One on One. 1 vs. 1.: in sport, it does not get any more dramatic than that. And Ms. Speller’s teams excel at these mano a mano (or stick on stick) combats, showing nerves of steel. Maybe it is because of Ms. Speller’s training regimes which would probably be banned by the Navy Seals, including the handing out of al dente organic grains instead of Jaffa cakes as a half-time snack. And it pays off. Mr. Kilcommons had better order that new trophy cabinet as the Hockey Girls have brought home even more silverware… or gold ware, if you will. The Juniors have joined their older sisters in winning the South Dublin School Girls League, beating Rosemont, Sion Hill and Our Lady’s Grove, winning the final in dramatic 1 vs. 1s, with Maude and Isabella cooly slotting home. In-play field goals were scored by Maude and Elizabeth and several others. Another great day for St. Conleth’s Hockey… and another trophy!
Hockey Hits Heights… Again!
St. Conleth’s Senior Hockey team won the Dublin South Schoolgirls League, beating Sandford Park, Sion Hill, Our Lady’s Grove…and Sandford again in the Final! Yes, that’s 4-0 on the afternoon! This is the first time St. Conleth’s Hockey have ever won at senior level! The girls (and Ms. Speller) were delighted, especially the Sixth years who got to end the season on a high. They won this Leinster League back when they were in Second Year with the help of current Fifth, so it was lovely that they got to share this victory with them, as well!
Mr. Maguire, I presume?
Dr. Livingstone is long gone, but there is now a kindler, gentler explorer trekking the varied landscapes of Africa: our very own Mr. Gav Maguire! And gone too is the weighty baggage of messianic zeal and cultural imperialism: Mr. Maguire’s expeditions (with the considerable help of True Adventures) are an exquisitely crafted mix of adventure and development, mutually beneficial to both student traveler and the local resident. After a mere a-hop-and-a-skip to Slovenia last summer, the focus is back on Africa and Gav and his two gangs are gearing up! The Uganda 2024 Expedition Team had their first meeting with True Adventures staff just to get to know each other… while the Morocco 2023 Team and parents met with their Expedition leader, after several earlier get-togethers planning, hiking and checking out of some very cool gear in preparation for their adventure this summer. Thunderbirds are not quite ‘Go!’ but they are getting there!
And with all this expedition planning does Gav get any actual teaching done? Indeed, he does… and in the most innovative, ‘down with the LC reform’ kind of way! Here, his Fifth Year Business class learn about team-work via the task of building the highest marshmallow tower!
Seachtain na Gaeilge, An Dara Cuid!
Shhhh… do yo hear that? It’s Arthur Wellesley, The First Duke of Wellington, rolling in his grave! Why? Because, during Seachtain na Gaeilge, even a school which lies at the top of Waterloo and Wellington Roads is very proud to come out ‘all Irish’! Not that our Irish Department has ever been shy about celebrating our native language and heritage: for years St. Conleth’s múinteoirí Gaeilge have been providing enough ceol agus craic to fill the whole school year, let alone just a double-seachtaine, but they certainly déan a ndícheall leading up to St. Patrick’s Day! Fay and Dorman and ODulaing (x2) are the MacDonagh and MacBride and Connolly and Pearse of St. Conleth’s (without the bloody end!) and they have crammed i bhfad níos mó into 28 Clyde Road, turning it into the Gaeltacht is galánta this side of Carna!
So, what was on the green agenda? There was the traditional poc fada at Herbert Park, a noted gathering spot for dangerous Fenians, where the students also enjoyed a Tóraíocht Taisce. Each year also had their very own Tráth Na gCeist, answering (sometimes hilariously) about everything Irish from the Erskine Childers to Eskimo Supreme. There was the cinema trip to see the Oscar-nominated Cailín Ciúin and a brand-new Gaeilge activity: Biongó Craiceálta! Of course, our Junior School teachers and students also joined Gang Gaeilge… with Mr. ‘The Ferg’ O’Neill playing some trad on the banjo (with some classy accompaniment from Mr. Nolan)… and definitely edging the Seniors in the wearing of the green! Well, the leprechauns in the school dark room have been working non-stop, so busy have our múinteoirí Gaeilge been, but all the photographs have now been developed. You have seen the Sixth Year Poc and Fifth Year TnG already. Here are the rest!
Junior Fun with The Ferg
TY Poc Fada
Fifth Year Poc Fada
First Year Tóraíocht Taisce and Cailín Ciúin
Sixth, TY and Second Year Tráth Na gCeist
Picture at an Exhibition
Fifth Year Ciara Thornton won Second Prize in the U-18s at the Ranelagh Art Exhibition Schools Art Competition! Her masterpiece is available to view for the next 10 days in the gallery just under the bridge at the Ranelagh LUAS Station. Ms. Halpin, and all of us, are very proud of Ciara!
The St. Conleth’s Sailing Team was in action last weekend at the Leinster Schools Team Racing 2023 Championships at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. The team did quite well despite a difficult draw and tough weather conditions, as well as missing their usual handy helmsman, Daniel O’Connor, managing to win two of five races, and narrowly missing out on victory in a third. Below we see our worthy sailors: Captain Russell Bolger, James O’Kelly, Shane Carroll, Fergus O’Reilly, Harry Cooper-Reid, Louis McGovern and Senan Corry.
St. Conleth’s múinteoirí Gaeilge are in full Seachtain na Gaeilge mode… with some classic Irish weather in accompaniment! First up: the Poc Fada down at Herbert Park. Ms. Fay, Ms. Dorman and Ms. ODualing were impressed with the hidden hurling talents of their Sixth Years.
And the múinteoirí even had time to run a Tráth Na gCeist for Fifth Year before heading off in the rain for an exclusive showing of An Cailín Ciúin at the Stella Cinema in Rathmines.
Silver-tongued Alby rocks the Young Classicist Symposium!
When word was heard in the ἀγωγή, the military camps of Sparta, that a massive Persian army was heading for the mountain pass of Thermopylae, no hesitancy was shown and the young men bravely marched towards their glorious destiny. So, too, did the courageous and loyal Classics students gather for the long and arduous journey to the Young Classicist Symposium in UCD, nigh on the infamous anniversary of Caesar’s demise. And though Alby Crowley’s CIII (103) student supporters did not quite match the Spartan CCC (300) in number, they did in vociferous spirit! Luckily, our fate was a bit happier than that of the glorious, but very dead Spartans. Oh, and we brought girls, too!
Alby’s project ‘φιστίκι’, a witty and endearing mash-up of ‘Peanuts’, the seminal American comic strip, and the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur is a wondrous work of art in its own right (see below) but it was Alby’s erudite and charming presentation that really reached Olympian heights (see and hear below). Unfortunately, the presentation was not considered by the judges, only the project itself, which was certainly worth the Silver Medal… at the very least! Enjoy Alby’s project, congratulate him when you pass him in the halls, and join the mighty Conlethian Classics Cohort the next time we venture onto the fields of glory!
Cup? Shield? Plate? League? All of the above, please. Well, that is the attitude of Ms. Speller and the hockey girls towards postseason play! We can barely keep up with the pre-quarters, quarters, semis and (hopefully) finals that the various teams have been involved in! Punching above our weight (and numbers) Conelthian hockey teams have qualified at every level and every age group, extending the season… and Ms. Speller’s fixture congestion headache… but it is all worth it! Last week, our Juniors and Minors were edged out in their Cup and Plate competitions, facing big school, high level teams but, just yesterday, our Minors were back in the winning form they showed all season, hockeying Muckross, 2-0, in their Leinster League Quarterfinal with Gemma McCullough and Chloe McGovern scoring goals. Now, with all the fixture pot boiled down to one, we can all concentrate on supporting the Minors as they face Holy Faith-Clontarf in the Semifinal!
A Natural Double
The scientist and the theologian have had their differences over the years, but most of both persuasions would agree on one thing: being out in nature is the place to be for any deep thinking of any kind. Last week, Mr. Lonergan and Mr. Carvill did just that: retreating to the bucolic hinterland to do some fauna-finding and soul-searching. Faith always comes first: Road Warrior Lonergan was at it again with his ‘retreats that make a difference’. He led Fifth Years off to Glencomeragh, Co. Waterford for a Holy Family Mission Retreat, where faith, philosophy, fun, friendship… and a bit of fooling around were all on the menu.
And the Bio-Buddies Mr. Carvill and Ms. Phelan, likewise, did not let the worst weather of the year stop them from leading the Sixth Year Biology Classes into the wilds of Wicklow to complete their Ecology Field Study.
Ms. Mellon’s Third Class Art Pupils get creative in preparation for an upcoming important parental recognition day… we don’t want to ruin the surprise!
And Ms. Halpin’s First Years learn some embroidery skills… perhaps enabling them to take on some of the domestic work currently being done by a parental unit!
And the Nominees Are…
Alby Crowley and Ollie West! Yes, two Conlethians are in the news for getting nominated for special awards! Our resident Renaissance Man, Sixth Year Ollie West, has been nominated by the Irish Film and Television Academy for ‘Leading Actor’ for his performance in The Sparrow… and just look at the company he is keeping!
And First Year Alby Crowley’s fantastic Peanuts-themed Classics project has been selected for the Finals of the Young Classicists Symposium… which Alby and over 100 of his fellow Conlethian Classicists will attend next Tuesday!
Alas! Conlethians Cede the Rostrum
Cicero, the greatest orator of the Late Roman Republic, and perhaps of any age, tested the limits of the power of rhetoric, and he found them a bit closer than he expected: his incendiary verbal condemnation of the supporters of the rebel Catiline wowed his fellow senators, Gallic emissaries and generations of Latin and ‘Speech and Drama’ students…. but failed to prevent his own exile for stretching the laws of Rome. And so, two Conlethian debating teams, Coleman Hegarty & Turlough Dineen and Lochlan Flynn & Finley O’Dea, similarly met their match at the Leinster Schools Senior Debating Finals, and they, too, retreated with dignity and heads held high. It was a great run, one to rival the many great forays in Conlethian debating history, but it ended in honourable defeat to a dynamic duo from the Institute of Education. One thing is certain: these talented and brave young men will not suffer the fate of Cicero, who ill-timed his return to the rostrum with tragic consequences. (Let’s just say that his timing was not… ‘handy’). However, Debating Dictator Rory O’Sullivan now has an enthusiastic and loyal praetor at his side in Sixth Year Coleman, eager to help nurture the next generation of Conlethian debaters, and Fifth Years Turlough and Lochlan, and Transition Year Finley, are back for another campaign next year!
Denizens of Greater Ballsbridge and Donnybrook hold their collective breaths every year on the first Friday of March because that is when the carnival comes to town: the Past Pupils Union Annual Dinner is always the liveliest gig in town on that night, and the 2023 version did not disappoint. The members of our PPU, like our current student body, reflect our diversity, spirit and downright quirkiness… and we seem to just get better with age! PPU President Peter O’Neill, PPU Benign Despot Ronan O’Kelly, and Committee for Public Safety Members Marianne Comer and Donal Milmo-Penny orchestrated an evening that managed to combine proper, sober acknowledgements of alumni accomplishments with the frantic fun with which we all associate the night. Despite the habitual rowdiness, Peter and Ronan compèred with the right measures of wit and gravitas, the latter particularly evident during the tribute to Pierre Zakrzewski and his enduring and inspirational legacy.
The Class Photos
The Covid Kids
Yes, the photos are in… but there is no need to call your lawyer! Yes, we know how you usually spend the morning after the Past Pupils Union Dinner in a cringing state of apprehension of some social media outlet’s pictorial display of you nocturnal misadventures, but you can relax and go ahead and get that modem boinging because all the photos that we have seen merely capture the good, old-fashioned fun of the festivities! Our student photographers showed the good taste of forwarding only the ones which portray ourselves as we truly are: upstanding (or at least standing), relatively sober and with both eyes (mostly) open. Enjoy them and sign up with the PPU on Facebook too see even more. Oh yes, there is also the little issue of the negatives from the Photo-Booth. Those are a bit more interesting and may be obtained with a small donation payable to your alma mater. That extension is not going to build itself!
The Old Timers
Handsome Young Male Alumni
Enormous Fun During Book Week!
For boys and girls, mothers and fathers… really, everyone and anyone… is there more fun to be had than the simple pleasure of the black and white page of a good book? Or even better, a book with pictures! The Junior School’s Book Week 2023 saw spontaneous D.E.A.R. (drop everything and read) time, our book cover/door competition, a visit from author Valinora Troy, a pre-loved book sale (Thanks, Parents!) and culminated in Book Character Dress-Up Day. What a jam-packed week!
The PPU are Coming!
Actually, the bad, old days, when the looming Annual Dinner of the Past Pupils Union was viewed by Mr. Kelleher and the other respectable burghers of Ballsbridge like a Viking warship somehow navigating up the Dodder, are far behind us. Now, under the steady guidance of PPU President Peter O’Neill and the omnipotent and omnipresent PPU High Priest Ronan O’Kelly, they are rather proper, staid… even ‘quaint’ affairs: Keynote speakers get to finish their speeches. Female alumnae actually stay past dessert. We only employ one bouncer (but don’t dare mess with Groundskeeper Willie!). And the nuns next door have long since stopped reciting the living rosary for the duration of the festivities. Whatever happens, one thing is for sure: when the smoke clears and the bodies have been taxied home and Mr. Kilcommons has added considerably to Mr. K’s collection of unclaimed bow-ties… The St. Conleth’s Past Pupils Union will remain the biggest, loyalest and wildest in the land!
Conlethians Take Centre-Stage!
Ms. McGuinness and Mr. O’Neill led the St. Conleth’s School Choir to take part in the Emmanuel Concert at The Helix with Third Year Hannah Murphy performing a showstopper as a soloist. Hannah was chosen over hundreds of competitors in a nation-wide contest and her colleagues in the choir were only too happy to offer their support, vocal and otherwise. Well done to Hannah and all involved, especially Ms. McGuinness and Mr. O’Neill who endured a long day of rehearsals and waiting… but it was all worth while, to see and hear and share some of St. Conleth’s heart and soul: our students’ musical talent!
Loquacious Lords of Leinster!
Conlethians continue to dominate debating with two of our teams making the Senior Finals (Coleman Hegarty & Turlough Dineen and Lochlan Flynn & Finley O’Dea) and Milo Smith qualifying as an individual for the Junior Quarters! Well done to all our debaters, and The General Secretary of Debating, Rory O’Sullivan!
Pro Arte et Natura!
Our Arts & Environment hero! Fifth Year Ciara Thornton has been chosen by the Ranelagh Arts Competition to have her work framed and presented in their exhibition…. and, as our Green Schools chief, she has joined Cecilia of the Junior School in spearheading our green clean-up!
This is St. Conleth’s
At times, we may joke about some of the quirky characters this great school attracts and fosters (staff as well as students) but we would not have it any other way. There is an essence, an elixir, distilled and adjusted over 84 years which Conlethians both create and develop and it was served up in copious amounts again this past Monday. Our Junior School Open Morning and Senior School Information Evening were smashing successes, with hundreds of potential Conlethians gaining a sense of what this school means to all of us. The staff were there, of course, with their enthusiasm and expertise, but the true stars were our student volunteers. Subject room after room, activity after activity, from Junior Infants to Sixth Year, our volunteers conveyed the best of us, both exhibiting and creating the Conlethian experience. And judging by the intelligence, creativity and openness of our visitors, long will that unique educational adventure continue!
SCT Coach Louis Magee, Captain Michael Donnelly and the few but proud long-time members of the team finally reaped what they long deserved: a victory on the field. They had already won in the sense of building skills and a strong sense of camaraderie, forging friendships that will last a lifetime, but it was a just dessert having those qualities matched by the numbers on the scoreboard. Saving the best for last, they ended a long, hard season with heads held high, beating St. Columba’s 39-14. The stalwarts, who showed up though the tough times, were bolstered by the return of old comrades and the fervent support of classmates. St. Conleth’s is so proud of you!
What Are You ‘Giving Up’?
They’ll know we are Christians by our love… and our ashes! Last week, Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Lonergan led a considerable (100+) Conlethian contingent of the willing down to St. Mary’s Church to receive ashes and mark the beginning of Lent, but that, of course, marked only the beginning of the forty days leading up to this most important of Christian holy days. And, yes, we still do support and encourage the students to make this liturgical season special, either giving up something as a sacrifice or, even better, doing something extra special for someone else.
Debaters of St. Conleth’s, Unite!
Conlethian debaters have certainly made their mark as individuals. Scroll downwards (and in older Conlethian annals) for the exploits of Daniel Gilligan, Conor White, Kevin Roche, Liam Brophy and other They-People, Masters of the Debating Universe. But it is as equal parts of a dynamic duo, a titanic tandem, a binary barnstormer… that our orators really seem to rock the rostrum. Michael O’Dwyer and Philip MacDonald were a legendary rhetorical team, eventually as Slaughter & May legal eagles, but first as Mace and Cup winning schools debaters. And the reverberations of the one-two punch of Matthew Collins and Christopher Costigan and of Paul O’Dwyer and Conan Quinn are still echoing through debating halls throughout this land… and others. And, now, two more teams have emerged from the hotbed of internecine warfare that is Conlethian in-house debating and they, too, will join the hallowed names mentioned above. Coleman Hegarty & Turlough Dineen and Lochlan Flynn & Finley O’Dea have qualified for the Leinster Schools Senior Debating Championship Semifinals, topping a tab which was filled with the names of the second-best debating schools in Ireland. Also pictured is Leo Nolan, who fought bravely as a lone wolf in the quarterfinals but, alas, like Trotsky, had to exit stage left. The sixth young man pictured below is unknown, but we suspect it is Beria.
At St. Conleth’s, the debate never ends! Fifth Year Lochlan Flynn and Transition Year Finley O’Dea are joining Fifth Year Turlough Dineen and Sixth Years Coleman Hegarty and Leo Nolan in tonight’s round of the Leinster Finals. That’s two teams and an individual from one school: unheard of in the annals of school debating (except for St. Conleth’s!). And Lanista Rory O’Sullivan has another reason to be proud of his squad’s accomplishments this year: Second Years Peter Murphy and Ciarán Doyle are off soon to Cambridge University, having finished so high in a National Irish Mace debate that they qualified for the ICYD (International Competition for Young Debaters) Finals, a very prestigious international ‘Mace’ debating competition. Conlethians have been there before, with Coleman and Leo competing themselves a few years back and the legendary dynamic debating duo of Michael O’Dwyer and Philip MacDonald actually winning the tournament back in 2007!
And King Brian ‘The Benign’ Nolan and Holy Conlethian Emperor Tony ‘The Terrible’ (in a good way) Kilcommons did decideth to hold a tournament to testeth the mettle of the young knights (and ladies) of the Junior School. Entry to the the tournament was open to all, and many rounds were fought with a multitude of noble deeds being done under the sun (and fluorescent lights at break time). With St. Bridget’s Day came the true winnowing and soon the fruyt was clear of the chaff. Steppeth forth one young challenger, vanquisher of many: Marty Davitt. Steppeth forth one other, equal in noble qualities and skill at the joust: Rohan Flynn. And gather round the young ones in the fair field (or sports hall) so all may witness this worthy contest. And the battle did begin with courage and daring, and with the righteous blade being wielded well by both black and white: soon the field was littered with bishops and rooks and even queens, so that the final confrontation was left mostly to the pawns (embodying the Conlethian progressive concept of social justice). Sir Marty did prevaileth in the end, but Sir Rohan joined his noble opponent as a knightly paragon, equally displaying the skill, gallantry and sportsmanship which are hallmarks of all Conlethian competition and endeavour!
825 Leaving Certificate Points?
7, 8… 9 is Enough! Yes, guitarist Nigel Tufnel infamously managed to turn the volume on his amp ‘up to eleven’ but only our very own Caraíosa O’Farrell (Class of 2022) has managed to turn the Leaving Certificate points haul up to 825.! Yes, that is nine ‘H1s’ , or, for the boomers out there: nine A1s! Even more impressively, she has managed to negotiate the arcane labyrinth of grade appeals within the State Examinations Commission, and in the process taught us a new word: scrutineer. You can read all about it in The Irish Times, but we were not surprised at all. We have had many brilliant students over the years, with quite a few earning maximum LC points, but rarely has one student impressed all their teachers, across the spectrum of subjects, to such a high degree with their knowledge, enthusiasm and open-mindedness. Now, the rest of the world knows what we already knew before the recalculation of sums: Caraíosa is in a class of her own!
They Know The Ropes!
The St. Conleth’s Sailing Team were back in action on the waves and in the wind, as they put in an impressive performance at the Shanahan Cup competition. The team won 3 out of 5 races, working the ropes and the sails with great skill and effort, but not quite well enough to win the cup. The winds were good building until lunch and then easing, and the boys responded well to the conditions. Eleven schools competed with St. Michael’s winning and St. Andrew’s placing second. Our brave seamen: Team Captain and Helmsman Russell Bolger, Helm Daniel O’Conor, Helm Louis McGovern and Crews Peter Murphy, Fergus O’Reilly and Harry Cooper-Reid. The gang are looking forward to the Leinster’s next week.
The Senior basketballers have justly grabbed much of our attention this week but how about another of our characteristic sports? Yes, Chess! The Seniors are still dining out on their victory over Gonzaga and now the Juniors have joined the party, welcoming Willow Park for a mini chess tournament. After 25 games, St. Conleth’s came out as 19-4 winners (with 2 draws). And this was despite several of the players carrying minor training ground injuries. It looks like Yubo and the gang in the Senior School will soon have some worthy teammates… and tough competition!
TYs Go To Work!
A last bit of Transition Year news before midterm. First, a couple of shots of one of their last activities before their Work Experience fortnight: some free-wheeling but also Gaeilge-Growing ‘Seó Bóthair’ fun with Ms. ODulaing. And then we have snaps of two TYs who are doing their Work Experience on the home-front: Scott Herbots cheerfully erasing the Christmas Grinch from the staffroom windows and Alannah Henry giving Ms. Kelly a hand with the little darlings of Junior Infants. And while the TYs see what the ‘real world’ is like with Work Experience, our Third and Sixth Years take another step towards entering that rather scary realm: Mock Exams!
Above the Rim
In a relatively short time, we have grown accustomed to continued success for our basketball teams, and sometimes that can be a heavy burden to bear. Not that you can tell from the play of these boys! St. Conleth’s Basketball has consistently been winning trophies for years now, a tremendous tribute to coaches Sean Ingle and Peter Gahan. No other school our size has established and maintained such a basketball pedigree, so quickly. And this year, once again, the programme has played ‘above the rim’. After reaching the Ireland East Final, they powered through the various stages of the All-Ireland Finals to earn another day of destiny at the National Basketball Arena.
Their All-Ireland Quarterfinal game was against Cobh, and it was a close affair before the Conlethians pulled away, once again led by James ‘The Tower’ Power. James was missing his usual partner at the top of the scoresheet, Enda Crowley, who is currently off impressing the filles with his basketball (and perhaps other skills) on a TY exchange in France, but the rest of the team raised their game in support of our skyscraper. John ‘Mountain Man’ Engmann played a beast of a game, filling the paint with sturdy defence and running the floor with the grace of a gazelle…. well, a cross between gazelle and a freight train. Guards Myles Moriarty-Smyth and John Byrne were rapier-quick as they repeatedly foiled the opposition’s attacks and made stylish advances, themselves. Joe Kelleher showed his characteristic intensity and athleticism, playing the three spot with aplomb and it was no surprise to classroom teachers of Hugh Leahy and Cian McMunn, that these two played like whirling dervishes, scampering around the court and fearlessly making stops and runs against players two years their senior. And, of course, the rest of the team came off the bench to do their part in this historic victory. The All-Ireland Bronze Medals were assured but the boys nearly took the next step up the podium in a hard-fought loss against traditional power, Tramore. Not to be, but the bit of metal hanging around the neck was reassuring, and with some young talent, and returning francophones, the future of St. Conleth’s Basketball continues to look bright!
St. Brigid on the Double!
What did you do for the first officially upgraded St. Brigid’s Day? Well, we teachers were thrilled to have an extra day for marking papers and lesson planning but before we left for the long weekend, our Gaeilge and Religion classes, both, made environmentally sensitive St. Brigid crosses, symbolising the dual springs of our culture. Christianity and our native reeds, intertwined irrevocably!
Catholic Schools Week ++
Like Seachtain na Gaeilge, our Catholic Schools Week celebrations demanded extra room and time! It all started two weeks ago with our traditional St. Bridget’s Day Assembly, where the inspirational words of the ODulaing/Gallagher duo and musical and prayerful accompaniment from the students. themselves set the right tone.
Then we got to work on the actual themes of the week.
Since ‘Togetherness’ was the over-arching theme, we figured: well, let’s get the kids ‘together’! First up: TY putting the idea of Christian ‘service’ into action and organising a Sports Afternoon for Second Years.
And First Years also got their chance: rounders, Gaelic football, soccer and just some good, old-fahioned messing around! Turns out, TYs and First year have a lot in common… except size!
And two First Years each earned their very own slider: Christopher Comer with his perfect throwing form…
And David Hearns, for his very distinctive style and socialibility…
Even Sixth and Third Years got in on the togetherness. With Mocks looming, we thought a stress-busting, comaraderie-building tea-and-biscuit chat might help… and it did, with pairs of elders serving pairs of youngsters. A taste of what is to come with our House System!
And, well into our second week of festivities, Mr. Lonergan and Mr. O’Neill took Fifth Years on a ‘Whiskey, Preachers, Plots & Stolen Hay: 800 Years of Dominicans in Dublin’ walking tour, courtesy of Fr. Conor Mcdonough. The tour was a whirlwind hands-on (with gloves) experience, including stops at the Four Courts, the original Dublin City walls, remnants of the De Bruce invasion and the history of religious persecution. Some may desire the separation of Church and State, but in Dublin, Faith and History are inextricably linked! The day was also bout more modern vestiges of our faith: a visit to a homeless shelter, The Morning Star Hostel, founded by Frank Duff (a close friend of Bernard Sheppard), opened some eyes to both the poverty of our time and the heartening response. The students got to meet some of these responders, when they visited St. Saviour’s Church and heard the stories of three young men training to become friars with the Irish Dominicans. 800 years +!
Our tour guide, Fr. Conor, also had a message regarding St. Brigid, who is joining St. Patrick in the national holiday rank of Irish saints. He echoed Mr. ODulaing in pointing out that Conlethians have a special connection: St. Brigid is joining St. Patrick in the national holiday rank of Irish saints, but our patron saint is mostly know through her. On the return too school, some Fifth Years decided to honour that connection. Led by Turlough Dineen, an impromptu band of medieval merry-makers distributed home-made Bridget Buns and good cheer, carrying their Bridget’s crosses with them!
CSPCE for the DSPCA!
Mr. Gahan’s Third Year CSPE Class pulled off an impressive Action Project, organising and running a Cake Fair +, with plenty of baked goodies and assorted donation-inducing ‘games’ (all in compliance with the Sales of goods and Services Act, apparently). Precisely €382.94 was raised for the DSPCA. Even the teachers ponied up some, particularly the younger, flush ones like Mr. Breen and Mr. Gahan, himself.
Juniors Ready to Ruck and Roll!
More news and sparkling photos from Junior School parent Cahir Davitt: our combined Fifth and Sixth Form Rugby Team beat Willow Park, 5 tries to 4. That’s some reflection on the great job Louis Magee and the other Junior School rugby coaches are doing, but it is also great news for Senior School Rugby: more talent is obviously on the way! And, although we usually close with a line of ‘Well done, boys!’, careful perusal of the photos below will let reveal why we will now simply say, ‘Well done, Junior School rugby players!’
Of Lawyers and Reptiles
Our Transition Years are currently on two weeks of Work Experience and we miss them dearly. Before they left, they were involved in an especially hectic flurry of activity, not that there is ever a dull moment throughout the year when TY Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire is at the helm. He, and trusty sidekick Mr. Morris, have structured a Transition Year that goes from activity to activity with little let-up. At some schools, TYs often appear to be cold-blooded creatures sitting around, sleeping, absorbing heat and waiting for the occasional, easy meal, but at St. Conleth’s this description only matches real reptiles: the turtles, lizards and snakes of the National Reptile Zoo, who paid us a visit with the knowledgable and patient herpetologist David. The TYs also had a visit from another species that has been unfairly stereotyped as lurking opportunists. Barrister Jack, of Law Ed, briefed our TYs on the career opportunities in the broad field of the law, as well as giving some practical advice (with some fascinating examples) on how to negotiate the labyrinth of tort… hopefully not advice that the TYs will need anytime soon. And, as if that was not enough, the TYs also enjoyed/suffered ‘subject presentations’ by our teachers. If you are planning a career in law, choosing the right LC subjects is important, as it is with any career. The TYs got the low-down on Maths from Ms. Hopkins, as well as the HCFs of subject choice. We wonder which subject is the only one to feature Cicero and other OGs of Law?
SCT Lose a Close One
The SCT battled bravely but lost on a last minute try, 27-24, to Patrician-Newbridge with Matthew O’Leary and Fionán Power our star players on the day. Coach Louis Magee and Captain Michael Donnelly are leading the boys to a strong finish to the season and they have high hopes for the last two league matches as long as the strong play continues, by both the starters, such as NFL-bound Hugo Lennon, and reserves, such as the never-say-die Luke O’Keeffe.
I Could Make That!
Yes, any visit to a museum or gallery of contemporary art, for the relatively uninitiated, inevitably leads to grunts of ‘I could make that’ and ‘That’s not art’ and, to be honest, in a previous life and at a different museum, when trying to appreciate a masterpiece entitled’ Self-Portrait’ but only seeing ourselves in a simple, unadorned mirror, we ourselves were tempted to join the philistines … but a visit to Dublin’s own Irish Museum of Modern Art would cure anyone of such small-minded begrudgery! As our Third Years found out, when, as part of their Artistic Performance class, they paid a visit to the cultural Mecca accompanied by connoisseurs and true-believers, Ms. Halpin and Ms. Mellon. Even our grumpiest critics were won over by the variety and depth of skill on display, particularly the photography, on which the students are currently working in class. So, enjoy the pics below… but… watch it! That’s not a pile of swept up dust you nearly just stepped on…it’s an ‘installation’!
TYs: All Heart!
Ms. Halpin has sparked the romantic side of TY, and they have responded with handcrafted St. Valentine’s Day love-heart sculptures. And these are not mere scribbles of ‘Gav + Richie’ on the journal back cover but full-scale tripartite art projects: First, the sketched…
Then, the raw…emotions and clay…
And… The Cooked! (and The Painted). But to whom are they going? Addressees to be revealed on Feb. 14th!
Ms. Speller’s Hockey Minions are on the march! Our valiant First Years lost to traditional powerhouse St. Andrew’s in their first ever 11-a-side game, playing well with Anna Sweeney the player of the game. Our Seniors As lost to Muckross 4-1 despite a tremendous team effort and a goal by Juliet Donnelly while Juliet joined Roisín Ridge and Maude Kinlay on the scoresheet as they thumped St. Columba’s -6-0 and… best of all.. the Second and Third Years of the Juniors beat nemesis St. Raphaela’s 1-0 to, hopefully, make the Leinster Quarterfinals!
Led by Cecilia, our Czarina of After-School, Morning Club and Fun, our whole Junior School welcomed the school visit team from Enable Ireland. Through information and lots of hands-on fun activities they conveyed clearly the challenges but also the triumphs of living with a disability to our students, who enthusiastically listened, learned and took part. And, once again, Conlethian Staff Alumnus, and current Enable Ireland Co-Ordinator, Jason was on hand to help the two groups mix with such ease and good humour!
Rhetoric: A Conlethian Constant
Conlethian debaters rocked the rostrum… again! In the Leinster Schools Senior Competition, Coleman Hegarty and Turlough Dineen (as a team) and Leo Nolan (as an individual) qualified for the Quarterfinals debating “Slum Tourism in the Third World” with Saoirse Corry narrowly missing out. This ‘edgy’ topic was right down the alley for our debaters, who love to push the boundaries of free speech. And our equally loquacious Juniors are up this week! And why are Conlethians persistently such Leinster (and world) class speechifiers? Perhaps because, for years now, Pat Howe has been organising The Irish Board of Speech and Drama Grade Examinations in the Junior School, and they were on again last week, with examiners assessing the students one-on-one. With 70% a pass, no grade inflation here, but our young orators came through splendidly… and mellifluently!
Juniors: All Sorts of Sports!
Head of Junior School Sport Louis Magee keeps a variety of sporting adventures on tap for the younger Conlethians. Of course, rugby is still important: Louis reports of wins for 4th and 5/6th Form over Willow last weekend and, previously, 5th Form took part in a mini-blitz where they beat both St. Mary’s and St. Michael’s. Rugby has long been at the heart of St. Conleth’s sports but one change for us though is the variety of participants: apparently 5th Form girls Isabelle and Clodagh stole the show with their electric pace! The icy conditions do not even stop our tennis players (but do leave a frosty racket imprint behind). And when the cold and dark get to be just too much, more activity awaits indoors: Maître David Couper is back for another fencing campaign; Cecilia gets the Juniors moving in the Sports Hall; and Pat Howe sportingly readies the Prepsters for a Speech and Drama exam!
Hockey Hangs In!
We knew Ms. Speller would not keep quiet after all our excitement over basketball, rugby and chess: she rightfully reminds us that we have had another major sport at St. Conleth’s these last few years. Coach Speller’s Hockey Hordes have found it tougher this year as they have moved up the leagues but they still train and compete with spirit, skill and a strong sense of sorority and fun!
Are You Being Served?
Well, yes, if our TYs are in the house! Fiona from Hospitality Skills came in to our TYs last Thursday and taught the students how to set a table, take an order, carry plates, absorb customer feedback and extort larger tips… just to name a few useful and potentially lucrative skills they picked up!
We Still Know How to’Ruck’ and Roll!
Enough of that dunking nonsense! We all know that the oblong ball still rules at St. Conleth’s! (Until Ms. Speller tells us differently…) Here we see our JCT and SCT, looking good with extra Christmas padding, before recent tough but rewarding matches vs. Newpark and Templeogue. It has been a tough year for the SCT with injuries and a shrinking player pool but that’s even more reason to salute Captain Michael Donnelly and the tight band of brothers who have soldiered on. Ans there is plenty of talent in the pipeline, including the JCT. Of course, there is one aspect of rugby which Gav Maguire’s teams always win: once again, we have the best looking, and best togged-out, teams in the league!
The JCT 2022-2023
The SCT 2022-2023
Young Scientist Fun!
1st, 2nd and 4th Years all enjoyed their visits to the Young Scientist Exhibition at the RDS, especially these First Years with some hands-on science and, perhaps, a taste of possible career paths?
Regarding possible careers, we think this First Year is definitely destined for greater things, but he does make a fine smoothie… and it comes with a handy ‘pulse’ mode!
Of course, the day at the YS included plenty of that which some ‘old scientists’ find most difficult to synthesise: socialising! ( A big thank you to Aoise Arkins for the photos!)
Speaking of ‘old scientists’… we all have to thank two particular ones for the day out (for the kids!) and the free classes (for the non-STEM teachers left behind!): Mr. Callaghan and Mr. Carvill!
Hannah’s Sweet Song of Success
You heard our School Choir in action earlier this year at our School Mass (replayed below), and Third Year Hannah Murphy featured prominently. Then it is no surprise that Hannah has has been chosen, after very competitive auditions, as a Dublin Diocese Emmanuel Concert soloist. Hannah will represent our school on March 3rd at The Helix Theatre. Joining her will be her friends in the School Choir and mentors Ms. McGuinness and Mr. O’Neill: just one more example of how music is at the heart of St. Conleth’s communal life!
Conlethian hoops historians are welcome to correct us, but we do believe that below you see the first ever recorded in-game Conlethian dunk, as James Power led the U16s into the All-Ireland Quarterfinals. Skywalking alumnus Mark Ryan (2014) certainly threw them down with style at practice but do we have Kodachrome evidence of an in-game jam? Cian McCormack (2010) had the height and the hops but was too fond of pulling up for the speculative trey … and the Gilleran Brothers, Mark and Luke (2020), could both live above the rim but often opted for the bedeviling banker or stylish swish… Maybe even the notoriously earthbound and hops-less, but peerless Paint Premier, Jack Nolan (2011), once magically levitated for a stuff? We do have, on celluloid record, Daniel ‘Gilly, Gilly’ Gilligan’s (2016) participation in a thunderous dunk in Second Year… but as he was the dunkee and not the dunker, we will keep that in the vaults! In any event, we are sure all these past Conlethian greats will take great pride in hearing about the exploits of Jammin’ James Power and his teammates, including point-man Enda ‘The Game’ Crowley and John Engmann, the Wicklow Wild Man, and coaches Sean Ingle (he got net, once) and Peter Gahan (a possible alumnus dunker from 2012). James’s stupendous stuff/salacious slam/jiggy jam actually happened deep in the depths of County Tipperary but we could hear the reverberations all the way back in Ballsbridge, and the echoes of the rim-rattling ram confirmed what we already knew: the basketball glory days are back at St. Conleth’s!
Lesser But Still Worthy Highlights
See You Next… Week?
We enjoyed the lighthearted but pointed comment by our local parish priest when he jested that there would be better seats available for Mass on the Sunday after Christmas if we cared to come back, and though he did blunt the barb with an honest appreciation for even seasonal attendance, he would definitely take heart if he heard what Mr. Lonergan and a horde of student volunteers were up to last Friday. They went to Mass. Again. No Christmas or Easter flash, no free ashes or palms… just Mass. And that was enough. It was the Feast of The Epiphany, a Holy Day of Obligation, and Mr. Lonergan and company came back to school, having absorbed the grace and the message and glowing with the shared experience. Putting our ethos into action.
Episode I: The Mock Exams
Every great work needs its prequel! Just see (or click) below for the full timetable for this year’s Junior and Leaving Certificate Mock Exams, which begin on Monday, the 30th of January, for Sixth Years and on Wednesday, the 1st of February, for Third Years. Students should certainly familiarise themselves with the Exam Guidelines, which are based on the real State Examination Rules, and will soon be emphasised by Acting Exam Secretary, Ms. Killen. Good luck!
Junior Certificate Mock Exams 2023 (pdf)
…we gave you the news, but the very next day… we gave you some more! In our-end-of-term rush, we left some fun colour prints hanging in the school darkroom, but they are all dry now, so we will treat you to some more news and images from our Christmas canoodling!
TY Zoo Story
First up, the TYs: no class deserved a break more, having been hounded all term by Gav and Richie to show up, take part and make the most of the opportunities of this special year. They will thank their stern but caring shepherds when it is all over, but they did certainly enjoy being cut loose for a day at Dublin Zoo. Interestingly, it seems like many of the animals, especially the primates, seem to be having a Transition Year of their own, judging by behaviour patterns!
A Very Rugby Christmas
Next, a reassertion that St. Conleth’s is still a rugby school! Yes, we know that hockey, basketball, fencing, chess and tiddlywinks are also part of the St. Conleth’s sporting legacy but if you want to settle this argument the old-fashioned way, you can take the whole chess team, throw in a few few hockey and b-ball players and a fencer (avec epée) and stick them in room with Front Row Hugo Lennon… and we know only one beast will be walking out under his own power! More on Hugo’s sporting exploits later, but for now enjoy these rather artistic yet still very jocky shots of our ruggers’ Christmas training sessions.
Mr. Coleman, Powered by Border Diesel, Seizes Karting Trophy from Sobbing Student
Fifth Years thoroughly enjoyed their day at Kylemore Karting despite the border fox, Mr. Coleman, placing amongst the winners. And Mr. Lonergan was last seen speeding away with the staff World Cup pool funds in the glovebox!
Christmas Cinema Trip
Our biggest Christmas trip was a local one: the traditional slow, herd migration over to Rathmines for a day at the Swan Cinema and various burger joints. A big thank-you to Ms. Crowley for organising everything. And we mean everything! Wakanda (and Wow Burger) Forever!
Santa’s Little Helpers
After their beautiful carols concert on Tuesday, it was Christmas Party time on Wednesday for the Junior School. We Senior Teachers are always a little jealous of our Junior colleagues at this time of year. The younger Conlethian students naturally seem to get the most excited about Christmastime and their teachers, in turn, get to enjoy a whole host of activities of which we only get a taste: the maintenance of a learning environment despite seasonal hysteria setting in on Nov. 1 at 12:01 a.m.; the decoration of the classroom with all the students’ Christmas art, which somehow all seem exactly perfect and equally deserving of prominent display; the relatively easy peasy clean-up after all that cutting, pasting and ‘accidental’ stabbing; the refereeing of class-wide ‘discussions’ over whether to watch Home Alone 1 or 2 (never 3); the annual argument over the suitability of Die Hard for eight-year-olds; the practising of carols with a class whose vocal talents somehow all seem exactly perfect and equally deserving of prominent display; the attempted slow release of various forms of sugar over the last few days; the even easier, peasier clean-up of said various forms of sugar when they reappear unexpectedly… no wonder they get more wine than us! In truth, we are relieved at our lighter yuletide workload but also a little bit jealous. Look at the smiles on those Junior School students, below!
Above, we also see the Junior Hockey girls down at the astro for their traditional Santa Hockey Tournament (with OLG). Good-natured, but competitive, fun was had by all and then the girls received their just rewards for braving the elements: a Christmas Hot Chocolate, courtesy of Coach Ms. Leary!
Mr. ODulaing said it best: the moment we are most ‘St. Conleth’s’ is when we are all gathered together, celebrating important occasions as a whole school community. It-which-shall-not-be-named had put the kibosh on that these last few years, but we have come back with a pleasant vengeance recently, and our first full Christmas Concert since 2019 was, like Bilbos’ party, ‘an affair to remember’. Mr. ODulaing’s timely oratory was matched by Mr. Gallagher’s evocation of our ethos and its Christmas significances, but the heaviest lifting was done by Ms. McGuinness, who raised herself off her non-it-which-shall-not-be-named sick bed and joined Mr. O’Neill to put together another spectacular show. Judging by the talent and spirit on display, music will long continue to be at the heart of everything we do at St. Conleth’s.
We always have plenty of individual musical talent, and often Ms. McGuinness’s toughest job is to narrow down the playlist. At Conleth’s, we are are always reluctant to make a cut: who knows which of the performers on it is destined to join Alex Sheehan, Conor O’Brien and Cassia O’Reilly in Conlethian musical immortality? And ‘participation’ is probably our truest mantra. Especially pleasing is when those talents band together in class and small groupings to delightful effect. Enjoy the beautiful sound and heartwarming sight of young talent working together.
Full Concert Video
Our students also enjoyed their individual class parties, including Kris Kindle, yuletide movies, plenty of sweets and shenanigans in their charity-aiding Christmas jumpers.
Last Go at Yuletide Fun (Sixth Years!)
Minutes of the Central Debating Committee
The problem with many left wing organisations is that they never really get to even the first stage of the promised land: the much lauded, but never actualised ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’. Oh, we get the dictatorship… but instead of a co-operative committee of open-minded postmen, economists and butchers’ assistants, we just get the butcher and a formidable cult of personality. And so it is with the St. Conleth’s Debating Society. As Stalin was to the USSR and Hồ Chí Minh to Vietnam or, more appropriately, Idi Amin to Uganda, so was Oisín Power to our nationally renowned debating club. In 2021-2022 he led our orators to the highest rostra in the land… but there was a price: the velvet tongue was backed by an iron mace and we are still finding mumbling, emaciated debaters in chains in that little storage space beneath the Art Room. They can barely manage a plaintive ‘Point of Order’ as we free them and assure them that the persistent ringing in their ears is only the echoes of Oisin’s frequently pounded timing bell, and not a permanent case of tinnitus.
But times change and, like Nikita Khrushchev, our new Auditor, Coleman Hegarty, has brought in significant reforms, humanising the machine that is St. Conleth’s Debating, yet still churning out stunning results. But we warn the other debating schools of Ireland, always squabbling for second place and eyeing the Conlethian trophy cabinet with Gollum’s eyes, to not mistake Coleman’s pleasant demeanour and silky Hiberno-English for competitive softness: at a recent meeting of the Debating Central Committee, in an impulsive act of rhetorical excess, he took off his shoe (from Loake’s of Wicklow St.), banged it on the table and shouted, ‘We will not rest until this committee controls the the whole of the so-called ‘free world’!” We assume he was referring just to debating competitions of the so-called free world.
Of course, another significant influence on our debaters is Head Debating Coach Rory O’Sullivan who, these last few years, has organised (no easy thing with these guys) and led and coached the various auditors and the debaters themselves, but somehow still found time to work on a doctorate in Ancient Greek, write for various cultural journals, complete and stage a historical play and re-muster the Irish Citizen Army. And Rory and Coleman’s leadership has indeed been impressive, as our rostrum results have matched our historical heights:
At the National Trials, Fifth Year Turlough Dineen, continuing a long-standing Conlethian tradition, made the Irish National Team Developmental Squad, a stepping-stone to the Irish Team (which nearly always has at least one Conlethian). Turlough joined Sixth Years Coleman, Saoirse Corry and Leo Nolan in winning their rooms in the Leinster’s and moving on to the Finals. Fifth Year Team, Finley ‘Molotov’ O’Dea and Lochlan ‘Beria’ Flynn used incendiary rhetoric to also advance. And in their debate, TYs James Power and Hugo Sweeney spoke well and bravely but may well have fell afoul of new grammatical and usage restrictions. The young talent is also rising in the politburo! Third Years Brooke O’Connor and Jessica Gahan won their motion ‘That gender quotas have a place in modern society’ and, though we are not sure how many boys got through to the Finals, we know Second Years Peter Murphy and Patrick Kennedy were among them, winning their motion ‘THW prioritise STEM subjects over the arts.’ Ouch. Milo Smith, Ciarán Doyle, Patrick Cole and Shane Carroll all debated the same motions and did very well, indeed, but we think their might be school-based quotas out there, as well!
Beating Brazil in football. Canada in ice hockey. The Japanese in sumo wrestling. And Gonzaga… in chess. These are accomplishments worth crowing about, and like the Croatians, after the surprise vanquishing of the Brazilians… we will! Granted, it was just a friendly meet for Transition Years and First Years, organised by STEM wunderkind Mr. Carvill, The Younger, who has remained very quiet and humble about it all, but having come up against Gonzaga several times in a previous life as a chess ‘coach’ (more like a chess paedogogus or chaperone: these genii often get lost looking for the toilets!) we took great pleasure in a victory which had always eluded us. Something about the Jesuits enables them to jump around that chess board like jitterbugs! And with the robes, and Latin passwords and the secret, underground chess chamber… there was always something Slytherin about our near neighbours, so we do take great pride in this victory and look forward to more!
Don’t tell Gav or Ms. Speller, but St. Conleth’s is quickly gaining a reputation as a ‘Basketball School’ and its not just because of the gangsta swagger of our students when they, standing tall in Jordan IXs, order No. 26 (with vegan mayo) at Donnybrook Fair! It is because we are darned good at Professor Naismith’s quirky little game! See below for the proof as our U-16 Boys made it all the way to the Ireland East Final where they lost to a school with a four digit student athlete pool. And they are still in the All-Ireland’s which will kick off after Christmas. Our 19s Boys and 16s and 19s girls also had a great season, making the Semi-Finals or Quarters in each of their leagues. And now, the New Kids on the Block, our First Years Boys and Girls Teams, have burst on the scene with stunning performance at a St. Andrew’s Blitz. Stay tuned for more all-out hoopla!
First Year Boys
First Year Girls
Don’t Fence Us In!
The ancient and noble art of Fencing has been linked with St. Conleth’s since its earliest days and we have been remiss in reporting on the latest Conlethian ripostes and parries. Yes, we lost two world class fencers when Claudio Sosa and Jame Moriarty-Smyth moved on last May, but there is more talent on the rise. There is a keen swordsman in the Senior School who would prefer to remain, like Zorro, in the shadows for now, and there is Michael Davitt in the Junior School, who is carving his name into some of the very same trophies which bear the names of Claudio, James and the Sherlock brothers, Luke and Matthew.
Michael recently won Silver Medals in the U14 Mens Foil category in no less than three separate tournaments: The PFC Christmas Cup, Round 1 of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series and The Lord Killanin Trophy competition. We thank Michael’s Dad, chair, for the fantastic photos of Michael in competition as well as those of another great Conlethian fencer: Alumnus Michael Li (2018) who, earlier this year, was present at the welcoming ceremony of Adrian Lee & Partners Fencing Sponsorship Programme 2022-23. Conlethian Fencing lives on!
Mr. Smith and Mr. Lonergan were like the Wilson Brothers on Tuesday morning on Killiney Strand (they can fight over who gets to be Brian). Yes, the temperature was a bit nippier than in SoCo, and the beverages were only topped up with extra shots of espresso, but the dynamic duo of St. Conleth’s Geography Department did their best to make the annual Geography Fieldwork Trip feel like a real day at the beach. Yes, there was work to be done: longshore drift to be measured; groynes to be stretched; and tombolos to be touted… but there was also fresh air and freedom and fun: three things of which we have learned their true vale, these last few years!
Last Friday, we gathered at St. Mary’s-Haddington Road for our Annual School Mass, to celebrate the season of Advent and remember the staff and family members who have gone before us and who helped to make our school all that it is today. The Senior School Choir provided the beautiful hymns, students of all ages led the prayers and readings and Fr. Fachtna, as always, found the right message and pitched it in his own unique way. Well done to Mr. Seamus Gallagher for organising the Mass and Ms. McGuinness, who had the choir in pitch perfect shape. Enjoy the scenes and tunes, captured below.
Give! It Doesn’t Hurt!
In recent years, a mainstay of the Junior School’s Christmas calendar has been the collection for Brother Kevin’s Capuchin Day Centre: students, parents and staff get together to collect food, toys and other suitable Christmas gifts, and the Centre makes sure they get to those who need them most. Brother Kevin and his team were particularly appreciative of the amount of donations from St Conleths this year, especially the number of toys, as he reported that a large number of families were attending and the St Conleths contributions were need and very welcome. Junior School Principal Brian Nolan thanks all those who made this year’s donation drive for the a smashing success!
Juniors Skating into Christmas
Our younger Conlethians may very well be actually skating into school this morning, considering the sheen of ice that has rendered Dublin in Nordic impressionist brushstrokes, but they have also been slipping and sliding into the Christmas season: wrapping up tests and assessments, warbling in carol practice like robust robins and wrens, and adorning the school with their yuletide artistic masterpieces. More to come on them, but in the meanwhile, enjoy some scenes captured on a (quick) dash to the Herbo and a slower stroll to the Preparatory School: Ms. Elaine Leary and the Junior Hockey girls enjoying their traditional Santa Hockey Tournament (with OLG); Speech and Drama with old pro Mr. Pat Howe; and Story-Time with Santa’s Chief Elf, Ms. Dolores Kelly!
Timea is Tops in GAA!
No better man than Mr. ODulaing, holder of a few powder blue jerseys himself (and an ancestral red one in the closet), to celebrate Timea Kovacs’s winning of the Minor Football Player of the Year at Clontarf GAA Club and admire her trophy… especially as Donal has missed his usual close-up with the Sam Maguire these past two years! It is no surprise that Timea won this award (and is currently involved in Dublin Minor try-outs) as we have seen her athletic prowess many times below (including the legendary Covid-era display of marksmanship below). Timea is one of our school officers, forming a tight and effective team with fellow Vice Captain Jame Clancy and Captain Caoimhe Moore. They share out their duties fairly, and according to individual talents; for example, we have the feeling that Timea takes the lead when ‘encouraging’ the students to pay up their 2€ for various charity collections!
We are not sure where Junior parent Cahir Davitt found the snippet of sunshine to snap this vibrant photos, but we do appreciate them! It was another Juniors rugby match vs. Willow Park, and these highlights capture perfectly the boys’ skill, spirit and sheer joy in playing ball on the grass on a weekend morning. We are not sure if ‘sheer joy’ was the feeling experienced by Louis Magee, the coaches, and the parents when they awoke earlier that day, but we are sure it spread, eventually, from the players to the sidelines!
Toi Harada, a visiting Fifth Year student from Japan, is heading home but in his short time here, he made many Conlethian friends and we will miss him dearly. Toi impressed us with his openness, eagerness to learn English, good humour and wicked penalty kick. Toi mixed effortlessly with the Irish students, getting the most out of the educational ‘exchange’ experience, and giving the most to his grateful hosts. A skilled footballer himself, Toi gets to head back to Japan just in time to watch his native team in action in the World Cup. (Note to Irish fans: The World Cup is a quadrennial, international tournament for the best soccer teams in the world.) The Japanese team is highly talented and may very well finish close behind the inevitable winners of the competition, the USA. We wish Toi the best and appreciate his offer to visit him. Hope he realises how much Conlethians like to travel. Stay tuned for Toi Story 2!
Have Gumshield: Will Travel!
On the road again! In one day, Junior Sport Honcho Louis Magee visited Willow, St. Michael’s and St. Mary’s to get all the rugby matches in! Fifth Form had a great comeback vs. CBC Monkstown, down 4-1 and drawing 4-4 and coming away with two draws and a win in three games, overall. And, thanks to parent Michael Davitt, we also have great pics from Sixth Form’s recent matches versus Willow Park and St. Michael’s. Super stuff!
Revenge of the Nerds!
How do you match the dizzying heights (and widths and perimeters) of Maths Week? Well, follow it up with mathematics’ more exciting, slightly mad half-brother (oops…sister!): Science! Drop those protractors and compasses (but not on your toes), grab some radium and safety glasses and let’s have some fun in Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Reanimation! Yes, once again, St. Conleth’s went ‘full Frankenstein’ (pronounced ‘Frankensteen’) for Science Week! After a week of Science Quizzes, Rocket Science at the Herbo,’TY Brain Syndrome’-testing (results mostly… negative) and Bio-meddling at UCD, First Years absolutely squeezed all the fun and learning that could be found out at W5 in Belfast and all the residual energy out of our Science teachers Mr. Callaghan, Ms. Phelan, and Mr. Carvill, as well as artsy interloper, Mr. O’Sullivan. The science on show at W5 was quite technical, and you will have to ask one of the whiz kids for the details, but we do know the compound of one universal reaction: F-U-N! Understandably tired were all the teachers after such hi-jinks, but these grizzled, old veterans have juiced up again on laboratory gas and there is talk that they are ready to go again… but that hypothesis has yet to be peer-reviewed!
Maggie’s Classics Coup!
Conlethian alumna Maggie Tighe (Class of 2019) was recently presented with one of the most selective and competitive international academic prizes. Maggie’s research combined her two loves of Classics and Music and it earned her a Global Undergraduate Awards, one of only 25 given… in the whole world! Each year thousands of students from around the world submit their undergraduate research projects to The Global Undergraduate Awards (GUA), the world’s leading pan-discipline, undergraduate research awards programme. More than 600 academics volunteer as judges for the programme, assessing entries for their academic originality and rigour, and must pick the single best entry from each of the 25 categories. Maggie was named Global Winner of the Classical Studies & Archaeology category for her work titled “Ovidian New Pastoral: The Transformation of the Pastoral Genre through Music in the Metamorphoses”. With that honour, she presented her research to the 150 academics and other winners in attendance at the Global Summit and received the Thomas Clarkson gold medal at the black-tie Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony on 8 November.
Below you see Maggie at the summit and the ceremony, but you also see evidence of a different side to Maggie: less worldly perhaps but still important. Earlier in the term, and before all the high-brow hoopla, Maggie dropped by No. 28 to visit her old Classics teacher, just to say hello and deliver some inspiring words to a class full of eager, noisy Classics I students. Maggie may be now bumping elbows with elite scholars in the Long Room but she remembers her roots and has kept a warmth and openness as deep as her intellect. And the good news is that Maggie is now just down the road, at Trinity working on a Master’s in Classics… a resource her old teacher may well call upon ion the months to come!
Whole Child, Inc.
You get the occasional teacher complaining about missing classes (we, the notable and enthusiastic exception!), but there is plenty of evidence that our many guest speakers and class outings have positive effects on our students’ lives, academic and otherwise. Our Commissioner of Guidance, Gordon Weldon, naturally leads the way in organising these events, but our Religion teacher, Mr. Lonergan, is a close second. Just recently, their time-consuming efforts at organisation paid big dividends in terms of the students’ careers and wellbeing.
Above, you see highlights from SuperGeneration’s excellent Study Skills Seminars with our 5th and 6th Years and our TYs outing to a special Careers Fair, just a couple examples of Mr. Weldon’s never-ending push to get our students on that career path that will enable them to take care of you in your golden years! But it is not all about points and PAYE: we really do emphasise the ‘whole child’ at St. Conleth’s, with Mr. Weldon also leading our Wellbeing Department and Mr. Lonergan leading initiatives from the Religion side. His latest coup was inviting in Elevate Industries’ Jason Maupin, who humoured, inspired, uplifted, and even hugged, our Fifth Years at a special assembly, themed ‘Take Off Your Mask’. The stories he told of the changes in his life may very well prove to be life-changing for those fortunate enough to be present!
St. Louis Magee?
Is bilocation still a qualification for sainthood? In the hagiography of St. Conleth’s, it is! In one day, Junior Sport Honcho Louis Magee visited Willow, St. Michael’s and St. Mary’s to get all the Junior Rugby matches in. Our very own large but cuddly Scarlet Pimpernel marshalled his forces of chivalric coaches and persistent parents to stage games all over the D4 hinterland of rugby. There were many memorable moments in all the matches but Mr. Sheridan’s Fifth Form grabbed the headlines with a great comeback against CBC Monkstown 4-1 down and drawing 4-4, and coming away, overall, with 2 draws and a win from 3 games. Super stuff! And, remember: if you want to arrange a sporting event with the Juniors, you must seek Louis Magee here… and everywhere!
An Early Christmas Present: Exams!
Only Lidl gets rolling with the Christmas season earlier than us, thanks to Ms. Killen and Ms. Hopkins! Here are the Senior School Christmas Exam schedules, by year. We will carefully go over exam rules and regulations in class with the students, but the biggest change to the normal day is that if a student is not sitting the scheduled exam, they do not need to be in school for that period; however, if they wish (or their parents do!) they may attend and study quietly in their Exam Centre/Room seat. Otherwise, all normal school rules apply, Including uniform. Good luck!
Click on each year to see a PDF of their respective Exam Schedule:
First Year Christmas Exam Schedule
Second Year Christmas Exam Schedule
Third Year Christmas Exam Schedule
Fifth Year Christmas Exam Schedule
Debs’ Style and Substance!
We expected nattily dressed gentlemen and girls in gorgeous gowns and we were certainly knocked out with the style, but we also knew there would be a more important aspect of the Class of 2022 Debs’ reception at St. Conleth’s: a spirit of honest affection and appreciation, tinged with the tiniest bit of regret that we will no longer have these charming young men and ladies all to ourselves. College degrees and career destinations were not the only topics of conversation on the evening: there was plenty of looking back as well as looking forward, with plenty of smiles and laughs about the years, whether two or twelve, these young adults spent growing up with us.
Of course, the parents were there as well, proud as punch to see how well their sons and daughters turned out, on both the outside and the in. Whatever points were achieved in September, the more important personal gains made while at St. Conleth’s were fully in evidence on the evening: boys who short years (or months) ago were locking each other in cupboards, were now smoothly introducing their dates, and girls who perhaps apprehensively approached these doors not long ago, were now swishing across the floor with confidence and grace.
The only downside of the evening was that we, the board members of the ‘No Eye Contact with Girls Club’, have been forced to kick out a charter member: Oisín Power. Luckily, we still have several of his acolytes in the Debating Society… whose number of chaperones will henceforth be doubled!
First Year Art Students enjoyed the ‘Zombie Doubles’ so much, they asked for the rest. Enjoy them and get ready for the Christmastime avalanche of art!
Covid did not just lead to grade inflation… and cost of living inflation… it has also led to holiday hype: we are enthusiastically embracing and extending all the rituals we missed over the last few years, and Halloween, most of all! Our round-up of our Halloween festivities started with catching the latest transfer to St. Conleth’s walking to school: Barney the Dinosaur. (He was at Blackrock, but was put under undo pressure to play in the back row.)
This year, teachers enthusiastically shared in the dress-up fun!