Google names Ireland’s top doodler

12 Mar 2012

The winning Google Doodle - a stylised Google logo - in the 2012 Doodle 4 Google competition by sixth-year student Patrick Horan

A doodle about turning back time has scooped the top prize in the 2012 Doodle 4 Google competition. The creator, Patrick Horan, a sixth-year student at St Munchin’s College in Limerick, will now have his doodle splayed across the Google Ireland homepage on Friday for all to see.

Horan has just been presented with his award at a special prize-giving ceremony in Google’s EMEA headquarters on Barrow Street in Dublin City. And he’s been rewarded for his creativity by Sophia Foster-Dimino, an official Google doodler who travelled from Google’s offices in Mountain View, California, to Dublin to announce today’s winner of Google’s fourth Doodle 4 Google competition in Ireland.

I wish …

The theme of this year’s competition was ‘I wish …’ and more than 2,300 students entered the Google 4 Doodle. But it was Horan’s doodle that caught the judges’ attention in the end. The student, who hails from Clonlara in Co Clare, said he came up with the idea for his doodle as he wanted to look at turning back time and depict how people lived in the past.

“Many of us look towards the stars to make a wish. I wish I could turn back time to see our world in past times. My Doodle shows the mechanisms inside a clock slowly turning back the hands of time, making my wish come true.”

Today’s accolade for Horan is also the second time a student from St Munchin’s has won the competition. Back in 2009, Evan O’Sullivan Glynn won the very first Doodle 4 Google competition.

Horan’s school will be awarded a €10,000 technology grant while both he and his teacher will receive a laptop.

A panel of judges chose the 75 finalists, who went forward to the online public vote in February. More than 125,000 votes were registered by the public and the doodlers with the highest number of votes in each age group made it through to the overall finals.

From these five group winners, Google doodler Foster-Dimino selected Horan as the overall winner.

The four other group winners in the Doodle 4 Google competition were:

  • Darragh Brady from Edmondstown National School, Dublin 16
  • Abby Ware from Johnswell National School, Co Kilkenny
  • Ryan Taylor from Scoil Eoin Baiste, Co Donegal
  • Carolyn O Sullivan, from Coláiste Phobail Bheanntraí in Co Cork.

The four group winners and their teachers will receive a laptop computer each.

The judging panel included children’s author Tom McCaughren, Ray Yates of Dublin City Arts Office and Gary Granville, a professor of education at the National College of Art and Design. The entries were judged on both artistic merit and how well students explained what the theme ‘I wish …’ means to them.

Doodle workshop with Googler Sophia Foster-Dimino

The winners were also treated to a special doodle workshop with Foster-Dimino at today’s Google prize-giving ceremony in Dublin.

Foster-Dimino said it was her first visit to Ireland. “With over 2,300 entrants it is obvious that Ireland’s reputation as a cultural and artistic leader in Europe is well deserved. The creativity exhibited by all of the five group winners was fantastic. I really struggled to pick the overall winner. I can’t wait to see Patrick’s doodle on the Google Ireland homepage,” she said.

John Herlihy, head of Google Ireland, also spoke about how the competition shows the power of imagination and how talented Irish children are. “Google is committed to encouraging creativity and innovation amongst the next generation and the standards shown by this year’s entrants confirm that Ireland’s future is in safe hands,” he said.

You can view all the 75 regional finalists’ doodles here.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic