A Brain Game Like No Other: 104 Students From Across Ireland Compete in National Linguistic Olympiad

20 March 2024

A gathering of Ireland’s brightest young minds unfolded today at the 16th All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad (AILO), hosted by the ADAPT Centre at Dublin City University (DCU). This national finale brings together 104 students from 45 schools spanning 20 counties, all vying for a chance to compete on the international stage this summer.

Run by ADAPT, the world-leading SFI Research Centre for AI-Driven Digital Content Technology, the contest challenges secondary school students to apply logic and reasoning skills to solve complex puzzles that range from Norse scripts to the complexities of the Bukiyip counting systems.  The competition is not just about languages, it is a challenge that tests their ability to think differently, analyse data, and decipher rules from the unknown.

Newly appointed Director of ADAPT, Professor John D. Kelleher, praised the finalists, saying: “The analytical skills displayed by these students are truly inspiring. We are very proud of this competition which exemplifies the passion we have for fostering the next generation of thinkers and innovators.”

(L-R) Cracking Codes! Mark Doherty from Lumen Christi Derry, Sheena Ledwich from Loreto Cavan, Declan McClay from Lumen Christi Derry, and Áine Clancy from Loreto Cavan, took part in the final of the All Ireland Linguistics Olympiad today run by ADAPT. Pic Paul Sharp/SHARPPIX


The 104 national finalists came through preliminary rounds held in schools all over the island in January. More than 3,500 students registered for this year’s contest. Competing in individual and team rounds, today the finalists battle it out for the honour of being one of the four winners who will represent Ireland on the global stage this July in Brazil.

The results of the National Final of AILO will be released next week. For those eager to try the challenges, sample puzzles from the Olympiad can be downloaded at https://ailo.adaptcentre.ie/sample-puzzles/