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7 inspiring young Irish people who blazed a trail in 2014

Ordinary young people really can do extraordinary things


Written by Sarah Doran | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life


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If there's one thing 2014 has taught us for certain it's that Ireland's future is in safe hands.

Over the course of the past 12 months we've watched so many inspiring young people do wonderful things for themselves, for others, and for the country.

Here at SpunOut towers, as the New Year approaches, we think it's high time we took a look back and celebrated just a few of the inspiring young Irish people who blazed a trail for all of us in 2014:

Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey & Sophie Healy-Thow

It’s not every day that you’ll find yourself on a list with Malala Yousafzai, Kendall Jenner and Lorde, but for Cork teenagers Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey, Sophie Healy-Thow it’s all in a day’s work.

The trio made Time Magazine’s list of the world’s most influential teenagers this year, thanks to an extraordinary science project. They won the grand prize at the Google Science Fair after discovering a bacteria that could speed up the growth of cereal crops and even increase the amount of food produced.

Just imagine what you could have done if you’d just stopped playing with that Bunsen burner and paid attention instead.

Shane Carthy

Dealing with depression is a daunting task but it’s one Dublin GAA Under 21s star Shane Carthy bravely undertook in 2014.

The 20-year-old All-Ireland winning footballer was hospitalised earlier this year, preventing another impressive run at the semi-final stage of the championship.

DCU student Shane made the incredibly brave decision to speak out about mental health issues and shared his experience with SpunOut.ie for World Mental Day in October. His words made quite the impression, both within the sporting community and beyond.

Sinead Burke aka Minnie Melange

Blogger Sinead Burke is one busy young lady. If she’s not out interviewing some of Ireland’s most extraordinary women she’s meeting up with musicians, fashion industry insiders and even the man who manages Adele.

Is it any wonder that her blog, Minnie Melange, was named overall Blog of The Year by IMAGE Magazine?

The 23 year old took to the stage at One Young World to discuss perceptions about disability and even had chat with Maia Dunphy on her RTÉ series 'What Women Want'. At 3ft 5 inches tall Sinead defines herself as a “little person” but she’s never considered it a barrier to doing big things.

Jamie Harrington

If you spend a lot of time on Facebook then you’ve probably heard of Jamie Harrington. The 16-year-old freelance photographer (yup, you read that right) is famous for his posts about how to stay positive when you’re dealing with depression and has over 12,000 followers on his official Facebook page.

Jamie does a lot of work with Teenline Ireland and is also part of the Never Alone Collective, who got together to release a charity single last year.

You might also have spotted him on RTÉ Two’s Connected, working hard filming and supporting his cousin Temper-Mental MissElayneous, or right here on SpunOut.ie talking about mental health issues.

Saibh McCaffrey

Were you blown away by Emma Watson’s #HeForShe speech? Well then you’d better hold on to your hat because we’ve got one very inspiring young feminist here in Ireland and she’s most definitely going places.

Secondary school student Saibh McCaffrey is involved with The Y Factor, a youth initiative of the National Women’s Council of Ireland, aimed at empowering young people to be leaders for women’s equality.

She was one of a panel of inspiring young women who helped create the organisation’s toolkit for gender equality and her passion for the cause inspired Irish polticians to call on her to go into politics herself.

Matthew Logan

Never mind Marco Pierre White, there's a rising star here in Ireland who's cooking up an absolute storm. 22 year old Matthew Logan was awarded the coveted 2014 Euro-toques Young Chef of the Year in November and will now embark on an all expenses paid stage, at the world-renowned The Square London, where he will work under the direction of two star Michelin chef Philip Howard.

He's already a Chef de Partie at Dublin's Chapter One so who knows where he'll end up next! His passion for food was shared by the other amazing finalists, who offer proof that you don't have to travel to Europe to find some of the finest young chefs in the world.

We'll take any free lunches you're offering Matthew!

Stephanie Roche

If there’s one person who proves that football is most definitely NOT just for boys it’s Irish woman Stephanie Roche.

The 25 year old hit the headlines when an incredible goal she scored against the Wexford Youths in  October 2013 was nominated for FIFA’s Goal of The Year.

Stephanie beat off stiff competition from some of the world’s best football players to make it all the way to the final three, alongside Robin van Persie and James Rodriguez.

Think we missed someone? Who blazed a trail for you in 2014? Let us know in the comments below.

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Published November 27th, 2014
Last updated October 28th, 2015
Tags get involved inspiration young people
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