A video project entitled “It's time Ireland recognised the artistic and cultural merit of hurley makers like Willie Bulfin” has earned Emil Trahan, a MA in Journalism student at the University of Limerick, top prize in the 2019 Irish Examiner / University of Limerick video journalism competition.
His heart warming piece focused on the story of master craftsman Willie Bulfin and his two sons who, for 20 years, have handcrafted hurleys which have been used all around Ireland.
The piece was prompted by Emil's annoyance that the art of hurley making has been deemed a craft which does not qualify for tax breaks.
Watch Emil's winning video below:
Emil was voted overall winner by a panel of judges made up of Irish Examiner and UL journalism lecturers using a range of metrics including journalistic merit, popularity on site and levels of engagement across social media.
In a close vote his video was closely followed by runner up Aisling Moloney whose story on "The signing system giving those with intellectual disabilities a helping 'Lámh'" was much lauded by all judges.
In third place Jessica Doyle's "A female perspective of life in the Irish army" was also highly rated by all judges.
The competition is part of an ongoing partnership between UL and the Irish Examiner in which coursework produced by UL journalism students’ is broadcast to a national audience.
Commenting on this year's competition organisers Dolan O'Hagan, executive editor for news and digital, and lecturer in broadcast journalism at University of Limerick Fergal Quinn said they were blown away by the breadth of content and standard of entry.
Mr Quinn said it was very hard to choose a winner this year.
"I am delighted for Emil. He is a really talented young journalist and I thought he really engaged with the human centre of the story and showed a visual flair in doing so."
"I was impressed by the breath of subjects our journalism students chose this year and the standard across the board was higher than ever before"
Mr O'Hagan also paid tribute to all those who participated.
"This competition showed that like all generations before them the newest crop of journalists share exactly the same passion for, and interest in, story telling which highlights the issues impacting them and their world.
"Emil's story did just that. He, his fellow class mates and his lecturers at UL should be applauded for achieving and fostering that type of story-telling."
Irish Examiner editor and one of the competition judges, Allan Prosser, extended his congratulations to all those who contributed.
Mr Prosser went on to pay tribute to the ongoing collaboration with UL.
"We work with the University of Limerick on a number of journalism-related projects and are always pleased with the fruits of our relationship. A number of their graduates have joined our newsroom in the past decade and we see them as an important recruiting ground for the next generation of journalists."
Check out all the entries right here