to design a time traveller. You see, the scientists had recently discovered a way of time travel, but they couldn’t think of a design. So, there’s a competition. Just as I’d finished, it was time to go to school. Our car is a limited edition Teleporter 2100. It has a range of buttons and a keyboard. We typed in our school and a video came up. We pressed a parking space and BAM, we were there. ‘Bye’ I said to my sister and parents and ran off to the fourth classroom.

9.15am: I sat down at my hovering table, our new school is a flying school, it’s in the air all the time and it flies, it’s kind of like a ship. Sometimes it jumps around the place. The architect who designed it was also part of the team of scientists that discovered time travel. He said that it would help us concentrate in school (it didn’t). I remember I’ve ‘Changing Times’ today. Our school decided to do this new subject where we learn about the major things that got fixed in the past. It’s kind of like history, but more positive. The bell rang, it was time for Maths.

12pm: Then it was time for changing times. ‘Today, we’re going to be learning about climate change. In 2024, the world was very worried about climate change. So, in 2025, they stopped climate change. And that’s why the world is what it is now’. As she was talking, I thought about how different it would have been if things hadn’t been fixed.

4pm After school, I decided to visit my grandparents. They were born in 2014 and 2015 and they’re 110 and 111. They know a lot about the past. ‘Okay’, I began, when they were both seated on the couch. ‘What would you say are the three major things that have changed the most? ‘Well, technology for a start, and people live longer. There’s been so many medical breakthroughs that hardly anyone dies from illness anymore. I also think there’s been no wars for ages: the world is finally at peace! Thanks, guys. ‘Bye’, I said to them as I ran off home for dinner.

Thank you for reading about my day in your future!

The Swamp by Peigí

As Lily walked along the street, ankle deep in water that was rising by the day, she saw her friends; Conor and Elle. They waves and flew over on their hoverboards, which Lily didn’t have. They jumped down and the three of them waked in companionable silence, up the North Strand Road. Lily thought they were probably wishing the same thing as her. Wishing for the time before the robots, before the ever darkening sky and before their houses were destroyed. Most houses were. They did it to build better, higher ones. Ones that could take the water. The sky and the smoke were worst though. Lily had seen it change from blue skies and green grass to red-ish black skies and grey concrete in only a few years. Now, thirteen and a half years after she was born, and everything was normal, she lived in a terrible world. Only, it was the same place, underneath all the damage. The place where her, Conor, and Elle had all grown up together.

They got to school and scanned their faces at an AI Robot inside the door. Lily waited as Conor and Elle locked their hoverboards to the wall outside the school. Lots of kids were flooding into classrooms alongside their personal AI Robots. Others came in wearing fancy headphones, watches, etc. Lily found all this very strange as all this new technology appeared very suddenly. Lily pulled her dry school shoes and left her rubber boots on a rack which already held two neat, long rows of colourful boots. Lily suddenly remembered she had a full day of history ahead and sighed. They were learning about Covid-19 and World War III: At the end of the day Elle, Lily and Conor put pack on their boots. Lily waited as Conor and Elle got their hoverboards. They decided to go to the Fairview Swamp, which apparently used to be a park. Three minutes later they were wading through murky water up to their knees. Suddenly, Lily stopped. She tried to lift her feet but found she couldn’t. She was stuck in a small pool of quicksand. She was sinking. Quickly. The sludgy water had already nearly up to Lily’s waist. Elle and Conor started to pull at Lily’s arms. “Hurry”! shouted Lily as the water neared her neck. Suddenly Conor noticed a crowd of people walking over the decrepit Annesley Bridge. Conor ran over and started pulling to surprised Gardaí away from the crowd. As soon as they saw Lily they grabbed the arm that Elle wasn’t pulling at. The water covering Lily’s mouth. She couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t see. They pulled. She couldn’t hear. Darkness.

Dome by Mia

Hot. Everything`s soo… hot. It is about 55 Degrees Centigrade at the moment but we`ve had worse. My name is Mia. The kids around East Wall mock my name. At least it`s not as silly as Moonray or Lenoria which are AI picked names. I`m struggling not to fall asleep on the soft grass of Fairview Park this afternoon, due to the heat. I`m bored so I start thinking about my age. I`m 11 at the moment but I can change that. I have a little device in my arm that allows me to tinker with my age. I love being 11. I have no worries at the moment…well, almost. The thing is its hard not to be worried when you are trapped in a gigantic dome with no escape. The dome runs all the way around Dublin, the only place in the world that has life left. The reason why? All life has completely died around us. The plants charred and black. The earth fragile and weak. No one has watered, or so much as touched it in over 70 years. The AI took over in 2055 when they killed the Taoiseach. That caused uproar and the whole world was involved fighting with us. But the AI conquered them all. They destroyed all but Dublin to remind us we can never win. We will ALWAYS loose. So here we are stuck in a dome with plastic trees, artificial water, and screens advertising things to help our brain rot. I live in East Wall. It`s quite different now than before the war, everything is so artificial, not colourful, just dark, grimy, sickeningly sweet fumes of jellies and chocolate intoxicating the air. I don’t want to go back; you see nowhere is safe, they have cameras everywhere. They know what you are up to and they`ll never stop till you are as good as dead. They take people you love, people you care about and torture them. They took my best friend Jane. I saw her hooked up to one of their torture machines, screaming! Fading, dying. It was excruciating for her and for me.  Now she is gone. Now I have no reason to live, not just because of Jane but because of my life here. But that’s what they want, they want you to live a painful life and die a horribly long slow death. So, I can`t give up not on my life and not on my dream to lead a revolution to kill the AI once and for all. They stole our rights our families, our friends our joy and our homes. There is at least one person dead per day. The population is constantly going down. We will never live. We have only got 1000 people left. Now the world has just become a desolate wasteland.

2124 by Sophie

Today as I walked out the door of my techhouse, in Clooney Village, I noticed what a lovely sunny day it was so I asked my brother Isaac if he wanted to play Electrofrisbee with me. He said “Sure Aimee, but if I win you have to do my chores for the week: charge the electric helicopter, recycle all our rubbish in the electric recycle sorter and order the food we need for dinner and program the drone to collect it.” “Fine,” I moaned, “but if I win you owe me five electrocoins.” “ Alright,” sighed Isaac.

We started to play. The Electrofrisbee whizzed through the air, over and back, over and back. After ten minutes the score was level, 9-9. Whoever got to ten points first was the winner! I knew I had to win! I hurled the frisbee as hard as I could….. but Isaac was just too good! He sent it back flying, so hard and so fast that it flew straight past me! Isaac had won. “Noooooo!” I cried. “Yesssss!” Isaac screamed. “You have to do my chores, you have to do my chores!” Isaac sang over and over again. So, I got to work.

First, I had to charge the electric helicopter. It was a sunny day so the solar panels would work. I plugged in the helicopter and flicked the switch. Next, I took all of our rubbish in the motor bins and brought them to the electric recycle sorter. I threw all the rubbish into the chute and all the recycling got sorted into the blue bin for waste, into the black bin and, finally into the brown one for the compost. Lastly, I had to order today’s dinner. I got the foodpad and ordered pasta with chicken and broccoli and lots of vegetables. For our drinks I ordered milk because it gives you lots of calcium. For dessert I got strawberries and cream, my favourite! When I finished ordering the food, I plugged out the drone and programmed it to collect our food from the electrostore at 5:30 pm. “Phew!” I said as I had finished the chores, “that was tiring work!”

Not long after we all sat down for dinner, the food arrived. We were all exhausted! Mum had been washing the windows with the electric window-washer, Dad had been at work selling hover-cars, Isaac had been with his friends at the hoverskate park and I had been doing boring old chores. We all ate and drank our meal and after that it was time for our powershowers. As I stepped into the shower, it was set to the perfect temperature, my favourite music played and my favourite scent filled the air as I washed. Then the shower dried me with heat waves and fluffy towels. It dressed me in my pyjamas and then it was time to go to sleep. That night I knew the minute my head hit my powerpillow in my superbed I would fall fast asleep!

A day in 2124 by Zoe

 It’s 2124 and it’s still horrible in Ireland. You would have thought it got better but no, it’s the same old weather. I’m in 4th class in school and the teachers are replaced by robots. That’s the bell I better go or I’ll be late.  “You’re late Ava!” the robot exclaimed.  “ I’m sorry.”  “ I’ll let it slide this time.”   “ Ok class, what’s 234 multiplied by 7?”   “1638” Lara answered.  “Correct Lara.”  The bell rang. Everyone knew it was lunch so they took their lunch and ate. All of a sudden the robot’s eyes turned red . The prime minister said on the radio, “Everyone calm down, everything is going to be ok, leave the classroom slowly and exit the building. I’ll tell you everything you need to know later.” So everyone left the building and the prime minister told us everything about how the robots are taking over and also how we have to go to Dublin. “ I thought Dublin was a legend .”  I asked out of curiosity. “ Well… we’re not sure if it’s real or not but, grab stuff, it’s going to be a long journey.”  We went home to grab materials , I got some food and lots of water and a bendy stick for protection of course! Why else?. I turned around to see two pairs of glowing red eyes staring at me. I made a run for it and made it to the class when I hit the robot with my stick and continued walking.” I’m sooo tired, can we have a break please,” Alex asked with boredom . “Look, we are here!”  Dublin was green unlike Carlow. Carlow was all dirt because the people polluted the place. Dublin was really nice, no wonder the people hid this place. Anyways back to the story. “How are we going to stop them?” I questioned. “I know how to stop them,” said a mysterious voice. I looked over and there was Isabelle Foy. (The creator of the robots) “HOW HOW!” screamed most of the kids in my class, while the others stayed silent. She began to say “You need a very special stick … I interrupted, “maybe it’s this, it’s glowing.”  “WHERE DID YOU FIND THAT I’VE BEEN SEARCHING EVERYWHERE FOR IT!!”  “ Calm down, I found it beside my house”. “ You mean I could have found it that easily, where do you live?” she asked angrily,  “ Carlow.”  I answered, “Anyways, how do we stop the robots?”   “You have to hit their leader Bob and I’m Bob.”   “ WHAT, you’re joking.”   A Day in 2124  Before she started attacking I hit Bob and the robots turned normal again. “Ok class, back to school.” demanded the prime minister “ NOOOOOOOOOO” shouted everyone . END (sadly)

Our Bloomsday Finalists

We would be delighted to share the details of our 10 finalists, but your entries were so good, we had a top 11!!! So, in alphabetical order, meet them all.

Adanna, age 14, from Newry. Dinosaurs

Aisha, age 10, from Dublin. Cybercity

Kepa, age 12, from Dublin. Year 2124

Laragh, age 15, from Dublin. Ulysses

Maggie, age 10, from Clare. Diary of a Selkie

Mia, age 12, from Dublin. Dome

Peigí, age 13, from Dublin. The Swamp

Rosa, age 10, from Sligo. Location Sligo

Sophie, age 12, from Clare. 24-06-2124

Willow, age 10, from Kildare. Same Moth

Zoe, age 10, from Dublin. A day in the life.

Our wonderful guest judges have been reading the amazing entries and are trying to identify their favourite. We had so many great pieces submitted, so well done to everyone, but especially to our 11 finalists who will be invited to our Awards Ceremony in Marsh’s Library on Friday September 6th. Every finalist will receive a very fancy Certificate of Participation and feedback on their writing from some of our judges.

We thank our sponsors (Experience Glasnevin, Faber-Castell, Futa Fata, Gill Books, & The O’Brien Press) as well as our friends in Marsh’s Library.

And finally …. a special award to two schools for the overall high quality of entries and enthusiasm of their teachers and pupils. The Blooming Amazing Bloomsday Schools are St Columba’s NS in North Strand and Scoil Thomais in Castleknock.

Meet the judges

We have an incredible panel of judges this year! In alphabetical order, meet Ciarán Collins, Dave Rudden, Elaine Feeney, John McCourt, Nathan Finn, Sofia Zambetti, Tony Hall and Zainab Boladale.

Ciarán Collins

His debut novel The Gamal was published internationally by Bloomsbury and was translated into several languages. The novel was critically acclaimed with The New York Times hailing it as ‘remarkable.’ It won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and Le Prix Des Lecteurs Escapades in France. Ciaran’s play Primal was produced to critical acclaim in Cork Arts Theatre in 2019. He works as a post-primary teacher of English and Irish and lives with his wife and family in Kinsale, Co. Cork. 

Dave Rudden

Dave writes young adult fiction, juvenile fantasy and science fiction. He is best known for Knights of the Borrowed Dark. Awards include the Irish Book Award for Best Senior Children’s Book and the 2016 Great Reads Most Read Award. He teaches creative writing, and is DCU’s Young People, Children and Education Artist in Residence, having formerly been DCU’s Writer in Residence in 2022.

Elaine Feeney

Elaine has published three poetry collections, and her debut novel, As You Were, won Dalkey Emerging Writer Prize, The Kate O’ Brien Prize, Society of Authors’ McKitterick Prize, and was shortlisted for Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Her 2023 novel, How to Build a Boat, was longlisted for The Booker Prize, shortlisted for Novel of the Year at Irish Book Awards and won Tatler’s Literature Award, 2023. A new collection, All the Good Things You Deserve is forthcoming in 2024. She lectures at University of Galway.

Prof. John McCourt

John is President of the International James Joyce Foundation and a member of the academic board of the International Yeats Summer School. He co-founded and continues to co-direct the Trieste Joyce School. He has been visiting professor or fellow at Concordia University, Montreal, Université de Valenciennes, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3, the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Centre, University of Texas, the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of many books and articles on James Joyce and on 19th and 20th century Irish literature including Consuming Joyce 100 Years of Ulysses in Ireland.

Nathan Finn

Nathan is a technical writer from Dublin and semi-finalist of Irish tv quiz show Ireland’s Smartest. He is a graduate of Dublin City University and Munster Technological University – formerly Cork Institute of Technology. His undergraduate thesis focused on a comparative analysis of James Joyce’s Ulysses using the literary theories of Mikhail Bakhtin – for which he received the John Killeen medal in English literature from DCU.

Sofia Zambetti

Sofia is a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington D.C., with a major in English Literature and a minor in Musical Theory. Originally from The Bronx, in New York, she has relocated to Ireland. Here, she has discovered her true passion at the intersection of literature and music. Her thesis analyzed the portrayal of women and womanhood within James Joyce’s iconic work, Ulysses. In her leisure time, Sofia continues to weave creative narratives through both literature and music, drawing inspiration from her life in Dublin.

Prof. Tony Hall

Tony is a Professor of Education in the School of Education, University of Galway. A graduate of Physical Education & English, he also holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching Shakespeare. He was a former second-level English teacher and is a published poet, reading his poetry at Cúirt Festival, Galway. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of two of Ireland’s leading educational publications, Education Matters/Education Matters Yearbook and Irish Educational Studies.

Zainab Boladale

Zainab is a journalist and author with a passion for unconventional narratives. In 2017, she made her TV debut as a Presenter on RTÉ’s children’s program, news2day, presenting stories from around the world to young people in Ireland. Since 2019, her work on RTÉ Nationwide takes her on the road, allowing her to explore new landscapes. She enjoys exploring other forms of storytelling and regularly contributes to publications, two of which won at the An Post Irish Book Awards in 2023. She made her debut as a filmmaker in 2023 with Worthy, a short queer film showcased at the GAZE International Film Festival.

Competition Rules

Welcome to our annual Bloomsday competition. Please read on to learn about what’s involved, what to write, and how to submit an entry. Whether the author is a primary school pupil or a second level student, these core rules apply:

  • EXTENDED Deadline is Noon, Tuesday June 4th 2024 and the author must be under 18 on that date.
  • Entries must not exceed 500 words, and cannot include defamatory, distressing, or inappropriate content.
  • The story must be based where the young writer is currently living or recently lived, but set 100 years into the future.
  • Each entry should only include the writer’s first name, age, and approximate location (county in Ireland / country if outside Ireland). Contact details for a responsible adult are collected separately.

Author guidelines

See below for slightly different guidelines for primary pupils (typically, aged 12 or younger) and second level students.

Primary school pupils

James Joyce was an Irish writer who wrote a very famous book called Ulysses. In it, he describes a day in the life of three main characters, living in Dublin over 100 years ago. Think of where you live right now. What might it have been like 100 years ago? Would it be very different? Now, think 100 years into the future. In 2124, what do you think life will be like where YOU live? What will people be like and what will the area be like? Now, write a story about one day in the life of one character (it can be you or someone else), and base it where you live. Tell us what it is like in 2124, what has changed in people’s lives and what has stayed the same.

Second level students

James Joyce was an Irish writer who wrote a very famous novel called Ulysses. The story takes place over a single day, June 16th, 1904. It follows the activities of three main characters, who offer a unique perspective on the changes happening in Dublin at that time. Often people say that Dublin is the fourth character, because Joyce weaves the city’s streets, landmarks, and cultural nuances into the fabric of the story. Ulysses captures the essence of early 20th century Dublin, a city emerging from cultural and political unrest, and gives a snapshot of this time. You are asked to create a story that reflects and pays homage to Joyce’s ability to capture social, political and cultural changes, but is based in the future (2124). It must include main characters, each offering a unique perspective on where you live, as you think it will be in 100 years from now. If you use artificial intelligence (AI) as part of the creative process, you must indicate how it has been used and explain how you have put your own unique, personal and creative stamp/angle of this story to make it an original entry.

How to submit entries

Young authors cannot submit their own work. Entries must be emailed on their behalf by a teacher or responsible adult, with appropriate parental permission. Do not include the entries in the main body of the email. Send them as an attached file (e.g., a Word document or PDF) to eeivers@museumofchildhood.ie.

Each attached file must:

  • include the story itself, the writer’s first name, age and their location (county or country).
  • not include any other identification information.

In the email itself, the adult submitting must:

  • confirm that the story is original, it is the work of the author, and it is based where the author currently lives or previously lived.
  • provide their own contact and personal details.

If you are a teacher submitting on behalf of one or more pupils or students, you only need to confirm originality once, for all entries submitted. Please also include your school name and roll number. This information will be used to identify prize-winning schools.

More information

Full terms and conditions of the competition: https://museumofchildhood.ie/writing-art-project-2020-terms-and-conditions/

Governance: https://museumofchildhood.ie/governance/