The brightest sparks are at the RDS this weekend…..

yscientist164aThe brightest sparks are at the RDS weekend, attending the 2017 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition click here for the map and here for the timetable.

A phone call from a good friend and the offer of tickets made the decision easy. I have never been to it before and I was looking forward to bringing our children along.

It was a flying visit, as the kids were in school in the morning, so, by the time we arrived it was 4pm. We only had an hour and half to look around.

CoderDojo was the first to grab their attention in the industries’ hall. Our children are attending one their clubs and they love it. In the group 7-12 they learn how to code, build a website, create an app or a game and this is all possible due to volunteers in the technology sector giving their time and experience. It is all done in a very informal, creative way.

VR glasses for our ever changing virtual world

VR glasses for our ever changing virtual world

Our son got to try out the VR Glasses and play a game in the virtual world.

One of Ben's creations alias The MAKER Kid...

One of Ben’s creations alias The MAKER Kid…

There was a couple of kids explaining about CoderDojo and one in particular a ten year old boy called Ben, alias The MAKER Kid. He created lots of different gadgets, including a little car that he made. He picked it up at a workshop event during the summer at The festival of Curiosity.

Robotic car at the CodorDojo stand by 10 yr old Ben.

Robotic car at the CodorDojo stand by 10 yr old Ben.

The kids were very excited to see all the different technology, but my son’s eyes bulged and he grabbed my hand and led me to ARCkit. They got a present from Santa two years ago of this and they LOVE it. It’s up their with Lego; and the great thing is it’s Irish.

At the ARCkit stand

At the ARCkit stand


ARCKit stand

ARCKit stand

If like our kids, your’s love making and using their imagination, then ARCkit is for them. Our friend’s child is 8 and he never heard of it. They all got stuck in and started building straight away.



Damien Murtagh, who is an architect, invented ARCkit as a way of showing his clients physical models rather than 3d models on a computer, but he knew that it had the potential to be used by older children. There was quite a collection of kids circling the table totally engrossed in building homes of the future.

He is a very engaging friendly guy, who told me that his ARCkit is sold worldwide including Harrods, The Science Museum and The Design museum London. Stockists here in Ireland include Brown Thomas where ARCkit was in the marvel room at Christmas, The Science Gallery and Damien said more are going to be included this year.


The kids decided to stay as there was no shifting them from ARCkit, so I decided to venture off. I went into the main hall, where, as it was coming to the end of the day, a lot of the stands were empty. I got talking to two girls from Laois who attend Heywood Community College. Their project was in the social and behavioural science category.

Maeve and Ruth's stand from Heywood community college, Co.laois.

Maeve and Ruth’s stand from Heywood community college, Co.laois.

They were researching “What effect did praise and criticism have on Academic achievement”.  One of the questions they asked was “Do you think praise or criticism has an effect on your schoolwork?”: 78 % said yes, 4% said no and 17% said it depended on the subject.

One of the quote’s they had on their stand was by a footballer Timothy F. Cahill. He said “I take constructive criticism. Not everyone loves you. It’s the way you react as a footballer, I use it all to make me play better”….


When I went back to the industries’ hall the kids decided to go over to Analog Devices Limerick . Their stand was causing quite a stir with a lot of kids. They make lots of different components for everything from your camera, to amplifiers to sensors. Our children loved the different areas at their stand such as a large glass with lots of lead lights. When you looked into it, it looked like they had dug a huge tunnel right down to middle earth from where the kids were standing in the RDS. It turned out that it consisted of a mirror and just two strips of LED lights.

"Heres looking at you kid"

“Heres looking at you kid”

My kids trying to see down the tunnel.

My kids trying to see down the tunnel.

The next area had a box of what seemed to be a ariel map of mountain terrain projected down into the box. On closed inspection we realised it was a box filled with rice and the kids dug into the mountainous terrain and had great fun.

The mountains..

The mountains..

One of the very helpful people on the stand showed my children how to light a lightbulb by simply holding it in their hand. It works through the current going through their body from one source into the bulb.

The lightbulb effect...

The lightbulb effect…

As I said, it was our first time going to the BT Young Scientist Exhibition and it really is for primary school kids from 7 upwards to enjoy and learn. It is on tomorrow (Saturday 14 January). Make it a family day out, if you can. Get out there early and ENJOY learning through fun….

After all, our children are the “bright sparks” of the future ….



Showtime Again

Jacinta Leigh Scatterpillar designs with two of her creations Flowery and Lula

I am really thrilled that I have been chosen to exhibit at Creative Island again in Showcase, January 2015. All of the exhibitors that have been picked are showcasing the very best that Ireland has to offer in contemporary design and craft. It is a great achievement for me as a designer/mother to attend this trade show.

Showcase is held every year in January at the RDS, Simmonscourt.  It will take place on the 18th-21st of January. It attracts buyers from home and abroad. Showcase is the first major trade show to mark ID2015, a year of Irish Design, a government run initiative to explore, promote and celebrate Irish design.

“In today’s global market, provenance and heritage add value, desirability and exclusivity to products. Creative Island showcases 91 talented designers who are combining traditional methods and materials with contemporary design ideas, creating a new standard in modern heritage and luxury.”

Emma McGrath, Trade Development Manager,DCCOI, Design Craft Council of Ireland.

Last year I got such great feedback and some lovely commissions. I had only launched my business in November 2013, so I was really new to all of it. I have learn’t so much in the past year.

I’ve had a lot of fun on different private commissions and The Vikings Gunnarr and Védis. This was through The National Museum of Ireland on Kildare Street. They appeared in The Irish Times weekend section.

The softies are really looking forward to going on another adventure. Where will they end up this time?



Making a Dash for Santa


Scatterpillar Designs are delighted to announce that we will be running two competitions in association with Santa Dash and The Down Syndrome Centre, it’s a fun-filled family charity run.

As a mother, I have always tried to teach my children about healthy eating and keeping fit. Any time I get I bring them out on walks and try (sometimes failing!) to keep treats to a minimum.


Christmas is an ideal time to come together as a family and do something active. It’s also a time for giving. This year, the Santa Dash are giving part of the proceeds from the event to The Down Syndrome Centre. This is a one-of-a-kind event that sees over a thousand Santas dash down Dublin’s Clontarf Strand at 2pm on the 7th of December.

This is what Niamh Dolye, Fundraising and PR coordinator for The Down Syndrome Centre has to say about Santa Dash…

“The Down Syndrome Centre receives no Government support and so events such as Santa Dash are an integral part of our fundraising. Run by IrishFit, Santa Dash is a 5km or 10km run on December 7th at Clontarf Strand. Each participant will don a Santa Suit for the most visually entertaining run in Ireland. There are a number of ways that The Down Syndrome Centre will benefit from this event; we receive a sum from each registration and we are asking people to fundraise for us by registering for a sponsorship pack. There is also a raffle in aid of The Down Syndrome Centre with wonderful prizes donated. We are so grateful to Scatterpillar Designs for sponsoring a prize in this raffle, which we have no doubt will ensure that the raffle is a huge success.”

“As a small Irish company that is pursuing its entrepreneurial dreams through hard work and determination, we are so grateful that Scatterpillar Designs have chosen to support The Down Syndrome Centre.”

For the raffle we have decided at Scatterpillar Designs to run two competitions. One will be run on Scatterpillar Designs facebook page. You will be in with a chance of winning a very special prize of a softie, cushion or embroidery on canvas. Allow Scatterpillar Designs bring your child’s drawing to life. They make very special keepsakes.

You need to click here Scatterpillar Design to like the facebook page and then like and share the post with the blog details to be in with a chance of winning this very special prize. Your name will be entered into the draw.

jimí cushiondude


The second prize is on the 4th, 5th, 6th of December at Expo you can buy raffle tickets for The Down Syndrome Centre, times and details are on the Santa Dash website. There is a prize of one of the characters from Scatterpillar Designs retail range.

Both prizes will be announced on the 8th Of December.

Santa will be in his grotto down on the beach for all the children to visit. Any child who officially enters and runs the race can visit him and get a free Christmas present and spectators pay just €5. This 5 or 10k Christmas time run is one for the diaries – the event is great fun and a happy and healthy family day out.
Registration: Adults are €25, children are €20 and the registration price includes your Santa outfit.
For more information and to register follow this link 
Date:   2pm –   7th December 2014