Shannon Foynes Port COMPASS competition, supported by Hunt Museum, returns to deepen awareness of estuary opportunity

Friday, 19 January 2024: TY students across the Mid-West are being given an opportunity, in the return of the Shannon Foynes Port Company Compass schools competition, to have their say on our future by visualising the transformational potential of the Shannon Estuary as a global renewable energy hub in the decades ahead.

Organised by the port authority, the biennial competition will be an opportunity for TY students in counties Clare, Kerry and Limerick to create a short film that predicts what realising the unprecedented renewable energy opportunity on the Shannon Estuary will do for the region and nation.

Themed ‘Shooting the Breeze’, the competition returns for the first time since pre-COVID and has a top prize of €2,000 for the winning school. Students create a film of a maximum duration of seven minutes that will focus on the impact of wind power, what it will deliver in terms of sustainability and the downstream economic opportunities as the Shannon Estuary becomes the production hub for Ireland’s estimated 80GW of offshore wind – ten times our domestic requirement – waiting to be tapped off the Atlantic seaboard.

Shannon Foynes Port is partnering on this year’s competition with the Hunt Museum, leveraging off its ‘Nights Candles are Burnt Out’ exhibition, which charts the previous renewable energy revolution of the Shannon system via the development almost a century ago of the Shannon Hydroelectric Scheme at Ardnacrusha. Students will get ample inspiration and insight for their film by visiting the captivating exhibition, which is free to all schools participating in ‘Shooting the Breeze’.

Information Packs and Entry Forms for the competition are available from; telephone 069 73102. Entry forms must be returned by 31st January 2024, with a further eight weeks for the TY teams to create their short-film, which must be submitted by March 21st 2024.  The five Best Film Nominations will be announced on April 8th, with the chosen teams presenting their films at the Gala Awards Event in the Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum on April 26th.

Shannon Foynes Port Chief Executive Pat Keating said: “COMPASS has been a great instrument for growing awareness among the youth of the region of the opportunity for the Shannon Estuary to become an international renewable energy generation hub. Participating schools have found it beneficial in terms of gaining awareness of our unique opportunity in this region to lead Ireland’s and influence Europe’s green transition, but they have really enjoyed the process. So, we would encourage as many as possible to enter. Our partnership with the Hunt Museum is an extra attraction as students visiting the exhibition will get plenty of inspiration and insight from it for their short film.”

Mr Keating added: “Returning this year with the competition is particularly timely following the publication last year of the Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce report, which sets out just why the Shannon Estuary can become the green digital powerhouse for the country and export huge volumes of renewable energy to Europe. This is a cue for these young film makers and I’ve no doubt that this will be a project they will be passionate about given this generation’s focus on and demand for the sustainable future that the Estuary can deliver.”

Sinead Hutchison, Exhibition & Events Manager at Hunt Museum, said, “We’re delighted to partner with Shannon Foynes Port on Shooting the Breeze.  This is all about the future but learnings from the past can certainly inspire the future and museums are enablers of that. What happened on the Shannon system here almost 100 years ago, which is the subject of our Nights Candles are Burnt Out exhibition, with Ardnacrusha is not just inspiration for the students participating in this competition but is an inspiration to everyone, including government, to go after today’s opportunity on the Shannon Estuary.

Ardnacrusha was one of the top engineering feats in the world in its day, was what the Hoover Dam in the US was modelled on and yet this was committed to and developed in the very early years of our state. If we replicate that courage today, it will bring us to a whole new and better world tomorrow and that’s what we this competition will showcase.”

A panel of independent judges will adjudicate on the film submissions and pay particular attention to creativity, knowledge, ingenuity and presentation of the outcomes. Evidence of teamwork is also essential.

In addition to the €2,000 for their school, the winning team will also receive the coveted COMPASS Trophy. Each team member also receives an iPad & Commemorative Medal. The runner up prizes for each of the five teams are Commemorative Medals and Sailing Day at Foynes Yacht Club.