'Hard graft is the way to get ahead', Rio tells our young scientists
The cream of Dublin's teenage minds have arrived at the RDS armed with solutions to the scientific and technological problems of modern life.
The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition has drummed up so much interest in its 53rd year that some 550 projects qualified for the event.
An incredible 60,000 people are expected to walk through the doors of the Dublin 4 venue by the time it ends tomorrow.
Among those turning up was former Manchester United superstar Rio Ferdinand, who was there to represent the Rio Ferdinand Foundation.
The ex-England international, who won almost every honour in club football during his career, was mobbed by fans as he made his way around the RDS, taking in some of the exhibits.
In a speech to hundreds of pupils from across the country, Ferdinand highlighted hard graft as the route to success in any industry.
"The first thing that stands out straight away is hard work," Ferdinand said.
"I always used to think that I would outwork anyone in my team, even in things like application and desire, I would make sure that I always turned up.
"You've got to work hard all the time, it's always learning, learning, learning and that falls into place in school, that falls into place in whatever industry you're in."
Among the exhibitors, ambition and determination were already evident in abundance.
Haritha Olaganathan (13), from Adamstown Community College in Lucan, has found a way of turning banana skins into nylon.
The idea came about as she looked for eco-friendly methods of production.
"Nylon is an extremely versatile material, it is found in a lot of things we use every day. But the production of nylon is not eco-friendly, in fact it emits nitrous oxide, which is 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide," she said.
"From one yellow banana peel I can yield approximately 10ml of nylon."