15 June 2019


Ben de Barra

Skerries 13-year-old Ben is an avid reader and one with a creative writing course under his belt to boot.

In 2016, Ben contributed one of his stories to a book raising funds for UNICEF. The talented Dubliner later adapted that story, The Happy Garden, into what became an award-winning script at the Bord Gáis Energy Youth Theatre Awards! As part of Ben’s role as a Creative Ambassador, he’s bringing The Happy Garden’s characters to life by making a unique short film too. You can also spot Ben in our Cruinniú na nÓg ad campaign, giving film director Jim Sheridan a little… direction!

Read more about Ben:

“Hi, I’m Ben and I’m 13.

I love stories. When I started school, the first story I read was ‘Spy Dog’ followed by the ‘Harry Potter’ series which I’ve read many times. My latest obsession is the ‘Ranger’s Apprentice’ series which I spent all my birthday money on.

When I was eight years old, I started a creative writing course in an attic beside Skerries Windmill. Megan is the teacher there and at Christmas time all the children write a story and Megan publishes them in a book. In 2016 I wrote The Happy Garden for her book entitled Story Storm and we raised €330 for UNICEF to help children in Syria. I’m grateful to Megan for teaching me everything I know.

When I was in 5th class, I adapted The Happy Garden into a short script and entered the Bord Gáis Energy Youth Theatre Awards. I was really surprised when I was short-listed and even more surprised when Bord Gáis invited my whole class to a ceremony in the theatre. Lo and behold, I won! And my classmates and I got a day off school… double win!

This year I’m very excited to make a short film and bring the characters in The Happy Garden to life. I’m really grateful to Creative Ireland for giving me this opportunity.

 I’m also into music, I play piano and, though not so well, guitar. I like composing my own songs and playing others’, especially Villagers and Queen. 

In conclusion, I’m a reader and a writer who keeps getting amazing opportunities. I’m really looking forward to this one!”