Schools Quiz 2011

‘Ultimate Big Brother’ champion Brian Dowling has joined the Irish League of Credit Unions to launch the 2011 All-Ireland Schools Quiz.

The annual event, now in its 20th year, has become the highlight of the school calendar, attracting over 25,000 participants in over 300 venues throughout the 32 counties.  Dowling launched the event and will return in April 2011 as Quiz Master for the national finals that will take place in the RDS in Dublin.


Above: Brian Dowling at the launch of the Schools Quiz in October

The Quiz will be run throughout the winter months in communities all over Ireland by volunteers from over 500 ILCU affiliated credit unions.

With the aim of encouraging teamwork among young school children under the age of 13, the questions for the Quiz are compiled by primary schools teachers and will cover topics such as geography, history, music, literature and sport.

The quiz consists of two knock out stages at local and regional level and culminates in a National Final Day in Dublin in early April 2011 where 100 qualifying teams compete.



Speaking at the 2011 Quiz Launch, President of the ILCU Mark Bailey said,

“We wholeheartedly support the development of young people in communities all over Ireland.  We are delighted to be here again marking the 20th Anniversary of the ‘Schools Quiz’ and to launch the 2011 event which is set to be our biggest yet.”


He added, “I want to say a big thank you to our volunteers from credit unions nationwide who work incredibly hard to make sure this event is a success year on year.  The purpose of the credit union movement is more than merely providing financial services and this is a very important event for the credit union movement.  This is a way for children around Ireland to have lots of fun while learning the importance of team work in achieving success”.

This year’s Quiz Master Brian Dowling said, “So excited to be back home in Ireland and to be part of this event.  It is going to be loads of fun for kids around the country over the next couple of months.  I will be back in April and I am really looking forward to an exciting, nail biting final at the RDS next year!”


Check out the interview with Brian below...

Brian Dowling Interview

Brian Dowling shot to fame after being crowned the winner of the reality TV show, Big Brother back in 2001.  After a wide ranging and successful TV career in both Ireland and the UK since then, Brian was crowned the Ultimate Big Brother Housemate in the final series of the show earlier this year.  In October, Brian launched the 2011 Credit Union All Ireland Schools Quiz.  Brian will also be the ‘Quiz Master’ for the Schools Quiz final which will take place in the RDS in April next year.

Tell is a little bit about your recent success on Ultimate Big Brother.  Did it come as a surprise to you?  How was it different from your first experience back in 2001?

When I was told I’d be going into the Ultimate house I was amazed and thrilled.  I was in my element in the house and thought of it as the most fabulous 3 week summer holiday with winning being the most extraordinary honour.  Obviously the second experience was different because no two Big Brother series are the same but I have wonderful memories from both.

It is often said that you have a ‘likeability factor’.  What do you put that down to?  Do you have an onscreen persona or do you just try to be yourself?

Obviously I’m far too modest to comment on the ‘likeability factor’ (though clearly the nation can’t be wrong!).  With a show like BB you can only be yourself.  For presenting I obviously have to be professional and reign myself in a little but I think on the whole what you see is how I am.

With the demise of Big Brother on Channel 4, is the ‘reality TV’ era drawing to an end or is it just assuming a different format?

BB has come to an end but ‘reality TV’ is the king of the jungle at the moment and I think it will live on forever.  Every show has an aspect of reality now and I think people will always be fascinated by normal people being themselves.

Since your Ultimate Big Brother success, what have you been up to?  Are you still dividing your time between the UK and Ireland?

Since UBB has come to an end I have been extremely lucky and lots of opportunities have arisen in both the UK and Ireland.  At the moment I’m commuting back and forth but the panto I’m doing over Christmas in Dublin will bring me home for two months which I’m really looking forward to and also presenting a new RTE Two show at the same time.


How different is the TV scene in the UK compared to Ireland?  Have you had to make any changes to your presenting style?

I’ve been really lucky to be able to work in both the UK and Ireland.  The very nature of BB has meant that people know what my personality is like so my presenting style falls in line with that.  There are more channels in the UK so there are naturally more opportunities to work and I think the increased competition for viewers means UK TV tends to be more bold and take bigger risks.

How familiar are you with credit unions?  Are you a credit union member?

I’m not currently a credit union member but all of my family are, even my young niece and nephew – I am always seeing the little blue book around the place.



What are your own attitudes to money?  Are you a spender or a saver?

I think it’s safe to say I’m a natural spender.  As I get older though and wiser I have become more sensible with money and I don’t spend it stupidly any more.  The recession affects everyone and I think we’ve all had to tighten our belt in the last year or so.

You will be acting as Quizmaster for the final of the Credit Union Schools Quiz in April.  Is that something you are looking forward to?  How daunting will it be to have the brightest 9 – 13 year olds from the island awaiting your questions?

Yes, I’m really looking forward to it but I’m nervous because I know they’ll be more intelligent than me!  I just hope I can pronounce the questions properly and don’t make a show of myself.


Have you any tips for the children preparing for the Quiz in the coming weeks and months?  How important is it to test each other sample questions or pay attention to news stories etc?

Always do your homework, study hard and do your best – all you can do is your best (but it is amazing to win!).  I think it’s really good to test each other, when I’m presenting or in panto I always have to learn my lines and put in the rehearsal time.  I think it’s a good motto in life to keep your eyes and ears open and never stop researching.

Are we going to be seeing more of you on Irish TV screens in the coming months?

Yes, I’m hosting a new celeb gossip panel show for RTE Two with Katherine Lynch called “Wagon’s Den”.  It starts in mid-November and I’m the only boy on the show – I’m really looking forward to it!




about us | services | membership | contact us
© copyright downpatrick credit union 2006