Guiders Link Vol 2 2024

The latest edition of the Guiders packed full of escitiong reports from the Youth Rorum, National Council, National Cygnet Day and #Brigid1500!!

The latest edition of the Guiders packed full of escitiong reports from the Youth Rorum, National Council, National Cygnet Day and #Brigid1500!!


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All the fun from Funtasia

and Ardmore Farm


A report on the National Events

held to honour St. Brigid


A full report on the Guider

Conference & National Council

2024 Vol. 2

Guider’s Link


Chief Commissioner's Message 3

Chief Commissioner's Diary 4

Noticeboard 5

National Council 6

National Cygnet Day 12

National Dates 16

Development 18

Cygnet Section 20

Brigín Section 22

Guide Section 24

Ranger Section 26

International 28

Training 36

Youth Forum 38

#Brigid1500 44

Around Ireland 46

Contacts 55

Don't forget to send your photos and articles for the Guider's Link to:


Closing date for the next issue is 4th July 2024

2 Guiders Link Vol. 2


April 2024

Spring is here!

We certainly have had a very busy start to 2024! One of the best parts

of being Chief Commissioner is that you hear about everything that is

happening across the country and I am constantly amazed by how much

everyone does at local, regional and national level. I also feel so proud of the

enthusiastic way that you take on everything, whether that is such careful

preparation for your meeting activities through to the extensive planning that

it takes for the bigger events. I would like to acknowledge everything you do,

I value every minute of your contributions, whether that is with the girls, or

behind the scenes. I do this on behalf of our whole organisation as well as

the parents, and everyone whose lives you influence every day. During these

last few months we sadly lost some leaders that dedicated so much of their

lives to Guiding, and it was humbling to see how many people acknowledged

the huge part they played in their young lives. We are privileged to be able to

make a positive change in the lives of our girls, so thank you and let us keep

their Guiding light shining through us.

Our theme for the year has been one of ‘kindness and compassion’ and you can see that in real life throughout this

Guiders Link. Not only how we treat each other with kindness and a great sense of companionship, but also we can

see that all over the country our Units are part of their communities and are actively engaged in improving the life of

those around them. As we celebrated St Brigid in this special year of Brigid 1500, we concentrated on what she did,

as much as who she was. If the stories of her kindness and compassion could last for 1500 years, then I’m sure some

of our stories might too!

Over the last few months we have had some fantastic national events, including the CCA and Oisin Awards in

January, St Brigid’s celebration in February, National Cygnet Day and National Leader Training in March. We had

fantastic attendance at all these events and I really thank you for supporting them. These national events allow us

to come together as a CGI family of Guiding, so thanks everyone for the extra effort it takes to plan and travel to

these events. As I write, I am half-packed to go to Carlingford to our legendary Youth Forum. Even though I won’t be

swinging from high ropes or tackling the water activities, I know it will be a great weekend! This is my chance to hear

what our Guides and Rangers want for their future Guiding lives and I just love that part of the weekend. Plus, I am

getting in to practice for our National Camp in Wexford in June, I hope to see everyone there for sure!

I always like to give an update on governance but it is hard to capture all the work that goes on to deliver on all our

legal and regulatory requirements. I would like to thank everyone for submitting your accounts and completing your

registration on time. It makes life so much easier when this is done in such an efficient manner. I would also like to

thank everyone involved in safeguarding and for providing so many training courses across the regions. This is a joint

effort, but at the same time each individual is responsible for ensuring they are fully up-to-date with their training.

We are also working on our next 5-year strategic plan and if you have any suggestions for a positive future just let

me know.

I wish everyone well over the busy months ahead with all your upcoming activities, events and camps, and I hope to

see you at some event over the coming months. I hope you have lots of fun, adventures and enjoy it yourself as much

as the girls! !

Yours in Guiding,

Julie Donnelly

Chief Commissioner


www.girlguidesireland.ie 3

CCA and Oisin Awards, Dublin, January 2024

Our Awards Ceremony in Trinity College Dublin is a very special

event. It is all about recognising the Guides and Rangers and

everything they achieved through completing their Awards. I was so

proud of each and every one of them. It takes a huge joint effort to

complete the challenges and have such an exceptional ceremony, so

thanks to

the CCA team, all the leaders and parents, but most of all

to the CCA and Oisin Awardees – you are all stars!


Brigid’s Day Mass, Cork, January 2024

I was honoured to attend the SW

Region St Brigid’s Day mass hosted

by the Our Lady of Lourdes Unit in Ballinlough in Cork. This was such

a beautiful mass, with all the traditions and symbols we associate with

Guiding. Well done to Marian Hughes and her Unit and everyone in




SW for organising such a wonderful celebration of St Brigid and

St Brigid’s Day Kildare Celebrations,

February 2024

To say that our day in Kildare was special is actually an

understatement. The Spirituality team, led by Fiona

O’Dwyer, pulled out all the stops to create a truly

meaningful and reflective day. I think we all

re-connected with our past, but also saw how we can

come together and ensure our traditions are carried

forward in to our future. It was also a very interesting

and fun day, and as for the 3-D experience, you just

have to go to really see what Kildare was like in St

Brigid’s time!

National Cygnet Day, Ardmore,

March 2024

While half of our Cygnets were in Funtasia

in Drogheda, I joined the SE and SW

Cygnets in Ardmore Open Farm in

Waterford. This was a really fun day and

there was just so much to see and do. It’s

called a ‘farm’ but really it is a mini-zoo! I

was very impressed with how the Cygnets

had no fear when holding the animals, or

when escaping from the maze! Thanks to

our Programme Commissioner Michelle

Finnerty and all the support team for

organising such a fun day out.

Eastern Region St Brigid’s Day

event, Kildare, February 2024

Seeing over 440 Cygnets, Brigini, Guides and

Rangers and their leaders spending a day at

the bog in Lullymore, Kildare, was something

I’ll never forget. This was truly a fun day out

for the Eastern Region, but it was also a

chance to learn about St Brigid, appreciate


wonders of the bog, and take a train ride

through our Irish history and a chance for

the young (and not-so-young) to spot the

fairies in the fairy village in the woods. Well


to ER Regional Commissioner Fiona

O’Dwyer and all the organising team for an

amazing azin


Step 2 and An Dushlán Training,

Dublin, March 2024

I was so glad to have the opportunity to visit

with the leaders at the Step 2 and An Dushlán

Training in the Talbot Hotel, Dublin. We

certainly have a very positive and enthusiastic

set of leaders coming through our

organisation! o Our Training Commissioner

Trish Derwin and all the training team

organised a very positive and informative

programme. p As well as skills and project plans,

I think we all came home refreshed and with a


w a


all face.

new appreciation for some of the challenges

4 Guiders Link Vol. 2


• Safeguarding Policy reviewed and approved by N.E.B.

Updated Policy will be available on OGM and CGI website and sent out to all adult members.

• Child Protection Awareness Programme (CPAP)

All adult members of CGI must do the CPAP Training including Rangers aged 18+

• Cygnet, Brigin and Guide Tie Pins. When new stock is ordered the clasp will be changed from a safety pin to

a butterfly pin.

Existing stocks will be used up first and then new stock will be added to CGI Online Shop



Code of



Code of Conduct


Code of Conduct




Le Cheile Event

Naional Guide & Ranger Camp

Dublin Pride


National Officers Meeting

7 - 9 June

8 June

12 June

21 - 23 June

29 June

22 July - August 2nd

10 - 11 August

www.girlguidesireland.ie 5




National Guider Conference and National Council were once again held in the Talbot Hotel in Stillorgan on the final

weekend in April. From Friday night there was a buzz around the hotel as Guiders and Le Cheile members began to

arrive from all over the country, ‘making new friends and keeping the old’ even the hotel staff were looking forward to

our arrival, greeting several members like long-lost friends, which probably says more about how much time some of us

spend in the venue!

Saturday morning we began our conference and this year’s theme was EDI, and a massive thanks to our very active EDI

team for putting together such a great programme that everyone seemed to enjoy. (We’d also like to take this

opportunity to wish Catherine, one of our EDI team members, the best of luck in her role as part of the organising

team for Overtures this June)

The goal of the team was to have something for everyone, we wanted the sessions to be educational but also fun, and

we think we managed to achieve that. The morning ran similar to previous years’ conferences, where we ran two

sessions simultaneously and then the groups changed over at the break.

6 Guiders Link Vol.2

This year our morning sessions were by BelongTo and a session on inclusion led by members of our EDI team. Kate

from BelongTo was very calm in the face of adversity when we couldn’t get the projector to hook up to her laptop, but

we eventually got going and the session was very informational. She told us about the different services they offer to

LGBTQ+ young people in Ireland, from information and support services, to campaigning and advocacy, research and

education and training.

She took us through some of the terminology around sexual orientation, some of which was new to some of our

members, which was exactly the point of the session, every day is a school day. Then we had group discussions about

where LGBTQ+ young people feel safe, and if we think CGI, or even our own units, are safe spaces for them.

We finished up with a very brief look at the Rainbow Award, which CGI are working with BelongTo to attain, to show

that we are an inclusive organisation. It will take about a year for us to work through the process of the Award, and

we have nominated Nicola Toughey and Patricia Derwin as our designated liaison contact points.

The second session for the morning was run by members of our EDI team, and it was much more of a discussion for

the first half of the session; we’re all encountering girls with different and ever-more complex needs in our meetings,

and how are we reacting to this? How can, or do, we adapt our programme to these girls. For example, if someone

can’t stand in front of the entire group to make their promise, how do we deal with that? Some Guiders suggested

getting a Guider to stand with them and say the promise along with them; some suggested letting them make their

promise when everyone else had gone. We had different ways of dealing with it, but everyone in the room agreed that

they could easily make accommodations for it. What about a girl with sight impairment? Can we, or do we, have any

games or activities we can play? Again, Guiders with girls in their units with vision impairments were able to come up

with ideas, similarly for girls with mobility issues. It was a great discussion across both groups.

She took us through some

of the terminology around

sexual orientation, some

of which was new to some

of our members, which

was exactly the point of

the session, every day is a

school day.

www.girlguidesireland.ie 7


We then asked if there was any specific training

people would like to see in the EDI sphere, and

without a doubt, the one that most people were

asking for was some training on autism, Trish has

taken this away as Training Commissioner and will

investigate getting something in place in this area.

We finished up the session with some games that

showed the diversity in our thinking, for example

we played one game where two people sat backto-back,

one described a picture in front of them

and the other had to try draw it. Apart from

some blatant cheating (‘draw a golf club, it’s a golf

club’ – you know who you are!) there was lots of

laughs around the room.

We also broke the group into smaller groups

and had them come up with things that either

everyone in their group had in common, or

only one person in the group could say about

themselves. For example, one group said that

everyone in their group liked chips, another said

everyone in their group had come up through

the sections of Guiding. For the differences, we

had things like hair colour, taste in music, where

people lived etc. Again, showing how on the

surface we all looked the same in that group,

people would assume we’re all the same, but

there are however many differences among us,

but that doesn’t mean we’re different. As the

motto of our EDI team says ‘We’re all the same

because we’re all different.’

After a delicious lunch in the hotel, we came

back for the afternoon sessions, this year things

happened a little differently, we had everyone

together for both sessions. Firstly, we had a talk

by Tanja from Soroptimists Ireland, and as one

of our members pointed out, it was great to

see another female only organisation, and their

mission statement was so closely aligned to ours,

the only difference being they only take girls from

20yrs old and over!

Tanja told us that SI is a

global volunteer movement

working together to

transform the lives of women

and girls with nearly 72,000

members in 121 countries.

Tanja told us that SI is a global volunteer

movement working together to transform the

lives of women and girls with nearly 72,000

members in 121 countries. There are 15 clubs

in Ireland and they work at local, national, and

international level, to educate, empower and

enable women and girls to reach their potential

– very similar to us. Their clubs choose projects

that work towards ending poverty, eradication

of abuse and hunger, providing education for

all, achieving gender balance, and preserving the


8 Guiders Link Vol 2

She spoke about their ‘Orange the World’ project where each member of the Wexford guild painted a shoe orange and

left them in shops around the town with a card with details where women in abusive situations could get help. Orange

the World was a 16-day campaign to end violence against women and girls.

Tanja also told us about the SI Girls’ Public Speaking Competition which has been running now for over 40 years, the

competition encourages girls to develop the skills to speak effectively and articulately, with clarity and conviction.

Each club has a competition, which leads to regional and then a national final. Tanja also told us that SI would be very

interested in working together with local groups from CGI if there is one in your area.

The final session of the day was more

than we could have hoped for, it was the

Citadel Choir, made up entirely of people

living in direct provision centres around

the country. The group’s members come

from Malawi, Syria, Burundi, South Africa

and Gaza and they brought songs and

music from each of their countries. We

had each been given a music shaker in our

goodie bag and so we were all able to join

in. By the end of the session everyone was

on their feet dancing and swaying with

the music; and to top it all off our Chief

Commissioner was dancing in the centre

with David, who was the Chief Scout in

Burundi. They played on after what should

have been the end of the session, and still

nobody left the room. The atmosphere,

the energy and the joy were palpable and

it was a fabulous end to our conference.

That evening after dinner we had

what has become our regular

entertainment, some games,

songs and mild ribbing of certain

members. This year, instead of

regular games, we had a table

quiz, and it was hotly contested

by all the tables. We only had

four rounds of questions; three of

general knowledge and the final

one all about CGI, there was lots

of fun, some bribery, some people

forgetting how a table quiz works,

but most of all there was lots of

laughter around the room. As we

totalled the scores for each round,

one of the tables got to lead a

song for the group which only

added to the atmosphere. A great

night was had by all, and rumour

has it that for some people the

night didn’t end until the very wee

hours of the morning, and with

people in the bar being treated

to a rendition of a song about a


www.girlguidesireland.ie 9


Sunday morning and everyone was up and dressed in formal uniform and ready for our National Council. This year was

very special as we were honoured that all our past Chief Commissioners were able to attend, and we remembered

those no longer with us.

We had a very thorough financial report

from Rachel, our National Treasurer; a lovely

address by the Chief Commissioner; some

short presentations from Maria, our outgoing

Development Commissioner and one on

safeguarding by our Assistant Chief, Barbara. We

had a great presentation by ‘The 2 Nicolas’ on

the CGI online shop and how well it’s been doing

in such a short time (and a massive thanks to

the staff for all their efforts on this). We had our

In Remembrance section which, as always, was

hard to watch. We had a wonderful video of our

Annual Report and it showed just how much we

have been doing throughout the year, and shows

better than any words on a page can, exactly

what we’re all about.

We then had our Information Exchange, and this year we had six tables with different members and teams showcasing

different aspects of CGI; from the Programme Commissioner with the Calendar of Events for the year and copies of

all our programmes; Nicola Kennedy-Cope was on hand for any OGM queries; Rachel was there for questions about

finance and Clare, our National Secretary had a stand on the Strategic Plan. There was lots of information and lots of

chat, a real buzz around the room. It could also have had something to do with the task set for us by Julie, where we

each had to find out an interesting fact about someone from a different region, that certainly set the tongues wagging.

10 Guiders Link Vol 2

After lunch we had presentations from the Chaplaincy

Team on Brigid 1500 and what we’ve done to date

and what’s still ongoing, and a challenge set by Fiona,

that we each give the Brigid’s Cross we received to

someone during the year, and hopefully we’ll see how

far across the globe they spread. Gillian and some of

her team gave great presentations on some of the

International opportunities we have in CGI; Derbhaile

spoke on her trip to Sangam, Niamh on hers to Our

Chalet and Shauna about The Academy. It’s always

wonderful to hear these stories, but to have three

young leaders get up and speak so passionately about

the opportunities that their membership of CGI has

afforded them, was fantastic. Rod Stewart took us

‘Sailing’ as we watched a video presentation on the

Sail Ireland trip from Cork last summer.

We had two external speakers this year, we had Marion from Gaisce – The President’s Award, and she came along and

spoke about the award and how important it is for the self-development of young people. Marion and Julie also resigned

the agreement between Gaisce and CGI which sees everyone who signs up for the Oisin Award also receive the

Gaisce Award.

Our Keynote Speaker for the day was Sgt Major Anne Kelly from the Irish Air Corps, the most senior woman in all

our Defence Forces. Sgt Major Kelly spoke about how she came to join the Air Corps, joining as an apprentice at

just 16 years of age. She told us how important her family were to her and how it was only years later that she really

appreciated the freedom her parents had given her, to go and try and either sink or swim herself. Mostly, she spoke

about the need for young women to see role models; if you can see it you can be it. And she reminded us that as

women we can have it all, we can have a fulfilling career and a family; she’s mother to four wonderful and successful

daughters herself; it just takes work and dedication. It was a truly inspiring talk by a lady who had just as easily

captivated and inspired our Rangers in Glendalough at Ranger Weekend in November.

We finished our day with saying thank you to our out-going National Board members and welcoming in some new

ones; Clare Brady, National Secretary; Hannah Barton, Commissioner for Development; Trish Derwin, Commissioner

for Training; Amelia Finnerty, Commissioner for Communications and Anna Culleton, Ordinary Member.

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend, and most importantly a weekend where we can say that we lived our values of

Equality and Inclusion, Fun and Friendship, Integrity, and Respect. Thanks to everyone who made the weekend happen,

and thanks to everyone who came along and took part, as the old saying goes, without ‘u’ there is no ‘us.’

www.girlguidesireland.ie 11

12 Guiders Link Vol 2


This year, for the second year in a row, we ran

the National Cygnet Day in two separate

locations; in Waterford and Drogheda, and the

two nearest regions to each location met in

the middle. The SER/SWR met in Ardmore

Open Farm, similar to last year, while the

NR/ER regions met in Funtasia in Drogheda,

which was new to us all.

The group in Ardmore were very lucky to have

our Chief Commissioner come along and enjoy

the day with them, while the Funtasia group

had to suffice with the Programme Commissioner,

but we did have Jonny our photographer

for a while too.

Both groups really enjoyed their day, luckily for

those in Funtasia their day was completely

indoors and so the weather didn’t affect them

at all, however even though it was a bit wet

and quite windy in Ardmore it certainly didn’t

dampen the spirits or the enthusiasm there

either, and in fact a planned trip to the beach

to end the day had to be abandoned, not

because of the weather, but because the girls

were already so exhausted from their day.

This year, instead of us giving a report on what

happened and how we thought the day went,

we decided to do things a little differently and

ask the girls for their thoughts on how the day

went, just so we can all hear the ‘voice of the

girl’ on exactly what they thought about the


Starting with the Northern and Eastern

Regions who went to Funtasia in Drogheda.

The girls had a packed agenda for the day, they

were split into two groups on arrival to make

the numbers more manageable and so that

everyone would be occupied all the time, and

they had four activities throughout the day;

bowling, mini golf, the indoor play space and a

disco party. The Guiders thought the girls had

a great time, but here’s some feedback from

the girls themselves:

www.girlguidesireland.ie 13

“I liked the disco dancing

and the games the best,

but I didn’t win.”

“I couldn’t do the

bowling but the boy

was very nice and he

helped me and then

I knocked them all


“I told my grandad that now I can play golf

and I’m going to play with him, and win.”

“We all got a prize on the way home, I

coloured it in and gave it to my mom.”

“We had a whole bus to ourselves, we didn’t stop for anyone

else, and then we got to the place and had more fun.”

“I liked the soft play because I was a bit

tired, so I sat down for a while and had a

rest, but then I went down the slide and I

shot the gun-thing, it was the best.”

“I had been there before, but when I went with my

mam and dad I did rock climbing and swimming, I

didn’t do any of the things we did, that was great.”

Meanwhile, several hours away in Ardmore, Co Waterford, the

South East and South West Regions were meeting for their day at

Ardmore Open Farm and Mini Zoo. It was the same location as

last year, but it was decided by the Guiders that it was the best

option, and listening to the feedback from the girls, they definitely

agreed with the decision. The Cygnets got to spend time with the

farm and zoo animals, they even got to interact with a number of

them, from rabbits to reptiles, we have some very brave Cygnets!

They had time in the indoor play area and an outdoor maze, and

they too had a game of mini golf. Feedback from the Guiders and

Chief Commissioner was positive, which is always reassuring, but

the real test of any day is the girls themselves, so here’s what they


*(The boy, just for clarification, was Daniel, one of the Funtasia team members assigned to our group)

14 Guiders Link Vol. 2

“There was so many cool animals and then we

got to play golf and we ran in a maze and played

inside and we got a prize when we were going

home, the best!”

"I loved seeing all the


"I loved the indoor play area."

“I really want a guinea pig

and dad said I couldn’t take

care of it, but I had a go in

Ardmore and so I told dad

that I did take care of one, so

now I’m going to get one, I

hope. That was the best bit.”

"The crazy golf was brilliant -

I got the ball into the hole in

two my grandad taught me

how to play."

"Going round and round in the maze trying to

get out was my favourite part."

The girls from Our Lady of Lourdes unit told their Guiders that they really enjoyed the day. Their favourite

parts of the day included; the double decker bus, which was a huge hit, along with petting the animals and

playing in the play zone and mini golf. When they were asked what would they change for next time? The

girls said they would like to pet more of the animals, walk alpacas and spend more time doing the mini

golf. So that’s some good constructive feedback, the search is now on for some mini golf playing alpacas for

Cygnet Day 2025!

No National Day happens without massive work from a number of people, not least the office staff who

help with anything from booking locations and transport to designing the wonderful badges. Then there’s

the fabulous teams behind each section of the organisation, so a massive thanks to the members of our

National Cygnet Support Team, without them it wouldn’t have happened. Obviously thanks too go to the

Regional Commissioners for their support and pushing the events in their regions, which is how we ensure

all our events are well attended. The final thanks, as always, must go to the Guiders who took the time

out of their own busy schedules to spend their Saturday with a horde of Cygnets, whether it was in Co

Waterford or Co Louth, the day couldn’t have happened without your willingness to take part and bring

the girls along. Thank you all, and we hope to see you all again at the next event.

www.girlguidesireland.ie 15



27th January

9th March

5th - 7th April

21st - 23rd June

22nd July - 2nd August

6th - 8th September

5th October

19th October


9th November

CCA Award Ceremony

National Cygnet Day

Youth Forum

National Guide & Ranger Camp



National Brigin Day

National Guide Day

National Steam Month

National Ranger Day

16 Guiders Link Vol. 2

DATES 2024


1st February

10th February

22nd February

23rd - 24th March

27th April

28th April

12th June

28th - 29th September

St. Brigid’s Day

St. Brigid’s Day Celebration

World Thinking Day

Guider Training - Step 2 & An Dushlan

Guider Conference

National Council

Le Cheile Event

Unit Leader Training

12-19 October National Recruitment Week

4th December

Le Cheile Christmas Lunch (Cork)

For revised dates please make sure to check

our digital Calendar on the website

Support > CGI Events Calendar

www.girlguidesireland.ie 17


At the 2024 Youth Forum in Carlingford on the 6th of April 2024 - 160 Guides and Rangers, attended workshop sessions

run by Chief Commissioner Julie Donnelly, Maria Travers National Commissioner for Development and Hannah Barton.

The purpose of these sessions was to capture the ‘Voices of the Girls’, and our ‘Vision’ as an organisation is to ‘Action’ the

inputs which can be utilised for future CGI Organisational Development Initiatives and the 2025 CGI Strategic objectives.

Below are a number of ‘Questions and Inputs’ from the workshop sessions, the full list will be available in due course.

What does being a Guide mean to you?

• Kindness, Fun & Friendships

• Belonging

• Helping out in the community

• Out of Comfort Zone

• It's inclusive

• Making new friends

How can we attract new girls to join Guides?

• Bring a Friend

• Posters in Public Places

• Social Media

• Charity Fund Raisers

• Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Podcasts

In 2028 CGI will celebrate 100 years, what should we


• Camp '100'

• Big Party

• 'Red Carpet Event'

• Badges for 100 years

• International Camp/Hostel

• 100 Years of Chief Commissioners

18 Guiders Link Vol. 2

What are the most important issues that Guides can help

with, and how?

• Guides against Bullying 'Safe Space'

• Climate Change

• Litter

• Animal Welfare

• Racism 'Make a Difference'

• Fundraising

• Volunteerism

Do Guides feel they have a voice in what we do in


• Yes, through the Youth Forum

• Yes, by working in Teams

• Yes, everyone's voice is respected

Do you see yourself as a leader in the future, and are the

pathways to leadership clear?

• Don’t know how to become a leader

• Would like to find out more

• Yes, be there for future generations

• Not for Life

As my term as National Commissioner for Development comes to an end, I would like to thank everybody for their

support and friendship during my term. I would like to thank Julie Donnelly Chief Commissioner, and Emily McCann;

members of the Development Team, Patricia McDermot (NR), Hannah Barton (SER), Karen Devilee (SWR), Michelle

Finnerty, National Commissioner for Programmes. Previous members Deirdre Wray (Storrows ER) Shana Whelan Buckley

(Storrows SER) Mary Ballard (SWR), Amelia Finnerty (ER) and Aoife Murphy (ER) and Tara O’Sullivan (ER). I would also

like to thank Nicola and her team, Eoin, Rob, and Nicola Kennedy in the National Office for their continued support

especially during National Recruitment Week. Finally, I would like to wish the incoming National Commissioner for

Development all the best in their new role, for me personally it has been a pleasure and a fantastic experience.

Maria Travers

National Commissioner for Development

www.girlguidesireland.ie 19



As the weather gets better many of us will go on

hikes and short walks with the Cygnets, if you’re lucky

enough to live near the seaside, here’s a fun activity

you can try. When you’re on a walk at the seaside, ask

the girls to collect some seashells that they can find,

as many different shapes and sizes as they can. At your

next meeting, or if there’s available space at the beach,

why not become fossil hunters?

1. Set out the playdough, a rolling pin, and a

variety of seashells.

2. Have the Cygnets make a ball with the

playdough and roll it out using the rolling pin.

3. The seashells can then be pressed into the


4. Encourage them to press the seashells further

into the playdough.

5. When they carefully peel the seashells out of the playdough they can now see the pretend fossils that are

now displayed where the seashells used to be.

6. For younger kids, you can also have them match the seashells that are now out of the playdough with their


In fact, for slightly older girls, they can make up some plaster and cast the seashell imprints, just like real



Sponge Bombs are a great alternative to water balloons. There are no messy balloon

bits to clean up, and the sponge bombs can be used again and again, so a much more

environmentally friendly alternative. And, they’re very easy to do. If you’re thinking of having

a water fight at your meeting, or on camp, this is a much easier way to do it, just give

everyone a sponge bomb to begin with and then when they throw it, they can go pick up

another and dunk it back into a bucket of water. This way, there’s much less clean up, and

you can simply put your sponge bombs away again till next time.

1. To begin, use scissors to cut up some sponges into thirds.

2. Next, use a hair elastic to group together nine sponge strips – you can use normal

rubber bands, but the hair elastic ensures nobody gets hurt if the elastic snaps.

3. Lastly, poof up the sponge bomb, and you are ready to dunk them into water for some active outdoor FUN!

You can also play other games with your sponge bombs. Firstly, you can add a length of elastic to each of the bombs,

set up some obstacles and see who can knock them down. You can try different weight and size of object and the

girls can see how near or far away they can get to knock them down.

Another quick and easy, and very wet, game is the sponge bomb toss game. Each player sits on the ground, a set

distance apart and facing another player. The girls will have buckets filled with water and sponges in front of them,

and the object of the game is to throw your wet sponge into the other person’s bucket, the one who gets most

sponge bombs into their opponent’s bucket is the winner, and the fact that they all end up soaking wet is just a

bonus. A great, fun game, that they love.

20 Guiders Link Vol. 2

At the recent Guider training sessions we had an opportunity to talk about games we played and some of the old

games we had forgotten about, and in fact we took the opportunity to play ‘In and Out Through the Dusty Bluebells’

and ‘As I Was Going to Kentucky’; if you can’t remember them, rumour has it that there may be video evidence of

the Guiders playing them to refresh your recollection! So, we decided to add in some other ones here, the Mulberry

Bush was a favourite in many playgrounds in years gone by, why not give it a try with your Cygnets and see if they

enjoy it too?

Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush

Cygnets stand in a circle, holding hands, and skip around the circle for the chorus, stopping to perform the action of each verse and then

joining hands again to skip as singing the chorus of the action song.


Here we go round the mulberry bush,

The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush,

Here we go round the mulberry bush,

So early in the morning.

This is the way we bale the hay,

Bale the hay, bale the hay,

This is the way we bale the hay,

So early in the morning.

Oh, this is the way we milk the cows,

Milk the cows, milk the cows,

This is the way we milk the cows,

So early in the morning.

Here we go round the mulberry bush,

The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush,

Here we go round the mulberry bush,

So early in the morning.

This is the way we feed the chicks,

Feed the chicks, feed the chicks,

This is the way we feed the chicks,

So early in the morning.

This is the way we groom the horse,

Groom the horse, groom the horse,

This is the way we groom the horse,

So early in the morning.

If you do circle time at the beginning or end of your meeting, a fun active poem that the Cygnets enjoy is:


Five little bunnies, (hold up five fingers)

Knocked on the door, (use hand to pretend to knock)

One hopped away,

And then there were four. (hold up four fingers)

Four little bunnies, (hold up five fingers)

Climbed up a tree, (use hands to pretend to be climbing)

One hopped away,

And then there were three. (hold up three fingers)

Two little bunnies, (hold up two fingers)

Having lots of fun, (swing hand with two fingers from side to side)

One hopped away,

And then there was one. (hold up one finger)

One little bunny, (hold up one finger)

Sat in the sun, (hold two hands together with fingers spread like a sun)

One hopped away,

And then there were none. (hold up hand with all fingers tucked into fist)

Three little bunnies, (hold up three fingers)

Looking at you, (look at a friend)

One hopped away,

And then there were two. (hold up two fingers)

www.girlguidesireland.ie 21




You can make dancing characters with your pipe cleaners. All you need are some fun-coloured paper

napkins and a piece of wool or string to make those beautiful dresses!


Take both pipe cleaners. Bend both pipe cleaners in half and twist the top of one to make the head.

Next, wrap the second pipe cleaner around the first to form a small body and arms, twisting at the back to tie off.

Take one paper

napkin and add

some concertina

creases. Then

gently twist the

napkin, to add

texture to the

dresses and add

the piece of string

or wool to make a


22 Guiders Link Vol 2


We’re very grateful to Mairead and Martina, the NR Brigin Section Heads, as they very kindly sent us some

information on their recently reinstated Northern Region Brigin Cup. We hope everyone enjoys this and maybe gets

some ideas for themselves.

The last time the NR Brigin Cup took place was 2019, pre-covid. We opened it up to all Northern Region Units,

with a maximum of six Brigini per team. We ended up with ten teams, and charged an entry fee of £5 per team.

We had five rounds including: Uniform Inspection, a picture round, a quiz round, and a group craft round - which

was to 'create a plant/flower from outer space'. We supplied loads of craft/junk material for them to use, and the

results were amazing.

The final round was for the teams to design a Brigin badge. So they drew the badges and explained the criteria that

was required to achieve the Badge. Again, the results and imagination used were amazing. There were ten totally

different badges created; and the aim is to get at least one of the badges made up.

After the scores were added up, there were three winners

- 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Cups were awarded to these three


While the Brigini were busy working away, we had a separate

room for their Guiders who were given the craft materials to

make several Easter crafts which they could then bring back to

their Units and make with their girls.

The girls (and Guiders) all seemed to enjoy the day and went

home happy, which was very important to us. The Brigini also

went home with a goody bag, which always goes down a treat.

www.girlguidesireland.ie 23


Now that we’re well into spring and on the way to summer (whatever that may mean for Ireland’s weather) it’s nice

to be seen around your area proudly wearing their uniform. And a fun way to incorporate that into your programme

is by undertaking the Local Guide badge.

Spend an evening walking around your locality, making sure the girls note any areas of interest or historical

significance, it may even be possible to ask a local historian to accompany you on your walk and give you some extra

information you may not have known beforehand. When you’re done, have the girls each draw a map of their area,

taking special care to mark any areas of local or historical significance on it. They can include a legend at the side of

their map with a list of the top tourist attractions,

Another great way to help in your community is to take part in Tidy Towns, An Taisce or another community

activity. Most towns and villages have a Tidy Towns group, or if not they should have a Community Clean Up group

as part of their County Council, there are also groups like An Taisce and Clean Coasts who again are in most of our

towns and villages and are always looking for helpers, and are very happy to include groups in their media posts.

24 Guiders Link Vol. 2

Funded by the Department of Children and

If you manage these, you’ll surely be due your Local Guide badge, but just in case you’re not, why not have a

competition among the girls, or as a patrol activity, to come up with a poster, radio, tv or social media advertisement

showing off their town and what it has to offer. You could even invite some members of the local County Council

to come along and judge the results? This could also be used as part of a recruitment campaign for your group, or it

could be a competition spread a little wider, perhaps in your Area or Region? The possibilities are endless.

To take it a step further, you can speak to your County or Municipal Council about the possibility of working

together to create a child-friendly, or family-friendly, information booklet about your town. You can include the map

you’ve created; the areas of significance; the railway and bus routes, maybe even timetables and costs of getting to

the next nearest town.

You can interview people that have lived in your community for a long time and may have some interesting facts or

stories for your booklet. You can also interview the girls and see what each of them thinks are the best bits about

living where they do; what activities are available to children their age; why would they encourage people to come

and visit or live where they do?

While all of the above are sure to earn you the badge, they would also be great ideas for meetings as they will get

the girls outdoors, and also can be great tools for advertisement and recruitment.




12 Clanwilliam Terrace, Grand Canal Quay, Dublin 2

Tel: (01) 661 9566 • Fax: (01) 676 5691

Email: admin@girlguidesireland.ie


St. Francis De Sale, Beechmount Drive, Belfast BT12 7LU

Tel: 048 9031 3639 • Fax: 048 9031 3639

Email: admin.nr@catholicguides.org.uk


Charity Number: CHY 7958

Reg. Charity Number: 20018689

www.girlguidesireland.ie 25


Now that the clocks have changed and the evenings are getting longer and brighter, why not spend some time

looking after our health and wellbeing by doing things that make us feel good.


Have an exercise class with the Rangers themselves taking the lead and organising it.


Healthy Eating: Ask the Rangers to each bring some healthy food, not just fruit, see if they can create a dish from

everything they’ve brought, and then taste-test it.

26 Guiders Link Vol 2


Mental health and wellbeing: Why not work through our Mental Health Awareness Programme (you can find it on






Mindfulness & Yoga

Organise a yoga teacher to come up and do a class with the girls and let her teach them breathing techniques and

show them how to unwind and relax.


Spa Night or Pamper Night: Some hot towels, some cucumber slices, some creams, serums and nail polish, and

you’ve got yourself the beginnings of a relaxing spa night.

www.girlguidesireland.ie 27


Hello Guiding Friends!

As we continue into the summer months, here are some upcoming events for

Guiders to take a look at. To give girls confidence, we also must give ourselves

confidence as well, events like these motivate us and help us to improve in

our leadership journeys. Thanks to all those who I spoke to at Guider Step

2 and Youth forum, I hope you take the opportunity to venture further into

international Girl Guiding activities and to bring some of them back to your

unit. In this issue, we will also here all about Niamh’s Journey at the Helen

Storrow Seminar 2024. As always, my email is always open for any questions or

queries you may have! 'As for what's happening in terms of WAGGGS events,

there are many preparations happening for the WAGGGS World EGM, including

recruitment of procedural team members and recruitment for the Academy

content manager 2024. These are roles that require specific expertise, however,

if they are something you feel you might have an interest in, please email me at

international@girlguidesireland.ie and we can talk about it directly! There is also

vacancies on the international team if that is something you are also interested


In the meantime, have a fabulous summer and hope you all get a chance to relax, unwind and embrace the coming


Yours in Guiding,

Gillian Garvey

International Commissioner





Apply through

the International


interest form by

scanning the QR

code here!

28 Guiders Link Vol. 2


When: 7th-9th June 2024

Where: Crawfordsburn Adventure Centre, Belfast

Who can apply: All Guiders 18+, Preference to those who have not represented CGI at an international event

before or are on a Regional Team/National Team. You have to be in it to win it!

Overtures is a network of Guides and Scouts in the Europe region with an interest in Equity, Diversity and

Inclusion (EDI), this year it is being hosted by Scouts NI, however, CGI, Girlguiding UK and Scouting Ireland are

jointly assisting. It is a brilliant way of seeing what volunteers can do to make Guiding and Scouting more equitable,

diverse and inclusive. Attendance allows you to meet fellow Guides/Scouts with similar interests and it’s a brilliant

introduction to EDI if you would like to upskill.


When: 24th – 29th November 2024

Where: Poland

Who can apply: All Guiders 18+, Preference to those who have not represented CGI at an international event

before or have been on a Regional Team/National Team, but you have to be in it to win it!

The Academy is a joint WAGGGS/WOSM event held every year.

Participants can only attend one academy! It is a training event

for members of Regional teams, Guiders interested in the next

step of Girl Guiding beyond local activities, board members and

young Guiders interested in developing their skills! Previous topics

include: Mental Health in Guiding and Scouting, WAGGGS Free

Being Me programme, A checklist for more sustainable events,

dialogue in a fishbowl. In general, CGI members have an excellent

time at The Academy – the format is a mix of workshops and

social activities to facilitate networking of Scouts and Guides in

the Europe Region. For more information, see Sinead and Shauna’s

account of their experience in the previous Guiders Link!

www.girlguidesireland.ie 29




Thank you to the Guiders who participated in the survey, it was very important for us to see the breakdown of

these questions as it will inform us on steps going forward for international trips, keep an eye out girls, we’re going

on an adventure!

If you didn’t get a chance to add your say and would like to this time, you can still add your feedback, see the

previous Guider’s Link for details.

30 Guiders Link Vol. 2



For all attendance at these events, Guiders need to submit an Outdoor camp approval form at the least 3 months in advance,

This needs to be signed by the International Commissioner. See Outdoor policy for details.

Suitable for: Older Guides and Rangers (12+)



When and Where: 2nd-9th August 2025 Kent

County Showground, Detling, United Kingdom

This is an incredibly popular event –

registrations have already opened with at

least 3000 people booked, in the past over

8,000 people have attended this event. If you

are interested book in as soon as you can.

What to expect: Are you ready for the ultimate

celebration of Scouting and Guiding, energy, and

unforgettable memories?

Look no further! Get ready to embark on a journey

of a lifetime at our Festival in 2025.

Participant: £275.00

Cost: The fees for the Jamboree are:

Leader: £100.00

KIST: £100.00

KIST Food package: £50.00

Jambo Junior: £10 (Jamboree Pack) plus £5.00 per creche session (am/pm)

Day Visitor: £15.00

Booking link: https://bookings.kij.org.uk/

Why attend The Festival in 2025?

Unrivalled Adventure: Brace yourself for an adrenaline-packed experience! You will have the opportunity to

experience the fastest zip wires, free jump, drive cars, climb, walk through interactive global experiences, roller

disco, plus over a hundred heart-pounding challenges, our festival is your passport to adventure.

Mind-Blowing Performances: Get ready to be blown away by our stellar line-up of artists and performers! Not

just a festival: it's a showcase of talent that will leave you speechless and begging for more.

Inspiring Workshops: Unleash your potential with our Global Action Sustainable Projects (GASP) led by industry

experts. Visit our partner workshops and charities as we share knowledge and inspire the development of new skills

that will set you on the path to being a force for environmental sustainable change.

Global Connections: Connect with like-minded people from around the world! Our festival is a melting pot of

cultures, fostering friendships that will last a lifetime. Share stories, exchange ideas, and create a global network of

amazing friends.

Give Back: Our festival isn't just about having a great time; it's about making a difference. By taking part in our

sustainability awareness initiatives you will leave our festival better placed to make a positive impact on the world.

www.girlguidesireland.ie 31


**Another popular event, bookings are filling fast”**

Suitable for: Older Guides and Rangers (12+)

When and Where: August 9th – 16th 2025, Norfolk Showground, UK

Booking link: https://www.norjam.org.uk/booking/

What to expect:

If you’ve never been before, Norjam is a week-long camp between August 9th – 16th 2025 that brings together

Scouts and Guides from around the world at the Norfolk Showground, just outside of Norwich.

Come experience one of the friendliest UK Jamborees as you take on a thrilling line-up of activities and share

countless laughs with your friends back at subcamp.

Whether you’re a seasoned leader, eager to volunteer or just want soak up the excitement, don’t miss the Carnival

of Fun!

32 Guiders Link Vol. 2



Hi Everyone!

My name is Niamh and I am a Guider from Neilstown, Dublin. I

am 23 and have been a Guider for about a year and a half now. I

recently got the amazing opportunity to attend this year’s Helen

Storrow Seminar (HSS) in Our Chalet, one of our WAGGGS

World Centres in Switzerland. I am going to take you along on

my journey to what’s next, for my own leadership journey and

for CGI after having taken part.

Day 1

I started my journey with a cancelled flight (I know, disaster)

but after a few phone calls and a lot of stress I was booked into

another flight and safely on my way!

I ended up on the same flight as Roisin, another Girl Guide attending the HSS from the Irish Girl Guides (IGG).

Together, we spent the day flying to Zurich, then navigating three trains and a bus to reach Our Chalet. Along the

way, we bumped into Heycari from Japan and Chiara from the Philippines. When we arrived, I met my dorm buddies!

After a quick dinner, Ocean from Madagascar, and Abigail from the United States both arrived after much longer

journeys. Once all the HSS crew had arrived, we were given a tour of Our Chalet by one of the seasonal volunteers,

Moona Lisa from Zimbabwe. She showed us all around Our Chalet, from where to find useful places like the shop

and detailed all the amazing little facts and insights into the chalet. We learned a little bit of history about the chalet

and how it all began. The evening ended with all of us being so tired and ready for bed. Before lights out, we had hot

chocolate and chatted in the T-bar room before getting a good night's sleep before the official opening ceremony of


Day 2

The day began with a flag ceremony, we participated in a parade, with all the country flags of all the nationalities

currently at the Our Chalet. The flags were placed into a log, which was kept in the dining hall throughout our

stay. We sang Our Chalet song while we roused the flags, showing that ‘we are home’. We got to know each other

a bit more by playing games and learning new songs, which I will definitely be using back in Ireland! The next item

on the agenda was learning all about the seminar itself and an introduction to the WAGGGS leadership model. We

also discussed and performed some exploration work on how our actions affect nature and what solutions we can

provide to remedy these. It was interesting for me to hear how other people interact with nature and how other

countries and cultures protect it. We also took the opportunity during break to have some fun sledding and to enjoy

the snow before it melts. After break, we were then divided into patrols. I was in the green patrol along with Abigail

(also my roommate) from the United States and Siri from Sweden. To finish the day, we had Swiss night! We learned

a Swiss chant, did a little show, played a quiz all about Switzerland, and had some delicious chocolate fondue and


Day 3

Day 3 was a day for exploration! The participants all

took a train to visit the Schweizer Strahler Museum,

which was very interactive. After another train we

visited the Aletsch Glacier in the Swiss Alps and

took the cable cars to the top to see the glacier. We

hiked from the top of the glacier down, travelling

downhill in the snow. It was so hot despite the snow,

www.girlguidesireland.ie 33

but we had lots of fun! We were even given

the opportunity to slide down parts of the

mountain which was great craic. The hike was

about 8km and overall, on this day I did over

20,000 steps.

Day 4

We started super early and left Our Chalet at

6:45 am for the train to Geneva, to visit the

United Nations. The HSS participants were

lucky enough to witness some of the UN

delegates at the Human Rights Council in the

middle of debating. We were able to listen

to the delegates from Zimbabwe, Venezuela,

and Ukraine. After witnessing democracy in

action, we went on a short walk to a Botanical

Garden. It was very beautiful, there were lots

of different paths and trails within the gardens

and different greenhouses. We were tasked

with making a TikTok discussing suitability and

climate action throughout the day. We had so

much fun filming and editing our video it did

bring tears to our eyes from how much we

were laughing!

Day 5

This was my favourite day of the Seminar; our

morning was off to an early start again and off on

another adventure we went. We took yet another

train (yes, we took over 17 trains altogether on

this trip) to Interlaken which is such a unique place!

Interlaken is a town with 2 different lakes divided by

land; both lakes are distinct colours which was so

amazing and fasinating to see. Together, we walked

along the bank of the river for approximately 1 hour.

During this time, we discussed the importance of

water in our communities and countries, including

how we use water and what impacts it has on us

socially, environmentally, and economically. When we

finished our walk we reached High Tide. High Tide

is a small business, passionate about sustainability

and the impact they have on both nature and the

environment, we then got to go in kayaks on the lake

and it was absolutely amazing, the view and scenery is

nothing like I’ve seen before! It was so amazing and is

by far the highlight for me!

Day 6

On Day 6, we were starting to make our change project more concrete, The morning began with a lovely activity

where we reflected on the last few days by “graphic harvesting”. Graphic recording/harvesting is the real-time

translation of conversations or presentations into text and pictures. It was great to see how much we have done in

such a short amount of time and to chat about what we learned and our key takeaways. We did some more training

on project management, putting project managers into practice and discovering new tools to develop a project.

In my patrol today we chatted about how we would love to bring our change project to an even higher level with

34 Guiders Link Vol. 2

more of a global lens and this is where we decided to come together as a group of 4 from different regions and

work together on a change project. We thankfully got this approved and off we went to plan together as a team

and develop our change project. In the evening, we had an international night where we shared food and swapped

from all our countries. This was such an amazing a fun night,trying different things from all around the world. We

were taught Origami, we ate TimTams, we danced traditional African dances, and got to swap so many pins, badges,

bracelets and so much more!

Day 7

Today, it was time to complete our change projects and finalise everything. So, Myself, Sarah from Canada, Siri

from Sweden, and Salina from Australia, worked hard to get it all done and completed so we could send it off for

approval and present our project to the group, the presentation went well and everyone loved our idea. We then

visited the Magic tree. At the Magic tree, we left our wishes around our projects, and we finished the day with a

closing ceremony. The ceremony was beautiful, we were given a chance to reflect on our time together. It was quite

emotional as we all have formed such wonderful bonds with one another. We then got our certificates and our

boxes with all the lovely notes inside. The Night finished in the T-bar, where it had all started on day 1 and together,

we had a party with all our leftover treats from the international night, we danced and created an international

playlist with songs from all our countries, we said our goodbyes and got ready to return home.

My time at the Helen Storrow Seminar 2024 was absolutely incredible! I cannot thank CGI and WAGGGS enough

for providing me with this opportunity. I was incredibly lucky to receive a scholarship from WAGGGS to participate

in this seminar, it has opened my eyes in so many ways, the experiences and friendships I have made, words cannot

describe them. I feel so lucky and grateful to have been involved and cannot recommend enough Guides and Leaders

to get involved, it was a trip of a lifetime for me!

www.girlguidesireland.ie 35


On the 23rd & 24th March, the National Training Team held Guider Training - Step 2 and Step 3 (An Dushlan) at the

Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan. We had 10 Guiders complete their Guider Training – Step 2 and 16 Guiders presented their

ideas for their Step 3 (An Dushlan Project). An Dushlan is a project that the participants have to produce which will

become a resource for all guiders to access. There were some terrific ideas and the training team are looking forward

to working with the participants throughout the completion of their project.

On Saturday morning the training commenced with a workshop on Cyber Safety ‘Social Media Misuse’ which was

delivered by Detective Sergeant Paul Johnstone from the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau. This was a very

interesting topic and although there was a lot to learn the participants thought it might be better if this was a longer

session. Following this, Step 2 participants had a workshop on ‘Regular Behaviour Difficulties’ and was delivered by

Alison and Sharon Devlin from our Northern region. While our Step 3 (An Dushlan) participants had a workshop on

Conflict Management delivered by Louise Monaghan from the National Youth Council of Ireland.

36 Guiders Link Vol .2

In the afternoon everyone came back together to take part in

a very energetic dance class by Sarah Jane. This was a fusion of

Line Dancing and Irish Dancing.

Everyone took part in this activity and there was a lot of fun,

energy and enthusiasm in the room. In the evening, after dinner

we played some games. The groups were given items to make

up a game and like all Guiders they came up with some great

new games that they can use in their units. We even played

some old games that some of us had completely forgotten


I want to thank all the guiders who participated in the training

and a special thanks to the National Training Team, who like

always, come together to create a great training week-end.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and

I may remember, involve me and I


– Benjamin Franklin

Yours in guiding,

Trish Derwin

National Commissioner for Training


Unit Leader Training takes place 28/29th September 2024. More

information to follow. However, you can book for the training at

any time.


Garda Vetting (including re-vetting) and Child

Protection Awareness Training (CPAP) is

compulsory and needs to be kept up to date.

Failure to keep both of these up to date will result

in the guider being refused permission to work

within the unit until it is completed. Important to

remember, it is against the law to work with

children if you are not Garda Vetted.

www.girlguidesireland.ie 37



5th - 7TH APRIL


38 Guiders Link Vol 2

Youth Forum 2024 took place on April 5th to 7th in Carlingford Adventure Centre. The running joke this year was Youth

Forum – The Moveable Feast! Just as we thought we had the weekend organised, things changed. The weather was not our

friend leading up to the big day with two storms heading for Ireland and so before we even left home to travel to Carlingford

our initial plan for the weekend was already gone. Over the weekend the plan was in constant flux, and it’s a great testament

to the resilience, patience, and willingness to adapt by all the girls and leaders that even with the plans changing midway

through Saturday, everyone still ended up having a great time and leaving on Sunday with a smile on their face. Yes, we had a

few hiccups; some issues with buses, with food, one or two bumps and bruises and a few tears, but overall it was another

roaring success.

I think everyone agreed that having two nights made a huge difference and that we had learned from some of the issues that

arose, and feedback from, last year. So things like the check in and getting to rooms process was much smoother; we had

colour-coded timetables around the building and the corresponding wristbands for the girls which were very well received; we

held a briefing meeting with the leaders on Friday night before we had our opening meeting with the girls, so everyone knew

what was going to come up; and we had sessions organised for the leaders on Sunday morning, but again due to issues beyond

our control those too had to change.

Everyone arrived onsite at the allotted time on Friday evening and our team, alongside the Carlingford staff, checked everyone

in, gave them their ‘swag’ and showed them to their room. As we were the only group at the venue this year, this process was

much smoother and faster than last year. The sway was a big hit; everyone received a Youth Forum badge and a microfibre

towel. The towels were so popular that we even had to give one to Andrew the manager of Carlingford, and he wore it as a


The weather

was not our

friend leading

up to the big

day with two

storms heading

for Ireland

Saturday morning was a blustery one as the first two groups; green and

blue; set out for the mountain where they were going to undertake

their activities, which were Survivor and Target Sports. Meanwhile, the

pink and orange groups were based at the centre for some slightly

more sedate endeavours; they had a session with the

Chief and the Development Commissioner looking at

their thoughts on CGI now and into the future; they

had some free time, which quite a few of them spent

at the CGI Shop, where we sold out of a few products,

so we’ll be sure to bring enough stock the next

time; and then they took part in a really interesting

Scamwise session with a group of leaders, looking at

all the different types of scams that are out in the

world today and how sophisticated they are. The

girls really got into the sessions, which included role

plays on different scams, and information sharing by

the girls as well as the adults. At the end of each

session, Trish asked the girls to raise their hands if

they had learned nothing, and in none of the four

sessions was there anyone who hadn’t learned

something new, which is brilliant. The girls

also received a certificate and a

badge for completing the

Scamwise programme, and

Trish also gave a copy to

www.girlguidesireland.ie 39

each unit that was present so they

can run it again at their meetings.

A massive thanks to Patricia

McDermott from our Northern

Office, for sending down all the

booklets and badges for us, it was

greatly appreciated.

The idea for the weekend was

that after lunch the groups would

switch around; so the pink and

orange groups would go to the

mountain and green and blue

would be indoors; however

due to the worsening weather

conditions, the staff at Carlingford

actually called the girls down from

the mountain slightly early and

decided for safety reasons that

we couldn’t go back there in the

afternoon. So, after some quick

talks and reassurances that there

would be different activities on

Saturday afternoon than Sunday,

with no repetitions, the girls going

outdoors for the afternoon went

to Skypark, where they took part

in either the Crystal Maze Team

Building Challenge, or another

version of Target Sports.

40 Guiders Link Vol 2

After dinner and some free time we all adjourned back to the sports hall where we had our Guides Own ceremony

and then a disco with CGI’s very own resident DJ, DJ Hope from Kilcock. Each unit was asked to come with a prayer,

reflection, or poem to read out at the Guides Own and a number of them chose to write their own, which were

beautiful. We asked the leaders to send them on so we could print them here, because we really think they deserve to

be seen by a larger audience. We really do have some very talented girls in our groups.


G is for Girls - Girls are kind and generous

U is for Unique - Unique is being proud

I is for Imaginative - Imaginative Girl Guides everywhere

D is for Dreams - Dreams of yours will always be true

E is for Exciting - Exciting adventures waiting to be found

S is for Super - Super people come together

(Amelia Joshi, St, Vincent’s Unit, SWR)



5th - 7TH APRIL



Friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest.

It’s about who walked into your life, said “I’m here for you” and

proved it.

In this life, we come across different flavour’s of friendships,

each with its own charm.

But every now and then, there’s the people who enter our world

and they click in a way that feels almost like it’s meant to be.

It’s a friendship that’s built to withstand anything – No matter

where we reside or how infrequently we catch up, or the

changes life throws our way, these connections persist, etching

themselves into the very fabric of our existence. They’re the kind

of friendships that leave an indelible mark on our hearts.

Community means strength

that joins our strength to do

the work that needs to be


Arms to hold us when we


A circle of healing.

A circle of friends.

Someplace where we can be


42 Guiders Link Vol 2

DJ Hope took over the decks and pumped up the volume, and the atmosphere, for the rest of the evening. It had been

a very long day and the girls were all tired, and most were in bed and asleep well before lights out.

Sunday morning we all had breakfast, packed up, cleaned up, and shipped out. We headed for Skypark for our final

few hours of fun outdoor activities of the weekend. At one point we had 115 girls up on the high ropes at one time,

which one of the instructors told us was definitely a record, as the usual number at any one time is 75! The girls had

supervised (high ropes and foot golf) and unsupervised (the maze, 3D maze, super-sized croquet, trampolines and mini

golf) activities to choose from throughout the morning, and it was wonderful to see them all take full advantage of the

different offerings.

At one point

we had 115

girls up on

the high ropes

at one time,

which one of

the instructors

told us was

definitely a


As the girls were all back to school the following day after their Easter holidays, we had decided that the weekend

would finish at lunchtime on Sunday, giving everyone plenty of time to get home and rested and refreshed before school

the next morning. Lunch was brought to Skypark for us, and we all enjoyed it on the deck and the grassy areas. We all

gathered together for a final few moments as the Chief closed the event for us, wished everyone a safe journey home,

and reminded us all that National Camp is coming up soon, in June.

With that, the buses loaded up and began to depart full of happy,

but tired, Guides, Rangers and Guiders. We’d like to extend a

massive thanks to Andrew, Chris and all the staff at Carlingford

Adventure Centre and Skypark for being so helpful and courteous

all weekend. We’d like to thank all of our Guiders who yet again

gave up their weekend to make this trip happen for their girls,

we sincerely appreciate it and we know that your girls do too.

Thanks to the office staff too for their help in the organisation of

the weekend, and everyone loved the designs of their badges and

the towel. The final thanks is reserved for the team that put the

weekend together and were there to run it, we hope you now

have a well-earned rest, and we can’t wait to see what you come

up with for Youth Forum 2025!



5th - 7TH APRIL




National Celebrations

Our annual online St. Brigid’s Day celebration on February 1st

saw Guiders and friends of Guiding gather from all parts of the

country for prayer and reflection. Each year the numbers grow,

with small groups also gathering to log-on together which makes

for an added sense of community.

On February 10th, Guiders from all over the country gathered in

Kildare Town for a day of activities to celebrate #Brigid1500, the

1500th anniversary of the death of our Patron, St. Brigid. The

day opened at the National Stud where renowned local historian,

Mario Corrigan, gave an interesting overview of the life of St.

Brigid, challenging some of our previously held knowledge, which

made for some lively discussion and banter!

From there, we moved to the original St. Brigid’s Well and on

past Black Friary and White Friary (with Grey Abbey in the

distance), to St. Brigid’s Well where a thought-provoking,

reflective prayer service was held. Onwards up the hill we went

to Kildare Town where, after lunch in the Silken Thomas, groups

divided up and, on a rota basis, did the following:

• Visited St. Brigid’s Parish Church to see the recently

installed relic of St. Brigid

• Visited St. Brigid’s Cathedral for a fascinating guided tour

• Enjoyed the audio-visual presentation in the Town


• Followed the Art Trail

• Made straw “Brideóg Dolls”

To end the day, we gathered at the Flame in the Town centre for

a lovely closing ceremony, each Guider holding their “flame” in

the form of a lighted candle. Each participant received a

bookmark & a replica St. Brigid’s Cross pin from the Chief

Commissioner in remembrance of this #Brigid1500 event.

Thanks to everyone on the CGI Spirituality Team for organising

such a great day and to the clergy & cultural/business venues in

Kildare for their Céad Míle Fáilte!

44 Guiders Link Vol .2

www.girlguidesireland.ie 45



South West Region Brgini trip to Ardmore

On Saturday 25th of February, Brigini from Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Theresa's, St. Vincent's and St. Stephen's attended

Ardmore Farm and Mini Zoo on their Regional day out. The girls got to pet rabbits, guinea pigs and a bearded dragon.

They enjoyed playing in the indoor and outdoor play areas and exploring the zoo and seeing all the different animals.

Before leaving Ardmore, two companies, St. Vincent's and St. Stephen's took a detour to the beach. We would like to

say a massive thank you to Antoinette, our regional Brigini co-ordinator, and Karen for organising a wonderful day out

St Theresa's Passage West

History Badge

In January St Theresa's Guides

alongside Assistant Guider

Ciara worked on their history

badge. They learnt about the

rich maritime history in their

local area of Passage West, and

also went on a walk around to

spot its historical buildings.

World Thinking Day

In February, as part of her Guider Training, Assistant

Guider Ciara led our World Thinking Day ceremony.

Some of the Guides read affirmations and readings. The

Guides and Cygnets engaged in environmental bingo and

then discussed the words on the cards and our impact and

changes on the Earth. Some of the cygnets had brilliant

ideas on reusing and recycling. They were very eco


The Guides travelled by public

bus to Nano Nagle Place,

where they learnt about a very

important figure in history,

Nano Nagle. The Guides got to

see her resting place and her


46 Guiders Link Vol. 2

Irish Navy Base at Haulbowline

During February, St Theresa's Brigini and Guides were very fortunate to visit the Irish Navy Base at Haulbowline, in

Cork Harbour. Seaman Howe gave a thorough and interesting tour of the Samuel Beckett ship. We were very grateful

to the Irish Navy and to Seaman Howe for facilitating our visit. Everyone had a great time. It was a proud family

moment, as Seaman Howe is Assistant Guider Ciara's brother, and nephew to Guider Alison.


On Saturday the 2nd March St Theresa's Guide company held a charity fundraising

coffee morning in the Fr Collins Parish Centre, Passage West. The event was planned,

and organised by the girls, who were lead by the Chief Commissioner Guides. We were

very proud of the company.

The Guides decided to raise funds for two charities, Marymount University Hospice in

memory of our wonderful leader Eilis, and The Hope Foundation as our Friend Garda

Stephen Dennehy is travelling to volunteer for the charity. We were delighted and

amazed by the support that the coffee morning got. A massive €1550 was raised. The

Raffle was a great success with over 40 prizes. So many people donated brilliant items

to add to the raffle, as well as our local businesses.


St. Theresa’s Unit, Passage West held our enrolment on Saturday, 23rd March, 2024. Congratulations to all the Cygnets,

Brigini, Guides and Rangers who made their Promise on the day – it’s great to see the Unit continue to grow with new

members. It was lovely to see many Parents and families there to see their daughters making their promise. Following

the Enrolment Ceremony, badges were presented to the Guides with the girls receiving Bronze, Silver and Gold for

completing their Choices awards. We also presented the Fr. Con Act of Kindness trophy to two recipients this year –

Guide Aoife McCarthy and Brigin Amelia O Bric (Amelia was unable to attend on Saturday) – this trophy was donated

by a local lady in memory of Fr. Con, our Parish Priest who was knocked down and died in 2021.

www.girlguidesireland.ie 47

Cygnet Day

St. Theresa’s Cygnet Company, Passage West joined with other Cygnets from SWR and SER for the National Cygnet

Day held on Saturday, 9th March, 2024. The girls were all excited when they saw the Double Decker bus that came to

collect them. Arriving at Ardmore Pet Farm in Co. Waterford, the girls were given a guided tour where they visited

the Mini Zoo where they got to pet guinea pigs, a bearded dragon and rabbits to name a few. They then went outside

where they got to see lots of animals on the farm. Following this, the girls got time to play in the Indoor play area.

After lunch, they played Crazy Golf which was a great hit with a lot of the girls and got to play some of the inside

games before going back outside to have some fun going around the outdoor maze. The girls arrived home tired but

excited to tell their Parents all about their day. The day was windy and cold with some showers but did not stop the

girls having a fabulous day and they were delighted with their “colouring in bag”. Many thanks to the National Cygnet

Support Team who organized a great day for the girls.


Northern Region Round up

The first few months of 2024 have been very busy starting in February with our St Brigid’s Day celebrations which

took place on Saturday 3rd February in Downpatrick. Seven Units attended with over 160 girls and Leaders. We had

a beautiful mass in St Patrick’s Church and were joined by Dana and the Minister from the Anglican Church, Rev Adrian

Dorrian, who sang beautifully. Lunch, craft activities and a visit to the grave where St Patrick, St Brigid and St Colmcille

are buried and where we laid a wreath for St Brigid. We joined in a song once again with Dana and this was a great

photo opportunity for the girls. St Macartan’s also brought along their beautiful St Brigid’s cloak which they made and

this was modelled by Dana. It was a fabulous day and Dana was so impressed with us that she wants to be an honorary

member of CGI! Our event was published in the Down Recorder, Mourne Observer and The Derry Journal. Big thanks

to Elaine Kelly and Martina Purdy from St Patrick’s Centre and our own Francesca Braniff from St Macartan’s who were

instrumental in planning this day. Thank you also to our brilliant Leaders and youth members who made the day so


We also saw the return of Brigin Cup Competition after a 5-year break. This took place on Sunday 3 March 2024 with

9 teams of 6 girls taking part in a competition over 5 rounds of questions, crafts and badge designs. Our Leaders

also had an opportunity to make some Easter crafts whilst the competition was taking place. Congratulations to St

Colmcille’s for coming first, Holy Family for coming second Christ the Redeemer for coming third. Big thanks to all

involved especially Mairead Walsh and Martina Gallagher, Section Heads for the Brigin Section and our own Regional

Commissioner, Josephine Higgins who helped on the day.

“The truth is that teamwork is at the heart of great achievement” – John C


Josephine Higgins

Northern Region Commissioner

48 Guiders Link Vol. 2

Saturday 3rd February: St Brigid 1500 Celebrations

www.girlguidesireland.ie 49

Brigin Cup Competition 2024

The Rose patrol in Antrim guide unit doing some cooking for their peers

50 Guiders Link Vol. 2


Eastern Region Round Up


The Eastern Region celebrated #Brigid1500 in a special way with an “All Sections Day” in Lullymore Heritage &

Discovery Park, Rathangan, Co. Kildare on February 24th 2024. Lullymore in Co Kildare was chosen as the destination

to celebrate Brigid 1500 – the anniversary of the death of St Brigid. Lullymore Heritage Park has an ethos of protecting

nature and education that tells the story of life gone by on the reclaimed boglands as well as encouraging biodiversity. A

key theme associated with Brigid.

Nearly 500 youth and adult members representing sixteen Units from the Region spent a great day following a

programme of Section-appropriate activities which included exploring the heritage cottages, learning more about St.

Brigid, learning about the importance of bog-ecosystems, taking train rides, playing crazy golf, experiencing a Hedge

School, looking for fairies around the woods & fairy village and playing in the indoor & outdoor playgrounds. On board

the train, there were lots of sing-songs – is it a Girl Guide event if there isn’t at least one sing-song?

So lucky were we with the weather, that the “just in case” craft activities, planned by the Regional #Brigid1500 Team &

Catherine Monaghan (Le Chéíle), weren’t needed. Volunteers from the Exec and #Brigid1500 Team ran Lost Property,

First Aid, did signage, and a myriad of other jobs that all added to the overall success of the event. Our bus drivers

even got involved displaying St. Brigid crosses in their buses for the day. Huge thanks to the Chief Commissioner,

Julie, for joining us for the day and to the Regional organising Team and to Ray & Staff in Lullymore for all the planning

and preparation. A commemorative badge for all participants was designed by Guide & Ranger Commissioner, Sarah

Kennedy...a fitting memento of a great Regional All Sections Day.

www.girlguidesireland.ie 51

St Patrick's Day Parade's

It was great to see so many Units participating in local St. Patrick’s Day Parades. Congratulations to Buíon An Choirp

Chríost, Lusk, for winning a trophy for their participation which included a float depicting campcraft & campfires.

Congratulations also go to trophy winners Buíon Muire na Trócaire, Arklow, for their depiction of St. Brigid in their

local Parade ~ very apt for this #Brigid1500 year!

Lusk Parade

Arklow Parade Pictures

52 Guiders Link Vol. 2

Buíon Muire na Trócaire’s Brigíns

Buíon Muire na Trócaire’s Brigíns, Guides and

Rangers in Arklow led the Stations of the Cross

in St. Mary’s & Peter’s Church on Good Friday

March 29th.


Congratulations to the Guiders from the Eastern

Region who are completing Step 1 Training at the

moment in preparation for Appointments Night

on April 24th next. Also to those who recently

completed Guider Step 2 and An Dhuslán with

the National Training Team on March 23rd and



Wexford Town

St Brigid's Day Crosses

Chinese New Year

Mother's Day

Pancake Tuesday

St Patrick's Day Parade

www.girlguidesireland.ie 53


Clonard unit was delighted to take

take part in the St Patrick's Day

parade in Wexford Town. Its always

great fun. The Cygnets have been busy

working on their Ms Sparkle badge

while the Brigins have are working on

their Friendship and Bakers badge.

The Guides are just finished their

Mental Health badge. The Guides also

had a visit to the Wexford Marine

Watch headquarters where they

learned how important the service is

and how many lives it saves.

The Brigns, Guides and Rangers

were jouned by Barntown unit for a

sleepover in Piercetown. The Guides

had a lesson in camp gadgets from

our friend Luke who is a Scout but

we won't hold that against him. The

Rangers enjoyed the Wexford Light

Operas production of The Phantom

of the Opera.

We are all looking forward to the

National Camp in Rosslare this



Barntown Unit 2 South East Region International Womens Day celebrations 2024.

54 Guiders Link Vol. 2



Chief Commissioner

Assistant Chief Commissioner

National Secretary

National Treasurer






South-Western Region

Eastern Region

South-Eastern Region

Northern Region















Nicola Toughey National Office Coordinator

Eoin Hamilton Communications Administrator

Rob O'Connell Digital Communications

Nicola Kennedy Cope Administrator





www.girlguidesireland.ie 55

CGI National Office

12 Clanwilliam Terrace, Grand Canal Quay, Dublin 2

Tel: (01) 661 9566

Email: admin@girlguidesireland.ie

CGI Northern Region Office

St. Francis De Sales, 55 Beechmount Drive, Belfast

BT12 7LU

Tel: 028 9031 3639

Email: admin.nr@catholicguides.org.uk


Charity Number: CHY 7958

Reg. Charity Number: 20018689

Funded by the Department of Children, Equality,

Disability, Integration & Youth and the National


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