Ladybirds turn 30!

More than 600 Ladybirds – the youngest members of Irish Girl Guides – took part in a massive celebration on Saturday 15 June to mark their 30th birthday!

Ladybirds, who are aged five to seven, travelled from all over the country to party at Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park. More than 300 girls and 100 volunteer Leaders attended each event.

The girls loved meeting up with Ladybirds from other counties to celebrate their milestone birthday.

“All the girls had a fabulous day in Dublin Zoo and Fota with singing and dancing and a big cake at each event,” said Monica McDonnell, Chair of Ladybird Branch. “There was a brilliant atmosphere and the girls in Dublin were particularly excited to be joined by award-winning space explorer and science communicator Dr Niamh Shaw who told them about her space adventures.”

A pilot Ladybird Unit in Ballybrack, Dublin, in the 1980s was such a success that in 1989 Ladybirds was officially launched by then Minister for Education Mary O’Rourke. Within a year there were 33 Ladybird units operating throughout the country. Today there are more than 2,000 Ladybirds throughout the 26 counties.

“The Ladybird programme encourages girls to care and share, to think of others and to contribute to their local communities,” said Monica, who is Leader of Cúchulainn Ladybirds in Drogheda. “Each girl is encouraged to try her best and learn new skills and is rewarded for doing the best she can.

“The girls can earn badges for all kinds of things, like Road Safety, Healthy Mind, Performing Arts, Environmental Awareness, Voting and STEM. During their time with us, we see the Ladybirds grow in confidence and independence while making new friends and having a lot of fun.”

IGG Chief Commissioner Helen Concannon said: “Irish Girl Guides excels at being relevant and in touch with the needs of each new generation of girls. Thousands of girls have benefited from their involvement as Ladybirds in IGG and have progressed to Brownies (aged 7-10) and Guides (aged 10-14) where they continue to grow in independence, develop essential life-skills and are introduced to the international aspects of the Guiding movement. On behalf of the girls, I thank all the women who have volunteered as Ladybird Leaders over the last 30 years and look forward to the next 30!”

Monica concluded, “The parties wouldn’t have been possible without our sponsors – Impression Design and Print, The Galway Bay, Tayto, Fyffes and the staff of Deloitte. All of these have donated to us, which has been a massive help. Also, thanks to Dublin Zoo and Fota for allowing us to celebrate the birthday in their venues. Everyone had a fantastic time!”