Ruairi Farrell, principal of Greystones Community College, Co. Wicklow, received the prestigious Teachers Inspire Ireland Desmond Award. At a special ceremony in Dublin City University, hosted by RTÉ Broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan, Mr. Farrell was recognised for the inspirational role he played in the lives of his students, alongside three other teachers from across Ireland.
Mr. Farrell was nominated by past pupil Ciara Nolan who was struggling with an eating disorder during her time in school. Mr. Farrell took action and made an appointment for her then 17-year-old Ciara to see a counsellor, which helped her get the help she needed. Ciara says: “Mr. Farrell would always pull you aside if he thought you were having a bad day, and really took the time to sit and listen to anything you had to say.” With his help and support Ciara said that Mr. Farrell saved her both mentally and physically.
Organised and run by Dublin City University, Teachers Inspire is an Ireland-wide initiative that seeks to celebrate teachers and recognise the transformative role they play in our lives and in our communities. Acclaimed Author, Louise O’Neill, returned as this year’s curator and host of the Teachers Inspire podcast where she spoke to some of the nominees about the challenges they faced at school and how their teachers helped them overcome them. On her involvement with the Teachers Inspire initiative, Louise said: “It is an honour to curate and host the Teachers Inspire podcast once again. I have loved and felt immensely privileged to listen to and to share the stories of the nominators and nominees from across Ireland. Coming from a family of teachers, I have seen first hand how much love, passion and effort goes into the job, and every single teacher deserves to be recognised for the work that they do when it comes to shaping the lives of future generations.”
The Teachers Inspire initiative is generously supported by a philanthropic donation from Mr. Dermot Desmond. Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Desmond said: “In all that they do, teachers have a profoundly positive influence on the lives of our children and young people. They are true heroes of Irish society. For that reason, I have been genuinely delighted to support the Teachers Inspire initiative since it launched in 2019. I want to congratulate this year’s worthy recipients and indeed, every teacher who was nominated.”
Professor Anne Looney, Executive Dean of Dublin City University’s Institute of Education, said:
“Teachers Inspire celebrates the incredible contribution teachers make to young people and their communities across Ireland. The podcast has received a huge response, and to listen to the remarkable stories of teachers influencing lives in such positive and profound ways, is truly inspiring.
These stories are part of Ireland’s great teaching heritage and our reputation for producing some of the best teachers in the world. These are the stories that inspire the next generation of teachers – especially the thousands studying with us in DCU Institute of Education, and the many more who apply each year to join our teacher education programmes. And these stories are also a reflection of the calibre and status of teachers and teaching in Irish society. We need to keep telling these stories: our children and young people deserve great and inspiring teachers.”