Over the years all the Irish Scout associations held various types of competitions and challenges.
The Melvin Trophy was presented to the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland by Sir Martin Melvin proprietor of “The Universe” the Trophy was designed by Liam S. Gogan a noted Gaelic scholar and made by noted Irish silversmith Mia Carnwill. The enamelled panels depict images of Irelands past present and future. A Lepel badge belonging to the founder of the C.B.S.I. Father Tom Farrell is incorporated into the lid of the Trophy. The first Melvin Trophy took place at Larch Hill in August 1949. In order to take part in the Melvin competition a Patrol had to qualify. Each Diocese had an annual Diocesan Shield competition and the winning Troop of the Diocesan Shield would send a team to the Melvin Trophy. All Troops in the Diocese would contribute to the expenses of the team representing their Diocese. The Diocesan Shield competition included how a Troop was run.
This badge measures 50mm by 60mm and was awarded to participants who took part in the year 2000. The Melvin Cup is an annual competition. The competition is open to Patrols, each Patrol has to qualify to take part and the competition takes place over a long weekend, usually 3 days. Competitors are tested in all Scouting skills, Camping, Hiking, Cooking, First Aid and so on. The competition has taken place every year since 1932.
Scouting Ireland and Scouting Ireland CSI. PEAK stands for Patrol Expedition Adventure Kamp it is a National weeklong training adventure for Scouts run over Easter and teaching them hiking and teamwork skills. Scouts have to apply to take part and places are limited. I have been told by someone they took part in PEAK in 1998 so goes back at least that far.
The more recent version of the badge is undated and I think changed slightly in colour each year.
Held at Larch Hill sometime in August. The Trophy was won by St. Paul’s Troop from Limerick. The winning Patrol were Emer O’Connor, David Kenny, Conor Walsh, Dean McGrath, Sarah Johnston, Lyndsay Farrell, Kate Keoghan and Niall Mahon.
The Melvin Cup was a Catholic Scouts of Ireland competition, in 2004 with the formation of Scouting Ireland the Melvin Cup and the Scout Association of Ireland’s Smythe Cup competitions were merged into the Phoenix Patrol Challenge.
Sionnach Adventure Badge
Scouting Ireland Sionnach Adventure. Sionnach Adventure takes place several times a year and is something similar to the Mountain Pursuit Challenge MPC. The structure of the events differ slightly in that Sionnach Adventures tend to have shorter hike routes and involve training sessions at checkpoints, while MPC’s have slightly longer routes and involve only navigation checks at checkpoints. Sionnach Adventure also takes place outside Ireland, in 2014 one event took place in Wales. In recent years the Sionnach badge has been replaced with a Scarf/Necker. Sionnach is the Irish for Fox.
The badge measures 80mm by 40mm. The Fia Challenge was open to all Scout Patrols and involved a hike, usually over 10 miles, the hike had to take place of varying terrain and involve mountainous area and roads, as the Patrols progress through the hike they were tested on various Scouting skills such as First Aid, Map Reading, Road Safety and that essential Scouting skill making up a rhyme about how your day was going. Fia is the Irish for Deer.
Mountain Pursuit Challenge MPC
Mountain Pursuit Challenge MPC badge was awarded to Scouts who had completed the MPC. The Challenge consisted of camping skills, hiking and navigation, the event usually took place over three days. A Scout could gain and wear all four badges on the uniform, one challenge per province took place every year. Scouts took part in the challenge in teams of four.
Scouting Ireland MPC 1991 – 2011. Issued to mark 20 years of the Mountain Pursuit Challenge.
The current Scouting Ireland MPC badges, top Ulster, right, Leinster, left Connaught, bottom, Munster. All four badges could be worn on the uniform at the same time.
Catholic Scouts of Ireland County Expedition Award and County Mountain Challenge, not sure if these two badges are still used (2014), they were part of the MPC challenge and worn with the MPC badges as can be seen in the illustration above. They were awarded between 2003 and 2010.
County Mountain Challenge
County Expedition Award
Scouting Ireland Explorer Belt 2012 Bretagne. Issued in 2012 to Scouts who took part in the 200km walk in France as part of their Explorer Belt.
Peak 2000 Challenge Badge
Although the event is UK based it is not unusual to see Irish Scouts wearing the Peak Challenge badge as Irish Troops frequently take part. The Peak Challenge is an event which takes place every 5 years.
Sluaíocht na Sléibhte
The Sluaíocht na Sléibhte (SNS) is a weekend mountaineering event for teams of 3 Venture Scouts. They are considered as an extension to the Scout mountaineering programme (MPC, Sionnach, PEAK) but with some key changes. The main change is the requirement for adult leader is removed.
Two events are held every year- the winter expedition and the Summer Climb Ax. The first winter SNS was held in 2006 in Lugnaquilla in Wicklow. The 2007 winter SNS went to Mount Snowdon in Wales while the Summer Climb Ax was held in Annascul, Kerry.
Ventact South is organised by the Joint Committee on Scouting and Guiding in Cork and caters for Venture Scouts and Ranger Guides from all over Ireland. The event takes place the first weekend in September each year at the Kilcully Scout Centre.
Ventact South is unique as it is Irelands only Joint Event for the Senior Sections of Scouting and Guiding. The event is organized by the Ventact South Sub Committee who are part of the Joint Committee of Scouts and Guides in Cork. The Committee is made up of members of Scouting Ireland, Irish Girl Guides and The Catholic Guides of Ireland. The chairperson rotates annually between the three organizations.
Founding members of Ventact South in 1978 were Don Trotter (Scout Association of Ireland), Liam Howe (Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland), Mary Stack (Irish Girl Guides) and Eileen McCarthy (Catholic Guides of Ireland) and the first Ventact took place from the 1st to the 3rd of September.
Participants arrive on the Friday and pitch their tents. There is normally a large campfire followed by Fire Performers. After this tickets for Saturday's activities are given out (followed by a mad dash to swap activities). On Saturday morning participants are bused offsite to do two activities (e.g. Water-skiing, Zip it, Escape Spike Island, Canoeing, Rafting, High Ropes and the Ventact Famous Monopoly Run). When they return, there is a barbecue at the campsite. On Saturday evening there is a Scouts/Guides Own followed by the ever popular themed Ventact Disco. On Sunday morning bouncing castles and inflatable obstacle courses before everyone heads home. The badge design changes every year depending on the theme of the event.