Mercy Mounthawk has a distinguished tradition in both debating and public speaking. We frequently have made the later stages of national competitions in the Concern debates and in Spanish debates. Debating provides students with an excellent opportunity to develop communication skills and to gain a deeper knowledge of topical issues in the greater world.
Each year we hold a 2nd year in-house competition which is enthusiastically attended and hard-fought. It provides a wonderful introduction to debating and speech writing.
The now annual Staff ‘v’ Students Christmas debate draws a great crowd every. This is great fun with the only real rule that it is not to be taken seriously!
2018 – 2019
Munster Schools Debating, Mr. Fleming
This year saw Mercy Mounthawk take part in the Denny Munster Schools Debating Competition for the first time. This well-established competition is hosted by UCC Philisoph and offers students the opportunity to compete at a very high level against schools from all over the province. Debates include the opportunity to offer ‘points of information’ during opponents’ speeches and all speakers can expect to be subjected to some often robust counter-argument.
It was wonderful then, that in our first year entering, a team of two speakers made it all the way to the final! Sean Hennessey and John McCrohan won through several rounds to make it to the final. On the way, they successfully argued against the use of violence to further the environmental agenda in one round and they also opposed the introduction of a law which would compel bystanders to intervene in violent crimes among other motions. In the final they debated in favour of a motion on the appointment of minorities to college professorships but lost out on the day to a most impressive team from CBC Cork. The boys were fantastic representatives of the school in every debate they took part in and certainly set a high benchmark for future Mounthawk teams in the competition.
We were also very ably represented in earlier rounds by Isobel Keane and Timothy Grimes. Both performed brilliantly and added to the presence of the school in the competition. Isobel, in particular, did well progressing to the quarter final stage only to be undone by a very difficult motion.
Christmas 2018: Staff v’s Students
In 2012 Mercy Mounthawk won the All-Ireland title in the Gael Linn Irish language debating competition. For an account of the their successful campaign, Craobh na hÉireann I gComórtas
In 2008 Hayley Moore won the All-Ireland Lion’s Club Public Speaking Competition.
Mercy Mounthawk has a very strong record in the All-Ireland Concern Debating Competition having been national quarter finalists in 2008 and 2009.
The Soroptimist Competition is an annual event designed to help young girls become more confident in and improve on their public speaking skills. Katie Crowe, Niamh McMahon, Alimat Babatunde, Nour Khidr and Isobel Keane represented the school in Killarney on November 29th.Niamh Mc Mahon and Katie Crowe, winners at the Killarney Soroptimist competition went on to compete in the Munster finals in Clonmel on 26 January. Niamh McMahon went on to distinguish herself at the National Finals in the K Club in May.
Poetry Aloud 2019
Majella Votta is National Winner of Poetry Aloud Poetry Aloud is an annual poetry speaking competition for post-primary school students across the island of Ireland. There were more than 1,700 entries received in 2018. The final event had 29 students from across the country compete in the junior, intermediate and senior categories. As the senior category winner, Majella Votta received €300, and as overall winner she was presented with a further cash prize and the Seamus Heaney perpetual trophy. Majella first entered Poetry Aloud in TY, essentially as a method of ‘forcing myself out of my comfort zone and to try something new’. She said she took a “fake it ‘till you make it” approach to her ‘debatable confidence’ in public speaking. Now, almost two years on, not only have the nerves acclimatised but it is something she thoroughly enjoys. She recited two poems in the final, one being an extract from Pablo Neruda’s “I’m Explaining a Few Things.” The other was “The Rain Stick” by Seamus Heaney. Majella was delighted that Heaney’s daughter, Catherine was one of the judges. Majella says participating in Poetry Aloud has made her a more confident speaker and has given her a deeper appreciation for poetry, a gift she is beyond grateful for and it has opened her eyes to the incredible literary culture that Ireland is home to. Her teacher, Ms Janette Condon accepted a prize of €300 worth of book tokens for the school library. The competition is organised by the National Library of Ireland (NLI)and Poetry Ireland, in partnership with UCC.