Chemistry Olympiad Ireland

Chemistry Olympiad Ireland 2022

The Chemistry Olympiad Ireland (ChOIRL) is a competition for students located in the island of Ireland in the final year of second level education and who are under twenty on December 31 in the year of the competition.  Students from Northern Ireland (NI) and the Republic of Ireland (RoI) are invited to participate in the competition.

For 2022, the National Finals of ChOIRL are hosted over two rounds (Round 1a and 1b):

  • Round 1a took place online as a multiple-choice (MC) quiz on Saturday, January 29, 2022 from 11 am to 12.30 pm. Round 1a was open to all eligible students (see criteria below) who wished to partake. Question topics were chosen from all areas of Chemistry, with the difficulty mostly based on Chemistry topics of the Leaving Certificate, A-Levels and IB Chemistry curricula.
  • Round 1b will only be offered to the top students selected from Round 1a. It will consist of a written exam most likely run remotely on March 5, 2022 (TBC). It should be noted that this will be subject to governmental Covid-19 guidelines in operation and may be subject to change. A list of the finalists can be found here.

The overall winners of ChOIRL will be announced on March 12, 2022.  The following awards will be presented:

  • Gold, Silver & Bronze Chemistry Olympiad Ireland (ChOIRL) Medals and Highly Commended Awards

Eligible Students:

  • Should be sitting the Leaving Certificate, A-Levels or International Baccalaureate in 2022.
  • Should be expected to get the highest marks in Chemistry from their School.
  • Completed registration needs to be submitted before 5 pm on January 27, 2022:
  • Digital certificates of participation will be awarded to all those who complete Round 1a and 1b.

National award winners will be invited to attend training for the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) remotely and/or in person in Dublin over the Easter break (Round 2). The final team of 4 students to represent Ireland at the 54th International Chemistry Olympiad IChO 2022 will be selected following a further, final examination at the end of the Round 2 training.  IChO 2022 is currently scheduled to take place at Nankai University in Tianjin, China from July 10-18, 2022:  Note that IChO 2022 may be held remotely, like the 2020 and 2021 competitions, if government restrictions in China due to the Covid-19 pandemic dictate otherwise at the time leading up to the dates of the competition.

Further training to prepare the team for the international competition  will take place in late June and early July for the four, successful, selected student participants of Team Ireland.  The details of this training programme will be issued by the Organising Committee in June 2022.

ChOIRL Organising Committee 2022:
Dr. Carl Poree, University of Manchester (UoM) – Co-Chair
Dr. Brian Murphy, Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (TUS) – Co-Chair
Dr. John O’Donoghue, Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) – Secretary
Dr. Nessan Kerrigan, Dublin City University (DCU) – Treasurer
Dr. Odilla Finlayson, Dublin City University (DCU)
Dr. Pat O’Malley, Dublin City University (DCU)
Dr. Cormac Quigley, Atlantic Technological University (ATU) (from April 1, 2022)
Dr. Elizabeth Gilchrist, University College Cork (UCC)

Funding gratefully acknowledged from North/South Cooperation Section, Department of Education, Government of Ireland (

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Success of Team Ireland at International Chemistry Olympiad 2021

Team Ireland achieved its best success to date in the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO), which was held from July 24 to August 2, 2021. All four competing students received awards, which meant the Irish challenge surpassed all previous achievements in the competition.

  • Oisín Ó Feinneadha, St Peter’s College Secondary School, Wexford, and Tong Wu, Clongowes Wood College, Clane, Co Kildare, were awarded silver medals, placing them in the top 10-30% of chemistry students internationally on the world stage.
  • Oscar Despard, Sandford Park School, Ranelagh, Dublin, also received a bronze medal and Aoife Morris, St Aloysius’ College, Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, completed the extraordinary success of Team Ireland by receiving an Honourable Mention award.

The International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) is an annual competition for the world’s most talented chemistry students at secondary school level. Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the competition was held remotely in 2021, rather than in-situ in Japan, with nations around the world represented by individual teams made up of four students who were tested on their chemistry knowledge.

The 53rd International Chemistry Olympiad involved a highly challenging five-hour theoretical examination paper run remotely consisting of nine problems, involving very complex chemistry topics. The competition was one of the largest to take place since its inauguration with 312 student participants from 85 countries competing.

Ireland has successfully participated in the competition since 1997 with a total of 20 bronze medals, 4 honourable mentions and 2 silver medals awarded in 1999 and 2006. 2021 however was the first year that all four members of Team Ireland achieved awards and the first year that Ireland came away with two silver medals in the competition, doubling their overall tally in the competition from two to four.

The journey for the four students to IChO2021 Japan commenced in the Spring of 2021 where over 210 chemistry students from across the island of Ireland participated in Round 1 of the Chemistry Olympiad Ireland competition. This was reduced down to approximately 50 who competed for national metals and highly commended awards. From this group, Team Ireland was chosen after extensive training during the Easter Holidays and further assessment.

The four members of Team Ireland received extensive training for IChO2021 from an expert team of academics from across five Irish higher education institutions –Dr. Carl Poree, Dr. John O’Donoghue and Professor Mike Lyons, Trinity College Dublin; Dr. Elizabeth Gilchrist and Dr. Tim O’Sullivan, University College Cork; Dr. Pat O’Malley, Dr. Odilla Finlayson, Dr. Nessan Kerrigan and Dr. Hasim Ibrahim, Dublin City University; Dr. Brian Murphy, Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest;  and Dr Cormac Quigley from Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.

The Irish international delegation at IChO2021 included Dr. Brian Murphy, Dr. Carl Poree, Dr. John O’Donoghue and Dr. Elizabeth Gilchrist, who supported the four Irish students throughout the competition in July and who participated in the International Jury at IChO2021.

Irish Success at Recent International Chemistry Olympiads

In 2019, Ireland was represented by Brian Durkan (St Muredach’s College, Ballina, Co Mayo), Oisin McCullagh (St Patrick’s College, Maghera, Co Derry), David Conneely (St Joseph’s College, Nun’s Island, Galway) and Mark Crawford (Dalriada School, Ballymoney, Co Antrim). Brian Durkan was awarded a bronze medal at the IChO 2019 (July 21st – 30th) in Paris, France.

Ireland Team at IChO 2019: Dr Brian Murphy, Mark Crawford,  Brian Durkan, David Conneely, Oisin McCullagh, Dr Cormac Quigley.

In 2017, Team Ireland won 3 Bronze medals at the 49th International Chemistry Olympiad in Thailand. Full details can be seen at IChO Archives.


Irish delegation at International IChO2017