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Imogen Grumley Traynor (St Kilian's Deutsche Schule, Dublin), Matthew O'Dwyer (Gonzaga College, Dublin), Daniel Herlihy (Douglas Community School, Cork), Eleanor McSweeney (St Joseph of Cluny, Dublin)

Deciphering world’s languages at Linguistics Olympiad

Four of Ireland’s top young decoders are this week putting their problem-solving skills to the test this week as they represent their country in the International Linguistics Olympiad 2013 at Manchester University, England.  Team Ireland will compete against talented sleuths from 30 countries in testing their minds against the world’s toughest puzzles in language, logic and linguistics.

The International Linguistics Olympiad challenges secondary school students to develop their own strategies for solving problems in unfamiliar languages – from deciphering Armenian railway maps to interpreting ancient Mayan poetry.  The contest aims to inspire students to explore the exciting range of careers available at the intersection of linguistics, computing and languages.

Representing Ireland at the Olympiad are Matthew O’Dwyer of Gonzaga College, Dublin, Daniel Herlihy of Douglas Community School, Cork, Eleanor McSweeney of St. Joseph of Cluny, Dublin and Imogen Grumley Traynor of St. Kilian’s Deutsche Schule, Dublin.

The four students secured their places on the Irish team when they triumphed over more than 1,000 competitors in this year’s All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO). The final of the Irish competition was hosted by the Science Foundation Ireland-funded CNGL research centre at Dublin City University in March 2013. CNGL is a 58 million euro academia-industry partnership that develops advanced technologies to adapt and personalise digital content to meet the language and technical needs of users across global markets.

Speaking from Manchester, 18-year-old Eleanor McSweeney from Dublin said she is excited to represent her country at the international contest:

“This is the first year I've competed in the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad so I'm delighted to have the chance to go to Manchester and represent Ireland with the rest of the team. It's been a great learning curve so far and I've really enjoyed the challenge involved in the problems”.

All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad coordinator, Dr. Cara Greene, said she is expecting an impressive showing by the Irish competitors in Manchester:

“The Irish team have been training hard for the upcoming International Linguistics Olympiad. I am very proud to have such a strong group of problem-solvers represent the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad and Ireland at the competition next week”, said Greene.

The team event is taking place today, Thursday 25 August. It’s not all hard work, however, as the organisers have also prepared an exciting programme of social and cultural activities for the competitors.

Follow the Irish team’s progress via Facebook at

26th July, 2013