With Wham finally claiming their Christmas No. 1, we though it fitting to have one last look at Christmas at St. Conleth’s. While the rest of us were fighting it out for the last Bounties in the Celebrations container, intrepid TY (and BAND member) Rían McGonigle tightened his mask and set off with the school camera and several rolls of film to capture the fleeting moments of a celebration we enjoyed, but dearly hope will not have to experience, in quite the same way, again. On the Junior side, we see Ms. Mellon demonstrating her face-painting skills and the various student-created yuletide decorations which helped us forget you-know-what for at least a little while. And, of course, we have the latest edition of a now world-famous installation: the student art on the fence railings of No. 28 Clyde Road.
And on the Senior side, we have our Student Officers- Ted, Daniel and Emily- who spearheaded a ‘Christmas Jumper’ day which raise dover €600 for charity and photos of various class parties, including the TYs who had their very own COD Tournament, crowning Ralph and Mark as champs. A great way to end a tough term! We were all impressed by the students’ resiliency under the toughest of circumstances and look forward to at least some semblance of a return to normalcy. Happy New Year!
Another H&H Holiday Hit!
Hartnett & Howe are St. Conleth’s Gilbert & Sullivan, Rodgers & Hammerstein and Lennon & McCartney rolled up in one dynamic partnership. These seasoned (but still incredibly fresh-faced) veterans of song and stage, Emer Hartnett and Pat Howe, were not going to let you-know-what ruin a proud St. Conleth’s tradition: the Junior School Christmas Extravaganza! Yes, the big how-down with all the kids, the parents and the postman in the hall was out, but where there is a will, there is a way. H&H (trademark pending) simply found new stages for their creation collaborations: they commandeered St. Mary’s Home, the parish church, the front garden… and our hearts! Each class performed a Christmas-themed play, a candle-lit carol service and a raucous, rockin’ wrap-up in the playground. The end result was incredible, thanks to our two titans of song-and dance, but also the incredible efforts of House Manager Simon Rowe and his team of Transition Year tech gremlins: Charlotte McClaren, Eddie Farr, Jennifer Roche, Caoimhe Moore and The Sherlock. These kids, fuelled only by virgin eggnog and enthusiasm, enabled the shows to be brought to you in Technicolour and THX, as you can see and hear below!
A Great Sport!
While everyone else was well into their second flagon of eggnog, Director of Junior Sport and PE Louis Magee was busy putting the finishing touches on his St. Conleth’s Junior School Sports and PE Newsletter! The whole shebang can be accessed here. Remember to also check out Louis on Twitter at @StConlethsSport!
Who Has the Fastest Fingers?
Jeremy Clarkson may soon be overwhelmed by young Conlethians if the results of the Eight Finger Ninja Typing Challenge are anything to judge by! For the last few weeks, our ICT Teacher and Director, Mr. Travers, has set a keyboard typing challenge for First through Sixth Classes to see who could improve the most and be consistent with those all-important-in-this-digital-world skills. They were using eight fingers on the home row (the core basic requirement for touch typing). And the prizes were well worth getting carpal tunnel syndrome for: three games keyboards with mouse for three winners.
The competition was fierce, and everyone who took part improved considerably, but in the end the winners were: 1st / 2nd Classes prize was won by Gregory of 1st Form; 3rd / 4th won by Rohan of 4th ; and the 5th / 6th was won by Tadgh of 6th Form. There were also 27 certificates presented to the achievers of the maximum of 2000 points over the six classes, and there were really no losers! As one student pointed out: with Covid driving us to our screens, we can all now type faster than we could before… Hopefully that will be more of a choice than a necessity, soon!
Use Your Noggin!
Did that gust of wind almost blow you back to Ballybrack? Are you freezing when you step outside in Firhouse? Shivering in Shankill? What you need is a Noggin! Turns out Greta was a bit premature with her doomsaying and it is still mighty cold outside. Yes, It-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named loves the cold… but we do not! Below you see this desired piece of fashion and utility which is already showing up on the streets of Milan, New York, Paris and Ringsend. So, hurry up and be the first on your block to own an Official St. Conleth’s Noggin Hat! A perfect stocking stuffer!
On sale for €17 through Easypayments on this website. Noggin is a Community Interest Company: the profits they make go straight into supporting mental health awareness. Noggin is a Community Interest Company, where the profits they make go straight into supporting mental health awareness projects across the UK & Ireland.
An unintended positive outcome, even blessing, of this Covid year has been the opportunity provided to stop and take stock of what really matters in one’s life: with life aired down to its bare essentials, we have learned what we have lost that really matters… and what we probably did not need in the first place.
Perhaps, this Christmas will also be seen and experienced in a new light: yes, we will suffer from the restrictions on the meeting of families and even those placed on the religious celebrations of the holy day, but we may also have found a new appreciation for the significance and the importance of Christmas, with some of the trappings shorn away.
Our Religion teachers, Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Lonergan, certainly have done their best to make sure that St. Conleth’s stays true to its Catholic ethos, and the true meaning of Christmas, as they arranged for the Student Council to represent the St. Conleth’s community and attend the Mass for the Feast of the immaculate Conception at St. Mary’s Church and for students and teachers share in the symbolic lighting of Advent Candles. Yes, despite Covid, the man in the red suit is coming, but so is He, whose arrival was never in doubt!
Help Jamie Nail the Covid Blues!
First Year Jamie MacNicholas still needs your help! If you are a student and have not filled out his BTYS project survey on the psychological effects of covid measures, please do! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VYXQ5XP
Peter the Great’s Library!
In these touch-less times, there are many things of which we miss the ‘feel’: from the simple, friendly handshake to the warm, affectionate hug to the satisfyingly thumping tighthead’s tackle… we have realised that ‘touch’ is, in some ways, our most important sense. And how about the touch, ‘feel’ of a real book? Maybe a brand new one, with lovely crisp dust jacket and a smell that trumps that of a new car? Or an old classic, whose yellowed pages and weathered spine, worn by time and use, radiate the memories and pleasures of generations of readers? Well, perform your covid ritual cleansing and get ready for the return of a rare delight: real books!
A generous, and humbly anonymous, Past Parent has honoured the legacy of the greatest History teacher in history (Mr. Peter Gallagher, Principal Emeritus) by donating a bodleian bevy of books to St. Conleth’s. We miss Peter dearly at St. Conleth’s but probably no teacher would have felt the weight of the restrictions on movement and interaction more: Past Pupils will fondly remember his stalking the aisles of the classroom with volcanic energy and regular eruptions of rhetorical brilliance and his famous ‘Empty your pockets!’ archeological surveys. Yes, sadly, covid-era classes are indeed no ‘Butlin’s By the Sea’ and a far cry from the life and learning symposiums of a Peter Gallagher History class, but the vaccines are on the way, and until we can return to emulating Peter the Great, grab a book (a real one) and dream of past and future adventures. Above, we see Peter in his prime (with his last ‘Mastermind’: Simon ‘4 T’s’ Pettitt (2018)) and the Junior School enjoying their recent shipment. The Seniors’ are on the way!
Chess Champion… At Last!
The last of the Covid-delayed competitions? Well, certainly one of the most important: the St. Conleth’s Junior School Chess Cup Competition is one of our most prestigious events every year in our chess-mad school. After tough and exciting competition, Eli-John emerged as the 2020 champion!
Each class held their own tournament from 2nd-6th class with over sixty participants and the winners battled it out in until only Eli-John was left standing! Our individual class winners: 2nd Form winner – Harry Dooley; 3rd Form winner – Jamie Dunne; 4th Form winner – Eli-John Kiernan; 5th Form winner – Vladimir Bessanov; 6th Form winner – David MacNicholas. Semi-Finals: Jamie beat Harry; Eli-John beat Vlad; David beat Jamie. And Eli-John beat David in the final!
An Evening of Warmth and Light
Perhaps we say this every year, but the evenings do seem to be rushing down upon us faster than ever, and the coldness, dankness and darkness seem to be enjoying the doubt which hangs over our saviour Christmas. We all needed a pick-me-up and that is exactly what the former President of Ireland Mary McAleese provided during her specially arranged Zoom meeting with the St. Conleth’s community. The Parents Association should be proud of itself for arranging and organising the evening: it is not every school that gets a personal insight into the thoughts and feelings of such a national treasure and such a cultural and intellectual leader.
President McAleese managed to be all things over the course of the meeting: warm, engaging, knowledgeable, challenging, encouraging… as she amazed us with stories and insights powered by a lifetime of challenges, difficulties and success. And the session was truly a conversation, as Conlethian parents and students were encouraged to ask questions of their own, prompting the most rewarding responses from a woman who has seen, and almost done, it all. (Attached is the PA’s promotional invitation and biography.)
To Boldy Go…
…where no First Class Teacher has gone before! First Class performed an important experiment in rocket propulsion in preparation for the recent SpaceX launch (and as part of Science Week). The boys and girls were thrilled with the reaction of Mentos to Pepsi but quite sad (for the most part) when it was announced that Ms. Leary was to be Elon Musk’s next astronaut!
What Am I Going To Do Today?
What do you do with your lockdown leisure-time? Sean Keane of Fifth Class does not just watch Clone Wars reruns. He is writing projects on interesting countries and contacted local embassies for information. The Egyptian ambassador to Ireland, Khaled Sarwat, very kindly met with Sean and even invited him for Tea! Here is Sean receiving a flag & gift from the Egyptian Ambassador. The trip to Egypt next year is being planned already!
Things can happen very quickly in the world of social media! Case in point: A fan (with no name but obviously with an affection for proper football, a bottomless reservoir of hope and an eye for heartwarming artwork) is watching Arsenal TV and sees an interview with Gunner star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and during the interview, said nameless Ballsbridge-wandering fan Tweets about a certain school where the art teachers asked the students to draw what happiness meant to them and one particular kid simply said (and drew) ‘Aubameyang’.
In the video, said Aubameyang responds with a grin for the ages and we get a rare glimpse of the warm human being behind the professional footballer. Oh, and what school was that? St. Conleth’s College. Teachers? Ms. Mellon and Ms. Halpin (and Mr. O’Brien, a slowing but still effective wing player on the staff team). And which kid started this whole pleasant cacophony of birdsong? Jack Doyle, of Second Class, who proved that one word and one picture can bring a whole lot of sunshine to an otherwise gloomy autumn week!
Okay, we thought we had had our last scare, but we should have known that Dr. Cecilia Franken(stein) would have a few more jolts for us! As usual, she and her mad Afterschool Laboratory assistants, Diego and Mara, cooked up enough tricks and treats to thrill their eager charges and scare away that cloying virus fear! Pumpkin-carving, costume-wearing, model car-bashing and plenty of sweet treats were all on the agenda at the Afterschool Halloween Party. Enjoy the photos below and hang on for Christmas: Cecilia just does not cancelled!
Same Old Samhain!
Of course, Halloween blossomed as it always does, as surely as the coloured leaves fall in swirling eddies along Clyde Road and fill the garden of No. 28 with fun-filled droves. The sweets had to be individually wrapped, of course, but aside from that, the glucose-loaded treats were as energising, the tricks were trickier, and the costumes were as stunning as ever… if anything, Junior School Halloween borrowed something from Nigel Tufnel, and turned it ‘up to 11’ this year!
All this Covid paranoia floating through the air, or lying in wait on unsuspecting surfaces, has had some positive side effects, such as rendering relatively benign what would normally seem to be a dangerous activity: for example, allowing your youngster to use a 12 inch butcher knife to carve a rounded, slippery pumpkin! I mean, if the world is ending anyways, what the heck, just go for it! And we are glad they did, as the Junior School pupils turned these bloated, orangey New World gourds into some amazing creations.
Above, you see Afterschool Director/ Crazy Banana Cecilia Franken presenting the winners of the competition with their prizes. We also cleared our awards accounts by presenting prizes for best participation in the last lockdown’s Virtual Sports Week. At least, the kids are staying in school this time! And last but not least, legendary Speech and Drama Teacher Pat Howe awards his two Gold Medals for the Covid Eve exams. Pat has been our Louis Walsh/Simon Cowell/Gilbert/Sullivan for years, and one of the best things about the post-Covid world will be a return of his and Eimear Hartnett’s fantabulous stage productions!
The Halloween franchise of horror movies headed south after II but MMXX threatens to be the scariest of them all! For our young, healthy students it is not the virus itself, but the cancellation of many of the fun-filled traditions of the holiday such as ‘Trick or Treat’-ing. We guess it is all ‘trick’, this year! Nevertheless, the spirit(s) of Halloween stayed strong St. Conleth’s this year. We will start you with the Senior School, where the restrictions flipped the tables…and the teachers were encouraged to do the dress-up and the antics. Some of us did not need much of a push!
And in the Junior School, things were the right way around… First up: a video produced by noted cinema verité auteur, and the darling of the Roscommon avant garde, Mr. Kilcommons, and a host of Junior School actors and assistants!
Our legendary Headmaster Kevin Kelleher famously preferred the oblong ball to the round but his comments about soccer and its fanbase were usually just good-natured jokes and Mr. K. always welcomed and encouraged any attempt by our staff to foster healthy athletic competition. Indeed, Shay Keenan was right there by Mr. K’s side for most of those years. Well, Shay is still there, surrounded by enthusiastic youngsters, running PE classes and events like last week’s covid-postponed 2020 Junior School Soccer Tournament. Of course, new Junior Sport Czar Louis Magee was there too, somehow corralling the can’t-stand-still-for-a-second-because-they-are-so-excited kids into teams and a knock-out format.
The other half of Louis!
The thrills and spills were as dramatic as ever, with the physics-defying, post-phantom foul agony roll a highlight, and the goal celebrations were as stylish, albeit socially distanced. There were some surprise results due to a levelling of standard with the lack of preparation time across the board. In our geographically imaginative matches, Athlone Town beat Boca Juniors (substance over style); Cabinteely beating Arsenal (ditto); UCD beating PSG (poor students over galacticos); and Salford beating Bayern (What’s ‘Salford’?). As you can see from the beaming faces, including Louis, a great time was had by all!
The Life in a Day
One of the few places where there is any life these days is in our schools, and we are not talking the viral, microscopic kind! Yes, there are masks and restrictions, but the ability to ‘get on with it’ seems to be a skill common to nearly all our students and they are an inspiration to us bemoaning boomers! Here we see a selection of activities and attitudes which prove that resilience is never in remission at St. Conleth’s!
Second Years point to their seasonal art creations.
Sixth Years 'enjoy' a Study Skills Session!
Class of 2018 representin' in the Herbo!
Joe Kelleher returns a Conlethian basketball heirloom: the Jack 'Maharaj' Nolan jersey!
Ms. Redmond in action with her Senior Infants
Ms. Halpin turns the Sports Hall into an Art History Hall.
First Year boys act like First Year boys...before being chastised for non-distancing!
LC Latin attracts a select group.
Rían and James enjoy the Bray to Greystones Walk.
En route to Bray, Simon gets TYs to recreate a classic Lynard Skynard album sleeve photo.
Oleg and Lorenzo find a common tongue in Sign Language.
Senior Hockey Players go through their paces.
First Year Hockey eager for action!
Halloween is covid-proof! More to come on this!
Yes, the kids these days still read books!
Even at break-time!
Thankfully, the latest lockdown does not include the closing of schools, but even if the Covid czars deemed it necessary, our students are well prepared to carry on learning and creating. Case in point: Junior School Art. Below you see some of the masterpieces created by two of our young masters, Christian Boyle and Vladimir Bessonov, during the last lockdown as part of a virtual art camp run by Ms. Mellon. Christian won the special prize of a signed piece of Ms. Mellon’s own artwork for his Dandelion Seed painting and Collage Contemporary Art Piece and Vladimir the same for his Craft & Design- Make a Picture Frame Cherry Blossom Painting. Well done to the two boys, Ms. Mellon and all those who took part.
Yes, we are all singing that sad little song, but one way to change the tune is to understand the virus better, and to investigate the psychological costs of the various restrictions put in place to combat it. Could the cure actually be worse than the illness? First Year Jamie MacNicholas has taken on the challenge to find out, and in the process gained entry to the main Young Scientist competition, following the guidance of his Science teacher, Mr. Callaghan, and in the footsteps of last year’s winner Cuan Moore and a long litany of BTYS Conlethian stars such as the famous Zorin Brothers. Here. Jamie explains his project himself, and how you can help him with the research:
I have entered the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition which will take place virtually in January. The title of my project is COVID-19: A statistical investigation of the impact of the COVID-19 social restrictions during the lockdown on the well-being of 10 to 18 year olds.
A report from UNICEF in May of this year stated “Children are not the face of this pandemic. But they risk being among its biggest victims. While they have thankfully been largely spared from the direct health effects of Covid-19 at least to date – the crisis is having a profound effect on their wellbeing.”
In my project, I want to investigate (i) the impact that COVID-19 social restrictions have had on the well-being of 10 to 18 year olds during the lockdown (ii) the amount of daily physical activity undertaken by young people during the lockdown and (iii) the amount of time spent by young people playing video games and watching TV during the lockdown.
I hope to get over 200 volunteers between the age of 10 and 18 in St. Conleth’s College to complete a voluntary, anonymous, online questionnaire using SurveyMonkey. The survey will ask questions about their experience during the lockdown. I have prepared a questionnaire similar to the questionnaire used by the CSO in April this year when they measured the impact that COVID-19 has had on personal well-being in Ireland.
If you are a St. Conleth’s student and aged between 10 and 18, please click on this link and complete the survey. Thank you. Jamie MacNicholas
Louis Magee, a friendly giant but tough training taskmaster, has added to his already formidable duties as Head of Junior Rugby in the Senior School and Director of Junior School Sports and PE (we are still looking for a suitable acronym!) by taking on Twitter duties (@StConlethsSport) for all things sporty at St. Conleth’s. As committed free marketeers, we welcome the competition and the camaraderie! Here we see Louis’s first tweets and a pre-covid example of his ability to foster team spirit and unity.
Junior Art Offensive!
All our teachers are struggling a bit with covid regulations which restrict the movements and the materials which are so important to their craft, but no more so than our art teachers whose discipline is all about contact and collaboration. So, it is even more amazing that our Junior and Senior School Art teachers, Ms. Mellon and Ms. Halpin, have already been consistently churning out stunning pieces with their classes, covid be darned! In fact, the students seem to be relishing the freedom that art grants, a freedom undaunted by masks and frequent hand-washing. We have seen below some Senior School art: now, here is what the Juniors have been up to.
Making a virtue out of necessity, Ms. Mellon took the covid ban on interior displays as an opportunity for even bolder exhibition, lining the fence railings of the school with the art of our Junior Students. Many a passing pedestrian and car slows down to admire the creativity and late last Thursday evening we personally saw the power of art: a young girl was biking by with her father when she insisted he stop and wait as she slowly walked along, admiring each and every piece. Not one of our students, just someone who appreciated the extra colour and life we have brought to Clyde Road!
Juniors: Learn, Paint, Eat, Play!
Everything has been compartmentalised in this covid era: the co-operative learning and cross-curricular cross-pollination have been put on hold. We live according to tight schedules and clear boundaries. We hesitate. We proceed slowly. We have no fun. Well…. someone clearly forgot to tell all this to our Junior School students! Yes, they religiously keep within their class ‘pods’ and the older ones have plexiglass shields, but aside from that and a bit of over-tiredness in their teachers, life and learning goes on as normally in St. Conleth’s Junior School!
Above we see the classroom shields in action, with not a bother for the inhabitants of the individual cells; in fact, the boys and girls are enjoying their futuristic ‘my spaces’! We also witness the unveiling and initiation of their art packs: an essential item when one is a tethered to one spot for a while. Junior Art Teacher Ms. Mellon is already working wonders with them. Of course, after all that learning, lunch is on the agenda and Chef Mark and his team have pulled out all the stops in continuing the canteen’s tradition of tasty nd nutritious food- but now in covid-proof, individual containers. And it is all served up by the best wait-staff in Dublin: the Junior School classroom teachers. Afterwards, it is pod-play outside in the garden. As you can see, break-time is as fun and raucous as ever!
Juniors Get Down and Dirty!
St. Conleth’s resident fitness guru Adam Swan keeps an immaculately clean Fitness Suite, especially these days, but that does not mean he is afraid to get his charges a bit mucky when Mr. Keenan, Mr. O’Brien and he lead a contingent of eager Junior School pupils down to Herbert Park for some PE and rugby training. Sure, everyone loves the astro and its pristine surface but nothing beats a ruck and a roll on real grass, especially if there a few leaves, earthworms and pod-mates to smush into the ground. There is nothing like a bit of fresh air and action after obeying covid restrictions since the morning bell!
Jolly Hockey Sticks?
Ms. Leary, St. Conleth’s Junior Hockey Coach, makes Chuck Norris look like a wimp. The most notorious basic training regimen in all the U.S. armed forces is the Marines’, which takes place on Parris Island, South Carolina. Apparently, Ms. Leary goes there for holidays. When Siberia is all booked up. But our Junior Hockey Girls love her, because the intense training sessions are always accompanied by personal care, unbridled enthusiasm and good humour. Here we see an early season workout at the Herbert Park Astro. Soon our Seniors will be back in action. Remember, St. Conleth’s is now fully co-educational and the girls are bringing home more than their fair share of trophies!
PE, not PPE!
It is time to get back to abbreviations that mean something fun… like PE! Ms. Coleman’s Fourth Class enjoyed a full Physical Education class down at the astro-pitch in Herbert Park and, under PE Teacher Louis Magee’s careful guidance, the same old run-and-kick and rough-and-tumble fun was had by all. With fresh air wafting all around, the fear of the ‘cooties’ was quickly banished and the kids were back to being kids again!
The Summer Wind…
…came blowing’ in from across the sea, and blew away all concerns, of Covid 19. At least, for First Class kids, it did! Yes, our proud older statesmen of the Preparatory School were back to work in Ms. Leary’s classroom and, well-protected by their cocooning (and their youth), even group work was on the agenda. After all that hard academic work, a carefree break-time was in order- as it always is, and should be. If the masks and the endearingly scented hand cleanser ever get you down, just have a peak through the wrought-iron fence railings of 28 Clyde Road: it will banish the biohazard blues!
Juniors Roll With It!
At break-time, sometimes, the Juniors are literally rolling with it, as they, safely within their class ‘pods’, enjoy the fun-and-games and rough-and-tumble, as they always have. But academic work must also be done, and here we see Ms. Dillon’s Third Class pupils working away, without a second thought about the perspex shields between them. And for a bit of fresh air, the students can enjoy a class outside, as Second Class recently did with Mr. O’Brien. Yes, the students are just ‘getting on with it’ during these challenging times!
Junior School Menu!
Yes, the Senior School kids must wait a few more days (lovely sandwiches, in the meantime, for them!) but we are officially opening our full canteen service for our Junior School pupils from Monday, September 7th. Covid restrictions necessitate pre-ordering, so Junior Parents must follow the following steps to assure a plateful of Chef Mark’s delicacies for their child: 1) Read the menu below 2) Ask your child what he/she wants for Monday’s lunch (or tell them!) 3) Click on the green button in the upper right corner of our website homepage labelled ‘Cashless Canteen Account’ 4) Log in. 5) Scroll down to ‘Pre-Orders’ and hit the blue ‘View Menu’ button 5) Make your selection (with an eye on the allergens as noted on the menu)
Don’t worry, it is an easier process than it sounds. And it assures your child gets both nutrition and taste…. while you know for what you are paying!
Yes, we are off with a shot at St. Conleth’s; however, not as lonesome rangers but as a unified community ready to face this unprecedented challenge, together.
Each class and year that has arrived this week has come in quietly and a bit in awe of the situation. But with the careful guidance of our Junior and Senior Form Teachers, and leadership from Principals Kilcommons and ÓDulaing, fears were allayed and spirts were emboldened and, by week’s end, we were back to being St. Conleth’s: the best possible place to learn and have some fun, often at the same time. Of course, some things need to be ironed out: for example, our first real break-time on Friday may well resemble the migration of the wildebeest, but we will learn, make changes and move on. Stay tuned as we fine-tune learning in the covid era!
Yes, it is finally happening! Turn off the Netflix, try on the uniform and leave the dog in peace for once…. it is almost time to return to school! We have adjusted our return to school schedule for the Senior School from what is on the Calendar pdf but the changes are reflected below and in Upcoming Events:
Return to School Monday August 31 – Staff Day
Tuesday September 1– 1st Year: 10.00-12.00 2nd Year: 1.00-3.00 Wednesday September 2– 3rd Year: 9.00 -11.00 TY: 11.30-1.30 Thursday September 3– 5th Year: 10.00-12.00 6th Year: 1.00-3.00 Friday September 4– All Classes Return for an 8.20 start and 12:45 finish
The induction sessions are just for the students but parents will have Zoom Meetings with Mr. ODulaing. All parents have been contacted via email by Principals ODulaing and Kilcommons, with this and other vital information regarding the return to school in these challenging times, but rest assured that St. Conleth’s is still St. Conleth’s and though there may be a few difficulties in the first few days, the learning and the fun will soon be back up to speed!
The lockdown is lifting just in time for our Junior School’s summer break and we can just imagine the delight with which our parents will be releasing their children into the wild… but we are not quite there yet, with some lingering limitations still in effect, such as the time-honoured fixture of school Sports Day being forced into a digitally distanced version.
Not that these limitations dampened the enthusiasm or performances of our Preparatory School children as they enjoyed competing in the special day from the safe distance of their backyard or local park. I am sure everyone qualified for some kind of medal!
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Get Active! Be Thematic!
It was the penultimate week of the Junior School’s lockdown season, and the Junior School teaching staff pulled out all the stops, setting up challenges for their students which involved a variety of physical skills. Of course, being a very ‘hands-on’ staff, the teachers demonstrated the particular skill, themselves, and each drew on their particular area of expertise: Mr. Kilcommon showed that the skills learned in his youth as a midlands carny have not all rusted away and he can still juggle with the best of them; Ms. Coleman displayed the tough, no-nonsense Munstery side of rugby in her skills display; Mr. O’Brien brought his characteristic zany touch (and a sweet one it is!) to keepy-ups; and Mr. Sheridan showed some Gallic flair for his roundball version of the same.
And the students rose to the challenge! Below are just a few examples of their effort, dexterity and discipline. And stay tuned, as this current week is ‘Theme Week’ and there is sure to be some great pics and news as we go along. Here is the Theme Week Booklet pdf, so you don’t miss a minute of it!
The Long Good-Bye!
We were getting a bit ahead of ourselves when we dramatically announced the end of Afterschool and Morning Club Programme Director Cecilia Franken’s last Lockdown ‘Take-Away’ treat last week: we should have know that Cecilia always works overtime! So, here is the real last broadcast of the series that has kept us going these last few months. Cecilia animates ‘The Little Flyer’ story in her own special way and gives us the solution to that Paper Bridge Challenge. Arrivederci!
Now, It Is Up To You!
Our After-School and Morning Club Programme Director, Cecilia Franken, has kept us all busy during the lockdown with her entertaining stories and plays, interesting scientific experiments and inspiring challenges. But now, boys, girls and parents, it is up to you to continue the learning fun on your own through the summer, and come back to Cecilia with tales of your adventures in September. So here they are, our last weekly Experiment and Challenge!
It was GINORMOUS!
Do you remember when everything bigger than us was ‘enormous’ or, even, ‘ginormous‘? When anything numbering more than ten was calculated as ‘millions’? Well, thankfully, this covid thing has not diminished our youngsters’ love of hyperbole. Kids still like to learn about stuff and do stuff… and the bigger, the better! Case in point: one of Ms. Redmond’s Senior Infant class’s projects.
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The lockdown has been hard on all of us but imagine being five or six and having to comprehend this crisis… yes, it would just seem absolutely ginormous! Yet, unlike some of us, St. Conleth’s Preparatory School just seem to ‘get on with it’. Part of ‘it’ for the Senior Infants was reading and enjoying Roald Dahl’s classic ‘The Enormous Crocodile’ and then coming up with suitable gigantic projects at home in response. Enjoy the pics above and below and mind those canal waters on your next walk or run!
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Horrible Harriet but Perfect Pastries!
Cecilia give you a popular story this week… and something to munch on while you watch and listen. The story is Horrible Harriet by Leigh Hobbs, an old favourite of many, and Ceilia gives it a virtuoso performance. As for the croissants, Cecilia provides her own recipe (with a noticeable Italian flair) but you have to make them yourself!
Mr. O’Brien has been catering to both sides of his pupils’ brains during this period of distance learning. On the STEM side, he and his eager Second Formers explored different types of bridges around the world and then designed and built their own- with Lego, cardboard and whatever was available during the lockdown scarcity! On the more literary side, they enjoyed a troll through Irish myths and legends over the last few weeks. And Noah and his sister Elodie (Fourth Form) made a stop motion version of ‘The Children of Lir’ which was very impressive, indeed, and can be seen below.
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Tattoos and Slime…Together at Last!
Cecilia, our Afterschool and Morning Club programme director, has a knack for coming up with novels ways of making learning fun and today we have a ‘combo’ worthy of being placed along side Homer Simpson’s paragon of ‘Gum and Nuts: Together at Last!’. Cecilia mixes science, art and fun as she shows us how to make homemade slime and tattoos. It is enough to make a mad scientist/pirate cry with joy! And better yet, Cecilia says she will pop around to students’ homes to help clean-up after these learning adventures…. just as soon as the lockdown is lifted.
Science Experiment: Tattoo Magic!
Challenge: Biggest Slime Bubble!
Bell Bottom Blues!
Actually, judging by the fervour with which our Junior School students are tackling their projects, the Covid lockdown is not really getting them down at all! We do imagine, however, that when the projects involve fashions of the 1970’s, parent and staff who were around back then probably do succumb to some nostalgic melancholy when they view them. We are too young to remember ‘the decade that taste forgot’ but Mr. Kilcommons was just talking the other day how he missed his old bell-bottom jeans, tie-dye T-shirt and lambchop sideburns! Though, if this lasts much longer, certainly the hairstyles will start looking 1970s-ish. Ms. Loomes’s Sixth Forms did more than a troll through the history of fashion. See some highlights below and click on the titles further below to see the full projects on a variety of subjects.
Junior School learning adventures continue despite the corona lockdown and, if anything, teachers and students are pushing the boundaries because of the special circumstances and boldly going where no primary pupils have gone before! We have the evidence here with Ms. Leary’s exported ‘Astronaut Adventure’, more magnificent mandalas and artwork from Harry and Eloise and others, and the simple joy of scoots with the baby sister!
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The Midas Touch!
If anyone has the ‘Midas touch’ it is Cecilia Franken, who runs our Afterschool and Morning Club programmes during normal times, and has been keeping us sane with her ‘Take-Away’ stories and challenges during these corona daze. Here she is with personally illustrated version of the timeless moral tale, as well as an art/science project to delight youngsters and terrify any entomophobes. Though, that said, they are probably currently preoccupied with a certain other bug!
Art Activity: Crawl Inn Bug Hotel
Story Time: Midas and his Donkey Ears
Community Clobbers Covid!
St. Conleth’s is not letting this lockdown get in the way of our habit of working together and sharing our creativity and insights. Principal Tony Kilcommons led a special Junior School Assembly and his reassuring words and the poetic and prayerful contributions by Sixth Form students made this lockdown a good bit more bearable. The Junior School community continues to thrive, albeit digitally!
Can you handle a triple-shot of Afterschool/Morning Club Take-Away Hi-Jinks? There are three new postings below from Cecilia! 1) Dinosaur Garden in a pot 2) Science Experiment: The Rising Star 3) Challenge: Water Skiing Ball. Enjoy!
Dinosaur Garden in a Pot!
Science Experiment: The rising star!
Challenge: Water Skiing Ball!
Poetry in Numbers
In a cross-curricular Corona-coping coup, Mr. Kilcommons has combined Maths with… poetry? Yes, over the centuries various highfalutin’ mathematical types have extolled the essential beauty of numbers, but usually they were doing this amidst the flames at the stake of the Inquisitors or in padded rooms with their arms tightly jacketed or… even worse… in movies starring John Travolta in his Blue Period. But Mr. Kilcommons has yoked together the previously unreconclable and somehow combined creativity with calculus for his latest ‘Learning at Home’ digital lesson. Indeed, these Sixth Formers’ poems would bring tears to the eyes of both Einstein and Frost. Enjoy them and then watch the video to see how you can make your own!
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Junior Artists’ Summer Celebration!
The start of summer has almost been lost all the corona coverage, but not by St. Conleth’s Junior School students! With Art Teacher Ms. Mellon’s encouragement, Junior Schoolers (such as Christian, Gregory and Andrew, whose work you see below) are keeping their artistic talents sharp and celebrating the lengthening of days… and sending in photos of their work so we can enjoy them, too! Keep them coming to firstname.lastname@example.org!
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With guidance from their remote but attentive teachers, our Junior and Preparatory School students are keeping their learning and imaginations alive. Below you see pics of Jamie Fanning and Sean Keane’s ‘plant and food’ mandalas, as well as some of our younger students enjoying the home learning and adventures. We also have another crafty video from Cecilia and a very special one made by Nathan Keough, click!, all by his own self!
Conlethians are keeping busy at home… especially Ms. Mellon’s Junior School Art Class. Over Easter they worked on mandalas using food, plants and flowers. Look what Christian and Gregory Boyle and Joseph Finnegan came up with! But what have you been up to? Send activity snaps to email@example.com and we will share on this website and Twitter!
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Just in Time for the Rain…
As we write, at least in our far flung Corona hideaway, the weather has just taken a turn for the worse so it is the perfect time to release Cecilia’s latest Afterschool Take-Away mix of thrilling stories and brainteasing challenges. Enjoy!
Just Press Play!
Afterschool and Morning Club Director Cecilia Franken usually spends her Easter ‘break’ assisting the Easter Bunny make his deliveries in her native Italy, but with Corona restrictions, she stayed here in Ireland, and we are all going to benefit big-time! For Cecilia did not just sit back and watch the immortal Series 5 of the Simpsons: no, she was as busy as ever and made all the following ‘Take Home’ Afterschool videos. So, just press play and enjoy!
Crazy Chicken Bird Feeder
Don’t touch! Challenge
Don’t touch challenge solution
Warm and cold water experiment
Storiygami, the unkind prince
Story time: city mouse and country mouse
Super Power Experiment
Rock bug painting
Thankfully, the Easter Bunny has evaded the lockdown and is on his way. operating out of his summer home in Courtown. And after you enjoy that well-earned bounty of chocolate eggs have a go at this: the St. Conleth’s PE Department At-Home Fitness Challenge, special Easter Edition!
Below we see our winning challengers from last week, Gregorio and Viola, ring their thing in double-time!
Hurry! Last Seats Selling Quickly!
Enjoy this last edition of the Afterschool Puppet Theatre before Easter. Cecilia and friends bring you ‘Thomas, Mat and the Hungry Doggy’!
Fitness Challenge #2!
A ‘towering’ member of the PE Department just enjoyed a milestone birthday, but since this GDPR-protected person has such a ‘high’ level of fitness, he is not worried that he is now on the wrong side of Basil! Well he, and relative whippersnapper colleagues Mr. Smyth, Adam and Sean, feel this week’s challenges will really boost your energy levels. Students and/or parents have the choice of two workouts. Try each one at least twice for maximum benefit. Remember to send any photos or videos to firstname.lastname@example.org. And further below you see our winning participants from last week’s challenge, led by the Bertomeu Boyz!
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Conlethians Keeping Busy!
Maria Rainer sang of ‘raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens’ but ‘marshmallows and bubbles’ might very well be in the list of anyone’s ‘favourite things’. And these cheery items feature in Cecilia’s Science Experiment and Challenge videos this week. See them below as well as some feedback from Cecilia’s Afterschool friends!
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Blog Through the ‘Blah’!
OK boomers, let’s face it, this COVID-19 thing is getting us down. Dog walks, Netflix and unusual dinner combinations can entertain us for only so long. But the youngsters are a bit more adept with using technology for fun and socialising, and there can be an educational dimension to these hyperspace activities, too: see below for the Afterschool Take-Out videos and the PE Department’s Fitness Challenges. Well, St. Conleth’s Junior School pupils are also doing it for themselves, with a bit of help from ICT Czar Mike Travers: below you see snippets from the Junior School Student Blog, which Sixth Form have been using for years and now has also been opened up to Fourth and Fifth. Quite an impressive range of topics and some quality writing, too. Check it out now, add it to your favourites and revisit from time-to-time: a welcome break from the you-know-what-news!
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Sir Toby and The 3 L’il Pigs!
Cecilia is back with more Afterschool/Morning Club kind of zany fun! This time she has help in her Shadow Theatre from the the famous Three Little Pigs and withe her Art Activity from the loyal, and eminently patient, Sir Toby!
Our First Weekly Fitness Challenge!
Wake up! The St. Conleth’s PE Dept. is talking to you! Below is our first weekly, long-distance learning Fitness Challenge. We (Mr. Magee, Mr. Ingle and Mr. Swan) will be posting various challenges to this website and Twitter each and every Friday, so make sure to keep an eye for the next challenge. For the first challenge, “Alphabet Workout”, simply spell out your name and match the letters of your name to start your fitness challenge. Try each one twice on rotation and if you’re feeling very energetic, try it three times. You know Gav Maguire will! Remember (if you like) to send a photo of you or your family taking part to email@example.com and we will post as many photos as possible on this page or Twitter. Have some fun and stay safe!
And, remember: the St. Conleth’s PE Dept. will be watching!
Science Fun With Cecilia!
Wednesday is Science and Challenges day in the Afterschool Programme, so Cecilia and her canine co-stars have decided to keep up the tradition despite the arrival of the corona virus. Enjoy both videos below and send on your attempts at the ‘Equilibrium Challenge’ to Cecilia at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will select a winner. Grand prize is a ski trip to the Italian Alps… just kidding! How about a nice selection from the Tuck Shop when we return to school? I hope the Burger Bites are still in date!
Ms. Cecilia’s Neighbourhood!
Fred Rogers is an absolute legend of American culture: a kindly avuncular personality who managed to be provide extra-parental love and care through the tubes and black-and-white screens of 1960’s televisions. Cecilia Franken has done the same for a generation of St. Conleth’s Preparatory and Junior School pupils. Her latest Newsletter (click) captures just a flavour of the variety of the activities to be enjoyed in her programmes. And now we have the ‘Home School’ crown to present to the ‘Afterschool’ and Morning Club monarch! Anyone who knows Cecilia, realises that a mere pandemic is no match for her enthusiasm and innovation. To combat the Corona Cabin fever, she has promised to periodically present videos replicating the fun that was had by all at St. Conleth’s, especially before 8:45 and after 2:45. Here is the first batch. Won’t you be her neighbor?
In compliance with government directive, St. Conleth’s College will remain completely closed until Monday, March 30th. The Principals of the Preparatory, Junior and Senior Schools will update parents on all developments via email and text message. Individual teachers will be in touch with their students via Google Classroom and other ICT applications.
The good burghers of Greater Ballsbridge and Donnybrook hold their collective breaths every year on the last Friday of February 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 2020 version did not disappoint. The members of our PPU, like our current student body, reflects our diversity, spirit and downright quirkiness… and we seem to just get better with age!
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PPU Presidents John Carvill and Peter O’Neill and PPU Benign Despot Ronan O’Kelly must have been tired from organising the previous PPU engagement in NYC but it did not show, as they orchestrated an evening that managed to combine proper, sober acknowledgements of milestones with the frantic fun with which we all associate the night. Despite a rather flat sound system and the habitual rowdiness, Ronan and John compèred with both gravitas and wit, with guest speaker Michael O’Dwyer (2010) and honouree Ger Cummiskey also rising to the occasion. Enjoy the semiformal pics of each class above, as well as the more free-form ones, below.
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Just Say ‘No!’ to COVID-19!
St. Conleth’s is well prepared for COVID-19! Considering the ‘jet-setty’ nature of our clientele, we were especially worried when we heard about the news (and germs) emanating from Alpen Italy, but the school has been very pro-active in response, and not just in the hallway banter. The hand sanitisers are everywhere and our students have been enthusiastically disinfecting, especially as it delays arrival in class for a few minutes. And though we are known for our sense of closeness, cushiness and coziness, we have dialled back a bit on the hugs and handshakes, at least for the time being. Below are some helpful posters and videos and links to advice from the departments of Education and Health, as well as a Powerpoint made up by our very own Corona Czarina, Ms. Dillon!
St. Conleth’s PPU Dinners are always memorable affairs: well-attended, well-catered and well-lubricated… more raucous than retiring, a fact any residents left on our particular stretch of Clyde Road can attest to. Our recent New York City PPU Dinner was a decidedly more refined affair, with the humour as good and the sentiments as warm as every Conlethian come-together but with just the volume turned down, as befitting the august setting of the New York Athletic Club. (Apparently, the good folks of the TSA did their job and stopped certain members of certain graduation years at the borders. You know of whom we speak.)
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That is not to say that the alumni who attended the fully booked dinner did not ‘take Manhattan’ afterwards, but for news of those shenanigans, you will have to check the tabloids. We would prefer to concentrate on the dinner itself, quite an elegant and dignified gathering of old friends and colleagues. PPU President John Carvill, St. Conleth’s CEO Ann Sheppard and Special Guest Speaker Michael Moloney hit all the right notes, recalling poignant and hilarious moments of recent, middling and ancient St. Conleth’s history, as well as reaffirming that special ethos which has us confidently heading into the future. Of course, that ‘future’ includes tomorrow night’s Annual PPU Dinner, of the regular, old ‘domestic’ variety. Stay tuned for the fireworks!
1,2,3, Safe Cross…
Do you still know the Safe Cross Code? Your children do! The Road Safety Authority has been in for a visit and is doing educational workshops with the Junior School pupils… and telling you parents where to park! In tandem with all the instructional fun and games in solving the wee model village, new signs are now visible outside of the school giving clear advice on parking rules. Mr. Kilcommons asks that the message be respected for the safety of all pupils- Preparatory, Junior and Senior. Please see the photo below with parking zones clearly marked and remember: ‘…one, look for a safe place; two, don’t hurry: stop and wait…’!
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New York, New York!
The greatest city in the world is now going to host Ireland’s greatest Past Pupils Union! Following on our successful inaugural international PPU reunion in London a few years back, St. Conleth’s CEO Ann Sheppard and PPU President John Carvill decided to hit the Big Apple for the next one. And when the New York Athletic Club offered an ‘open bar’ as part of the dinner package, the deal was sealed! We know Manhattan has seen some heavy duty partiers over the years, but we are sure the Conlethian crowd will leave its marks. All the tickets have been sold for Saturday night’s gala but any Past Pupils or friends in the five borough vicinity can join the crowd for pre-drinks on Friday from 8:00 at ‘My Friend Duke’ at 383 Third Ave. or post-drinks from 10:30 on Saturday at Blue Haven East at 493 Third Ave. And if you re stuck on this side of the pond, you can still come to No. 28, Clyde Road for the regular, old Annual PPU Dinner on Friday, Feb. 28th! Tickets available through Easypayments on https://stconleths.ie. Stay tuned for tales from both these festivities!
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Poetry in Motion!
Conlethian fencing parents, Robert Smyth and Cahir Davitt, make quite a pair of ‘adjunct’ sports reporters: Robert with his faithful reporting and journalistic flair, such as the headline above, and Cahir with his stunning photography. Their latest missives:
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Last Saturday in Dublin, James Moriarty-Smyth ended just outside the last sixteen in Men’s Senior Sabre, after a very narrow 13/15 defeat to the Captain of Trinity University Fencing Club at the Direct Elimination stage. This is an incredible result considering James just switched his choice of fencing blade and is competing against seasoned adults.
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And on Sunday in Belfast, Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Silver in the U14 Foil and Michael Davitt won Bronze in the U10 Foil, as well as Luke Sherlock taking Bronze in the U16 Boy’s Foil. Keep tuned for more news in this Conlethian sporting tradition!
As usual, Chef Mark is not hesitant to mix it up and get all fusiony in devising the weekly menu. The Hiberno-Mexican connection lives on this week in chilli con carne on a potato!
Mark the Magnificent!
This week, Chef Mark braves the steppes of Eurasia and the tenements of NYC to bring us Tartar Sauce and TriBeCa Wings… but not necessarily to be eaten together!
Conlethian Dad Robert Smyth has recently been rehired as our specialist fencing correspondent. Here he fills us in on another weekend of our youngsters foiling any attempts to remove the from the podia!
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Saturday saw the usual suspects fence foil and epee at this year’s Excalibur Cup, hosted by Pembroke FC. A significant number of entries from Clongowes dramatically increased the overall number of competitors, resulting in plenty of fencing and competition across all age ranges, to say nothing of the volume of refereeing for James Moriarty-Smyth, who as a Sabreur was not competing, and Luke Sherlock, who officiated at least 50+ matches between them.
Results on the day were once again excellent:
Under 10s Men’s Foil: Michael Davitt finished just shy of the medals, having performed strongly in the Poules.
Under 12 Men’s Foil: Matthew Sherlock – Gold and Trophy
Under 14 Men’s Foil: Myles Moriarty-Smyth – Gold and Trophy
Under 17 Men’s Epee: Luke Sherlock – Gold and Trophy
Matthew’s First place was made all-the-more special by the fact that he will be the fouth Sherlock to have their name engraved on the Trophy, so creating a piece of Irish Fencing history and continuing the high standard set by his uncle, mother, and older brother.
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Next Saturday is the East of Ireland leg of the Senior Circuit, where James will be fencing Men’s Sabre and be looking to improve his current Senior Ranking of 17th, while Sunday sees Michael, Matthew and Myles (the 3 M’s of the ‘Conleth’s Contingent’) head to Belfast for Round 4 of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. Stay tuned!
Juniors Get Enabled!
Our After-School and Morning Club director Cecilia Franken has done it again! We have enjoyed the visiting chicks, butterflies, Gardaí and firemen over recent years, and last week Cecilia organised an official visit from Enable Ireland. RTE came along for the ride, too! Here, Cecilia runs through the day’s events herself:
St Conleth’s welcomed Enable Ireland to our school on Tuesday the 28th of January. The event was held in the morning in our Sports Hall, which was set up for the purpose and consisted of many deeply enriching interactive activities between our pupils and Enable Ireland team, some of whom had physical disabilities. The kids were welcome by Keith, Disability Co-ordinator, with a short presentation in which they watched videos showing Padraig jumping from an airplane for the fouth time, Brian practicing Jujitsu, Keith playing power soccer and Brian pulling himself to the top of a tall ship in the middle of the ocean!
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The pupils then took part in a series of fun and educational activities such as playing power soccer with Linda Castle and Keith Hayes , who plays for the Power Soccer Irish team, learning to play bocce from Padhraic Dormer and Jason Kearney, who won a Bronze medal in the World Championships, trying to maneuver and drive manual and power wheelchair with Grainne Magee and Jason O’Reilly and playing educational games with Suzanne Daly and Brian Murphy such as helping a blindfolded pal to drink water and recognize objects by touching them as they were blindfolded. It was a pleasure to watch the kids interacting with the Enable Ireland team and being so enthusiastic and engrossed in all the activities. We were all very much so engrossed in what we were doing and we were all left amazed by all the skills the Enable Ireland team were able to teach us.
It was a morning of fun and at the same time a deeply educational experience for all of us: teachers, pupils and the Enable Ireland team. St Conleth’s is very grateful to Keith and his team for coming over to our school and show us “how we can play together and have fun regardless our disabilities”. Thank you Enable Ireland!
Enable Ireland’s visit to St. Conleth’s Junior School made the news on RTE! It was featured on their ‘News2Day’ show on Tuesday, January 20th. Click here for a link to the RTE Player.
You Need a Noggin!
Did that gust of wing almost blow you back to Ballybrack? Are you freezing when you step outside in Firhouse? Shivering in Shankill? What you need is a Noggin! Turns out Greta was a bit premature with her doomsaying and it is still mighty cold outside. Protect yourself (and help a good cause) with an Official St. Conleth’s @nogginsport Hat! On sale for €17 at the Tuckshop and through Easypayments on https://stconleths.ie. Hurry! They are going quickly!
Mr. Kilcommons and his Sixth Form enjoyed an exciting visit to the Microsoft Dreamspace where they imagined (and experienced) the world of the future: thirty years, to be precise. Yes, Mr. Gates’s largesse has created a thrilling, educational experience which is a very hot ticket on the schools’ outings scene- and our kids were lucky to get a slot! The boys and girls benefitted from both the technology on hand and the necessary professional expertise.
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As the good folks at Microsoft say themselves about the Dreamspace experience:
In the DreamSpace Primary School Experience, students will explore 30 Years into The Future. They’ll be faced with a world that’s very different one from the one we live in now. Cars can drive themselves. Drones deliver the shopping. Robots do the jobs now considered too dangerous for humans. Students will have to solve the problems of an imaginary country where transport is non-existent and translation of skills doesn’t exist. They’ll have to work together to find the solutions. If something doesn’t work first time, they can explore another way. They might fail but they’ll fail fast and succeed even quicker. The possibilities are endless.
Those PE classes and after-school trainings sessions seem to be paying off regarding Junior School basketball as, for the first time, we were AIJS Basketball Tournament Finalists! Our Junior School team had their best performance ever: finishing runners-up to megalithic St. Michael’s, and beating perennial powers Castlepark, both their A and B teams, en route to the final. We did notice the familiar names of Moriarty-Smyth and Sherlock on the team-sheet, proving that their athletic prowess is not limited to the noble art of fencing. Of course, it takes a full team, and then some, to compete in an intensely paced blitz-like tournament, so well done to all the boys and their coaches!
Get Ronan to the Paralympics!
We remember a young Ronan Roche Griffin lighting up his First Year Form Class with his wicked wit and a glint in his eye. Whether it was sending notes in binary to a like-minded stemmy classmate or politely wriggling out of some minor kind of trouble, Ronan always did everything with considerable panache. Now, he has transferred that swashbuckling style to Canmore, deep in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Yes, this proud member of St. Conleth’s Class of 2013 is currently training on those sun and snow-basked slopes, striving to become the first winter Paralympian to ever represent Ireland. Don’t be jealous… the beautiful scenery does make soggy old Clyde Road pale in comparison, but Ronan is putting on some hard runs, upping his skills and stamina in pursuit of qualification. Find out more (and lend a hand if you can) on his GoFundMe page. Let’s help get Ronan to Beijing 2022!
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Rugby is Back with a Bang!
All that fencing, debating and chess is great, but let us not forget that we still play rugby at St. Conleth’s…. and we do it darned well! A parent reports back on the latest Junior School Rugby adventure, complete with some great photos:
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Continuing the Junior School’s strong performance in rugby this year, Mr. O’Brien led Third Form to claim victory over Willow Park last Saturday, despite the biting strong winds. Well done to all the team in their first year of representing St. Conleths in Junior School Rugby!
The Pea and Mint Soup is Particularly Good!
No, we may not have ‘salted pork’ on the menu this week (pdf) but Chef Mark has included several specialties that would rival the best from Saruman’s famous storehouse in Isengard. Even a hobbit would be satisfied!
Two for the Price of One!
We are having our own January Sale here at stconleths.ie and, really, it is a deal you just cannot beat! For the price of absolutely zero (unless you monetise your smiles and chuckles) click on the links below and enjoy both the St. Conleth’s College Junior & Prep School and the Morning Club/After-School Newsletters. The Parents Association, After-School Director Cecilia Franken and the boys and girls themselves have put a lot of work into these newsletters… after putting a lot of work (and fun) into the carefully documented activities themselves!
Julien Porzadny does double duty at St. Conleth’s: he is half of our dynamic duo of French teachers (along with the equally energetic Ms. Crowley) and he also serves as our Mindfulness guru. Here, he fills us in on how St. Conleth’s attention to our minds is gathering international attention!
Three years ago, Mindfulness classes were introduced to St Conleth’s college. Since then, weekly mindful sits have happened, it has become part of our Health Awareness Week and it seems that students are enjoying learning about the art of “being”. Before the Christmas break, I received an email from the “Mindfulness in Schools projects” (the UK charity from whom I received my training) who were looking for stories about the experience of implementing Mindfulness in schools. I therefore decided to write back to them. They later on got back to me and asked for permission to release our story on their website. So, if you are curious to learn a little more about Mindfulness and how it has grown in St Conleth’s College, I invite you to have a read of “The evidence base, a primary & secondary case study – St Conleth’s College, Dublin“.
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Simple but Spectacular!
After the highfalutin drama, dance and comedy of Aladdin, it was back to basics with the Preparatory School’s version of the Nativity story, but the simple elegance of the production proved that Howe, Hartnett et al are just adept at staging the timeless classics as the avant garde!
Ms. Kelly’s, Ms. Leary’s and Ms. Redmond’s charges were all suited up in exquisite costumes (thanks, parents!) and the assorted kings, angels, shepherds and members of the Holy Family all performed with spirit and grace, bringing smiles and laughter to those assembled in our beautifully decorated Performance Hall. It was a fitting, perfectly pitched close to the term and our Christmas celebrations. See the full video above and some snaps below, including some of the Juniors’ Christmas class parties and the students’ artwork that lined the walls of the hall.
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The Preparatory School took care of the original Christmas story but the older Junior School classes got a bit ‘edgy’ for their Christmas Show, all the while without leaving the general setting of the Middle East. Our song, drama and dance dynamic duo of geniuses, Pat Howe and Emer Hartnett, the veritable Rodgers and Hammerstein of St. Conleth’s these many years, with the support of all the class teachers and the Junior Parents’ Association, put on a spectacular, specially adapted version of Aladdin, and everyone in the audience went home for the holidays with a bit of ‘wow’. The mumps, the flu and the vomiting bug did their best to derail this show but Howe and Hartnett would not let that happen, and the student stars themselves shook off their various illnesses and left it all out there on the stage in the Performance Hall! We managed to capture most of it on film (thanks, Scott!) so enjoy!
Faith and Fun!
In less than a week, St. Conleth’s took part in two school-wide events, each of which conveyed a different but essential aspect of our community. Last Wednesday, we gathered at St. Mary’s-Haddington Road for our Annual School Mass, and remembered and celebrated 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. Michael, as always, found the right message and pitched it in his own unique way.
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And yesterday, we went on another annual pilgrimage. We did, indeed, ‘Let Them Go!’ and released all our Senior School students for a well-deserved Christmas treat at the Swan Cinema after a good term’s work. Everyone enjoyed ‘Frozen II’ or ‘Jumanji II’ and the residents of Rathmines and Ranelagh were incredibly hospitable to our flying columns!
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The Madchester Trip: Conlethians Party (and spend) Like Sheikh Mansour!
Manchester must be a bit like Las Vegas, as in what happens there seems to ‘stay’ there: it took us weeks to squeeze this news out of the intrepid travellers!
Many moons ago, when on the ‘red’ side of Manchester a certain ginger midfielder was passing with aplomb and tackling with a hellacious fury, and a young winger was running like the wind and exposing his chest hair with glee (and, apparently, sneaking into his brother’s house), a then-cub reporter of ours accompanied Mr. Shay Keenan on a Junior School trip to Paris. Said cub reporter was an American and thought ‘soccer’ was for ‘girls, sissies and/or foreigners’. Said Mr. Keenan set him straight, lecturing him on the glorious history of United and its demigods. Then they both tuned in to some footie that happened to be on the television in the eh … museum: It was the 1999 Champions League Final. QED by Mr. Keenan and Gunnar Solskjaer. Sadly, this time around, for the first time in decades, Mr. Keenan missed the boat but Mr. Kilcommons did his best to fill Captain Keenan’s boots and soon the Annual Junior School Trip to Manchester settled into a familiar ‘sweets-spew-sweets’ pattern on the overnight ferry.
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Mr. Kilcommons, being an Arsenal fan, is not too familiar with the Champions League, but he seemed to learn quickly . Thankfully, Mr. Sheridan was also there, and his twelves hours of consistent snoring somehow soothed the troubled stomachs and, he occasionally even joined in on the fun: the boat-trip of giddiness and nausea (but fun nausea!), the mall invasion where the Conleth’s kids adopted the spending habits (and lack of savvy) of the City director and the match itself, which honestly was a classic with action galore and some memorable (but not to be repeated in a family publication) chants!
Fencing: Ins and Outs!
You know that fencing has always been an integral part of St. Conleth’s. In recent weeks there was ample evidence both outside and within our walls. First, the extramural: Conlethians continue to excel in national (and international) fencing competitions.
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Claudio Sosa won Bronze in the Senior Men’s Foil in the Northern Irish Open; Myles Moriarty-Smyth won gold in the U14 Foil in the Christmas Cup and Michael Davitt won bronze in the same competition’s U10 Mixed Foil. It is great to see Myles showing Michael the ropes… and the points!
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And within the hallowed walls of 28 Clyde Road, we have recently witnessed fencing become part of the regular PE programme. Here we see First Years enjoying their foils… and foibles as they come to grips with the noble sport (and their classmates).
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The Rooks’ Return!
We have been neglecting a recent mainstay in St. Conleth’s sporting news: Chess. Yes, we compete and win in many different arenas, but certainly in the Junior School, Chess has proven particularly to be our forté. AIJS, Leinster and even All-Ireland trophies line our cases. The Junior School ‘B’ Team recently hosted a tournament for four teams and our team finished a close second to Lios na nÓg. Nathan Keogh won all his matches but there were some high quality games all over the Performance Hall. They are keeping that “A” team on its toes!
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When the wind whips away that umbrella with gusto, the sleety rain ‘falls’ sideways into your face and the cyclists splash you on the only bits that escaped the car ‘wash’… it is time for a hot and hearty meal! Core-firing Beef and Carrot Stew is on the menu this week as well as some less traditional but just as stamina-stocking favourites:
It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like…
…the Annual Transition Year Christmas Tree Sale and Fair! Yes, indeed: the wind has picked up, the sun was last seen September 14th, the falling leaves are halting nearly all movement in the city, Switzer’s has a vaguely yuletide theme to its window display, and if we just lost a few degrees, we would be neck deep in snow! And, of course, the Transition Years are once again readying themselves for another Christmas Fair and Tree Sale extravaganza. (Click for poster!) They have been like busy little woodland elves: planting, cultivating and cutting the finest of firs and poinsettia and etching and whittling the most exquisite of Christmas cards and crafts. And Gav Maguire has been doing his best trying to fill in as Santa but is not quite able to grow the wintry whiskers of one of his predecessors, Mr. Bolger, nor the rounder middle and rosy red cheeks of another! Well, make this Santa smile by ordering a Christmas tree from the TY girls and boys and come by this Saturday, December 7th, from 10-4, for them and all the extras, including holly wreaths, poinsettia, tree stands and tea and coffee. All proceeds go to supporting the Bride Light School in Uganda. To order a tree, call (087) 799-8702.
After last week’s Thanksgiving Feast, and in preparation for the yuletide excesses to come, we recommend (especially to the older staff members) that the impressive array of sales on offer this week on Chef Mark’s menu may be the way to go!
Happy Black Friday Eve!
The pilgrim fathers (despite their rabid anti-catholicism) would be thrilled to sees the celebration of the anniversary of his extraordinary act of goodwill and friendship spread to these shores. Of course, if the Mayflower had brought along a galley staff like Mark, Emerson and Anna, the colonists would not even have needed the largesse of the native population! Be that as it may, the turkey, the roasted potatoes, the sage stuffing, the creamed corn and the cranberry sauce were served on that first Thanksgiving day over 400 years ago, and we have been recreating that harvest feast ever since. We personally have enjoyed Thanksgivings in many parts of the USA, and the local variations never ceased to amaze: galumpkis on the side in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; hominy grits in the backwoods of the Carolinas; stuffed chipotle on the edges of the Arizona desert; and cod cakes on the furthest toe of Cape Cod…. Well, Chef Mark’s ‘last-Thursday-of-November-unless-it-is-not-followed-by-a-Saturday-within-the-month-then-it-is-the-third’ extravaganza beats them all! Juniors and Seniors and staff all joined together for a musket-bustin’ Thanksgiving feast for the ages. See the pics below to get a taste. At St. Conleth’s, Thanksgiving is not just the day before Black Friday!
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Of all the cultural imports from America, surely Thanksgiving is the most welcome. A holiday that celebrates diversity and community? Surely, even the most anti-American of European elites can accept that- then again, there is the accompanying traditional dish of ‘creamed corn’ which probably sends the devotees of Michelin chefs into apoplexy. However, our chef, Mark McColgan, always goes ‘whole turkey’ and happily serves up all the traditional fixings. Somewhere Squanto is smiling, even though there probably is a mall where his tee-pee used to be. Check out the special Thanksgiving Week Menu.
Still Movin’ and Groovin’!
Health Week may be over but Conlethians have not stopped moving… and groovin’! Here, the Prepsters enjoy their Dance Class and work off some of that excess energy, rendering them perfectly calm and docile little darlings for the rest of the day, and well able to sit still and enjoy ‘Storytime’ with Ms. Kelly.
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The Write Stuff!
Our Juniors have The Write Stuff! Jamie Fanning was ‘Highly Commended’ in a recent AIJS handwriting competition… continuing our traditional fine showing in this annual competition. Well done to Jamie and his teacher, Ms. Dillon, for insisting on old-fashioned legibility!
Fun in the Foliage!
Let’s just admit it: the unrelenting rain, gloom and puddle-splashing cyclists of the last few weeks have brought us to our knees and a Ryan Air flight to some soulless but sunny spot on the Costa is the only thing that is keeping us from following our windswept umbrella into the Dodder… but cheer up! Junior Art Teacher Ms. Orla Mellon and her talented students have defied the elements and brought some colour and cheer to St. Conleth’s in this darkest, wettest November with their school-wide ‘Autumnal Leaves’ art project. See the process, the producers and the product, below!
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Juniors Jump for Joy!
The Junior School also celebrated Health Week with both style and substance as Mr. Kilcommons and the other teachers planned a whole slate of activities which emphasised a natural and rejuvenating attention to both body and mind. In conjunction with their Senior colleagues, Juniors turned off their screens and picked up crayons, playing cards, a healthy lunch, tug-of-war ropes, parachutes and other implements of good, old-fashioned fun!
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What is healthier than playing with a parachute?
On Thursday, the screens were dropped and skipping ropes were picked up as the Junior School staged a Skip-A-Thon. Mr. Kilcommons led the chants and rhymes but everyone had a go.
All those Health Week activities must have given our First Form super speed! Here they play a bit of dodgeball with Mr. Magee.
Of course, we don’t just get healthy during Health Week, especially when Sensei Ed Charmont is calling the shots at Karate Class!
Health Week may be over but that does not mean that healthy eating stops at St. Conleth’s. See Chef Mark’s latest menu to see how the dishes served up in our canteen are good for both palate and person!
On the Offensive!
On the offensive! Conlethian swordsman continue to win plaudits and trophies! Claudio Sosa took Bronze in the Irish Open at the Senior level: yes, fencing against full-grown (and bearded) men! And in the the opening round of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series, Luke Sherlock took Gold in the U16s and Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Silver in the U14s (fencing above his age level)!
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What’s Going On?
We try hard to keerp you up-to-date with our ‘Events’ listings (to the right) but it is also useful to have one place where all the really big events are listed. Below (and, as always, under ‘Calendar +Information’) is an updated calendar (pdf) for the Junior School (Seniors’ is on the way!):
What a Load of Falafel!
and pak choi, and couscous, and lentils, and mac & cheese… this week’s menu (pdf):
Sound Bodies and Minds
Get ready for Health Awareness Week! Both Junior and Senior Schools are getting ‘psyched’ for a week in which we pay special attention to the mental and physical health of both ourselves and those around us. Activities will include: free porridge in the canteen, mental health talks, Sticks and Stones Anti-Bullying workshops, a Screen Free Day, a skip-a-thon, Zumba dance, a healthy Tuckshop, a 5000 step walk, Mindfulness sessions, a surprise film showing… amongst other events. And our Principals, Mr. ODulaing and Mr. Kilcommons, have asked that all students also deliver at least one random act of kindness each day- preferably to your teachers, but friends and family are also eligible. This week will certainly focus our minds and bodies on health but we believe we have already made a good start: see below for some pics from various Wellness trips to Herbert Park (before and after the recent monsoon season). This little green oasis is literally our Happy Hunting Ground!
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News to Warm and Cheer
After an all-too-short midterm break, it is hard to come back to the daily grind… especially when it seems to be usually dark and always raining. Luckily we have Chef Mark and Co.’s culinary arts to warm and cheer us up! This Week’s Menu (pdf):
I Want to be a Policeman When I Grow Up!
Midterm is the perfect time to catch up on some ‘lost’ stories: Earlier this term, St. Conleth’s After and Pre-School Czar Cecilia welcomed back An Garda Síochána to St. Conleth’s and the Juniors got so excited a few over-eager youngsters had to be locked up in the mobile jail cell- to the youngsters’ delight and their teachers’ momentary relief!
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All was well in the end though, as many of the students got a chance to wear the police hat and and jacket and everyone boarded the state-of-the-art vehicle (short ‘e’ when you pronounce that!). In all seriousness, the visiting Gardaí were top-class professionals who managed to be both personable with the kids and purposeful in their presentation. You could see the awe in the eyes of the boys and girls as the officers explained their jobs and delivered some safety tips. And it was reassuring to hear once again children talking about growing up to be a Garda… take that Google coders!
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Spooks and Scholars!
Here at St. Conleth’s, we pride ourselves on the ways in which the Junior and Senior Schools interact. We think it benefits both groups of students, the big and the small, to be part of a community where children of all ages share a space and an ethos.
There is no better example of this than the annual Halloween Assembly when the Prepster goblins and ghouls are invited into the Performance Hall to liven up our term-ending assembly with a ‘Spooks Parade’. Of course there is some business to get done at these things, too: Mr. ODulaing gave his Gaelic-tinged interpretation of Halloween; Second Year Ciara Thornton roused the troops to be greener and do their part against climate change; Junior Certificate top finisher Louis Cullen received his ‘Murph’ Cup and LC perfectionists (625) Hugh Downes and Ian O’Neill were presented with their Bernard Sheppard Medals; and our Captain Emily Mansfield introduced all the Student Officers/Class Captains, presenting them with their badges of office. This being St. Conleth’s/FAme Academy, in between these talky bits, there were plenty of musical interludes, and of such quality that we think the next Past Pupil Concert may have to be at the 3 Arena. See the video above and pics below, and enjoy the break!
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Italy, India… Ireland?
Is Ireland finally going to join the gastronomic greats of the world? Well, if we had more chefs like Mark of the school canteen, we would surely be up there with the other ‘I’s. This week, we sample the best of Parma, Bologna and Central Asia but Mark also has pride in the simple but profound native dishes, inevitably spud-based. Enjoy your colcannon!
A Soirée to Remember!
Ms. Fay, our stylish musical maestra, and Seamus Gallagher, our agent to current and future recording stars, pulled out all the stops and put on a concert to remember, one of which the sweet-sounding reverberations will be felt down the years… Whoever is planning the 85th celebrations better get started because it will be nigh impossible to beat the 80th Anniversary/Soirée Musicale of last Friday night when the Kevin Kelleher Wing was alive with exquisite music, the swishest of fashion, the finest food and drink and, of course- this being St. Conleth’s- the most compelling conversation in town. It was also the launch of the latest St. Conleth’s Quinquennial, edited by the the two Charleses, Crimmins and Latvis, and chock full of alumni and staff reminiscence. The book may have kept you busy over the weekend but Friday night, all our attention was directed to the stage where the ‘best of’ past pupil and current musical talent took the stage. ‘Eclectic’ was certainly the theme of the night as the stars and styles came from across the musical spectrum: ‘Conlethian’ and ‘consummate’ being the only descriptives in common.
Greg Purcell (2007), with indie matinee star looks and moves, started us off with a pitch perfect and powerfully emotive power ballad, Pink Rabbits from The National. Current pupils Caoimhe Moore and Trevor Bolger showed no nerves and played an exquisite version of Gymnopodie No. 1 on clarinet and piano. Molly Van Der Lee (2011) sang and played Landslide, evoking Stevie Nicks in her best incarnation. Then, The Band to be Named Later took the stage with the lively 21 Pilots tune, Heathens. Michael Horan, Rory Clark, Leah Crimmins and James Moriarty-Smyth made such a powerful impression, belying their relative lack of experience, that we are sure this band will soon have a name, as well as a fervent following! Noah Brabazon (2016), as always, calmed things down in his own smooth way with Gold by James Vincent McMorrow on piano, before the legendary Patrick Fitzgerald (2008) took the stage to turn up the reverb and the feedback and rock out with his own ‘love’ song : Goodbye!
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Two stars of the Class of 2019, Matthew Rockett and Joe Gallagher, then played their own compositions, Notturno and Slipping, stunning us again with their talent and making it rather obvious why they are pursuing music at the third level. Sisters of 2016, Hannah Collins and Maryrose Counihan, accompanied by the calmly ubiquitous Noah on guitar, made Radioactive by Imagine Dragons the most pleasant sounding of emo musings. Seán Keane (2017), did what he always did when a student: he took out his fiddle and, without fanfare or fuss, took us all elsewhere, someplace more beautiful, for a little while. And then, as if to finally prove the versatility of this Past Pupil line-up of talent, Evan Kennedy (2014) made Jeff Buckley’s Last Goodbye his own, ending the Soirée Musicale with both style and substance.
The Multi-Talented Mr. Sheridan
Every knows about Mr. Sheridan’s sporting prowess both as a competitor and coach. He is a regular first team selection in the annual Sixth Year vs. Staff Soccer Match, playing an authoritative Makelele-like midfield, and he has been leading various Junior School sports teams to glory for years. Just last week he took our Junior School Soccer Team to the AIJS crown, vanquishing big school favourites such as Willow and St. Gerard’s. Well done to Mr. Sheridan and the boys involved!
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But there is much more to Mr. Sheridan than meets the eye! If you were around in the early noughties, and happened to be wandering down Leeson St. at an ungodly hour, you very well might have run into younger, spryer Mr. Sheridan, looking quite fit in a sequinned leisure suit, heading from one fabled disco/wine bar to another…. for he was not only master of the midfield, he was also Lord of the Dance Floor! Times change and Mr.. Sheridan, as he approaches middle age, has settled down a bit, but he still can put on the moves, especially the two copyrighted dances, the famous Moonwalk and the infamous Worm, for which he was know in his heyday. It was this latter one which came in handy when Cecilia Franken, our After-School Director, was looking for volunteers for a creative re-enactment of the birth of a butterfly to act off the fascinating project. Words will not due the performance of Mr. Sheridan and his brave student co-performer justice. You just have to see it to believe it!
Rabid Rabbit Rubbers!
Cecilia, our Morning Cub and After-School Director, is at it again! The butterflies have flown but the rabbits have arrived to take their place and, once again, it is cuddling time at St. Conleth’s!
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These are our latest guests! Thumper is the black one and he thumps when she is not happy. Mupster is the grey one and she is the more dominant of the duo. They are two four and a half years old girl rabbits! We decided to bring them in because we felt the butterfly project had missed the emotional aspect connected with the “pet cuddling”: that was clearly not possible with fragile creatures such as caterpillars and butterflies. The kids have had the chance to bond with them and pet them for the week and we all already miss them. Their visit has sent the kids into a state of frenzy and they were asking to pet them all the time, brought in tons of food for them and even asked to clean their cage: can you believe it?! Our reward: looking at the kids faces light up as they hold the rabbits on their laps, break into a big smile and tell us: “When I am old I am going to get a rabbit: with my own money!”
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It appears that we have a new budding fencing champion in St Conleth’s. Michael Davitt (3rd Form) competed in his first fencing competition and won bronze in the U10 Mixed Foil Category at the Lord Killanin Trophy in Loreto College, Dalkey last Saturday. Obtaining some helpful words of wisdom and assistance from his fellow Conlethian, Myles Moriarty-Smyth, this gave him the confidence to progress smoothly through the pools and onto the direct elimination phase of the competition, where he competed in the semi finals. Myles Moriarty-Smyth (6th Form) was also on piste and won bronze in the U14 category.
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Genghis Khan in the Canteen!
Fear not , the hairy horseman is at St. Conleth’s only in a disambiguous, inspirational sense for, according to Wiki: Tartar sauce gets its name from the Golden Horde Mongols who invaded Europe in the 13th century, who were known to the locals as Tartars. This name comes from confusion over their allies the Tatars, because of whom the Europeans called Mongolia Tartary. This misnomer came from associating the name Tatar with the Greek mythological hell known as Tartarus. Now, it is simply a rather ‘tart’ mayonnaise which chefs like Mark serve with his fish dishes. Mark also has two of our Italian favourites scheduled: pasta puttanesca and melanzane alla parmigiana so get ready for more fine canteen cuisine! Menu pdf
Brother (and Sister) at your Side!
Mr. Keenan does not do things by halves: when we say that sport at St. Conleth’s is all about participation, he practises what we preach and issues an open invite to all students, both Junior and Senior School to join him on his Track and Field outings. As you can see from the photos below, this year’s call for Cross Country runners did not fall on many deaf years in Sixth Class and First Year.
And we do not just do quantity: there were some quality runners hidden amongst this horde of student athletes which Mr. Keenan led over the mountains and through the trees to the ‘Brother at Your Side’ Cross Country Meet in Santry. And our boys and girls showed great sportsmanship and camaraderie, too. It was a beautiful day and everyone involved enjoyed the run and the craic. Stay tuned for more Track and Field adventures with Mr. Keenan!
Nearly everyone worked late last Monday night, and it has taken us almost a week to recover but it was worth it as the St. Conleth’s Senior School Information Evening was once again a smashing success. Such was the queue snaking down Clyde Road and approaching Elgin that the US Embassy security staff were on high alert as they thought another political protest was afoot. But the Marines had nothing to fear as these youngsters and their parents were just young families from Ballsbridge, Blackrock, Blanchardstown and beyond, all lining up to get a taste of the best private co-education in Dublin.
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They literally got a taste from the school canteen as Chef Mark served up some a taster’s menu but they also got helpings from a ll the subject teachers and the sports and extra-curricular, too. And who were our best salespeople? Once again, the current students who amazed all and sundry with their affability, effort and sincerity. Apparently, a ‘free’ lunch is on its way, but we all know there is no such thing and this one was more than earned!
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Information Evening: Mon. at 7:00!
Come and see why St. Conleth’s Senior School is attracting so much attention and so many students at our Information Evening on Monday, October 7th, at 7:00 p.m. Here is our promotional flyer (pdf):
In a relatively short time, Ireland has expanded its culinary palate quite extensively. Thankfully, Nescafe is no longer served as ‘coffee’ in most establishments and defrosted lasagne carved piecemeal from the permafrost does not make the menus of most gastropubs any more. But we also have the confidence to hang on to our native strengths and even engineer our own ‘fusion’: chilli con carne served on the old baked potato, case in point. Chef Mark has placed this simple delight along with other easy dishes on this week’s menu (PDF):
Butterfly Project: The Final Frenzy!
Cecilia Franken’s After-School programme is so active, sometimes St. Conleth’s School itself is just a province of her ever-expanding empire. But it certainly is an empire of fun! Here we read her wrap-up (though the butterflies actually unwrapped! as well as photos and a prize-winning video.
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It’s been few busy weeks since our lovely furry guests arrived. From tiny baby caterpillars to beautiful ready to fly away butterflies, we have seen it and OBSERVED it all. The kids feed the caterpillars, saw them grow and observed them hanging upside down to shed their last skin. Some pupils in after-school were so lucky to see a caterpillar actually turning into a chrysalis. What a fantastic thing to see! Some others in Senior Infants and 5th class were lucky enough to see a butterfly come out of its chrysalis and stand by waiting for its wings to dry. In other words were were able to learn about the butterfly life cycle hands on. Pupils from JI to 6th class worked very hard on finding out as much as possible about these fascinating creatures.
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To highlight and celebrate our learning and achievements we had a third and final presentation on Monday this week where a team of presenters and researchers coming from all forms from 2nd to 6th told the all Senior school about their discoveries on the matter. In the middle of the presentation Mister Sheridan was brave enough to challenge one of his 5th form students to a duel caterpillar-to caterpillar 🙂 and at the end awards were presented to those students and classes that excelled on our project challenges.
The preparatory school closed their project on Friday and as they were super-carer for our butterflies, they have now a super-cute mascot teddy to take care of for the rest of the year!
And if the project is finished for the school, well…the pupils don’t want to hear about it! Just Wednesday Marcus and James Wall burst into after-school, short breath and all, to show us all the beautiful caterpillar they had found in the middle of the footpath on their way home! We then knew our job was done: the kids had started observing on their own initiative and they could not get enough of it 🙂.
What a September we and the butterflies had! We already wander what our next year project will be 🙂!
Return of the Kings
You know we can’t resist a LOTR reference, but the ‘kings’ in this case do not (yet) possess any sovereign kingdoms but they did certainly royally rock the Leaving Certificate in 2019 and now they have returned to spill their secrets to the Class of 2020. Tomás Clancy, Hugh Downes, Pearse Roberts and (Queen) Maggie Tighe were not necessarily our highest point-scorers (there were many!) but they all did extremely well and had gained acceptance into the course of their choice. Perhaps most importantly, they were also willing to tear themselves away from Freshers’ Week hedonism for a couple of hours!
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Tomás is now happily lambasting any sufficiently ‘unwoken’ ones still lurking in the medieval recesses of TCD where he is pursuing a degree in History and Politics; Hugh is conversing with the higher beings in Theoretical Physics on the other side of the same campus (but light years away); Pearse is exploring a broader spectrum of Science at UCD with his usual humble excellence and impeccable manners; and Maggie has chosen the noblest pursuit of all: mixing Classics, Music and English at UCC. To be honest, the ‘secrets’ which were spilled turned out to be just good common sense but the assembled Sixth Years did seem to receive a real boost in their confidence listening to those who were now on ‘the other side’ but who had so recently been in their shoes (and stylish purple Performance Space chairs). Mr. Carvill was once again the guiding Guidance spirit and he also arranged for a three hour professionally delivers study seminar to get the Sixth Years off on the right foot and into the world of ‘mind maps.’ Where will all this lead the Class of 2020? Hopefully to results as good as the Class of 2019. Below you see a graphic, courtesy of Ronan ‘Mr. St. Conleth’s, Jr.’ O’Kelly, which clearly sets out how well our graduates do compared to the rest of the nation. So, Sixth Years, who will be the returning kings next year?
Never Mind the Gloom: Burrito Friday is on its Way!
As the calendar turns and the shadows lengthen, the weather is starting to run its usual course of perpetual precipitation, but have no fear… Chef Mark has the scheduled the immortal burrito to appear next Friday! The rest of this coming week’s menu:
No-one Suspects… The Butterfly!
Bart Simpson once famously fantasised about the butterfly being the perfect cover for wicked derring-do… but surely the soon-to-appear butterflies of the Afterschool project will be of a more innocent sort! Cecilia catches us up on what has been happening in this latest tour-de-force of education and fun, the hallmark of her out-of-school-hours empire!
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The saga for our butterfly, or should I say… chrysalis, continues. After witnessing our very hungry caterpillars go through an extenuating “labor” to shed their last skin and reveal the chrysalis hidden inside them, we now have 34 perfect chrysalis to take care of. Wow! What a roller coaster of emotions we felt as we were transferring the chrysalis from the feeding cup into their new butterfly house! Because of the noise and the activity around them they literally started shaking like mad, reminding us with no shadow of a doubt that they were alive and ready to fight for their life! It was surreal and scary and beautiful at the same time. Several kids were able to see the caterpillar transforming and all kids were there when we made the transfer so all Primary school had the privilege to witness such an amazing spectacle. We are very proud of all students and how responsibly they have taken care of our little guests. This week we have been busy making beautiful drawings of butterflies and caterpillars, making the final touch to the butterfly houses in each classroom, completing our researches, making videos, looking at shed caterpillar skin through the lab microscope and off course we have OBSERVED, OBSERVED and again OBSERVED! We are all excited and cannot wait to bee there for our butterflies birth and are expecting that to happen from tomorrow onward for a week or so. (Note: The first emerged for Fifth Class on Friday!) On Monday the 30th the pupils will be giving a third and last presentation on this topic and then they will go with their teachers to Herbert Park to release these beautiful creatures and say goodbye!
Menu Della Settimana
Chefs Mark and Emerson are again at their cosmopolitan best! This week we have dishes from Spain and France, as well as an Italian pasta dish originally devised for workers in a certain unmentionable profession. Print up this week’s menu here or check it out below:
From Bologna to The Barbary Coast…
Chefs Mark and Emerson scour the earth for the tastiest dishes to serve up in the Conlethian canteen. This week we have the traditional Italian favourite, Pasta Bolognese, but also couscous, originally cooked up by the Berbers of North Africa, and TriBeCa chicken wings, removed from birds whose fate was sealed by the gentrification of their lower Manhattan neighbourhood. Print up this week’s menu here or check it out below:
The Butterfly Effect
If you ever need a pick-me-up towards the end of a particularly gruelling day, do what we do: take a look around the extensive grounds of No. 28 Clyde Road (and the surrounding area) for the current whereabouts of the Afterschool traveling party.
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Cecilia, our Afterschool and Early Morning Care Director, and her trusty side-kick, Diego, will surely have their Lost Boys (and Girls) up to some hijinks which are both educational and incredibly fun and just witnessing youngsters exploring the world (without the aid of a screen) lifts the spirit skywards. Whether it is cooking up delicacies in the kitchen, creating bespoke artistic statements, climbing trees at Herbert Park or even just finishing homework in a supportive, collaborative environment, you just have to smile at the fun being had and the work being done. Jumping around in their day-go vests, the children really do seem to flutter and fly like butterflies!
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In addition to the daily adventures, Cecilia also organises special ‘projects’ which she shares with the rest of the school. Last year, there were Chicks and Worms. This year, Cecilia combined fuzzy and wriggly and went for the Caterpillar Project… soon to be known as, yes, The Butterfly Project. Cecilia explains this latest extravaganza:
“This year as a project for the Preparatory and Junior school we decided to try to involve the kids in the observation of metamorphoses. We love for our pupils to learn hands on, so we decided to have live caterpillars delivered to St.Conleth’s. Each class has now a full butterfly hatching set including very hungry caterpillars and all the tools to observe them up close. On Monday last week, all pupils were given a presentation about transformation and the importance of observing and studying nature around us.
This is a wonderful opportunity for the kids and all of them have been very excited and interested. They have brought in magnifying glasses, pictures found on the internet about the subject, made written observations on a daily basis, named their caterpillar teams and even brought in their very own caterpillars into school to join the hatching club! Our “baby butterflies” were tiny when they arrived but have been growing at an incredible rate and have already transformed their appearance substantially in just few days. We hope they will all be snuggled up into their chrysalis by now and next week we hope the kids will be able to observe them shedding their last skin and revealing a beautiful translucent chrysalis.
The students were divided in to teams last week and assigned tasks to complete. It would be fantastic if you parents could jump on board and support your children with those tasks and talk to them about this amazing metamorphosis. The caterpillars are in the pupils classrooms and parents are very welcome to step in and observe too! Enjoy the pictures of our little “furry friends” (yes, for real, they have spiky hair:-)) before they change forever…”
Regards Cecilia Franken After-School Programme Co-ordinator St Conleth’s College
And so is the salad… and the pasta… and the sandwich made to order. This week’s canteen menu:
Just by chance yesterday, at about noontime, a woman and toddler were walking down Clyde Road and, when they came to No. 28, they happened to run into one of our many resident wits of Sixth Year, who was casually leaning against one of the gateposts and enjoying his second (at least) ice cream cone of the day. The woman stopped (with the potential Conlethian child in tow) and stared aghast past said wit at the glorious mayhem of our 80th Anniversary Celebration, with children from four to eighteen (and Mr. Keenan) milling around with well-mannered abandon. The woman pulled her child closer and demanded to know if the school were like this every day. Our Sixth Year politely replied, ‘No, miss. Just on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.’ The woman shook her head in disbelief and stomped off down the road, perhaps to visit that more austere academic institution in Ranelagh.
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What that child will probably now never know is what eighty years of Conlethians have proudly known: our school is more than the sum of its parts (or its marks). It is community of individuals who, despite their differences, and in some cases, because of them, meld together in a shared pursuit of learning, yes, but also, camaraderie and good humour. And these qualities were very much on show at our 80th Birthday Party. Bernard Sheppard’s vision and Kevin Kelleher’s mission were recalled and celebrated as the school begins a brave, new era. Mr. ODulaing took the stage and set it with nostalgia for the past but also enthusiasm for the future.
Fr. Collins, Mr. Gallagher and several student readers brought our Christian ethos to the fore and Mr. Kilcommons made sure to include the Junior School students in the reverie. Ms. Sheppard cut the cake itself, with the help of two Conlethian legacies, Daniel Carroll and Charlie Power. And this being St. Conleth’s, there was beautiful music during the interludes. Then, to the delight (if not surprise) of all, the ice cream truck rolled in and the party really started!
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And The Special of the Day is…
It has long been known that an army runs on its stomach, but every experienced teacher knows that so does a school. And Chefs Mark and Emerson and the multi-talented Anna do such a great job in our school canteen, that we must say a visit to their domain does your heart and spirit wonders, in addition to the rumbling tummy! See what’s on offer this week below on our Weekly Menu (PDF to print) or each day in the Events to the right. Bon Appetit!
The TYs’ summer officially ends on Thursday at 11:00 but all the other years and classes have already taken that brave step… But really going back to school is not so scary at St. Conleth’s. In fact, judging from these photos, it seems like a lot of fun! Check out the smiles on the faces from the other years on their first day in the Preparatory, Junior and Senior Schools.
The Senior School
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The Preparatory and Junior School
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Welcome (Back) to St. Conleth’s!
We are sure all our students, old and new, are eagerly looking forward to the start of school (and perhaps their parents even more so!), so we are giving you all the information necessary to make it a great start. Start of school dates and times can be found below and under Events on our homepage, as well as on our calendars which are always available, along with booklists and information on uniform and the canteen, under Calendars and Information, but if you are in a rush, here are direct links (Junior, Senior)to our uniform supplier, and our Cashless Canteen deposit page. We will see you all over the next few days, bright-eyed and bushy-tailled, at No. 28, Clyde Road!
Senior SchoolStart Dates and Times:
Junior School Start Dates and Times:
Ann Cramp: An Appreciation
It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Ann Cramp. Aside from the Kellehers and Sheppards and perhaps a certain games master, no-one has been part of St. Conleth’s for longer than Ann Cramp. And certainly no-one has been more universally appreciated and beloved. Generations of Conlethians have benefitted from the ‘ship-shape’ in which she kept the school for decades, for most of them almost singlehandedly, and, just as importantly, staff and students alike have been for so long blessed with the constant presence of our own benevolent fairy godmother, always there with a kind word, a cup of tea, a quick joke and an unswerving loyalty and a capacity for care. Ann’s domain had shrunk a bit in terms of time and place in recent years, but whenever and whatever part of the school she was in, it was always the cleanest… and the happiest!
Our former Sixth Forms are probably in the full swing of summer by now but if they (or their parents) would like another glimpse at some of the highlights of their time in St. Conleth’s Junior School, here is a video of those key moments edited by parent Kathryn Grace. Enjoy!
An End and A Beginning
Mr. Kilcommons and Ms. Loomes led Sixth Form through a very fitting Graduation Ceremony as the boys and girls bid a fond farewell to their Junior School days. Many will be right back here in late August to join the Senior School as First Years, while some are heading in a different direction, but for both groups it was a poignant end to an important chapter of their young lives. There were prayers, photos, songs, jokes and memories a plenty with the perfect mix of fond nostalgia for the past and enthusiasm for the future with the students, teachers and parents, particularly Mrs. Connor (who has been through a few of these before!) playing their proper part. Well done to all who made it such a special evening and best of luck to our Junior School graduates as they take their next steps, both near and far.
Beam Us Up, Simon!
The USS Enterprise’s loss has certainly been our gain. Since his arrival at St. Conleth’s on Stardate 96268.25, Ensign Simon Toal has displayed a remarkable talent for dealing with those who need a little extra help, those with behavioural issues or those who find it hard to get along with those around them… and that is just in the staffroom! In all seriousness, Simon has been a godsend for those students who have benefitted from his help in his official position as an integral part of the SEN team, alongside stalwarts Ms. Killen and Ms. Long.
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He has also, more unofficially, brought a breath of fresh air and a bright spark to the everyday life of the school with his wit, charm and inside knowledge on how to battle the Borg. On the last day of school, the Juniors got to experience another talent of Mr. Toal’s: Simonsmagicparties.ie landed its Tardis in our outdoor classroom and a special magic show closed out the term in style. Everyone, even brave volunteer Mr. Sheridan, enjoyed themselves immensely as you can see from the shots above and video below. New series starts next September!
Dog Day After-Break
St. Conleth’s is going to the dogs! The Junior School recently celebrated its ‘Take your Dog (or Guinea Pig) to School Day’! Everyone behaved themselves, though the Boxer did get his name put on the board for over-enthusiasm!
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We have a proud tradition of being an ‘artsy’ school and it seems like that legacy will continue! Our art teachers, Ms. Halpin in the Senior School, and Ms. Mellon in the Junior School, have filled our walls with examples of our students’ artistic masterpieces. Now, we will have to make room for at least one more! Second Form Conlethian Alistair Seery came 4th in his category at the Texaco Art Competition! Below we see him with his prize-winning piece and his certificate. Well done to Alistair!
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We have found even more evidence of both the fun and learning that went on during the visit of the Gardai to the Junior School last week. Below you will see more pics, courtesy of Morning Club and After School Care Director Cecilia, as well as a list of the rather serious advice the officers gave each class, along with plenty of thrills!
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-personal safety while walking outside
-what to do if you get lost
-not to talk/follow strangers
-personal safety while walking outside
-what to do if you get lost
-not to talk/follow strangers
-what a kid should do if someone approaches him/her asking him/her
to follow them
5th and 6th class
Safety when on social media
-how to keep safe as they walk alone – for girls: how not to put
–themselves in a vulnerable position
-the right attitude towards alcohol and drugs/peer pressure
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First Year Russell Bolger spent a gruelling four days racing at the trials for the Irish Optimist Sailing teams at Easter in the Royal Cork Yacht club. Russell, a former Regatta Fleet National Champion had qualified the previous year for the under 12´s Irish Optimist Team competing in Weymouth, but it was a dream come true when he landed a coveted place on the Irish Development Team competing in Nieuwpoort, Belgium this June 19.
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It has been a busy year of strenuous sailing to achieve this goal with some significant successes along the way, including a share of the Feva DBSC award. In true Conlethian fashion, what better way to decide who keeps the trophy: a chess match at the Royal St George Yacht Club between Russel and his sailing partner Peter Williams from St Andrew’s! Well done to Russell, who is following in the wake of his big brother, Third Year Trevor, and accomplished and decorated sailor in his own right.
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Everybody Do Your Share!
We actually find Barney the Purple Dinosaur even more inspirational than Hillary Clinton, particularly his little ditty about taking care of the environment in a small, everyday way: Clean up, clean up: everybody, everywhere. Clean up, clean up: everybody do your share. Ah, those were simpler times, perhaps, but the friendly fellow’s words of wisdom still ring true today. Take Mr. Sheridan’s Fifth Form: last week they embarked upon some community service, and not because they were trying to avoid some jail time, but out of the sheer goodness of their hearts (and perhaps a bit of relief from Mr. Sheridan’s manic enthusiasm for Irish grammar). They suited and gloved up and headed down to Clyde Lane to beautify one of the few neglected areas in bounteous, beautiful, bourgeois Ballsbridge. Others may make grand statements about ‘Saving the Earth’ but it is this kind of local action that makes the difference. Well done to Mr. Sheridan and the boys!
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To Protect and To Serve
St. Conleth’s After and Pre-School Czar Cecilia welcomed An Garda Síochána to St. Conleth’s and the Juniors got so excited a few over-eager youngsters had to be tasered! Well, not quite, but for a while there it did look like a scene from a children’s zombie movie with the Junior Infants swarming the Paddy Wagon and our brave police officers barely resisting the call of the baton. All was well in the end though, as many got a chance to wear the police hat and and jacket and everyone boarded the state-of-the-art vehicle (short ‘e’ when you pronounce that!). The kids were especially eager to get locked into the mobile cell, but the officers assured them that there was plenty of opportunity for that later in life when they were at university. In all seriousness, the visiting Gardaí were top-class professionals who managed to be both personable with the kids and purposeful in their presentation. You could see the awe in the eyes of the boys and girls as the officers explained their jobs and delivered some safety tips. And it was reassuring to hear once again children talking about growing up to be a Garda… take that Google coders!
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The Last Fence
Yes, our Conlethian contingent of debonair duellists did approach their last ‘fence’ of the season but unlike the figurative horse, there was no stumble! Inspired by the Game of Thrones, we will organise their Annual Awards and Irish Open results by ‘clan’:
The Sherlocks: Luke Sherlock was named ‘Fencer of the Year’ in both the U14 Foil and Epee, as well as winning the latter, and finishing third in the former, category at the Irish Open. Brother, Matthew, he of the angelic smile but devilish thrust, finished third in the U12 Fencer of the Year category, a s well as third in the U12 Foil at the Irish Open.
The Moriarty-Smyths: (Nominally arch enemies of the Sherlocks, but actually good friends). Myles Moriarty-Smyth was named U12 Foil Fencer of the Year and also took First in that category at the Irish Open. Big Bro James also enjoyed a very successful season but wrapped up early due to his preparations for the Junior Certificate.
Claudio Sosa Smatrala: Claudio was simply crowned as the Cadet, Junior and Senior Male Foil Fencer of the Year, beating out hordes of competitors much older (and a little bit bigger) than him! He also added the small matter of First Place in U17 Foil at the Irish Open.
Whew! Well done to the Three Clans. Summer is Coming and maybe the boys can catch up on Scooby-Doo and the parents can reacquaint themselves with their gardens. But, as we have said before, the fencers and debaters keep this rag in business, and we look forward to more swashbuckling exploits next season!
Past Past Pupils Union President Donal Milmo-Penny and Current PPU Pres John Carvill organised the first ever St. Conleth’s Business Lunch and it was a smashing success, with close to 100 attendees at the Lansdowne FC. The featured speaker was Past Parent and famous entrepreneur Brody Sweeney and, by all accounts, his talk was as entertaining as it was enlightening, with Brody displaying both the confidence and humility, the ambition and realism which have enabled him to climb to the top of the Irish business world… twice! The Conlethians and friends who were gathered had a blast, with a bit of networking perhaps, but only as a side dish to the main courses of friendship, reminiscence and shared interests. Many schools do ‘business lunches’ but, as with everything at St. Conleth’s, we do them our way!
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Rhythm is a Dancer
Junior School Principal Tony Kilcommons’s recreational activities have been assumed to consist mostly of the traditional, robust sports and agricultural fairs of his ‘Middle Connaught’ origins but few realise what a supporter of the performing arts the man is! Rumour has it that he flies over regularly to BGT finals and that he, Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh regularly meet for skinny lattes at L&C’s in Herbert Park. ‘Modern Dance’, in particular, is a passion of the principal’s and now he is bringing that love to the students of the Junior School. Last week, a professional modern dance performer and teacher came in to the school and led each year group through an intense but extremely enjoyable ‘hands-and-whole-body-on’ activity session and we rarely have seen the Sports Hall pulsating with such a combination of effort, fun and art. It was such a success that Mr. Kilcommons is considering adding ‘Modern dance’ to the After-School portfolio for next year, and- who knows? He may then even be tempted to show us some of his own legendary moves!
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Relatively Recent History
Apologies for not posting this sooner, but the combined Junior and Senior School Parents Association produced a fantastic newsletter back in March which highlighted some of the many goings-on at St. Conleth’s College from the start of the school year until February. It is available here and on our Parents page where there are also back issues. Well done to the many parents and students involved in its production. Life at St. Conleth’s has gone on since then, so we do expect an update, but in the meantime, stay tuned right here at stconleths.ie or, for a quicker read, our Twitter feed: @Stconleths. The normal disclaimers apply!
Fratres in Armis!
Parent Robert Smyth mixes two noble professions, fencing and Latin, long associated with St. Conleth’s, in his latest report from the front lines.
Last Sunday marked the last round of this season’s Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. And a markedly auspicious occasion it most certainly proved to be. Continuing the union forged and tested under the proud Eagle of the XXIII Legion ‘Latvis’ during the recent Classics Quiz campaign, fratres in armis James and Myles not only each took Gold on the day, but also the season trophies for 1st place in Under 12 and Under 16 Boys, respectively. Of the other brothers in arms, Luke, absent due to being in action on the Spanish Front, took the season trophy and 1st place in Under 14 Boys, while Sherlock Minor, Mathew, finished in 5th place on the day. Given the outstanding performance of the Conleth’s cohort this year, perhaps Belfast’s motto “Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus” has never seemed more apt!
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The Guru in Action!
We are well used to the benefits having our very own guru on the Senior School Staff, but now Mr. Porzadny has begun to spread the love and the wellness to the Junior School! Last week, Fourth Formers completed their Mindfulness course with the Master and earned certification. Mr. Porzadny led the boys and girls through the same breathing and thinking techniques which have proved so successful in the Senior School and even incorporated the ITC Room for further exploration of the world of wellness!
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St. Conleth’s hosted another very successful AIJS Athletics Championships last week at Irishtown Stadium and, this time, we even won some medals! Yes, usually we let our impeccable manners get in the way and we act the perfect hosts, slowing down just a bit (like Robert ‘Dash’ Parr) or landing an inch or two short- just so our guest can win medals and go home happy. This time, however, we said, ‘What the heck, let’s win a few for ourselves!’ So, the honour roll: Charlie Kennedy – Gold in the Shot putt; Hugh Leahy – Bronze Fourth Form 150m; and John Engmann – Bronze in the Long Jump. Our guests from around the AIJS still enjoyed themselves and commented on what a smooth show we ran. Well done to Shay, Gav, Mr. Kilcommons, The TY students, all the class teachers and the parents who helped out, and of course the many boys and girls who took part.
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Francophonic Football Flair!
Mr. Porzadny and Ms. Crowley are at it again, keeping le français alive and active and fighting a two-teacher war against the ever-encroaching English and Mandarin. The French Transition Year classes are again involved with interactive projects with the Junior School but this year they taking new and varied forms. Below you see some snaps from a Football Français tournament run by the TYs for our Junior School friends. All the teams’ names (Monaco, Lyons, PSG…) were French as were the coaches’ and referees’ instructions (and a few muttered expletives when passes went awry). We even saw some French flair in the play on the field! Stay tuned as more of the projects come to fruition. Monday will see more French football (avec les professeurs!) and a special addition to our canteen menu: ‘French (Definitely Not Belgian) Waffles’!
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Juniors Win Basketball Derby!
Nothing gets the blood up like a local ‘derby’. Just think of the blue versus the red of Manchester or the hoops versus the bigots in Glasgow… well St. Conleth’s also has its fair share of neighbourhood rivalries. Our Senior School Chess teams particularly love taking points from Gonzaga; the rugby and basketball teams get particularly ferocious against Marian and, before they relocated to a higher sphere of being, John Scottus and we used to have epic yogic flying races. Well the recent Junior School Basketball match in our Sports Hall (our first ever ‘official’ home basketball game) took it to a new level as we were facing St. Mary’s of Haddington Road, a school we know well from epic chess battles and the express queues at Tesco. And there was something extra on the line, for St. Mary’s was coached by none other than the brother of St. Conleth’s Head of Basketball Sean Ingle! This showdown had the makings of a Hollywood movie, or at least a Hallmark channel tearjerker.
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But there were no tears, only cheers as the two teams competed in a spirited but friendly manner and the nets were snapping at both ends of the court. The final score had St. Conleth’s winning 31-29 and that in itself tells a story: many junior basketball games end with baseball scoreboard totals: 8-6, 12-7 etc… But such was the enthusiasm and skills on display from both sides, that the scoreboard was spinning like it was an NBA All-Star game: a true tribute to the players and the Coaches Ingle!
Science is Just a Blast!
Last September, Mr. Trenier started the Junior School After-School Science and Maths Clubs and they have been going like gangbusters ever since, with all sorts of lights and sounds (and smells) emanating from the laboratory after school, attesting to the Frankenstein-like activities going on inside. The Maths Club might be a bit quieter than the Science, but be careful… those algorithms can be just as dangerous. You need to know your limits!
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Mr. T. ‘s STEMmy adventures with the youngsters recently culminated in participation in the ESB Science Blast, a programme in which (as the blurb says) ‘projects are whole class-led and collaborative, and participants are encouraged to think, wonder, investigate, create, design, explore the why behind the question – and in doing so they learn invaluable new skills. Participating schools exhibit their work at showcase events in Dublin, Limerick and Belfast, where they receive feedback from the team of expert judges and participate in science themed workshops and shows. ESB Science Blast aims to promote curiosity and critical thinking in children at primary school age to enable them to better respond to the challenges of the future.‘ Or as the kids themselves might say: ‘It is fun with magnets!’ Our participating young scientists cooked up various projects involving magnets, from a magnetic car to a magnetic wind generator to magnetic sugar (!). Here you can read more about the Fifth Formers projects. Above, you can see some action shots of their displays’ s well as some of the judges’ comments (very complimentary!). And below, you can also see some of the Maths Club engaging in some geometric hijinks!
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Thriller in the Colosseum!
Our Classics Kids do indeed ‘kick as‘, or more precisely, ‘kick argentum‘ because they walked away with the silver, not the bronze, last night! Johnny ‘Julius’ Barry led XXIII loyal legionaries into battle at the ‘Ides of March’ Table Quiz in Mount Anville College where our vanguard team, ‘The Cyclops’, made up of Johnny, Matthew ‘Marius’ O’Farrell, Maggie ‘Messalina’ Tighe and Andrew ‘Lucius’ Latvis finished tied for first after the regulation battle and grudgingly settled for a close second after double-overtime, sudden-death gladiatorial combat. But this elite cohort had plenty of back-up: when the call went out to the provinces the recruits came in droves.
We had six teams for the first time in our long history of involvement with this august competition. Joining ‘The Cyclops’ were: ‘The Harpies‘: Grace ‘Gaia’ Childs and Katya ‘Karyatid’ Lawlor; ‘The Julio-Claudians‘: Oisín ‘Publius’ Power, Nathan ‘Numitor’ Harrington, An ‘Otho’ Other and Joshua ‘Marcus’ McCormack; ‘The Hoplites’: Shane ‘Octavius’ O’Rourke, Leo ‘Nerva’ Nolan, James ‘Hermes’ Hastings-Rafferty and fratres in armis James ‘Justinian’ and Myles ‘Miles’ Moriarty-Smyth; ‘The Lotus-Eaters’: Riccardo ‘Romulus’ Rassini, Adam ‘Flavius’ Fanning, Harry ‘Rufus’ Rooney and James ‘Jacobus’ O’Neill; and ‘The Epighoni’: Vivienne ‘Rufina’ Roberts, Kazim ‘Helios’ Haider, Zakaria ‘Charon’ Chabaane and Loghlann ‘Phoebus’ Flynn.
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It was a glorious night with a suspenseful end worthy of the greatest of Colosseum combats, and Classics Captain Johnny can now retire with pride, having earned his salt and rustic retreat to Ranelagh by serving loyally in six straight ‘Ides of March’ campaigns. Judging by the talent and enthusiasm shown by the raw recruits in the younger yeas, his legacy will certainly live on!
The Peace Child Wows Them!
For One Night Only! Last Thursday night, the Junior School Musical, ‘The Peace Child’, premiered in our stately Performance Hall, and by all accounts it was a smash hit! Yes, Pat Howe/Emer Hartnett Productions have done it again: clever lines and lyrics, spectacular costumes, nifty dance moves and, of course, the show-stealing talent and cuteness of our student performers … all the hallmarks of our dynamic duo of theatrical delight! Broadway surely beckons but we hope to hang onto our talented two!
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Mr. Kilcommons and all the class teachers also played their parts through the whole pain-staking but joy-producing process and we must mention the amazing painted backdrop scenery of Ms. Mellon and her student artists. And the night finished with our Parent Association’s rather impressively supplied raffle: someone has to pay for all this, after all! See the Ms. Dillon-produced programme here, some stills above and the full production below!
Next time a flash of spandex, go-pro and attitude nearly takes you out as you innocently step from the path… don’t blame a Conlethian! Yes, at times when walking the streets of Dublin, it seems that a two-wheeled contingent of the Golden Horde has invaded our fair city but with initiatives like ‘Cycle Right’, the council and its partners are assuring that the next generation of cyclists learn the proper rules and practices which will ensure their safety… and ours! Our Juniors are currently getting a professionally delivered cycle safety course, right here in the school, the yard and the surrounding streets. The eight hour course includes both class time and practical and that all important road test… after a few turns around the front yard of No. 28 Clyde Road!
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Fifth Form Adventures
With all this hockey hullabaloo we have been a bit neglectful of our other newsmakers, particularly our little Conlethian brothers in Fifth Form who have been up to all sorts of activities (and surely a bit of mischief on the side), and without much fanfare at all! Well, better late than never! Below you will see an eclectic mix of photos documenting what Mr. Sheridan and his kids have been up to: space exploration and other science projects; taking part in our ‘miracles’ line-up; weekly rugby matches; using maths outside with our measuring tools; the Johnny Sexton ‘lucky boot’ competition; a business leader visit from Past Pupil and famous financier Matt Ryan; our Dragon’s Den event (dragons – Henry Sheridan, Mike Malone, Damien Clarke) for the JEP programme (Junior Entrepreneur Programme); and, of course, the various activities associated with our great ‘Egg to Chick’ project. Busy, indeed!
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They have done it! It was a happy, historic hockey happening for St. Conleth’s, as the whole school downed tools and headed to the wilds of Rathfarnham to watch as our Minor Girls beat Loreto-Beaufort in a ‘1 vs. 1’ shootout to decide the Leinster Final and bring home the cup! Ms. Speller, Ms. Stanley, Ms. Purcell and Ms. Leary were justifiably proud of the girls as they fought tooth-and-nail in a mighty defensive struggle which lasted the length of regulation time.
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Sydney was, as usual, omnipresent in midfield and Caoimhe set our hearts racing with some scintillating runs. And Meabh, Siobhan and Ciara were all making game-saving stops and clearances in a see-saw battle of wills. In the end it went to a ‘one-vs.-one’ shoot-out and the girls were confident stepping up to the mark, having dispatched mighty Mount Anville in a similar showdown. The pressure was on but the Conlethians did not wilt: Vivienne came up huge in goals, stonewalling the opposition by bravely dashing from her line and then Alanna cooly circumnavigated their goalie and scored emphatically. It all came down to Sasha.
She had been there before, and perhaps Beaufort did not know, but she has ice in her veins. Some impressive stick-play, a burst of speed, a confident shot…. and the crowd goes crazy! And what a crowd it was, with the numbers and the enthusiasm recalling glory days of the past in rugby and basketball. Well, those sports have made room on the top shelf for a new trophy: one that says ‘Leinster 2019 Minor Girls Hockey!
Into The Final!
Our Minor Hockey Girls are into the Leinster Final! A first in Hockey for St. Conleth’s. They beat Dundalk Grammar in the Semis in a hard-fought defensive match, winning 1-0 on a short corner by Sydney Weir McErlean! A charming footnote to the match is that three players had older Conlethian siblings on the sidelines- granted special release from classes: Sydney, Vivienne and Ciara were cheered on by Georgia, Pierce and Oisín. But for the next match, there will be more than just siblings: the Leinster Final is on Monday against Loreto High School Beaufort- and the whole school is going to witness this great moment in St. Conleth’s sporting history!
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Junior School fencer Myles Moriarty-Smyth ventured to Scotland last weekend to fence in the Edinburgh stage of this season’s Leon Paul Junior Foil Series. In a narrative worthy of Rosemary Sutcliffe’s ‘Eagle of the Ninth’, he wrestled 1st place, Gold, and the trophy from the amassed Scottish ranks of Under 11 Boys. He fenced extremely well, winning all his ‘DEs’ and the Final by comprehensive margins. What really added to the occasion was being refereed and subsequently awarded his medal by Britain’s 5-times Commonwealth Men’s Foil winner, Keith Cook. Big brother James and the other Senior School fencers had better watch out for this rising star!
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Our Minor Hockey Girls Team is through to Leinster Semifinal! This historic hockey happening will take place on Friday vs. Dundalk Grammar at the YMCA grounds in Sandymount. It is simply amazing that in a few short years, St. Conleth’s has become a legitimate power in girls school hockey and it is a credit to Coaches Speller, Leary, Stanley and Purcell. We will also see, below, the First Year team join with the Junior School players for a combo training session and pics from the Junior School team’s recent blitz at Mount Anville. It looks like hockey is here to stay at St. Conleth’s!
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Rain or Shine…
…our Junior School Art Classes have a good time! Ms. Mellon somehow regularly gathers the anarchic energy of our Junior School pupils and channels it into the most creative of avenues. Even when her art class falls immediately after little break and the kids are at their most hyper!
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Recently, perhaps inspired by a three week spell of constant freezing rain, Ms. Mellon decided to incorporate practicality (umbrellas) and hope (rainbows) and led her charges through a project where they designed their own ‘rainbow and rain’ background and then posed for an action-shot self-portrait. See the results above and below and stay tuned for more art news!
The Chicks Have Left The Building!
It has been an exciting few weeks at St. Conleth’s as our Great Egg-to-Chick Experiment was planned, initiated, brought to fruition, and now, bittersweetly, concluded with our fluffy, feathered friends earning retirement in the bucolic splendour of County Wicklow and our students left tearful at the parting but full of warm memories and some serious learning. Just before the midterm break, Cecilia, our Pre- and Post-School programme director and lead poultry farmer, led a whole-school assembly to wrap up the project. The students themselves played a large part as several detailed their part in the project, making multimedia presentations which were full of information and fun. The biggest cheers, of course, were reserved for the famous chick races, on which Mr. Kilcommons ran a book, financing the chicks’ Wicklow retirement (and a few of his Six Nations pints). Well done to Cecilia, Mr. Kilcommons, the class teachers, the students and the chicks themselves on starting what is sure to be a great, new St. Conleth’s tradition!
KFC: Kids’ Fun Chicks!
Though we do not subscribe to much eastern mysticism, we do admit that the old ‘yin yang‘ theory tends to work out: things do seem to find a balance, on a whole, given time. For example, last week we in the Senior School hosted two lovely (honestly!) inspectors from the Department of Education and Skills but the Junior School hosted a few guests from the Department of Agriculture and Life who were even cuter and cuddlier than the cigiri. Cecilia, the equally cuddly czar of our Pre- and After-School Programme, took the initiative with this ‘Eggs to Chickens’ project and to be honest, over our long association with this school, we have never seen anything bring as much excitement and joy to St. Conleth’s. And that was just in the staffroom!
Cecilia is in charge but she has enlisted the help of all the Junior School staff (especially night nurses, Ms. Kelly and Tom) as well as the eager little hands of the Junior School Pupils, as everyone has watched, charted and documented the progress from warm, little eggs to vibrating balls of fluff to rampaging little T-Rexes! Now we all await the final transformation to Frank’s Hot Wings… just kidding! The science behind the project has been fascinating and you can see some of the many associated student projects above, as well as the many smiles (above and below) that this venture has brought to St. Conleth’s, just when we really needed it!
AIJS Champions… Again!
Signs of Spring: St. Brigid’s crosses get made in schools. The daffodils force their way up through the mud. And St. Conleth’s is crowned AIJS Chess Champions! Liam Hunter, Charlie Kennedy, Samson Labintsev and David MacNicholas now turn their attention towards the Leinster Schools Championships. They scored 30 points out of 32, 8 points ahead of Monkstown Park School, who came in second and Rathgar Junior School, who came third. A big thank you goes out to the parents who helped organise all the matches and provided transportation and, in particular, Rafael de la Cruz Arribas, who wrote this hilarious yet inspiring motivational speech for the occasion. Rafael reminds us that the chess (or tennis or anything) may be very competitive but we should not forget that it should also be fun!
Second Formers: Action Kids!
Mr. O’Brien and his Second Form certainly put all that new-fangled ‘co-operative learning’ and ‘kinetic intelligence’ into practice, and they do it in a way that makes school seem fun and educational and all that theory actually useful!
From September, they have been at work on various projects and below you will see just a few highlights of the hands-on happenings, from a study of the Culture of China to kite-building to geometric robot-making to a Study of Eating Habits. Of course, they also enjoyed showing them off… and honing those presentation skills!
Don’t tell Gav but the word on the DART, in the queues at D-Brook Fair and at the pilates and spinning classes is that there is a new hockey school on the block and its name is…. St. Conleth’s! The ever-enthusiastic Helen ‘Rah-Rah’ Speller, and her coaching crew of Mses. Leary, Stanley and Purcell, have engineered a quiet revolution in St. Conleth’s sport. Actually, it has not been that quiet at all, as you would know, if you ever hear the hockey girls traipsing through the hallways en route to another amazing upset. The latest was when the Minor girls beat hockey-hallowed Mount Anville to qualify for the Leinster Quarterfinals, another notch in an already impressive list of hockey achievements. Below you see the minors celebrating that accomplishment and the Seniors saluting the sunset after another rambunctious training session.
Johnny, Do You Want Them Back?
Magic Boots! Below you see our winners in the Junior School’s aforementioned ‘Johnny Sexton Legendary Drop Goal Boots Competition’. Maybe Johnny should have borrowed them back for Saturday’s match against the auld enemy? Ah well, you can’t win them all… Still, our Juniors were proud to be part of one of the most memorable moments in Irish sports history, as well as to help out with a good cause.
Fencing is cosmopolitan in the truest sense of the word: our band of brothers are racking up huge air miles (and bills for their parents) competing around the continent. As you read below, the Conleth’s Moriarty-Smyths and the Sherlocks recently dominated the Northern Irish Foil Series.
Now it was time for those Parisians to fall to our swashbuckling heroes. Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Silver on Saturday at the Tournoi De Fleuret Des Petits AS, hosted in Paris by CEP. He was the sole Irish entrant, and achieved a superb 2nd place finish out of a field of 46 Under 11 fencers. The competition draws foilists from all over France, and the prestigious host club fielded a very strong selection. Myles narrowly lost the Final 8/6 to their No. 1 seed, having despatched all others on his way. Another trophy for the shelf… and, undoubtedly, more to come!
Where were you when it happened? Yes, when you are old and grey and the memories are starting to fade there will be at least one etched forever in your sporting (and national) pride. Johnny Sexton’s drop goal at the death vs. France in the Six Nations will be played again and again and again until the rising seas short circuit all our screens. And somehow, I think, Johnny just will not let that happen either. Let us do our part:
But the story gets better. Johnny donated the famous footwear for auction to help a very sick girl and a certain St. Conleth’s family ended up with the prized bootikins. And this family loaned the hallowed hoofers to the school! Mr. Kilcommons then organised an interesting competition: one of our sports hall’s basketball hoops was festooned with said stilettos and all the Juniors had the chance to kick a hole-in-on, so to speak. Everyone had go, and the crack was mighty, with one particularly skilled booter being carried off the court by his classmates! Check out the pics below and stay tuned for the individual class winners.
After-School Fire Engine Fun!
Is there anything more exciting than a fire engine? Cecilia welcomed the Fire Brigade to visit the After-School Programme and the boys and girls were thrilled to get a chance to board the fire engine, try on the helmets and blast their favourite teachers’ cars with the fire-hose!
And Officer John gave the older kids a talk about fire safety at home and put them in charge with going home and check all smoke detectors and the kids talked at length (!) about their experiences. It was lovely afternoon for all involved!
The Miracle of Miracles!
We certainly do believe in miracles, because it was a miracle that Transition Year Dylan Alves was able to fashion such a smooth final product out of the buckets of video and audio recordings we sent him! Yes, Mr. Kilcommons shot the original footage of the Junior Choir’s ‘When You Believe’ himself, but fancying himself a bit of cinema auteur, we had quite an opus on our hands: part pop video, part film noir, part horror musical. Dylan came to the rescue and after many an hour spent in the digital editing ‘room’ we came out with this rather professional looking and sounding video. A big thank-you goes out to Dylan, as well as Ms. Emer Hartnett who led the choir through the many stages of the process. So, here it is, in all its post-production glory. We also would like to honour the students whose art was selected to adorn the CD, itself: the Herbot Brothers (Scott and Eimhinn), Aisling Grant and Sean Lennon. Well done to all involved in this ‘first ever’ accomplishment for St. Conleth’s.
New Year: Same Swag!
A New Year, another round of fencing…. The band of brothers headed North on Saturday for Round 3 of the NIJF series, and in time-honoured fashion, they returned with a full complement of medals: James Moriarty-Smyth- Gold in Under 16 Boys; Luke Sherlock- Silver in Under 14 Boys; Myles Moriarty-Smyth- Gold in Under 12 Boys and Mathew Sherlock- Bronze in Under 12 Boys. In addition to fencing, James, as qualified Level One referee, officiated throughout the day, including all of Mathew’s poule matches; needless to say fair play and impartiality prevailed.
A Simple Story, Spectacularly Told
After the extraordinary drama of the Junior School’s first ever professionally produced single (see below), it was back to basics with the Preparatory School’s version of the Nativity story, but the simple elegance of the production proved that Drama Teacher Pat Howe et al are just adept at staging the timeless classics as the avant garde!
Ms. Kelly’s, Ms. Leary’s and Ms. Purcell’s charges were all suited up in exquisite costumes (thanks, parents!) and the assorted kings, angels, shepherds and the members of the Holy Family all performed with spirit and grace, bringing smiles and laughter to those assembled in our beautifully decorated performance hall: a perfectly pitched close to the term and our Christmas celebrations. See and hear for yourself, below!
The So-Young Quartet!
Everyone knows that Conlethians are the coolest of cats and that 28 Clyde Road is hipster heaven but last Friday we reached new heights of hipness as Piano Teacher So-Young invited some of her musical friends by to help out with the accompaniment: there was Dave Mooney plucking the Double Bass, Conor Murray keeping the beat on the drums and So-Young herself organising the whole affair.
And who was the fourth member of the quartet? Why, a whole slew of Conlethian ivory-ticklers, students of So-Young from First Class to Fifth Year took their turn at the piano stool and under the spotlight. It was a stylishly sonorous affair and, except for the brightness and cleanliness of our Performance Hall, you might have thought you had wandered into some Jazz bar in the depths of Manhattan or Chicago, such was the quality and coolness of the music. S0-Young was justifiably proud of her students and friends, and the parents and guests were very impressed, indeed, with this tasteful and pitch perfect use of our musical space. See and hear the action, above and below!
Party Time in After School!
Cecilia Franken, St. Conleth’s After-School Programme Co-Ordinator, knows how to throw a party! DJ, dancing, disco lights, limbo bar and (of course) sweets were on offer as Cecilia’s kids (and some of their parents) really got into the holiday mood!
Of course, fun and games are always part of the After-School Programme, that is, after you get your homework done! Cecilia runs a tight ship, but a fun-filled one, and arts and crafts, snacks, sport and all sorts of indoor and outdoor games are on the agenda. When the weather, and light permit, there are even trips down to Herbert Park where the kids enjoy the greenery and the fabulous playgrounds.
Cecilia also runs our Early Morning Drop-Off Supervision, where her charges benefit from a similar diet of learning and fun!
The first miracle of this Christmas season was Music Teacher Emer Hartnett’s almost unbelievable accomplishment of organising and executing the Junior School Choir’s grand plans for this Christmas: the practising, recording and promotion of a charity single, ‘Would You Believe?’, to benefit St. Conleth’s partnership with a community in Uganda. The hours that went into the project were countless and the stress, on both mind and ear considerable, but Ms. Hartnett and her army of sweetly-singing girls and boys pulled it off. Please support this impressive accomplishment and noble cause by purchasing a copy of the single from the school. In the meantime, feast your eyes on these videos. I think you will agree, that miracles do happen, but they are often preceded by talent, hard work and enthusiasm!
First up, a rather rough mash-up of the choir singing in different settings around the school, with a real, live soundtrack!
Now, the same video but backed by the studio recored vocal track.
And, now, the choir in studio, on one of their many ‘takes’:
And lastly, a special note, or is that an arpeggio? Notice one particular boy’s ‘shush’ attempt at the end!
A Trophy in Every Stocking?
Yes, the band of brothers (and Claudio) have been busy leading into the holidays, building up their supply of precious metals… perhaps for re-gifting at Christmas? There simply is no more room on the trophy shelf! Pembroke Fencing Coach Olga Volga and Conlethian fencing parent Kathrin Chambers provide a round-up of our recent fencing exploits:
At the National Fencing Seniors Championship, Claudio Sosa won a gold with his team, the mysteriously-dubbed ‘Pound of Fleche Reloaded’, made up mostly of fencers from The Queen’s University of Belfast (which our young Claudio was welcomed to join!). They were crowned as the National Champions for 2018 in the modern pentathlon premises in Blanchardstown.
Then Claudio and Luke travelled to Marburg in Germany for the 18th Marburg International Open City Championships. The standard was high as every at the competition and both boys competed on both Saturday and Sunday. Their efforts were rewarded as Luke brought home Bronze in both the U14 Epee and U14 Foil competitions. Claudio brought home Silver in the U17 Foil and Bronze in Senior Foil.
And, finally (for now!), the merry fencers travelled to Belfast last Sunday for the 2nd of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series and they returned with their now customary haul of medals, with Claudio securing gold once again in the U17 category, Luke Sherlock gold in the U14 and Matthew Sherlock taking home a hard fought silver in the U12s. Alas, it was a slightly depleted group as they were missing the Moriarty-Smyth brothers. James suffered an injury playing a more modern (and less sophisticated) sport t break-time. However, he is on the mend and will soon be back in action, leading the charge onto new fields of fencing glory!
Chess D Boys Join the Party!
St. Conleth’s is all about inclusion and participation, and though our top chess teams compete with the best in Leinster and Ireland (and, indeed, winning both those championships in recent years), we also have a very high participation rate in chess, covering a range of ages, abilities and experiences. Earlier this week, our Junior School Chess D Team were tough competitors but perfect gentlemen as they hosted a Leinster Schools ‘cluster’ competition. Everyone played three matches with Harrison Noble winning two of his! Well done to our whole team and our visitors, too. Everyone enjoyed themselves with an afternoon of challenging but friendly chess. Team members: Conor Daly, Sam MacKenzie, Harry Noble, Michael Davitt, Luke Gilligan, Harry Collins, Paddy Cosgrove and Rowan Flynn.
A Conleth’s Christmas!
The Annual St. Conleth’s Traditional Christmas Fair is being held this year on Saturday, December 8th from 9.30-4pm. As well as trees (€30-€120), beautifully hand decorated wreaths (€20-€80), poinsettias, lucky dip, raffle, hot refreshments, live music, carol singers and lots of Christmas cheer, the students will have lots of wonderful stands selling cakes, crafts, treats and much more (please remember to bring old-fashioned cash on the day!). This is a wonderful opportunity to do some essential Christmas shopping whilst helping a good cause and adding to the Traditional St. Conleth’s Christmas Fair Cheer! Proceeds as always will go towards the Africa Project. The schools past fundraising efforts have borne fruit and the latest development is that the villagers now have their own borehole to collect water – a huge step and a massive help to the community. Check here for our price-list and see our TY students’ artful promotions below, as well as a photo of the good which comes from it all. See you Saturday! Mr. Alan Trenier, TY Co-Ordinator.
Chess ‘A’ Team in the Thick of It!
Pardon if we sound a bit like Ross O’Carroll Kelly, but as it is with rugby, hockey and sports and culture in general, to be the best in Leinster in chess is to be the best in Ireland! Our Junior School A Team recently had their Leinster Division 1 Play-Off and, once again, competed with the best chess teams in the country. St. Conleth’s mother and chess guru Gillian O’Leary reports:
The Division One Chess Play Offs went very well today, with 10 teams of 8 players each competing. The standard was very high with St. Marys Haddington Road coming out on top. The top 4 teams will progress to the Division One finals, while the other 6 teams will participate in the Leinster Shield in February 2019. The St. Conleths team played 3 matches winning one in style (7-1) but losing two matches to strong opposition (1.5, 2.5). All team members played really well, and represented the school in an excellent manner. Special congratulations to John Byrne and Samson Labintcev who both scored 3 out of 4 and each won a team board prize. Having consulted with Alex Baburin, we selected the board order based on current strength (rather than the standings earlier in the year). Well done to all involved! Team members: Charlie Kennedy, Liam Hunter, David MacNicholas, Matthew Sherlock, Declan de la Cruz Boylan, John Byrne, James Maher and Samson Labintcev.
The Write Stuff!
Masters of an almost lost Art! Two of our Juniors have won ‘Highly Commended’ awards in the AIJS Handwriting Competition. Well done to Elí Strahan and Eli-John Kiernan and their teachers. Below you can see our two honourees, as well as a sample of their fine cursive writing. Now, if only the two Elis could influence some of the scrawlers and scribblers we have elsewhere in the school. Good penmanship goes a long way!
Christmas for Everyone!
With Black Thursdays, Cyber Mondays and various other promotions and mercantile devotions, it is easy to get all ‘wrapped up’ in the more commercial aspects of Christmas. One way to remain grounded and stay closer to the holy day’s original significance is to support the Junior School’s annual charity appeal in aid of Brother Kevin Crowley’s Homeless Day Centre. Below you can access all the details and see a couple of photos from last year’s impressive collection.
The Junior School Parents Association will once again be organising a charity collection for Brother Kevin Crowley’s Homeless Day Centre in the inner city. This is a very practical and visible annual event for our pupils and parents which brings home the realities of life for many families less fortunate than ourselves. Attached is the information flyer and an article on the Day Centre in yesterday’s Irish Times newspaper.
For too long we have let the fencers, the debaters and the hockey and rugby players dominate the headlines: we all know St. Conleth’s is really a chess school! Well, opening gambits have been played, and we have the first news of the season. First a general run-down on the season ahead from Principal Kilcommons and then a helpful Conlethian mother, June Fanning-Kieran gives her report:
The format of the chess leagues is different this year with each team doing a “cluster day” of matches against all the schools in their group rather than single school fixtures spaced over a long period of time. We will be hosting the “B” and “D” cluster days here in the school in the coming weeks. The “A” team are playing in the Talbot Hotel this Thursday. We have four teams with eight players on each team. There are some very young players on a couple of the teams but they will gain valuable experience and we are sure the proud Conlethian tradition of chess success will continue. T.K.
The St Conleth’s C team had a super day out playing very competitive and close matches against St Catherine’s B, Líos na nÓg and Sandford Parish National School. It was the first time representing the school in a chess tournament for a few of the boys and they did really well. They all did the school proud, in their chess ability, sportsmanship and excellent behaviour. They finished up in third, beating Líos na nÓg by half a point in the 3th/4th place final match. Hopefully lots more chess tournaments to come! Alex Dooley, Joe Kelleher and Eli-John Kiernan also won medals for the joint best performance on the team with two wins each. J. F.-K.
Well done to all.
Talkin’ Turkey: Thanksgiving at St. Conleth’s!
Somewhere Squanto must be smiling… as he sees the celebration of the anniversary of his extraordinary act of goodwill and friendship spread to new shores. Of course, if the Mayflower had brought along a galley staff like Mark, Emerson and Anna, the colonists would not even have needed the largesse of the native population! Be that as it may, the turkey, the pumpkin pie, the sage stuffing, the creamed corn and the cranberry sauce were served on that first Thanksgiving day over 400 years ago, and we have been recreating that harvest feast ever since. We personally have enjoyed Thanksgivings in many parts of the USA, and the local variations never ceased to amaze: galumpkis on the side in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; hominy grits in the backwoods of the Carolinas; stuffed chipotle on the edges of the Arizona desert; and cod cakes on the furthest toe of Cape Cod…. Well, Chef Mark’s ‘last-Thursday-of-November-unless-it-is-not-followed-by-a-Saturday-within-the-month-then-it-is-the-third’ extravaganza beats them all! Both Juniors and Seniors and the ghost of Elvis Presley (he had seconds) joined us for a musket-bustin’ Thanksgiving feast for the ages. See the pics below to get a taste. At St. Conleth’s, Thanksgiving is not just the day before Black Friday!
We Look Back… and Forwards
Our Annual School Mass is always an affair in which we engage with mixed emotions. In this liturgical time of remembrance, we rightly look back and remember the Conlethians who are no longer with us, a list which grows longer each year. But we also take great joy and hope in seeing the ever-renewing community of St. Conleth’s, gathered as one in celebration of our Christian ethos. Our Chaplain, Father Michael, as always, had the right words for the occasion, reminding us of the hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day, and also the universality at the heart of our ethos.
The many names of St. Mary’s Catholic parishioners on the World War Remembrance plaque poignantly drove home the message. We are more must-cultural and multi-faith as a community than we were in 1918 or 1939, but the essentials of our Catholicism are such that they find much resonance in many other faiths and beliefs, and though the rites may be different, there is much more in common to keep us together. Together also were the Junior and Senior Schools which is always a delight to see- and hear. Ms. Hartnett and Ms. Fay and Ms. DeBhal had their respective choirs in top voice, as you can hear and see below!
Oh, Just Go Fly a Kite!
With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings
With your feet on the ground
You’re a bird in a flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite
Oh, oh, oh!
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!
Mr. Kilcommons does not at first strike you as the musical aficionado type but he surely must have been inspired by Mary Poppins when he concocted the idea to invite a professional kite building and flying company in to the Junior School. Or perhaps he had just, in a rare moment of pique, use the idiom when the Sixth Formers were getting on his nerves, and now he was just covering his tracks! It might also have had something to do with Science Week. In any event, it worked out well for all involved as the Junior School boys and girls enjoyed a day of kite-building workshops in the gym and then strolled down to Herbert Park to launch their aerodynamic creations. That is, if ‘aerodynamic’ also mean to catch and not just dodge the wind! They certainly did that, and now you can see some of these kites festooning the sycamores and chestnuts of Herbert Park. Think of it as early Christmas decorations! And yes, despite Ms. Poppins’s claim of this eternal delight costing just a ‘tuppence’, the bill was slightly larger. Thankfully, the JSPA have offered to pick it up. That is, unless they now tell us to just go fly…
Please Speak Up!
Actually, it is quite a rare occurrence that a St. Conleth’s teacher needs to ask students to ‘speak up’: it is Conlethian tradition to speak one’s mind, at length and repeatedly about topics known and unknown. Perhaps it is our strong debating tradition… perhaps it is from being prompted for party pieces at numerous dinner parties… but it definitely has something to do with Speech and Drama Czar Pat Howe’s long association with the school. We all know about his year-end, West End-ready productions such as The Lemonade Kid but valuable work is done week by Pat week-in and week-out as he visits each class and leads the boys and girls in various public speaking and acting activities. The kids are given free rein and full voice. Seen and not heard, indeed! A highlight is always the Speech and Drama Exams, whereby external examiners come in to test and officially recognise our students’ prepared performances. They always leave with a smile on their faces if with somewhat weary ears!
The Junior School Parent Association has once again enabled us to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Nevermind those flashy Chromebooks (take ages to polish), audiobooks, interactive whiteboards and language-learning apps. The JSPA just completed their annual sale of the absolute must-have item this Christmas, and our students who availed of the opportunity to purchase said technological marvels may well be the ‘first on the block’ (or cul-de-sac) to have them. Yes, Paperbooks have arrived! Their advantages over old-fashioned, traditional screen-based and app-accessed books are many: they are quite portable; they are backwards and forwards compatible with any reading program you have installed; they have infinite battery life; they have a pleasant aroma and realistic ‘touch-surface’ which you may well mistake for a real screen; and they fulfil all GDPR regulations (that is, unless you are prone to writing ‘JK luvs TC’ inside the back cover). Well done to all the parents who took part in this worthy but weighty enterprise and raised significant funds for school development. We may well now buy some of these ‘books’ ourselves!
Our Chivalric Heroes!
Well, technically they do not actually compete on horses (yet), but our young fencing heroes do display all the necessary knightly virtues: fighting skill, courage, impeccable manners, an eye for the young fencing ladies… and the willingness to spend their weekends dressed up like medieval warriors! And the most ‘ye olde worlde-ly’ of all the fencing competitions must be the Lord Killanin Trophy: the title alone fairly reeks of the antiquarian aspect of the noble sport. But we fear that they may change that title soon to the ‘St. Conleth’s In-House Trophy’ if we continue to dominate the competition!
Last weekend, at Loretto-Dalkey, the band of brothers (Moriarty-Smyth-Smyth and Sherlock) and Claudio ‘Zorro’ Sosa once again bagged most of the shine available. In Cadets (Under 16s) Foil, Claudio won Gold and James finished 5th. In the Under 14 Foil, Luke won Gold! In the Under 12 Foil, Myles won Gold and Mathew placed 5th, and in the Under 15 Epee, Luke won Silver. That was just on Saturday. On Sunday (after completing several pages of their Study-Books), the merry band headed north to Belfast, where they competed in the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series Round 1. And our boys did not do the Brexit negotiations any favours! In Cadets (Under 16s) Foil, Claudio won Gold and James took Silver (another all-Conlethian final!) In the Under 14 Foil, Luke won Gold and in the Under 12 Foil, Myles copped Gold and Mathew finished 5th. Whew. And, yes, there are rumours of a jousting court being included in our next extension!
Maths: It All Adds Up!
A few years ago, a research report commissioned by UNESCO/UNICEF/The Illuminati found that Ireland’s schools were lagging behind the international competition in their Maths scores. In response, the rusty gears at the Department of Education and Skills slowly began turning and soon were churning out an endless series of STEM-promotions. Expensive and of dubious effectiveness, the mandarins of Marlborough Street would have been better off just paying a visit to 28 Clyde Road to see how Maths teaching is properly done! We recently celebrated another whirlwind Maths Week with daily puzzles, sudoku competitions, Maths Magic Shows and visits to special lectures at Engineers Ireland. And the winners of the competitions were honoured at our October assembly (and can be seen sporting their ‘Maths Mugs’ below). But the funny things is: every week is ‘Maths Week’ at St. Conleth’s! And our Maths teachers not only do the fun, happy-clappy, ‘up with people’ bits well, they also deliver the curriculum better than anyone in the country. The results, both Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate, speak for themselves and can be seen on the slide below. Even more impressive is the high praise earned during an official inspection a few years ago. Click here to see the full inspection report or just take a quick look at their main findings, verbatim:
Notice the use of the word ‘excellent’? Inspectors avoid such words of enthusiastic endorsement like the plague, but they felt compelled to bestow them on our Maths teachers liberally. And our inspector personally vouchsafed that she had never before seen such enthusiasm and sheer Mathematical knowledge amongst students at any other school. And since that inspection, our Maths results have only gotten better. George Soros, and whoever else is really in charge, better take notice!
A Spectre is Haunting St. Conleth’s…
But have no fear: it is not the lumpenproletariat looking for the redistribution of wealth, it is a fun-loving gang of scary but innocent Junior Schoolers, led by the commander-in-chief of puerility! Every year we have an October assembly which marks the ever-more-important holiday of Halloween but also serves to recall the past and look to the future at this poignant point in the waning of the year.
Mr. ODulaing, once again, led our assembly, eloquently looking back with fondness and forward with enthusiasm, and Mr. Gallagher provided the multi-cultural background to this ancient feast day. And, this being St. Conleth’s/Fame Academy, Russell, Amy, Mark, Colin and Stephen musically accompanied the dignified affair. Everything was going swimmingly until a loud, obnoxious knock was heard at the door and in barged the Chief Executive of prolonged toddlerhood and his minions and an enjoyable chaos ensued. Check out the photos above, which include some of each Junior classs, captured in their own lairs before the attack on their rather delighted victims. And below we see and hear Stephen Allen, who has adorned our assemblies with his superb singing many times over the years.
Rugby Teams Roll On!
Winning is obviously infectious. Our First Year Rugby Team continued its record-setting start to the season with a blitz win at the High School and then a comprehensive whomping of Marian College 59-15, in the salubrious setting of the Aviva Stadium, no less! But this victory virus has also spread to our other teams: the SCT enjoyed a solid Leinster League victory last week, led by our very large Rugby Captain, Dylan Browne, and the gory old-school heroics of Johnny ‘Rambo’ Barry. Then the Sixth Form team joined the fun with a 13-1 win over St. Michael’s over the weekend. So, yes we applaud the successes of our hockey players, debaters and fencers, but let us not forget: St. Conleth’s ‘bread and butter’ is still rugby. Of course, that would be a sourdough loaf from Marco Pierre White’s, topped by butter which is hand-churned and organic!
Our Own Little Zorro?
In the dark times of Spanish Colonial administration of California, a masked hero emerged from the shadows of the Los Angelean pueblo: a champion of the people who used his mastery of the sword and his quick-fire wit to fight injustice and puncture the pretensions of the arrogant and bloated overclass. Well, Claudio Sosa is obviously the Conlethian Zorro! Anyone who has him in class knows well about his undisputed rhetorical ability and the senior fencers of Ireland are quickly learning about his skill with the blade. Claudio (and classmate James Moriarty-Smyth) are competing now as adults, and Claudio has already racked up two bronzes and a gold on the senior circuit. Recently, he finished third in the West of Ireland completion (notice the facial hair on his competitors!) and now he has been crowned Intermediate Champion. Claudio is ranked 8th amongst Senior Fencers in Ireland and he is only 14! In other St. Conleth’s fencing news, we proudly announce the passing of the torch (or saber?) from Michael ‘Mr. St. Conleth’s Fencing’ Li to new Fencing Captain Stephen Rockett and Vice-Captain James Moriarty-Smyth-Smyth. Also making moves is James’s younger brother, Myles, who we see below, accepting a bronze medal at a Newcastle competition. With swordsmen like these, we are obviously in good hands despite that impending zombie apocalypse!
Sisters in Arms!
The St. Conleth’s Hockey Machine keeps rolling! You have already read about our Minor team’s stunning early season success. Now the Senior team are demanding their share of the headline, with a stylish win over Sandford Park. Below you see the pre-match team talk huddle, led by Georgia Weir McErlean (Captain) and Emily Mansfield (Vice) and the post-game celebrations with Georgia again leading the festivities. In-between these moments, was a great game with some lovely team work displayed by all involved. Georgia and little sister Sydney both scored, with Georgia’s coming from a strike from a short corner and Sydney’s from a lovely reverse sweep at the top of the D. Ava’s two goals both resulted from some impressive attacking ‘in the D’. Georgia and Emily’s instructions could be heard throughout, showing their great leadership and passion for the game. And, just like in class, adding a few comical moments to the game too!
This follows a blitz vs. Sanford Park, where our Minors teamed up with the Junior School’s Sixth Class, for an afternoon of good-natured but competitive hockey. We were on the winning side in all the matches, and though our goal-keeper got a bit bored, it was great to see the different age groups working together.
Another Helping of Creamed Corn?
Well, we cannot promise that traditional, dubious American ‘treat’, but we are sure Chef Mark will pull some Halloweeny surprise out of the pot before the midterm break. The already planned delectables are below on our special holiday menu. Mark’s menus can be found each week (from the previous Friday evening) under Information on this website and the meals on offer for each particular day are in the Events calendar. It would be great if parents looked over the menu with their children before the start of the week. This will speed those canteen queues and lead to healthier eating. Now, anyone for some succotash?
St. Conleth’s Maths teachers, both Junior and Senior, do not let traditional boundaries limit their enthusiasm for the world’s favourite subject! They have already earned 125% of the regular Leaving Certificate points and now they are giving 110% in promotion of all things ‘STEMmy’ during Maths Week 2018. Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Nigel Tunnel would be proud! You have already heard below how our teachers are turning St. Conleth’s into a veritable ‘Manga High’. And now, with Maths Week upon us, they and their students are buzzing around like free electrons! There will be the usual, maddening Maths puzzles each day, a special Sudoko Challenge on Thursday, an extra special ‘Maths Magic Show’ by Mr. Toal on Friday and a session of ‘Dating Tips for Mathematicians’ somewhere along the way. And Ms. NiAonghusa is going to take her First Years to a special Maths Week Event, ‘Can You Engineer the Code?’, down the block at Engineers Ireland. Watch out, Singapore!
Cross Country Camaraderie!
Mr. Keenan does not do things by halves: when we say that sport at St. Conleth’s is all about participation, he practises what we preach and issues an open invite to all students, both Junior and Senior School to join him on his Track and Field outings. As you can see from the photo below, this year’s call for Cross Country runners did not fall on many deaf years. And we do not just do quantity: there were some quality runners hidden amongst this horde of student athletes which Mr. Keenan led over the mountains and through the trees to the ‘Brother at Your Side’ Cross Country Meet in Santry. And our boys and girls showed great sportsmanship and camaraderie, too: the Juniors, in particular, as they decided to race as one block at the back, biding their time to make their move towards the front. Unfortunately the race ended, just as they were about to shift a gear upwards. Regardless, it was a beautiful day and everyone involved enjoyed the run and the craic. Stay tuned for more Track and Field adventures with Mr. Keenan!
The Best in… The British Isles?
Conlethians are rather used to ‘All-Ireland’ titles: chess and basketball immediately come to mind… but to be the ‘Best in the British Isles’ is clearly another step up! With a slight sympathetic nod to republicans, we nevertheless will enjoy this new ranking for all it is worth! Apparently, our students have been digitally attending Mangahigh in droves and getting most of their challenging Maths problems correct. So much so, that we are now the top-ranked school in all the British Isles… and apparently that includes both Sark and Inisheer! Some of this success must be credited to our ICT Department: Mr. Travers and Mr. Porzadny are like Sheldon, BB-9E and Santa Claus wrapped up into one great big huggable user interface! The Google Chromebooks are particularly popular, as you can see Ms. Dillon’s class enjoying the portable digital experience, but so is our ICT room, where you see Ms. Leary’s class opting for the wired version of digitally interactive education. And the algorithms say that our Maths teachers, both junior and Senior, also have much to do with this success. Probably. But let us not forget an earlier technological invention: the Paperbook. Its death has been greatly exaggerated, and below you also see Third Forms reading ‘old school’ books such as ‘Tom Sawyer’ and the like. Another valuable wireless experience!
All in the Name of Science!
Mr. Kilcommons is running a lucrative side-business at St. Conleth’s: providing unwitting subjects for scientific research. Some might question the propriety of his entrepreneurial spirit when they see the heavy duty lab equipment which has been carted in to the Visitor’s Room: a veritable Dr. Frankenstein-type array of wires, lasers, helmets and saws. But everyone ends up happy: the researchers get their guinea pigs; the teachers get even smaller classes for a while and the kids get to miss the objective pronoun in English… and get a bit of a buzz out of it, on the side! Seriously, the research is quite serious (and very safe) and St. Conleth’s is proud to be part of it. Trinity College Psychology Graduate Students Corinne Holmes and Sarah Cooney are conducting some very interesting research into some specific ways in which children learn (all the details are here). And, no, Mr. Kilcommons is not getting a ‘cut’ of the nonexistent profits!
Quick… to the Roundtower!
Yikes! The Vikings are coming… on the History Channel! But have no fear… Fourth Former Harry Groarke (and siblings) will be there to charm our hairy, excitable Nordic brethren. Scarier, indeed, is the make-up session and the waiting on set. Thank goodness for the catering!
S.cience T.renier E.ngineering M.aths
Mr. Trenier is multi-talented mountain of a man. His Cavan neighbours know about the range and depth of his rodeo talents: from steer roping through steer wrestling to steer riding, he has mastered them all. We all know him as TY Co-Ordinator supreme (more on that later!). And give him a white coat and stick him in a laboratory and another facet of Mr. T. emerges: Master of all STEM!
The Junior School Science Club (Tue. @ 3:45) is quickly learning about this side of his skill set. Drop by the lab on Tuesday afternoons and you will here all sorts of solutions bubbling, cathodes emitting and artificial intelligences lamenting the absence of a soul. But don’t be afraid! It is all in the name of Science and Mr. T. follows the strictest of safety protocols. This Tuesday, the Junior kids fashioned their own simple robots and set them free (briefly) to draw the perfect circle. ‘Perfect circles’ sound quite Mathsy to us, and guess what? On Thursdays, Mr. Trenier runs an After-School Maths Club, too!
After-School Care At St. Conleth’s
How do you ‘bridge the gap’? Your little Conlethians are dismissed at 2:45 but you do not get off work until 5:30. One sensible solution is to let them stay in the happy and secure environs of St. Conleth’s. All our Preparatory and Junior School have the option of enrolling in our After-School Programme, where their physical and intellectual appetites are catered to with a mixed diet of homework, snacks, games and sport. The After-School Co-ordinator is Cecila Franken and she may be contacted at: email@example.com. Attached here is the enrolment form, which should be returned to the school.
A Walk on the Wild Side
We have cultivated, nay, invented a good-natured competition regarding our Past Pupil accomplishments: Who has been more influential, the STEM-siders or the liberal artists? Well, here is one alumnus who strides both sides of that artificial line. Colin Stafford-Johnson (Class of 1982) has been filling British and Irish TV screens with stunning wildlife photography and insightful, knowledgable commentary for decades. So, Biology, English and Art teachers of yore, all take a bow! What is Colin up to now? Well, paradoxically in a culture of digital dominance and ephemeral video bites, the grand Victorian tradition of the ‘Talking Tour’ has returned with gusto. It seems people do want meet, see and listen to real people in the flesh, and share in their extraordinary experience. Well, there is no-one with more tales to tell and experiences to recall than Colin, and I am sure the moors, the bogs and the mountain-tops will come through in vivid colour and their wildlife will spring to life when he walks on stage and takes the mic. See the dates and details of the tour below and stay tuned for more St. Conleth’s Alumni News!
It did not take long for our First Year Boys and Girls to find a suitable and satisfying place at St. Conleth’s. Yes, the first few days were a bit hectic with three way subject splits and multiple room switches but all that confusion had a noble purpose: to give as much academic choice as possible to the newest Conlethians. And there were the usual negotiations around the water fountain, canteen queue and break-time ball-games in the yard but they are all part of settling in at No. 28 Clyde Road and part of growing up. There to give a helping hand to our ‘freshmen’ were Mr. Carvill’s small army of Fifth Year Mentors, old pros at cultivating the culture of St. Conleth’s.
Of course, our Juniors are also settling in and one place which is new to all is the Art Room. With acres of space and copious amounts of light, it is the kind of room that just draws you in and you simply don’t want to leave. Past Pupils Mati Remi (a great artist himself) and Muireann Dempsey dropped by for a visit and were duly impressed. Below you see Junior School Art Teacher Ms. Mellon with some of her budding Bacons at work!
Actually, the students did not look dazed at all, hitting the ground running on their first day of the new school year at St. Conleth’s College. Yes, some of the teachers may have had a somnambulant glaze as they struggled to adjust their seasonal clocks and certainly some of the parents looked a bit punch-drunk (and relieved) as they jettisoned their precious cargo at the door (of our newly renovated reception area) but the boys and girls themselves were full of vim and vigour and decidedly gung-ho about the start of a new school year. Yes, the Juniors may have been more willing to reveal and revel in their enthusiasm, but even the coolest of the cats in the Senior School cracked a smile, admitting it is not such a bad thing to be back at school, when that school is St. Conleth’s!
Our Juniors got right back into the swing of things with a full school day!
But Junior School Principal Tony Kilcommons and Preparatory School Principal Dolores Kelly knew their staff were up for it!
While the first batch of our Seniors opted for the taster menu, whetting their appetite for the whole shebang on Thursday!
Welcome (Back) to St. Conleth’s!
We are sure all our students, old and new, are eagerly looking forward to the start of school (and perhaps their parents even more so!) so we are giving you all the information necessary to make it a great start. Start of school dates and times can be found under Events, as well as on our calendars which are always available, along with booklists and information on uniform and the canteen, under Calendars and Information, but if you are in a rush, here are direct links (Junior, Senior) to our uniform supplier, and our Canteen deposit page on Easy Payments Plus. We will see you all over the next few days, bright-eyed and bushy-tailled, at 28 Clyde Road, but in the meantime checkout some of the further developments to the St. Conleth’s campus accomplished over the summer.
East Africa 2018: The Lasting Effect
By now, the young Conethians who were part of Expedition East Africa 2018 have settled back into their cushy South Dublin teenage lives: a barbecue at the friends or relatives, a jump off the 40 foot, a daily hour (or six) on Instagram, a burrito at Tolteca and maybe a walk out the pier to get an ice cream at Teddy’s… everything is back to normal, nothing seems to have changed… but take a better look at these young men and women. You see the suntan and the fitness, honed over five weeks of hiking and biking under the African sun, yes, but look even closer, into the eyes, and try to see more deeply: ‘where the meanings are’ in the words of Emily Dickinson. The fact is the members of the expedition are changed and will never be the same again.
A new maturity? A more open mind? Less complaints about the choice of cereal in the cupboard? Hard to pin down, but let us just say that no-one who goes on an expedition of this scope and intensity returns the same person. And it is a change for the better. Above and below you will see photos of just some of the adventures and activities which Expedition Leaders Gav Maguire and Dolores Kelly led them through (with the help of Earth’s Edge): hiking through a rainforest, sampling the local markets, teaching (and learning) at local schools, attempting a native dance, biking across the wild plains and, of course, climbing Kilimanjaro. The photos capture much but to truly grasp the value of an expedition like this takes time. Over the years to come, these lucky (and brave) Conlethians will, from time to time, think back, remember and savour again, the experiences of a lifetime.
Back to School???
In this splendid summer weather it is almost a sin to mention those three words beloved of advertisers (and, sometimes, parents) but dreaded by most children, even the normally happy and well-adjusted kids of St. Conleth’s: Back to School! But we realise plans must be made, books must be bought… so here are the new calendars and booklists. They can also permanently be found under ‘Calendar + Information’ along with information about Uniform and the Canteen. Now, back to enjoying this summer while it lasts!
No, Really, What Did We Do This Year? *Corrected Edition!
Well, loads, judging by the 47 (!) pages of the 2017-2018 St. Conleth’s College Parents Association Combined Newsletter (*now with the proper 2018 message from Principal ODulaing!)! If you are a parent, check your email or get it right here. Well done to PA Chairs Michael Mansfield and David MacNicholas and all the parents and students who contributed. Perfect beach reading!
Avoid The Summer Doldrums: Get ‘Food Active’!
An army runs on its stomach and a school runs on its canteen. At St. Conleth’s College we are convinced that Chef Mark McColgan is the main reason why attendance rates are so high amongst both students and staff. A common scene in the early a.m. on the southside of Dublin: “Oh… French test today….I don’t feel very well…wait…it’s Tandoori Chicken Salad today…I’m in!”
Well, you can spend part of this summer not only enjoying those fave dishes, but making them too! Chef Mark is returning with his popular ‘Food Active’ Summer Camp and July at St. Conleth’s is sure to be an exciting and eclectic mix of cookery, sport and fun. Find all the contact details here or above and get onto Chef Mark. Places are limited and Food Active is always the place to be when those long summer days roll in!
The Last Fence?
You knew the fencers would not give up the headlines to all that graduation hullabaloo without a fight. Two fencing parents Kathryn Chambers and Robert Smyth report on the last salvos of another record-setting season, and as you might expect, our young competitors did not fall at the last fence!
Our Conlethians were all on the piste again two weekends ago at the Irish Youth Open. We have three newly crowned Irish champions from the event. Claudio Sosa won both the U14 and U17 categories in foil, Myles Moriarty-Smyth won the U10 foil category and Luke Sherlock won the U14 mixed épée. Claudio, Myles and Luke also won the Pembroke Fencing Club’s best fencer trophies for their categories. James Moriarty-Smyth finished second in the U14 foil and Matthew Sherlock third in the U10 foil.
We are also thrilled to announce that Myles Moriarty-Smyth has been awarded an Adrian Lee & Partners Fencing Scholarship for 2018/19. He ended this season ranked No.1 in Under-10s Mixed Foil both here and in the North. He amassed a record 210 points for his age group, taking Gold in all competitions on both sides of the border. Aside from winning Pembroke Fencing Club’s Best Fencer Award for Under-10s, he also ended this season ranked joint 6th in the Boys U-11s category of the UK’s prestigious Leon Paul Junior Foil Series.
And last Friday, the St. Conleth’s Fencing Club annual competition took place in the school sports hall. The aim of this competition is to put to test the skills of all the fencers in the school, and there was certainly stiff competition to see who came out on top! The 2018 champion was Claudia Sosa (2nd Yr); in second place was Luke Sherlock (1st Yr) and in 3rd, Matthew Sherlock (4th Form). There was a nice mix of 2nd years, 3rd years as well as a couple of 4th formers competing on the day. Other 4th formers also fenced it out in old fashioned style… that is, without electric equipment! There was also the poignant moment captured on film below, when Michael Li, Conlethian fencing god, handed the Captaincy over to Stephen Rocket. Well done Michael on captaining St. Conleth’s during a tremendous period of growth and best of luck to Stephen taking us even further!
Junior Golfers Putt on a Show!
Fencing, tennis, rugby, polo… yes, it does seem at times that we conform to the stereotypical image of the private school when it comes to our sporting activities, but we also have the common touch: for instance, we also play golf! This just in from Principal Kilcommons about our Junior School golf team:
Our Junior School Golf Team, defending champions, finished a close second (by only 2 shots!) to Willow Park in the the AIJS Tournament, run by St. Gerard’s at the Delgany Golf Club. Well done boys, and a well-deserved drink afterwards in the clubhouse!
James Honoured for Ancient Thriller!
Pompeii, 79AD: The sun shone bright streaks of light through the scattered clouds, turning the sky surrounding the city an amber shade of orange and causing bright twinkles along the waves of the city… Thus begins Fifth Form James O’Neill’s AIJS commendation winning short story set in Roman times on the day of the famous Vesuvian eruption. We knew you would want more so here is the whole story. Well done, James, and we look forward to reading more of your work in the future!
Junior School Soccer Stars!
Junior School had their annual internal soccer blitz in Herbert Park on Tuesday 8thMay. Referee/organiser Mr Keenan and Louis Magee, along with the teachers and pupils, braved the inclement weather to participate and an enjoyable day was had by all. There was plenty of thrills and spills, shooting and shaping, tears and tantrums but all the teams, whether a medal was won or not were treated to a well deserved goodie bag afterwards. Well done to all!
Conlethians: Here and There!
Regular readers might surmise that we have no editorial process at all, but St. Conleth’s is such a busy place that we actually do have to sift daily through a pile of news and events, trying to determine what is ‘fit to print’. For example, look what happened in and around 28 Clyde Road, just in a couple of days, last week: 1) Mark Hainbach, School Captain of the Class of 1973 and current administrator with the Ballsbridge College of Further Education, visited to give Fifth Year students a careers talk and to chat with his old rugby coach, Mr. Keenan. 2-3) Mr. Bolger’s Geography Second Years (and Trevor’s drone!) helped Ordnance Survey Ireland with mapping Herbert Park 3) A motley soup of Fifth Years goggled through the window at After-School Study 4) Juniors photo-bombed Gav’s SCT photoshoot 5) The girls torched the boys in tag-rugby! 6) The Friday Champions League entered its crucial stages 7) Latin Second Years pick their flores like Proserpina and 8) found some interesting graffiti and 9) joined with Ms. Leary’s First Class for an impromptu picnic. 10) Sixth Years practise their graduation song. 11) Classics kids had a civilised discussion about Hellenistic sculpture. Busy, busy, busy! 12) And this just in off the wire: We previously reported that Ciara MacNally had finished a hard-luck second (by 1 pt) in the Leinster Girls Golf Competition, but due to a correction in the handicap calculation, she has now been declared the winner! Well done!
Everywhere you look in St. Conleth’s, there is art: from Junior Infants to Sixth Years, each class and year seems to have its own artistically talented students, and their work is rapidly filling in any blank space left on our walls! We may not be specifically an art school but we are quickly getting the reputation of being an artsy school. Ms. Mellon and Ms. Halpin, our dedicated Art Teachers, make sure of that!
Of course, this being St. Conleth’s, participation is the name of the game and everyone is encouraged to put pen or brush to paper or fingers into clay or papier mache. However, at certain times, judgments must be made and recently our Junior School teachers had the difficult job of deciding which artworks, from the many quality ones created in their respective classes, would go forward as qualifiers to the AIJS Art Competition. You see our qualifiers above and we are happy to say that Nathan was overall AIJS Winner in the 2nd class category; Declan and Katie placed 2nd and 3rd in the 3rd class category; and Fionnuala earned a Special Merit in the 5th class category!
By Sea and By Land!
Yes, like the Royal Marines, our Junior School Conlethians are successful on all fronts and in all environments! Russell Bolger recently qualified for the U-12 Optimist Sailing Team, representing Ireland at the UK nationals in Wales this summer (following in the footsteps of his brother, and top sailor, Trevor). You can see Russell below, with his boat (sail no. 1502) behind him. Coincidentally the Junior School Sailing club starts its sessions at the RSGYC today.
And our golfers enjoyed the fairways, greens and brunch at the Hollypark Invitational at Charles. As parent Jane Byrne reports:
The boys on the St. Conleth’s Golf Team were so well behaved at Charlesland GC . It was a lovely event – nine schools, including Willow, St. Michael’s, St. Gerard’s, Scoil San Treasa, St. Brigid’s and Hollypark- took part. It was followed by a formal set of speeches, prizes and a lovely brunch. Louis won a prize for closest to pin. They hope to make it an annual event. Our boys won a spot prize of a free group golf lesson!
The Home of Debate
We were already the ‘home of debate’ in the way that Brazil is the home of football but with John Carvill perennially hosting the Junior Mace in the Senior School and Dr. Fallon the same with the annual AIJS debate, we are literally the home of debate! Dr. Fallon once again organised and ran a spectacularly successful AIJS Debate at St. Conleth’s this past Wednesday. Ten schools took part with more than twenty teams competing. Loreto on the Green narrowly won the overall competition with the St. Conleth’s team of Emilio Sadofschi, Russell Bolger and Turlough Dineen taking second place. Luke Timlin and Turlough were also named Best Speakers of each chamber. Luke and his team-mates, Richard Caldwell and Kazim Haider, won out their room and the third team (Lochlann Flynn, Nicolai Bjerke Morris and Louis McGovern) won their first round but lost in the final. Not a bad showing for the home-side! And six Senior School debaters were on hand to serve as the impressively impartial adjudicators, more evidence of the special partnership between St. Conleth’s Junior and Senior Schools.
Fraternité and Fun!
Well, not quite, as both Transition Year and Fifth Form are now co-educational, but 1/3 of the French national motto serves well in describing the close relationship between the Junior and Senior Schools of St. Conleth’s, and when Ms. Crowley and Mr. Porzadny, the dynamique duo of the French Department, and Mr. Sheridan are involved, you know all this Francophonic co-operation will also be a lot of fun! The Transition Years used fun and games to teach grammar and usage to their Junior School fellow francophiles, and such was the craic (French?), the youngsters were learning about such things as prepositions, imperatives and l‘imparfait without even knowing it! And, of course, since the educational theorists say that the best way to learn is to teach, the TYs came out of the experience winners, too!
The front steps of 28 Clyde Road have always been a favourite spot for the photographic capture of significant moments in the lives of Conlethians and Barry Regan of Icon photography always captures the boys and girls in the best possible light (even when there is little of it!).
Full credit to Second Form Teacher Mr. Alex O’Brien, whose permanent state of unruffable calm somehow emanated from him and becalmed the whole Communion Class, so that the boys (and girl!) could really show how well they had prepared for this most important sacrament. Fr. Fachtna McCarthy, a mainstay of the school’s spiritual life, celebrated the mass in St. Mary’s, Haddington Road, and the Junior School Choir, under the guidance of Ms. Hartnett, sang beautifully. After the ceremony, all the candidates’ parents met to chat over a cup of tea and a slice of a very special cake (see below) back at the school where the specially aproned Third Class parents provided a tasty spread for everyone, a fitting appetiser for teh later celebrations at Marco Pierre White’s restaurant in Donnybrook.
Well, our Confirmation Class may not like to be called be as cute as their Communion counterparts so we will settle for handsome. And that beauty is not merely skin deep: their souls are also in great shape, too! We like to think that they have proven, over the course of the year and especially during their challenging Confirmation preparation course, that they are the best and brightest young Catholic gentlemen around! The celebrant of the sacramental mass at St. Mary’s was the Very Reverend Enda Cunningham and the ceremony captured perfectly the significance of this important step in the development of our chosen faith and ethos. Ms. Vicky Loomes, who led the class in its preparation, was proud that her charges gave the occasion its due importance and respect. Afterwards, the party moved to Marco’s, apparently, as you do!
Two teams from the Junior School represented the school in the AIJS Table Quiz hosted by St. Gerard’s JS. It was a very enjoyable competition and even though we did not win, we feel our boys knew all the important, regal stuff and simply did not lower themselves to the more ‘common’ categories: St. Conleth’s pupils know their national flags and dingbats and obscure geography inside out but do not know their Robbie Keanes from their Roy Keanes and have absolutely no clue what Irish celebrities look like. The latter ignorance not necessarily being a bad thing!
At Swim, Four Forms
We still see no sign of the much-rumoured swimming pool on the roof of 28 Clyde Road, but CEO Ann Sheppard and Development Officer John Carvill have been seen closed with architects again, so you never know… In the meantime we will just have to make our weekly sojourn to Sportsco and periodically make a big splash in the pool of our competitors! Castlepark School held the AIJS Swimming Galas for Third and Fourth on Monday 23rd and for Fifth and Sixth Form on Tuesday 24th Apr. All the boys swam very well but particular mention must be made of Sixth Form who won their competition against stiff opposition and two brave Second Formers who competed against much older swimmers in the Third Form events and very much held their own.
Nestled as we are between the shadow-dappled courts of Herbert Park and the power and prestige of the Fitzwilliam Lawn and Tennis Club, it is rather natural that St. Conleth’s would develop a tennis culture. And, indeed, tennis, like fencing and cricket, has been linked with the school since its very founding. You have seen below how our Senior School teams have approached the net, but now our Junior School Team has made St. Conleth’s history. They have won all their group matches and have qualified for the knock-out stages… and with a game in hand! The Junior School Team has never previously qualified beyond the qroup stages, but with the latest Kellehers and Kennedys and Co. doing their stuff on the courts, they may fancy themselves to go all the way!
Chess Warriors Finish Strongly!
Junior School Chess success continues! When great teams reach the pinnacles of their sport and win the championship, there is often a fallow period that follows, when the team slowly rebuilds with draft picks, trades and the slow development of promising youngsters… Well that didn’t happen in St. Conleth’s Junior School Chess. We just kept winning! After winning a historic Leinster and national ‘double’ a couple of year back, we all expected a ‘rebuilding’ period. But Grandmaster Baburin’s coterie of chess masters must work miracles, as Conlethian teams have stayed a the top of the sport. We may not quite have matched the heights of two years ago, but our two teams in the Leinster Premier division finished 4th and 5th on the recent League Finals Day at St. Catherine’s.
Two of our B team members were unable to attend the rescheduled event (after the snowstorm) and so reinforcements were needed from our lower teams. It certainly didn’t weaken the “B” team as they managed to overtake the “A” team in the standings and finished the year in a very respectable 4th place with the “A” team having to be content with 5th place. Having both teams performing well in the Premier Division is a great achievement so well done done to the boys, as well as the coaches and the parent helpers!
And the Gold Medal for Hospitality…
We may not have won all the races but we certainly came first in the ‘Event Management’ category! Yes, once again the St. Conleth’s-hosted AIJS Athletics Meet at Irishtown Stadium was a great success! This time, the weather co-operated and all sixteen teams of talented athletes enjoyed the afternoon of friendly competition. Castlepark won boys category. Teresians won the girls and Mount Anville won overall with a brilliant team performance. Well done to all the athletes who competed and the teachers, parents and TY helpers who organised, coached, congratulated and consoled!
Do you remember this? 1,2,3,4,5,6, Safe Cross Code/Remember, one, look for a safe place/ two, don’t hurry, stop and wait…. Well, kids (and their parents) have more than just automobiles, busses and cyclists to negotiate safely these days: in fact, many of our kids’ journeys are done on-line and it is a bit more complicated of an environment than the standard suburban cul-de-sac. So, in order to help parents, children and teachers get a better grip on internet safety, we invited in CyberSafeIreland to do workshops with 4th-6th Forms and a talk with parents. Both were very successful and now we have the results of the internet safety survey which they carried out. Below are a few excerpts and here is the whole report. Now, back to Fortnite!
CyberSafeIreland is the Irish children’s charity for online safety. It was established in 2015 to provide expert guidance to children, parents and teachers on safe and responsible use of the Internet. Our main focus is on supporting children aged 9 to 13, when many are first communicating or gaming online, and when, unfortunately, some can fall victim to bullying, harassment or other exposure to harmful contact and content.
We believe that providing children with online safety skills is fundamental to making technology an enabling and rewarding environment for Irish children, alongside supportive parental communication, involvement and supervision. Prior to our visit to the school, we conducted an anonymous survey with each year group and this report outlines our main findings. We’ve also included some helpful tips and resources to help parents get started.
Conlethian Fencers Rampage Through Europe!
The Conlethian fencers, again, went international and grabbed the gold in foreign fields of glory. Poland, Durham (UK) and Northern Ireland all fell to our swashbuckling swordsmen. Details from Robert Smyth…
The Easter holiday period saw the St. Conleth’s boys (come on, girls!) continue to fence across the waters of the Irish Sea:
Claudio Sosa and Luke Sherlock journeyed to Poland for the worldwide Challenge Wratislavia, with Claudio reaching the last 64 in the Boys Under 15 out of 220 and Luke achieving his goal of placing in the top 100 in the Boys Under 14 out of 240 fencers. Meanwhile, James and Myles Moriarty-Smyth returned to Britain’s North East to compete at the Durham leg of the Leon Paul Junior Foil Series. They returned with Bronze medals for Under 15 and Under 11, respectively.
The second week of the holiday saw the whole band travelling North on Saturday to compete in the final round of this year’s Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series, and as usual, they returned with medals and trophies: Under 10s – Myles won Gold and overall 1st place for the season and Matthew Sherlock took Silver, after an all-Conlethian final. Under 14s – Claudio Gold and overall 1st place for the season. James took Bronze and overall 2nd place for the season. And Luke won Bronze and overall 3rd place. And you just ate chocolate all break long!
A Gentleman… and a Schol!
We all knew that Daniel Gilligan was the perfect gentleman: no Conlethian had won as many laurels as Daniel in his time at 28 Clyde Road, and no Conlethian had worn them so lightly. Now Trinity College is enjoying the benefits of having Daniel Gilligan as a debater, student leader and downright, old-school intellectual. Everyone knows about the ‘schols’ of Trinity: an elite group of students who are selected by rigorous examination to receive a generous scholarship, including rooms and ‘commons’, a Hogwarts-like daily gathering of the berobed great and good of TCD for conversation, a meal (with ‘Grace’ said in Latin!) and a tipple. Daniel now joins this august company and we look forward to his future battles (rhetorical and otherwise) with rival Conlethian alumni great, Conor White, who is currently marshalling his crew amongst the Ad Astra crowd at UCD. Batman vs. Superman II!
Not Putting Their Chocolate Where Their Mouths Are!
We take Lent seriously at St. Conleth’s and the Prep and Junior School pupils especially like to ‘give something up’ or ‘do something extra’ to honour the special Christian season. This year, one of our Third Form parents, Ms. Tonia Spollen, devised a way they could do both and everyone (except perhaps the dentist) was happy. Tonia’s son Lenny and all the other Prep and Junior School boys and girls (with some pivotal assistance from the Transition Years) gathered up 387 eggs which could have ended up in their tummies and donated them to the Capuchin Day Centre where Director Kevin Crowley ofm will make sure all 386 will end up with people who need a little pick-me-up on Easter morning. The only problem was where to store 385 eggs. Ms. Kelly enlisted the help of her Junior Infants to carefully store and guard the 384 eggs and we are happy to say that all 383 are now neatly stacked and ready for delivery!
Their Next Holy Step!
There is ample evidence in these pages that we attend to the bodies and brains of our students, but authorities no less than St. Augustine, St. Conleth and Principal Kilcommons agree that the spirit also needs appropriate guidance and development:
The St. Conleth’s 2018 candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation are almost at the end of their journey as the big day approaches. Preparatory Masses in St. Mary’s Haddington Rd. during the course of this academic year led to parents and pupils coming together on Thursday, the 8th of March, in the Performance Room for the Ceremony of Light. The room itself was transformed by the candidates’ own artwork (see below), with the candle light and stained glass lending itself to a deeply spiritual atmosphere. Ms. Hartnett had the musical and choral pieces beautifully prepared as always with the boys, while Mr. Gallagher and Fr. Collins, who performed the ceremony, had a very attentive audience from young and older alike. A big thank you to Ms. Loomes who co-ordinated the whole affair and produced the special missalette. On Thursday the 22nd, the candidates will be immaculate in their school blazer and rosettes. They will be photographed on the school steps and will then walk down to the church to be met by their parents and sponsor where they will be confirm their faith. One leg of a long journey of faith in which the school plays a vital role.
Monday: Normal School Day
Because of the unexpected missed days due to the storm, the planned Junior Cycle Inservice for Senior School teachers has been postponed and Monday will be a normal schooldays for both Senior and Junior Schools.
Past Pupil Dinner Cancelled
The Clyde Road Residents Association, the local constabulary and the gendarmes may be relieved, but it is with great regret that we announce that the 2018 Past Pupils Dinner has been cancelled. Full refunds are available. It is the first time in the full seventy years of its existence that the ‘show’ has not gone on. We will leave you with some photos from last year’s soirée to ease the pain and hope to see you all back at your alma mater in 2019!
School Closed: Wed.-Fri.
St. Conleth’s College, both Junior and Senior Schools will be closed Wednesday- Friday, 28/2-2/3, by order of the Department of Education.
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Conlethians are famously (and sometimes, infamously) able to express themselves rhetorically, with a good deal of confidence, and usually a good bit of volume, and it is great that our kids are able to ‘speak up for themselves’: it is a skill which keeps us at the top of the debating leagues and has wider significances in terms of personal development and success in the wider world. But Ms. Redmond decided to develop quite a different skill with her Senior Infants: the art of listening. She gathered her charges and took them on a perilous journey… to the front steps of 28 Clyde Road! At first, the kids were a bit nonplussed by the less-than-exotic destination but when Ms. Redmond explained the objective, to really listen to all the subtle noises around us and to take notes, it was amazing what they heard: from the cry of the lonely seagull to the garrulous banter of some nearby landscapers and, for the very attentive, the softest of slurping sounds from the ladies who latte down in Lolly and Cooks… The boys and girls were duly impressed, as was Ms. Redmond with their efforts. And best of all: no-one was ‘expressing themselves’ while they were listening! Bliss!
Chess Champs… Again!
With all this fencing in our headlines, it was fit and proper for that other dominant Conlethian sporting tradition to speak up for itself: yes, the sport of wizards- chess. You read here recently how Second Year Utkarsh Gupta raided the Gonzaga boys on their own turf and walked away with €400 (yet somehow refused to share it with his Form Teacher). Well, our Junior chess teams have been winning Leinster and National titles for years, and last week they added another item to the groaning shelves of the trophy cabinet. The boys below made the short trip to Rather NS where they vanquished all and sundry, walking away with the Association of Irish Junior Schools Chess title. Take that, fencers!
We Are All Chosen Ones!
Malory, T.H. White, Walt Disney and innumerable subsequent interpreters of the Arthurian legends all emphasised the ‘chosen-ness’ of young Art. Like the later Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter, the hero was one in a million and we all wanted to be him (or her) but in the end we could only read and watch and dream and maybe buy the T-shirt…. but not at St. Conleth’s where everyone is special, everyone is ‘the chosen one’!
Ms. Dillon, displaying the cross-curricularness which thrills education theorists (and kids) everywhere, led her class in an exploration of the legends of the Round Table through books, pictures and film and then, as a coup-de-grace, an incredibly ambitious and enjoyable art project. Everyone took part, everyone made a ‘sword in a stone’ and everyone was able to grip their sword and withdraw it from the stone (or marshmallow) and lay claim to the heritage of King Arthur! Mr. Kilcommons had the unenviable task of picking the best project while surrounded by the heavily armed contestants but all ended relatively peacefully!
Peace Prom Warriors!
We make ’em tough at St. Conleth’s, both teachers and students! Last Sunday, there was Junior School Information Day in the afternoon in which all the teachers and many student volunteers welcomed future Conlethians in for a show-and-tell around our newly revamped school. And then everyone retired to their local for a carver, a few bags of crisps and the Six Nations on the big screen… no, they did not! It was straight over to the RDS for the Peace Proms for last minute voice-tuning and a performance at 8:00. No-one hit their pillow before 11:00 pm, and Principal Tony Kilcommons in particular had a zombie-like quality about his movements for a few days afterwards… but it was well worth it! He managed to get this report off before sneaking into the school elevator for a well-deserved nap.
At St. Conleth’s, students, teachers and parents often share in the enjoyment of a school event but rarely have we seen a ‘feel-good factor’ to the extent of that which was generated over the weekend by the Junior School Choir’s participation in the Peace Proms at the RDS. A memorable nigh! 2500 children singing together on stage, from 52 school choirs, including St. Conleths JS Choir (27 members!) and an orchestra with pipers, drummers and dancers under the baton of Conductor Greg Beardsell. All playing and singing an eclectic mix of classical, Disney, pop and dance tunes to a capacity crowd of 4000 in the Simmonscourt on Sunday night. A two hour avalanche of sound, excitement and sheer joy. Primary kudos must go to Ms. Eimar Hartnett, who worked tirelessly in the weeks leading up to the event, getting the boys and girls pitch perfect. The class teachers and parents also pitched in, making sure all the young choristers got to their many practice sessions. And of course, the students themselves: they put in the ‘overtime’ to get there, and on the day they pulled it off once again (unlike Tom Brady this year!). Granted, there was a mood that could best be described as ‘pleasantly somnambulant’ in the Junior School on Monday morning, but it was certainly well-earned and well-deserved! I dont think those present will ever forget the experience.
Brothers in Gold!
Did we ever happen to mention that fencing is important at St. Conleth’s? We were actually in the process of publicising Philip Cripwell’s impressive accomplishment, when even more news about fencing at St. Conleth’s came through on the wire. Apparently, the notorious (in a good ‘Captain Jack’ kind of way) Moriarty-Smyth and Sherlock brothers were at it again last weekend, poking holes in the fences of young fencers up north. It was Round Four of the Northern Ireland Junior Fencing Series and, yes, teh boys came back with their usual bag of booty. In the Under-10 Mixed, Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Gold, while brother James copped the same shine in the Under-14 Boys with Luke Sherlock finishing just outside of medals. Philip better not get soft, sitting on that scholarship. Plenty of competition is on the way!
The recent exploits of Philip Cripwell, Class of 2014, marry two of our consistent themes at stconleths.ie: fencing and STEM. Fencing, as you can see above and below, is a consistent good news generator at the school, as training continues for both Juniors and Seniors under Maître David Couper and our merry band of swordsmen gather trophies from far and wide. Of course, fencing has been a part of St. Conleth’s since the beginning, and Philip played a pivotal role in its legacy while a student here, winning at every level in many competitions. And as you can see from this attached letter from TCD, Philip’s fencing has gone from strength to strength since graduation and is current East of Ireland, Irish Open and Senior National Champion, and now the proud recipient of a Trinity College Sports Scholarship. And what is Philip’s chosen field of study? Mechanical Engineering (that would be the ‘E’ in STEM). So, yes, the laboratory and school sports hall can claim equal credit for this latest Conlethian alumnus making the headlines!
Another STEM Star From St. Conleth’s!
Whatever alchemy Michael Manning, Brendan Doyle and the other St. Conleth’s Science teachers were up to in the school lab over recent decades, it certainly did work! You can read about the multiple American based professors of Maths and Science spawned in the Manning/Doyle lab in our 75th Anniversary Annual and you have read in these very pages about Dervilla Mitchell, an Irish female engineering pioneer, nevermind the Zorin brothers, more recent Conlethian alumni (of the Mr. Callaghan era) who are shaking the very foundations of the Microsoft Empire with ZorinOS.
Well, now they all must make room in the pantheon of Conlethian STEM greats for physicist Michael Moloney, recently named the CEO of the prestigious American Institute of Physics, one of the most influential science organisations on the planet and industry leaders in science publishing and research. Basically, Mr. Moloney is now Tony Stark, Professor X and Dr. Bruce Banner all rolled into one! Check out the AIP and the press release above, and try to pick Michael out in his graduation photo below!
Slightly Altered Mock Exam Schedules
Link to slightly altered Mock Exam schedules follows. (Click ‘more’ and then the link.) Good luck!
St. Conleth’s Chess Teams, both Junior and Senior, have had more than their share of success in recent years and both are currently playing their way through their respective Leinster leagues but we have to admit that taking points from Gonzaga College, where they have instituted a training programme last used by Ivan the Terrible, has always been a particular pleasure. So, when our very own Utkarsh Gupta had the nerve (and the talent and the guts) to make the short journey to Ranelagh and bring home one of the main trophies of the Gonzaga Chess Championship, we feel entitled to crow about it!
Above, you see Utkarsh receiving his prize and, below, the final tally of the tourney: only the top 10 that is, as Utkarsh actually finished atop a list of 82 of the best young chess players from Ireland, and beyond!
Avast Ye! Hand Over The Fencing Trophies!
Last Saturday saw more fencing and more swag for the motley band of Conlethian fencing pirates!
The prestigious Excalibur Cup competition in Dalkey yielded the exciting podium results:
Under 10 Mixed Foil – (This time an all Conleth’s final!) – Myles Moriarty-Smyth: Gold; Matthew Sherlock: Silver. Under 14 Foil – Claudio Sosa: Gold; James Moriarty-Smyth: Bronze; Luke Sherlock: 5th. Under 17 Foil – Claudio Sosa: Gold; Under 14 Mixed Epee – Luke Sherlock: Gold!
Raise A Glass to the Explorers!
Dr. Livingstone is long gone, but there is now a kindler, gentler explorer trekking the wilds of Africa: our very own Mr. Gavin Maguire! And gone too is the weighty baggage of messianic zeal and cultural imperialism: Mr. Maguire’s expeditions are an exquisitely crafted mix of adventure and development, mutually beneficial to both student traveler and the local resident. After two trips to India, the focus is back on Africa and Mr. Maguire and his TY/5th Year team members have been walking up and down the hills of the Dublin and Wicklow Coast in preparation for the slightly higher (and drier) topography of East Africa.
Check out the pics above from these hikes but we would also like you to get personally involved… don’t worry, no malaria and yellow sickness shots for you, just a glass (or two) of a fine Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc! Below are more details (pdf) from Mr. Maguire regarding this tasteful fund-raiser (and more on the expedition itself), so have a look and come on out and grab that rare opportunity to do a good deed while having a bit of fun!
On Thursday 1st February the Transition year students going on the East Africa expedition will be hosting a wine tasting. The East Africa expedition is taking part in June 2018 with 32 students from 4th year and 5th year. The students have two big challenges on this expedition: the first and biggest challenge is Kilimanjaro where they will attempt to summit the highest free-standing mountain in the world at a height of 5895m. Students will spend 7 days attempting to conquer the mountain after which they set out on a cycling tour in the Massi Mara in Kenya for 4 days covering over 220km. Once recovered, the students make their way into Uganda to work in a school where they will teach the local students about Irish culture and where the local students will teach the St. Conleth’s students about their culture. The expedition finishes off with white water rafting on the Nile!
Fencers Strike Gold! And Silver, and Bronze…
CEO Ann Sheppard often talks about the storied history which fencing has at the school, and rightly she does, as it goes back to the very foundation of St. Conleth’s in 1939 and contains chapters about national champions and Olympic competitors. Perhaps St. Conleth’s fencing is entering a new golden age as the names Moriarty, Sherlock and Sosa continue to dominate the Irish national junior fencing scene.
This past Sunday saw the Conleth’s contingent in Belfast once again; this time for Round 3 of the 2017-2018 Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. All our young fencers acquitted themselves well, ensuring another medal ‘full house’ was achieved!
Under 10s Mixed – Myles Moriarty-Smyth: Gold; Matthew Sherlock: Bronze.
Under 14s Boys – Claudio Sosa: Gold; Luke Sherlock- Silver; James Moriarty-Smyth, Bronze.
Fifth Form Take the Lead!
St. Conleth’s prides itself on its ‘coziness’ but, to be honest, sometimes things were a bit too cozyat 28 Clyde Road before our latest expansion. Now, with the Kevin D. Kelleher Wing in full use, we have room to swing as many proverbial cats as we would like! Just before Christmas, we enjoyed the Prep School’s Nativity Play in the new Performance Hall and, last Friday, Principal Kilcommons figured it would be the perfect space for a Junior School Assembly. After Mr. Kilcommons gave his ‘state of the union’ address, Mr. Sheridan’s Fifth Form took the lead, beguiling all assembled with poetry readings in both English and French. The students who took part were as talented as they were brave and now a very impressive precedent has been set for the other Forms to follow, as they too take a turn leading an assembly. Stay tuned!
Prep School Stays ‘Old Skool’ for Christmas!
Around the globe, time-honoured Christmas traditions are being replaced with bland, inoffensive, meaningless but marketable gimmicks which ring rather hollow when all are gathered around the Winter Seaonal Holiday Recyclable Plant Facsimile. The St. Conleth’s Preparatory School, however, sticks by our ethos and traditions and simply but beautifully retells the nativity, ‘the greatest story ever told’.
The now legendary production team of Howe and Hartnett somehow combined mega-cuteness with an understated eloquence of message. Ms. Kelly’s, Ms. Leary’s and Ms. Redmond’s charges were all suited up in exquisite costumes (thanks, parents!) and the assorted kings, angels, shepherds and the members of the Holy Family all performed with spirit and grace, bringing smiles and laughter to those assembled in our new Performance Hall. The Junior School Choir was also on hand to bring a fitting, perfectly pitched close to the term and our Christmas celebrations. Enjoy the pics above and video highlights below!
Merry Christmas… ouch!
No, our fencers do not pause for some holiday bonhomie. In fact, they are even more determined to make their points, as you can see from the latest news form Robert Smyth:
Round Two of this season’s Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series took place on Saturday the 9th amid the august surroundings of the Royal Belfast Academical Institute. Despite the hibernal conditions, the Conlethian contingent once again used their passion for fencing to warm to the occasion and perform extremely well, each ending the day with a medal:
Under 10 Mixed – Gold for Myles Moriarty-Smyth, Bronze for Mathew Sherlock
Under 14 Boys – Gold for Claudio Sosa, Bronze for James Moriarty-Smyth & Bronze for Luke Sherlock.
Perhaps a better headline for Spring, but this past Autumn, our Junior School artists were busy little bees! We already showed you some Senior School masterpieces, so it is only fair that you get a glimpse of what Ms. Mellon, Ms. Halpin and the individual class teachers have been up to:
We also wanted to clear the way for the Christmas Art avalanche which has already swept through the school, so before the snowmen, Santas and Christmas trees take over let’s take a last look at those autumn colours and creations! And, just in case you missed them, some Halloween ghouls again!
A Grand but Tasteful Opening!
St. Conleth’s celebrated its Annual Mass in the new Sports Hall and welcomed back some special guests for the Grand Opening of the Kevin D. Kelleher Extension. The music, as usual, was amazing with Ms. Fay and DeBhal leading the School Choir and several soloists chiming in.
The con-celebrants- Frs. Paul Lavelle, Michael Collins and Noel Redmond- all have a long, warm relationship with the school and they, and Mr. Odulaing spoke movingly about the great strides made by the school and the great man, Mr. Kelleher, who made it possible. It was a significant, watershed moment for St. Conleth’s as everyone from Junior Infants to Sixth Year was able to gather comfortably in our newly extended hall and share in the Annual School Mass, a time-honoured tradition of the school. There were also tours and a Chef Mark-catered lunch for the grandees… and ice cream for the masses!
Please Speak Up!
Actually, it is quite a rare occurrence that a St. Conleth’s teacher needs to ask students to ‘speak up’: it is Conlethian tradition to speak one’s mind, at length and repeatedly about topics known and unknown. Perhaps it is our strong debating tradition… perhaps it is from being prompted for party pieces at numerous dinner parties… but it definitely has something to do with Speech and Drama Czar Pat Howe’s long association with the school. We all know about his year-end, West End-ready productions such as The Lemonade Kid but valuable work is done week by Pat week-in and week-out as he visits each class and leads the boys and girls in various public speaking and acting activities. A highlight is always the Speech and Drama Exams, whereby external examiners come in to test and officially recognise our students’ prepared performances. They always leave with a smile on their faces if weary ears!
The Alumnus, The Drummer and The Keeper
Evidently, the fat lady has still not sung…. as Past Pupil and rennaisance man Nick Kelly has continued to push boundaries and mix media in a variety of creative pursuits: first, as the main singer/songwriter of the aforementioned, seminal 1980’s alternative rock band, then as a solo artist and fluid musical collaborator while working a commercial film director and, most recently, as the writer and director of The Drummer and The Keeper, an innovative and daring look at the issues of autism and mental illness through the captivating story of a young man’s friendship with an ageing rock star. Nick was kind enough to invite our older students to a special showing of the movie and then followed it up with a Questions and Answers session back at the school in our new Performance Hall. It was a fantastic experience for the students, as these issues touch many of our lives and Nick was so open and engaging. And our film aficionados, such as Cinema Club president Rory Sweeney, particularly enjoyed this chance to hobnob with a professional. Rory recently spent time working with the Gleesons (Brendan et al) on the shooting and production of a short film and seems destined for a career in the field. Also on hand was fellow Sixth Year Alex McCarthy, cousin to The Drummer and The Keeper lead, Jacob McCarthy.
Only 5 More Sleeps! The TY Christmas Fair is This Saturday!
It’s this Saturday! Only 5 more sleeps till the St. Conleth’s TY Christmas Fair this Saturday, Dec. 9th, from 9 to 5! Tell your friends, family, neighbours… tell everybody!
Pre-Order Now for delivery on Saturday 9th December!
From: The Christmas Fair Committee, St Conleths Parent’s association
To whom it may concern,
We would like to introduce you to the St Conleth’s School Annual Christmas Tree Sale. This year it is being held on Saturday 10th December. This is an ideal opportunity to source a Christmas Tree for you or your business and to assist a local school in funding a worthy charity.
Since 2010, St. Conleth’s College has worked directly with the Kitatya Secondary Schoola school in Uganda, and last year with the Ever Green National school in Minali, India. More than €35,000 has been raised at the annual Tree Sale and this money has made a direct impact on the lives of school children and their communities. Projects included solar power, staff accommodation, livestock development and educational subsidies for children.
Students from St. Conleth’s have raised their own funds to travel to the schools, to live within the school communities and to exchange learning in language and culture. The legacy of these wonderful journeys has proven profound and lasting for students.
If you, your staff or customers would like to attend the sale on the 9th of December we’d be delighted to meet you and help select a tree. We will also have snacks, free tea and coffee, a range of stalls from our Transition Year students and a raffle with some great prizes.
For this raffle, we would be very grateful if you could consider donating a small prize. Any donation would be greatly appreciated and raffle proceeds too, go directly to our fund.
We have also some publicity material and would ask you please, to display the poster in your place of business. The help of local retailers and businesses in the Donnybrook and Ballsbridge areas has been invaluable in “spreading the word” every year.
Thank you for your time. If you have any queries about any aspect of the Fair, or indeed would like to pre-order your tree, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Prices are below.
May we take this opportunity to wish a Happy Christmas to you and yours!
The So-Young Quartet!
Everyone knows that Conlethians are the coolest of cats and that 28 Clyde Road is hipster heaven but last Friday we reached new heights of hipness as Piano Teacher So-Young invited some of her musical friends by to help out with the accompaniment: there was Dave Mooney plucking the Double Bass, Conor Murray keeping the beat on the drums and So-Young herself organising the whole affair.
And who was the fourth member of the quartet? Why, a whole slew of Conlethian ivory-ticklers, students of So-Young from First Class to Fifth Year took their turn at the piano stool and under the spotlight. It was a stylishly sonorous affair and, except for the brightness and cleanliness of our brand new Performance Hall, you might have thought you had wandered into some Jazz bar in the depths of Manhattan or Chicago, such was the quality and coolness of the music. S0-Young was justifiably proud of her students and friends, and the parents and guests were very impressed, indeed, with this tasteful and pitch perfect christening of our new musical space.
A Junior School Jumble!
Shhhh! Seniors are sitting exams in the spanking-new Performance Hall (reviews of said performances to follow) but the Juniors are up to their usual jumble of assorted hi-jinks in their spankingly newly decorated school! Next Wednesday, the annual Speech and Drama Exams will take place, an event that may fill the average youngster with palpitations but just whets the appetite of our little exuberant, extroverted, dinner-party speechifiers! And in the meantime, there has been lots of learning fun: digital adventures both in the ICT Room and when the Laptop Trolley stops in the neighbourhood; a Thanksgiving feast (complete with creamed corn!) served up by Mark, Emerson and Anna; an investigation into human organs in 1st Form (not real ones!); a trip to see Manchester City (talk about hi-jinks!) and good old-fashioned story-time in the younger classes. Stay-tuned for an update on Junior School Art!
Junior School Goes Hi-Def!
Junior School Principal Tony Kilcommons had a dream, and despite the inevitable construction delays and the almost-as-inevitable Irish tendency to undercut any idealism and enthusiasm, he persevered… and now the Junior School boys and girls are walking, talking and learning within that dream!
Or, in Mr. Kilcommons’ own words, uttered just a few short months ago: “We are working with design company TAP Creations to invigorate the spaces created by the new building work in the school over the summer (and autumn!). We wish to give our pupils a platform to express creativity and work together in a relaxed and enjoyable environment.
The St. Conleth’s Primary Learning Programme places an emphasis on personalised learning and the installation of break-out seating areas and cluster pods will be very conducive to such a focus. Ideas from our own pupils, as well as staff, will be incorporated into the design process and we know that when it is finished, we will have a bright and visually stimulating school, of which we all can be proud.” Well, judging by the pics and video above and below, that dream has been realised!
Fencers on a Cross-Border Raid!
If the Conlethian contingent of fencers continue to bring home the booty as they have been doing, there will surely be a border ‘incident’ once Brexit comes in! So, they had better gather as much ‘shine’ a they can before they are charged duty on it! And their performance at last Saturday’s inaugural round of the 2017 – 2018 Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series at Grosvenor Grammar showed just those intentions, as their medal hoard was once again quite impressive. The Mixed Under 10 saw Myles Moriarty-Smyth take Gold, with Mathew Sherlock finishing just outside the medals in 5th and the Under 14 Boys had a full St. Conleth’s podium, after another all-second Year Final: Claudio Sosa took Gold and James Moriarty-Smyth, Silver. And another Conlethian, Luke Sherlock, won the Bronze!
It has taken a little while to get the new Art Room settled down, but Ms. Halpin and her art classes are now back up to her already legendary rate of masterpiece production!
Above and below you will see just a sampling of the pieces produced in just the opening weeks of the term and we hope to bring you more as the year progresses. Of course, you can also see current and ‘classic’ student pieces adorning every open space in the school. We are always proud of displaying our students’ best work and loathe to simply hide them way in storage!
A New Hall-oween!
We miss Mr. Kelleher everyday at St. Conleth’s but there are certain days on which we miss him more. Halloween is one: no-one (not even the various vampires, witches and Batmen) enjoyed the annual ‘Spooks’ Parade’ more than Mr. K himself. He would lead the assorted Junior terrors around the school, invading senior classes with his army of ghouls and delighting in disrupting the humdrum with a burst of creativity and fun. That this year’s Halloween festivities also marks Mr. Kelleher’s year anniversary seemed especially suitable: Mr. ODulaing and Fr. Collins presided over an assembly that perfectly mixed the celebration of the holiday with the remembrance of the man who was its ringmaster for so many years. That this day also coincided with the opening of our new sports hall seems uncanny: no-one over the last 75 years did more to promote the development of the school than Mr. K. We are not too sure if he would have personally used the ‘Fitness Suite’ (being a bit ‘old skool’ himself regarding his personal fitness regimen) but he would have understood its potential and he certainly would have been delighted with the Performance Hall which is soon to grace the treetops of Clyde Road. Mr. Kelleher loved to hear the students show their musical talents, and the Halloween assembly provided a tantalising foretaste of the treasures to come, as Eoghan Fitzmaurice’s Dubinersesque ballad and Emer Healy-Kavanagh’s classical harp piece bewitched us all.
A Geordie Joust!
Splendid news from the fencing front! James Moriarty-Smyth ended the Newcastle campaign with Bronze and 3rd place in Boys Under 13 Foil and brother Myles fenced superbly in a higher age group than usual, narrowly missing medal spot and ending the day a very satisfying 6th in Boys Under 11 Foil. And these impressive results were earned against the notoriously tough, street-smart fencers of Newcastle!
DEMONS, DICE AND DUNGEONS!
Calling all free peoples of Middle-Earth, the Outer Rim and the United Federation of Planets! It all starts tomorrow (Thursday)! Come in early give it a toss of the dice!
TABLE-TOP AND BOARD GAMES CLUB
Newcomers of all types welcome! As all games will be explained to new arrivals
Every Monday, Wednesday & Thursday from 7:20 to 8:15 before school starts.
Venue: Room 4
Monday: Dungeons and Dragons Campaign*
Wednesday: Dungeons and Dragons Campaign
Have a favourite board game at home that you want to share with the club? Bring it in on…
Thursday: Miscellaneous one-off games from home (just tell us on the previous week)
* If you would like to join our Dungeons and Dragons campaign we will be holding an introductory session on Thursday the 18th of October. After which you should contact us for a personal intro:
Evan and Oisín in 2A! See you there!
Back to Work!
St. Conleth’s College (Prep, Junior and Senior Schools) is open for all business on Wednesday, October 18th!
School Also Closed on Tuesday Due to Ophelia
Due to a national directive in response to Hurricane Ophelia, St. Conleth’s College will be closed on Tuesday, October 17th.
Juniors and Seniors Run Away Together!
Mr. Shay Keenan does not do things by halves: when he heard about the happy coincidence that there would be both junior and senior Cross Country races at Morton Stadium in Santry, he hired a bus and welcomed all comers! ‘The more, the merrier’ is the St. Conleth’s sporting philosophy and so it should be, as participation is the name of the game at our school and we make sure that no-one is ever left out. Sadly, this trip was the first in a long time which did not include our tracks and field talisman, Tony Barry. (He was busy… off trying to scupper the Budget!).
We did worry a bit for Mr. Keenan’s personal safety (and sanity), as filling a bus with Juniors and then throwing in a bunch of First and Second Years at their seasonal hyperactive peak is the not the recipe for a morning ‘milk run’ but Shay is an old hand at these things and the increased proportion of girls certainly helped settle things down (in decibel if not pitch!). As you can see form our pics above, everyone had a great time and completed the race in very good times. There will be more races ahead and if any Seniors are interested, their are efforts being made to get Athletics training up and running again! Stay tuned!
Conlethians Simply ‘Own’ the Killanin!
Signs of Autumn in D4: frappuccino sales plummet, Kiely’s sells more hot port, the DART is delayed because of ‘leaf-fall’ (Could not see that coming!) and Conlethian fencers start arriving at school with bags full of swag! This time, the well-travelled merry swordsmen were closer to home as the St. Conleth’s fencing contingent competed in the Dublin-based Lord Killanin Cup, culminating in an all-Conlethian final in the Under 14 Foil! Results as follows: Under 10s: Myles Moriarty-Smyth – 1st Place and Gold Medal; Mathew Sherlock – Joint 3rd Place and Bronze Medal; Under 14s: Claudio Sosa -1st Place and Gold Medal James Moriarty-Smyth – 2nd Place and Silver Medal; Luke Sherlock – 5th Place. And there is promise of more treasure as, next weekend, James and Myles head to the UK to compete in Newcastle as part of the Leon Paul Junior Series. Stay tuned!
Rugby took a back seat on Saturday for the Fifth and Sixth Form team which represented the school at the annual AIJS 5 aside soccer tournament hosted by St. Gerard’s. The team, inspired by coaches Keenan and Sheridan, played well in all four matches: winning one, losing one and drawing two. Good enough for Ireland in Italia 90, but alas these AIJS tournaments are more selective and the boys narrowly missed qualifying for the semi-finals. The boys were disappointed but should be immensely proud of their contributions throughout the morning. Wait until next year, when the boys will have had a full year of training in our new gym under their belt!
Michael O’Dea: Alumnus, Trustee, Architect and Friend of St. Conleth’s
It is quite an achievement to say that one arrived at St. Conleth’s at the same time as a certain Kevin D. Kelleher and Michael O’Dea was as proud of this distinction as any other in life full of personal and professional distinctions. Michael’s life, family and legacy are as intertwined with that of St. Conleth’s as was Mr. Kelleher’s, and it is fitting in this time of such great excitement over the new KDK Wing, we also remember the man who did so much over the years to build this great school, both in bricks and mortar and in ethos and spirit. Ann Sheppard, CEO of St. Conleth’s, remembers Michael’s life-long loyalty and friendship:
It was with great sadness that we learned that Michael O’ Dea had passed away on Monday evening. Micheal had been a Trustee of St. Conleth’s since the Educational Trust was set up in 2001. He started in St. Conleth’s in 1944 as a nine-year-old pupil, the same year as Kevin started as a teacher and has been a friend to us all ever since. His brother Mark, as well as his four children – Michael, Caroline, Stephen and Joe, his niece and nephews – Ruth O’Dea, Paul, David and Ben Moore, and his grandson Sam O’Dea were all pupils with us and his grand-daughter Eva Stylianides is currently a bright spark in Second Year. He has been president of the Past Pupils Union, a proud winner (twice) of the Kinlen Cup and many of us will remember his gifts as a public speaker and his memorable voice as the official voice of Lansdowne Road for all interntational rugby matches.
My last official business with him was to seek approval to appoint Peter Gallagher as a Trustee, with which he wholeheartedly agreed. He had been so disappointed not to be able to attend our Board dinner last year. He has always been so supportive of St. Conleth’s and interested in all that was going on and thrilled that his granddaughter Eva was in the first bunch of First Year girls and was Pupil of the Year. Needless to say his contribution to the development of St. Conleth’s, as its architect, has been enormous, starting with the revamp of the kitchen around 1961. The yellow formica table, around which we all still gather, is still in great nick, a small but fitting legacy to a man who did so much to build the essence of St. Conleth’s.
We will miss him. Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.
Second Year Trevor Bolger continues to make waves in the world of junior competitive sailing. Last year he won the inaugural St. Conleth’s ‘Sailor of the Year’ Award. And just last weekend he captained the Royal Saint George racing team as it represented Ireland at the Warsaw Invitational Regatta. The Royal St. George team were invited to represent their country along with the Royal Cork Yacht Club team, the two top Optimist racing teams in the country. With Trevor ‘at the helm’ the RSGYC made the finals and came 4th overall, quite an achievement for Irish sailing. Of course, St. Conleth’s knows the RSGYC very well, as it is there that our Fifth and Sixth Formers go sailing on Fridays, hoping to follow in Trevor’s wake to sailing glory! Below you will Trevor and his team as well as our Juniors as they hit the water, with none other than Past Pupil Evan O’Connor, showing them the ropes, and the knots!
Jolly Hockey Sticks!
The old line, ‘Jolly Hockey Sticks!’, may have been originally intended as a ‘reverse snobbery’ slur by the begrudgers against the over-enthusiastic elite but at St. Conleth’s it is quite accurate and we actually take it as a straight compliment! Our hockey players really are jolly and enthusiastic! One year on from a historic tip-off in Herbert Park, hockey is now enjoyed by dozens of girls in both the Junior and Senior Schools and, though it is still early days, Coaches Leary and Speller have pushed the girls so hard in their development that the big hockey schools have started to take notice of those plucky players from 28 Clyde Road. The Senior School girls now practise twice a week (Tue. and Thur.), once on the full, proper pitch at Pembroke Hockey Club, where they get professional guidance from the Club coaches as well as the attention of St. Conleth’s Strength and Fitness Guru Shane Robinson. And the Junior School girls recently had their first hockey session down on the astro… another sign that co-education and girls sports are two aspects of St. Conleth’s destined for further growth and success!
3rd Form Maths: Co-Educational and Co-Operative!
Recent alumni visitors (like Michael O’Dwyer below) have noticed the changes at St. Conleth’s: the new teachers, the new building (on-going!) and, most of all, the increased female presence across the different year groups. And though loth are we to ascribe certain behavioural traits to certain genders, comment has been made (by some unreconstructed dinosaurs) that despite the increased numbers of students overall (and the scaffolding) the place seems more orderly, pleasant, aromatic and welcoming than ever and perhaps this reverie of calm has something to do with the benign influence of……..the girls? Recently we sent one of our reporters up to the Junior School for some ‘early days’ pics, as we always do, but in the past said Transition Year would often return a bit worse for wear, bearing a film canister full of fun-filled photos but also appearing as if they had just run the Mohican gauntlet! But now it is like going to Disneyland: take Ms. Dillon’s Third Form for example. Just a normal mid-morning session of Maths, with the girls and the boys participating in small groups in some hands-on learning in an atmosphere of blissful co-operation. Perhaps the boys have learned that eating one’s rubber does not always impress the co-eds? We can’t wait to see what learning adventures both girls and boys will get up to when the educational ‘nooks and crannies’ of the new Junior School campus are finished!
No Rest For Our Fencers!
While other kids their age were home lost in the Amazing World of Gumball, the Moriarty-Smyths were living real-life adventures as they continued with their fencing forays on the continent:
Not content to rest on the laurels won earlier this year, the summer holidays saw the boys again continue their campaigning season into Europe; in early June they headed into deepest Gallia to attend the two day 2017 Mini Foil International Marathon hosted by CEP Paris. Both fenced extremely well and their efforts clearly showed the progress made by each of them over the season. Saturday saw Myles compete in the Boys’ Under 10 which followed an unusual four rounds of poule format with elimination after each round; multiple victories ensured he made all four rounds before going out just prior to DE. He ended the day ranked an extremely impressive 38th out of a field of 68 fencers, having after Round 3 reached a rank of 19! James fenced Boys’ Under 13 and similarly had to contended with elimination after each poule. Having made the 1st cut he likewise narrowly went out just prior to DE stage, placing a strong 55th out of 68. Stay-tuned as the Conethian fencers continue their international careers!
Extra Fun: Junior and Prep School Activities!
Our Junior and Prep School children are so busy with their various activities that we can barely keep up with them! Our ‘Co-Curricular’ section on this website needs some updating but until then, the Junior School and Prep School Curricular and Extra-Curricular Activities booklet contains all the necessary details for activities during the Academic Year 2017-2018. Most activities start this week, so get involved and have some fun!
Back with a Bang!
Alas, the Kevin D. Kelleher Wing is not quite finished (builders and their promises!) and we must wait a little while longer for all those architectural goodies, but school started with some style, nonetheless. The Junior and Senior Infants seemed distinctly unperturbed by the scaffolding, getting right to work (and play) under the watchful eye and encouraging words of Ms. Kelly and Ms. Redmond, and First Form seemed delighted with their new teacher, Ms. Leary, while the older Junior Forms also seemed happy to be back amongst welcoming faces and in friendly places. First Years admittedly seemed a bit nervous, as did our new arrivals in the other Senior Years but the ice was quickly broken by a few classroom quips and canteen-queue tussles and by close of business on Thursday, fledgling friendships were flourishing in the proverbial Conlethian calm.
Welcome to St. Conleth’s!
We are sure all our students, old and new, are eagerly looking forward to the start of school (and perhaps their parents even more so!) so we are going to give you all the information necessary to make it a great start. Click for start of school dates and times for the Junior/Preparatory and Senior Schools. Booklists and information on the uniform and the canteen are always available under Calendars and Information, but if you are in a rush, here are direct links (Junior, Senior) to our uniform supplier, and our Canteen deposit page on Easy Payments Plus. And below are the Booklists, along with the welcome letters sent earlier this summer. Enjoy this last weekend and we will see you next week, bright-eyed and bushy-tailled, at 28 Clyde Road!
It is understandable that students and their parents and teachers get obsessed with the ‘points race’ when it comes to the Leaving Certificate: for better or worse, that mid-August sum is quite significant when it comes to plotting one’s immediate future. And this year’s Results Day was particularly nerve-wracking, as a new system of grades was instituted with Hs and Os replacing ABCs and totals no longer finishing in multiples of 5. Mr. ODulaing and even Ms. Hopkins were pushed to their arithmetical limits mastering the new arcane numerology necessary to find out if you were likely to be doing Medicine at UCD with Sean Pettitt or Basketweaving in Bangor with the kid from the next estate. We will soon do further number-crunching of the results overall but we can say already that there were many satisfied smiles on the day, as you can see below!
St. Conleth’s recognises the value of those CAO points but we also know there is much more to the education and development of children and young men and women. Coincidentally, on that day of the cut-and-dry points totals, we also received a letter from parents, Irene Bloemraad and David St-Jean, who wished to thank St. Conleth’s for all the good things that made up their son Maxime’s year at the school. We will leave you with their points!
We write to express our thanks for everything the school has done during our year in Ireland. Please feel free to share our very positive experience with other prospective families.
St. Conleth’s College was a wonderful school. It is not easy, as a teenager, to transition to a new school, especially when this involves moving to a new country and learning a new educational system. Maxime’s experience was made more of a challenge by the fact that he was coming into Third Year and had to catch up on two years of material for his Junior Certificate exam. His teachers were very supportive in making sure that he succeeded.
The St. Conleth’s students deserve special praise. They welcomed Maxime without question, including him in their activities, and provided a warm, friendly community. St. Conleth’s small school environment meant that he quickly felt comfortable. The students have a strong ethos of embracing the unique interests and talents of their peers—letting them be individuals—while including and accepting everyone within the community.
Despite being a small school, Maxime had the opportunity to try new activities that he had never done before. He was welcomed into the rugby team and enjoyed learning and playing the sport. He participated in a math challenge team. He became involved in debating and really enjoyed participating in regional debating tournaments. He has now developed an enthusiasm for debating that he plans to take to his next school…
Thank you Irene and David, and best of luck to you and Maxime!
Where Do the Builders Go in August?
28 Clyde Road, Apparently! Only our older students will remember personally the last, heady days of the Celtic Tiger when cranes crowded the horizon and a postage stamp apartment near Five Lamps cost a half a million. Another feature of the high times was the absolute scarcity of tradesmen and builders, especially during August, the traditional month of “builders’ holidays”, when you had a better chance of getting a chippy named Murphy or a sparky named Kelly on the Costa da Sol then in Phibsborough. Well, as we all know, times have changed, and that is good news regarding the construction of the Kevin D. Kelleher Wing. Our Fundraising and Development specialist, Mr. Carvill, has been keeping an eye on things better than a quantity surveyor from Cavan, and he reports back that the bricks and beams are going in on schedule and that the coming weeks will certainly see our new gymnasium, performance hall and fitness suite taking shape. Enjoy the pics below and stay tuned as we get closer to opening day!
St. Conleth’s Marches Onwards!
Mr. Kelleher would surely be proud of the drive and efficiency with which Robert Quinn Ltd. have taken to the construction of the new wing which is to bear his illustrious name. It is interesting that Mr. K’s most famous rugby feat has been in the news again thanks to ‘Sonny’ Bill Williams’s recent misdemeanours against the Lions. Mr. K was justly proud of sending Colin Meads to the showers all those years ago, and was not shy about recounting the event over the breakfast table, but he was never one to dwell solely on the past. He knew that those who stand still inevitably get left behind. Mr. K., himself, oversaw several expansions to St. Conleth’s and we know he would be thrilled with the next step in development, now taken by CEO Ann Sheppard, Principals Donal ODulaing and Tony Kilcommons and the Board of Trustees.
Indeed, St. Conleth’s never sits still… and continuous development is so important to the school that Mr. John Carvill has taken on a new position which will allow him the time to organise and co-ordinate the fundraising which is essential to the future development of the school. Read all about it in Mr. Carvill’s Development Newsletter and check out the photos and video of the early stages of construction. Stay tuned for more news as St. Conleth’s strives to be bigger and better from the very first day of school this autumn!
St. Conleth’s ‘School Self-Evaluation’
Those highly paid and well-benefitted civil servants of the Department of Education are certainly earning their keep! We recently enjoyed a one-day ‘drive-by’ inspection and earned an overwhelmingly positive appraisal (Inspector’s feedback), with the girls and boys of 1B (and their teachers) impressing their official visitor…for six class periods in a row! This follows several subject specific inspections and a ‘Whole School Evaluation’ not too long ago, all of which may be read about in previous ‘News’ posts. But the sun may be setting on the ‘Age of the Cigera’ as the Department is now promoting ‘School Self-Evaluation’ as the way forward. Or as they say themselves: School self-evaluation (SSE) is a collaborative, reflective process of internal school review. It provides teachers with a means of systematically looking at how they teach and how pupils learn and helps schools and teachers to improve outcomes for learners (link).And St. Conleth’s has responded enthusiastically to this challenge, with Assistant Principal Ms. NiAonghusa leading the way with a comprehensive survey of students and parents about their perception of the overall effectiveness of the school, with special emphasis on assessment and learning, numeracy and literacy. Ms. NiAonghusa’s report on her findings can be found here and please do stay tuned for more news and information from St. Conleth’s implementation of School Self-Evaluation.
2017-18 Junior and Senior School Calendars are Here!
Rumour has it that the tiger is back and with it, for the lucky ones, the custom of multiple, exotic, annual family holidays! So, to help you plan that mid-term adventure in Thailand (and/or the long weekend in Bundoran) we attach the school calendars for next year.
The Parents’ Associations not only do loads for the school: they also write it up and publish it in a slick, attractive and easily digestible package! Michael Mansfield and Peter O’Neill, Chairpersons of the Senior and Junior School Parents’ Associations, and Paul Allen, Chairperson Emeritus and Editor in Chief, organised a small army of active parents and once again they have finished it off just in time for you to pack it away for some beach reading! Click below and enjoy!
Maestros Howe and Hartnett and the Prep School Team of Ms. Kelly, Ms. Murphy and Mr. O’Brien once managed to create a masterpiece out of a cacophony of diverse voices, talents and story-lines. Mr. Kelleher would have particularly loved this Summer Spectacular as The Jungle Book is one of the few ‘modern’ books to have made his quite selective list of approved classics! And who does not love the simple but timeless characters and themes of Toy Story and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
Ms. Hartnett’s Junior School Choir were in top form opening the show, thrilling parents and guests with their spot-on vocal performances and Mr. Howe led each class through a skit which perfectly matched the class’s particular strengths in performance and cuteness. And the school hall itself served as the perfect backdrop, with artwork from all the Junior School classes covering the walls and demonstrating the creativity of the kids, and the perseverance of Art Teacher Ms. Long and all the class teachers. Check out the snaps of the concert above and the artwork below. Bravo, boys and girls!
Junior School Sportsday Shenanigans!
Mr. Keenan is at Irishtown Stadium so often these days, rumours are flying that he has a hand in coaching one of the Irish youth soccer teams which are based there. And it may well be true: Shay has rugby, athletics, tennis, basketball, cricket and a bit of snooker on the resumé so why not soccer, too? Well, this time, it was for the Junior School Sportsday and Shay has this annual event so well-planned and organised that it always runs like clockwork, especially when the rain keeps away. Wellies were thrown, penalties were taken, the jumps were both long and high, and the races were run, with and without the sacks. And medals were handed out like confetti, much to Shay’s ‘old school’ consternation about supply decreasing demand etc… But then someone handed him a serving of the legendary Herbots’ Belgian waffles and ice cream and all was forgiven! This tasty treat proved to be the ideal pre-(and post)-race nourishment though we imagine a few backseats needed a bit of cleaning when the day was done. The Parents’ Race is becoming more impressive every year: not because they are getting any faster, it is just the spectator Staff are getting older! (Which explains why the Staff Race itself was cancelled: due to the previous day’s efforts vanquishing (as in ‘drawing with’) the Sixth Years.) Amongst the kids themselves, there were too many inspiring wins (and a few hilarious ‘fails’) to mention any one in particular- except for the Junior Infants doing a spot-on ensemble Forrest Gump impersonation: they took off on their 50 metre dash with enthusiasm, revved it up in the first 10 metres, hit the 25 in good form and were in reasonable condition bearing down on the finish line… but they just didn’t stop! Shocked parents laughed and laughed and then grew a little worried as the little black spots faded over the horizon, so they immediately set off in pursuit- well, after another serving of those Herbots waffles, that is!
Fencing for Free!
Whenever chess makes the headlines, the other great Conlethian tradition, fencing, is sure to follow! Luke Sherlock, Sixth Form and Claudio Sosa, First Year, have both been awarded an Adrian Lee & Partners Fencing scholarship for 2017. Adrian Lee is both a past pupil and a past parent of St. Conleth’s. These scholarships are based solely on competitive fencing performance to date and potential to perform in the future. This annual scholarship covers fencing expenses such as memberships fees, lessons, competition expenses such as entries and transportation. Stay tuned as Luke moves into the Senior School and joins Claudio and other notable fencers such as James Moriarty-Smyth and Michael Li. More medals and trophies are sure to come St. Conleth’s way!
Conlethian Chessmen Making Moves for Ireland!
More great news on the chess front! Both Junior and Senior School teams have been hitting the headlines with regularity this year and now two of our inter-school competition regulars have earned international distinction. Sixth Form Eoin Hunter and First Year Utkarsh Gupta have been selected to play for Ireland in the U-14 section of the annual Glorney Gilbert International – a world renowned tournament which involves the ‘five nations’ of chess: Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and France. The event is being hosted this year by the Welsh Chess Union in Cardiff from the 23rd to the 27th July. It is a great achievement for St. Conleth’s to have two representatives at the international level!
The End of the Debate
Yes, the motion has been carried: St. Conleth’s is the pre-eminent school in the country for student debating. We have seen repeatedly how the Senior School debaters dominate their field, and now the Juniors are starting to do the same. Fifth Year Oisín Dowling, one of our Senior School champion debaters, provides this report on the recent Association of Irish Junior Schools Debate which is always hosted by St. Conleth’s.
On Wednesday, the 10th of May, St. Conleth’s became a proud host for junior debaters, ranging from 10-12 years of age, whom will surely become the leaders of tomorrow. Several primary schools assembled for their various prepared debates on a variety of motions ranging from the serious such as renegotiating voting rights and decisions to arm our police to the outright hypothetical decisions to attend Hogwart’s School for Witchcraft and Wizardry if given the choice and determining once and for all if debates are indeed a waste of time.
The debaters were all judged by veterans of the industry: Conlethians and college students et al were full of congratulations by the end for the talent possessed by the future politicians and barristers. It was unanimously agreed that all competitors have strong debating careers ahead of them. The school wishes also to extend their congratulations to the Alexandra college team that won overall and of course our thanks to Dr. Fallon for organising the tournament and the various staff who ensured all were kept happy during their visit.
First Holy Steps! *(New Photos!)
Second Form’s First Holy Communion took place on a sunny Saturday on May 6th, last. Another first that day was the fact that there were two girls to celebrate the Sacrament that day with the boys in St. Conleths! The girls were beautiful in white dresses alongside the boys in their smart blazers. Our chaplain, Fr. Fachtna celebrated mass in St. Mary’s, Haddington Road, and he has got to know the children as they progressed through the year. Parents, families, godparents, grandparents, teachers and Ms. Ann Sheppard all returned to the school afterwards for a welcome tea/coffee and lovely spread put on by the parents of 3rd Form. A memorable day for all!
The front steps of 28 Clyde Road have always been a favourite spot for the photographic capture of significant moments in the lives of Conlethians but we have to admit that those arrayed in smiling ranks have not always been the purest in mind and motive, such as the Sixth Years pausing briefly after their Graduation ceremony and before a raucous night of celebration. How refreshing to have a chance then to take the snap above, of surely the most angelic boys and girls in Greater Dublin!
Up and Over!
The 2017 AIJS Athletics Meeting was hosted by St Conleth’s in sunny Irishtown Stadium on Wednesday 26th April. Sixteen teams from ten different Junior Schools meant that there were 240 athletes competing on the day, with plenty of support on the sidelines from parents and teachers leading to a great atmosphere for the competitors. In the girls section, Mount Anville and Teresian School had another ding-dong battle this year at the top of the leaderboard with Mount Anville eventually prevailing by a point.
The leading boys team and overall winners was a superbly drilled Castlepark team who eventually pulled well clear of a strong St. Michael’s squad. Hosts St. Conleths had their best ever finish coming in 3rd place in the boys section and 5th out of the 16 teams overall. Well done to Lucas, Joseph and Luke who won gold medals in the high jump, long jump and 5th From 200 metres respectively. Mr. Keenan, aided by an army of parent volunteers, PE staff members and Transition Year conscripts ensured that the meeting was run as efficiently as ever.
No Falling at this Last Fence!
Last Sunday saw the St. Conleth’s fencers foray north for the final competition of the 2016- 2017 Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. Once again, the merry band returned with medals aplenty and trophies galore: In the Under 14 Boys Foil, Claudio Sosa won the Gold and James Moriarty-Smyth took the Bronze, with the pair having met at Semi-Final stage. In the Under 12 Boys Foil, Luke Sherlock won the Gold and in the Under 10 Mixed Foil, Myles Moriarty-Smyth won the Bronze and Matthew Sherlock placed 5th. Well done to the boys (and their tireless parents) on a tremendous year of multiple trophies in multiple countries and the continuation of a proud Conlethian tradition!
The Zorin Brothers: Technology for All!
St. Conleth’s alumni brothers, Kyrill (2012) and Artyom Zorin (2013), were the Wozniak and Jobs of their time when they graced the halls of 28 Clyde Road, winning the Technology Section of the Young Scientist competition and repeatedly amazing their teachers and classmates with their rare combination of technological genius, common sense and honest enthusiasm. Their old school project, Zorin OS, is now a global project and Artyom fills us in on what is happening with our favourite social, digital entrepreneurs:
We’ve been constantly working to make our operating system even better over the past 4 years since we finished school. Kyrill graduated from Trinity this past December, but I decided to defer from university to focus on the business.
After nearly 9 years of development and 12 versions on, Zorin OS is on track to reach its 17 millionth download next week. We have users in homes, schools, businesses and even governments around the world. Last summer we got word that a city in Italy began moving its entire municipality from Windows to Zorin OS. We’re now working on new tools that will allow even more organisations and schools to make the switch to Zorin OS. They will help fund the next phase of our company: building the computing platform for the developing world.
Computers could have an enormous impact on people in countries like India and China. However, the price of traditional PCs have always been out of reach of the people than could benefit from them most.
More importantly than merely creating the most affordable PC on the market, we’re re-imagining its software to be as useful as possible for our users. As most of the people we target won’t have reliable access to the Internet, we’ll be pre-loading the most important parts of the Internet onto the computer itself. They will finally have access to the tools and software to let them work and run their businesses. Even more meaningful will be the educational content shipped with every PC: Wikipedia, videos from Khan Academy, textbooks, resources about health and apps to teach a full school curriculum, just to name a bit.
With this new venture, we want to provide billions of people tools & knowledge with the power to improve their opportunities, their livelihoods and their lives.
For more information on Zorin OS, see the brothers’ website https://zorinos.com or on Facebook: https://zorinos.com.
Well, our Sixth Formers may not quite be members of that mysterious group of elites who secretly control the world but we like to think that they have proven, over the course of the year and especially during their challenging Confirmation preparation course, that they are the best and brightest young Catholic gentlemen around! And let us not forget Agustina, who made history as the first girl ever confirmed at St. Conleth’s. The celebrant of the sacramental mass at St. Mary’s was the Very Reverend Enda Cunningham and the ceremony captured perfectly the significance of this important step in the development of our chosen faith and ethos. James Clancy read a thought-provoking Communion Reflection and he and his classmates gave the occasion its due importance and respect. Afterwards, the party moved to Marco Pierre White’s restaurant in Donnybrook and the select few who made it in to school on Friday were treated to hot chocolate in Insomnia, a rollicking ramble around the city and the Senior School Concert in the afternoon!
Pass that Baton!
Conlethian kids are many things… intelligent, athletic, creative, devilishly handsome, knowledgeable about LOTR and Star Wars trivia… all the important things, but one thing that most of them are not, is shy. Conlethians are always eager to put up their hands (or just call out) when questions are asked or volunteers sought, even if the outcome of said volunteerism is still in doubt. In other words, there is no doubt that if St. Conelth’s was around in 71 BC, Crassus would have had even more work to do after asking, ‘Who is Spartacus?’ Luckily, the questions asked nowadays at St. Conelth’s, not far from the Appian Way, are more like: ‘Who would like to be a guest conductor of the No. 1 Army Band?’ And the response was so overwhelming that a section process was then employed, with Second Year Jack O’Connor correctly guessing the regular conductor’s nation of origin (Australia). Jack was joined by several Junior and Senior School students in taking their turn directing the wind, strings and percussion. Our visitors, from the captain conductor to the fourth trombone, were, as always, friendly, good-humoured and, above all, extremely talented: a credit to an Irish Army institution that dates back to 1923. A brilliant performance, with plenty of booming bass, to stretch the auditorium for the School Concert soon to come!
Only in the Junior School Annual Internal Soccer League could you find a final pairing of Boca Juniors V Falkirk! And the students tried hard to emulate their namesakes, with ‘Falkirk’ playing a rather dour but effective Scottish style and the ‘Boca’ boys opting for samba soccer! Mr. Keenan started with the Prep School in early morning, then 5th and 6th Form mid-morning and 2nd-4th Forms in the afternoon. There were thrills, spills and a few tears and tantrums. Only some players received medals but all received juice and crisps, which made it worthwhile for everyone involved. A big thank-you to Mr. Keenan and the parents who lent a helping hand!
The Offensive Continues!
The Conleth’s fencing contingent has been in action again both domestically and abroad. Saturday 25th March saw James, Myles and Claudio fence in Poland at the Challenge Wratislava. Claudio ended the day ranked a tremendous 30th in the U-13 Boys Foil while James finished 192nd out of the field of 230 fencers. Myles competed in the Under 11s and ranked an impressive 106th out of 172. Seven days later, and all three plus the Sherlock brothers were back on piste, this time competing in the Irish Nation Youth Open held at Loreto Abbey Dalkey and marking the end of the domestic season. Again results were impressive: Myles took Gold in the Mixed Under 10s with Mathew taking Bronze. It was a similar story in the Under 14 Boys with Claudio taking Gold and James the Bronze. Luke finished 6th in the Under 12 Boys category. The St. Conleth’s fencers have once again laid down the gauntlet for the chessmen and the debaters!
A Week in the Life…
… of St. Conleth’s. The pupils and teachers of both the Junior and Senior Schools have us run ragged trying to keep up! Look what they get up to in just a week: Emilio won the St. Conleth’s Spelling Bee and made the 4th Round of the Eason’s Dublin Final, with several classmates in attendance; Our Junior School swimmers competed gamely at the Willow Park Swimming; Mr. Bolger and the TYs began their Green School Re-invogaration programme; Mr. Keenan continued his integration of gymnastics into the PE curriculum; 6th Year took a healthy stroll around Herbert Park and refuelled at Lolly and Cooks; Ms. Long continued to inspire the Juniors in the art room; Mr. Lonergan led his 6th Years on their Geography Fieldwork and Mr. Porzadny encouraged 3rd Forms to get moving in the Conference Room. And stay tuned for the week ahead: more Orals, Confession, Confirmation and the School Spring Concert are all on the agenda!
Port Out, Starboard Home!
The luxurious setting for the Parents Associations Annual Social Event was the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dún Laoghaire and the Conlethian parents came with the fashion to match. The fare was robust as well as genteel with an old-fashioned hog roast the centre-piece (along with Fianna Fáil Councillor and alumnus Frank Kennedy) and an array of haute cuisine making up the surrounding buffet. But the stunning style and gourmet gastronomy were only the appetisers to the real event: the easy, friendly mixing of St. Conleth’s parents and the accompanying conversation and craic. It is no coincidence that the same cozy yet exciting atmosphere is the most defining attribute of the school, itself. Well done to chairmen Peter O’Neill and Michael Mansfield and all the PA Committee members on another smashing success!
What’s All the Hoopla About?
Well, it is about Coach Eoin ‘Noctor J’ and his basketballers, both Junior and Senior School versions, shaking things up on the Irish Schools Basketball scene. We have had the pleasure of attending four different SDBL and Dublin U19 and U16 Finals and our First and Second Year teams are following in their ‘eurosteps’ with Second Years winning a thriller recently in OT and then a close, quality loss by 3 points in the Dublin Plate Final. First Years had a respectable close loss to perennial power Pres.-Bray and are into the SDBL play-off ladder. But most impressive of all was the Junior School’s team victory over Castlepark earlier in the season and then close loss to the same team in the AIJS Tournament Final. We have been going to this tournament for years and this was by far our best finish. Just wait till the new extension is built and we have a full-sized basketball court on which to practice. The boys and girls will be leaping to new heights and shooting out the lights!
Sacraments by Increments
We do not just pay lip service to the sacraments at St. Conleth’s! Yes, there is the social aspect to each step which our children take in the development of their faith, and every family marks these occasions with different emphasis and significance, but as guardians of the progressive Catholic ethos exemplified by our founder, Bernard Sheppard, we make sure each of our sacramental candidates approach these important events with due reverence. Of course, this does not mean it cannot be fun, as any witness to the visits of our friends in the Carmelite Order to our Confirmation class can attest. The Confirmation class (see below) is also very lucky to have Br. Noel and Fr. Jim who visit every Monday morning in the oratory to discuss spiritual matters in a relaxed, peaceful and good-humoured setting.
Continued spiritual guidance from our special visitors, the classroom teachers and the priests of St. Mary’s-Haddington Road has been ongoing since September for Second Form (Communion) and Sixth Form (Confirmation) as they prepare for their respective Sacraments. Recent preparation has included a beautiful Family Mass for Second Form in St Mary’s where the school choir sang beautifully. The Ceremony of Light for Confirmation was performed by Head of Pastoral Care David Hickey and the Conference Room was decorated wonderfully for the occasion (see below). Practice continues for both classes as the Sacrament of Reconciliation takes place in Avila House on the 5th of April with the school choir again accompanying the candidates. The big day fast approaches for Confirmation candidates also as they will walk down St Mary’s Church to meet their families and sponsors on the morning of the 6th of April.
Juniors Over the Fields and Through the Water
Like the speaker in a medieval Irish poem or prayer, our Junior Schoolers have been out in the elements: Our Fifth and Sixth Formers came third in the AIJS Swimming Gala in Castlepark, showing that all hose trips down to Sportsco for Friday Swimming have done more than just fray the nerves of the attendant teachers! And, this being Ireland, running over grass is what we do and Fifth and Sixth Form recently competed in the Parkside Schools Cross Country race in aid of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. A great cause indeed (see letter below) and as you can tell from the photos, there was great craic at both events!
Many thanks again to those who came along on the day, we are delighted to have raised €300 for the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, we couldn’t have done it without your support & participation.
Until next year!
Seachtain Gaeilge, Stíl St. Conleth’s: Píosa a hAon!
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! Both our Junior and Senior School teachers have crammed i bhfad níos mó into 28 Clyde Road, turning it into the Gaeltacht is galánta this side of Carna! The páistí beaga gathered in the Conference Room with Mr. Ahern and Mr. Sheridan, a dynamic duo of Senior and Junior teachers, for Tráth Na gCeist, answering questions (sometimes hilariously) about everything Irish from MacBride to Macklemore while the déagóiríall took part in the traditional poc fada at Herbert Park, a noted gathering spot for dangerous Fenians. Bhí sceitimíní ag teacht ar na déagóirí their own table quizzes on Irish themes and First Years are particularly busy rehearsing with Ms. Fay for a special ‘Busker’s Corner’ on Thursday: Coirnéal na Ceoltóirí Sráide. So stay tuned for more nuacht na hÉireann at St. Conleth’s!
Chess Teams Finish with a Flourish
Gillian O’Leary, chess mom, enthusiast and enabler, reports on the wild weekend which wrapped up the Junior School Chess Team’s season:
Leinster Primary School’s Chess Finals
St. Conleth’s is very proud of its four chess teams who all qualified for the finals of the Leinsters Primary Schools Chess League. In Division 2, the Conleths D team, Alex Corrigan, Charlie Kennedy, Patrick Coleman and Michael Sweeney, put up a brave battle, but were beaten in the quarter finals by Scoil Lorcain. Also, in division 2, the Conleths C team, punched well above their weight! They drew with CUS in the quarter-finals, and went through to the semi-finals on tie-break. In the semi-final, they also drew to the Kildare champions, Two Mile House, but unfortunately, lost out on tie-break. Their final match was against Scoil Lorcain to determine the third and fourth place, and again the C team drew! Another great result, but unfortunately, were pipped into fourth place on tie-break. The team, comprising Richard Caldwell, Luke Sherlock, Jude Moes and Liam Hunter, can be very proud of their achievement. In division 1, the Conleths B team came fifth overall. Andrew Morgan, Louis McGovern, Luke Timlin and Sean Caldwell played really well over the whole season. Only half a point separated 3rd, 4th and 5th positions. This team will be back again next year!
The Conleths A team, Eoin Hunter, Richard Sheahan, Jamie Kennedy and Johnny Corr, had led the table for the season. Their final match was against their chief rivals, St. Mary’s Haddington Road, and it came down to the final match of the league. St. Conleth’s drew the match with St. Marys, but overall, St. Marys had a better final result and won the title. Congratulations to St. Marys! And many congratulations to the A team for a strong, consistent performance over the whole season. A special call-out to Jamie, who won every single one of his matches! A big ‘Thank You’ to all the Mums & Dads and Mr. Kilcommons who came out on Leinster Finals day to support the teams. It was great to have so many supporters on the day, and the boys really appreciated it. A special thanks also to all the Mums who helped out with the transport and supervision of matches during the school term. It would not be possible to have such an active and competitive chess community in St. Conleths without this support. Thank You!
Alex Baburin Team Chess Competition
And if that wasn’t enough chess action for one weekend, St. Conleth’s teams were back in action again on Sunday, 5th March in a team competition run by Alex Baburin. There were four teams from St. Conleths. The Conleths A team, determined to put their runners-up place from yesterday, behind them, went out and stormed to victory with a clean sheet winning all 6 matches. In addition, they took home three board prizes (highest score on the board!) Many congratulations!
Two more Conleth’s teams represented by the Caldwell brothers, Sean and Richard, Jude Moes and Turlough (Dineen) and Charlie Kennedy, Alex Corrigan, Patrick Coleman and Scott Herbots played really well, and finished strongly in a field of 28 teams. A special mention to the team from second class – the future chess stars! Well done to Liam Hunter, David MacNicholas, Harry Groarke and Tadhg O’Connell. The team finished 12th overall, and took home three prizes – best board 1 and board 4 for the younger teams, and runner-up board prize overall for board 1.
All the World’s A Stage…
…when you have a book in your hand! Apparently, reports of the death of the book were greatly exaggerated. Yes, the old dog-eared paperbacks and weighty cloth-bound tomes were missing in action for a while as Kindles and ebooks became all the rage, and dare we say people became more accustomed to reading news feeds, FaceBook posts and tweets than anything with a full sentence, nevermind an actual paragraph. Well, as often the kids have set us right and have led us back to what we were missing: the sales of books (the real ones) are climbing across the globe and credit can be given to events like the Road Dahl Day and the Junior PA Book Sale earlier in the year and the recent World Book Day festivities. For the latter, the Junior School teachers ran a ‘Design Your Own Cover’ competition and the numbers nd quality of entries attest to the enduring love of children for their books. The winners were: JI- Ronan; SI- Alistair; 1st Form-Conor; 2nd- Mohnnad; 3rd- Myles; 4th- Dawson; 5th- Edwin and 6th- Riccardo, but everyone enjoyed the competition and the special awards ceremony in the Conference Room.
Ms. Dillon took the ‘retro’ vibe even further and encouraged her 3rd Form charges to investigate the outdoor games that their parents and grandparents played as kids. The current generation were shocked to learn of the shenanigans such as ‘tag’ and ‘tip-the-can’ which were got up to, with nary a mobile phone or GPS tracer attached! Then Ms. Dillon had them tell each other all about it in our outdoor classroom: yes, that bluish blur on your screen behind the Pokemon really exists, and it is available for unlimited, free download!
Preparations for the annual Past Pupils Dinner is quite similar to those made before the visit of a head of state from a Caucasian ‘republic’: the hedges are clipped back, the recycling bins are surreptitiously emptied into the Dodder, the good silverware is well hidden, extra security cameras are wired up and Willie takes up his customary position on the roof with his high-powered sniper’s rifle. You just do not take chances when this crowd come to town! On a serious note, this year’s dinner will simply not be the same without Mr. Kelleher there to greet every single alumnus by name, cajole them and good-naturedly threaten them with retroactive expulsion. Mr. KDK would be justifiably proud, though, of the record-breaking numbers at this year’s dinner, many no doubt coming to mark the passing of ‘Mr. St. Conleth’s.’ Ronan O’Kelley has been keeping his Thatcherite schedule compiling lists, making mildly threatening Tweets and rolling his eyes when another current teacher joins the ‘comped’ list. Surely it will all be okay on the night and rumours that ‘The ROK’ plans on sitting ‘Black’ Tom Moylan and those troublesome 2007s out in the gazebo are just that… for now! Well the first salvo of polite applause for this year’s guest speaker is just hours away but until then amuse yourself with these class photos of Conlethians in those halcyon, hirsute days:
Making that Move to Primary School?
All future (and potential) Junior School parents are invited to the school on Monday for a special talk by Arthur Godsil on that significant first step into formal education: the move into primary or junior school. Mr. Godsil is the principle power behind Godsil Education (link), Ireland’s premier educational consultancy. A frequent media commentator, keynote presenter and consultant on international and domestic educational matters, Mr. Godsil is committed to a strengths-based educational philosophy and has a unique perspective on the pressures and opportunities which are encountered by both child and parent as they negotiate that first significant educational transition. Our Junior School Principal, Mr. Tony Kilcommons, and our Preparatory School Principal, Dolores Kelly, will join Arthur in presenting the St. Conleth’s model within this broader context and in answering specific questions which parents may have about the school years ahead.
Chess Champs? Four Teams into Finals!
All four St. Conleth’s Junior School Chess teams have qualified for the finals! Just when the debaters have established a firm rhetorical grip on the headlines, the Chess boys come back fighting proving that we are All-Ireland class in at least these two extracurricular activities!
The two teams in division one will have two matches each on Finals Day, whereas the two teams in Division 2 are in a knock-out competition. All quarter-finalists in Division 2 will receive medals. Well done to all teams on their achievements so far! Here are the final standings of the Primary Chess Leagues, along with the schedule for Finals day on Saturday 4th March. A big ‘thank-you’ to Gillian O’Leary and all the other parents who help keep such a busy chess schedule rolling and Baburin Incorporated for instilling some of those Grandmaster-type moves!
Conor White: St. Conleth’s Chuck Norris?
Back in the days before our culture evolved to the heights of meme creation, we used to pass around little ironic jokes that made us feel smart and smile. Sometimes we even said these jokes face-to-face, and not on Skype or Facetime. A common theme was the omnipotence of certain individuals: Demba Ba and Chuck Norris most notably. Well, if anyone deserves to make that a trinity of awesomeness, especially from a Conlethian perspective, it is Conor White… and in this case, drop the irony. Conor White can actually unscramble eggs. And, yes, Conor White did count to infinity… twice. When he was serving as School Captain in 2014-2015, the administration basically turned the keys over to him and he ran the school. Apparently, UCD has now done the same: he was recently spotted showing the infamous Jean-Claude Trichet around UCD… and giving him tips about post-Brexit fiscal policy. Somehow, perhaps through the saintly power of bi-location, Conor also found time to run our Debating Seminar for incoming Senior School students and coach Fifth Year duo Harry Mansfield and Tomás Clancy into the Oxford Schools Debating Finals. Oh yes, he also picked up his Ad Astra award, the prestigious scholarship for academic excellence, university involvement and leadership. Just another week for Conor White, the only man on earth who can speak Braille…and make onions cry…and make a snowman out of rain…
Peace Proms Profundity!
At St. Conleth’s, students, teachers and parents often share in the enjoyment of a school event but rarely have we seen a ‘feel-good factor’ to the extent of that which was generated over the weekend by the Junior School Choir’s participation in the Peace Proms at the RDS. Primary kudos must go to Ms. Eimar Hartnett, who worked tirelessly in the weeks leading up to the event, getting the boys and girls pitch perfect. The class teachers and parents also pitched in, making sure all the young choristers got to their many practice sessions. And of course, the students themselves: they put in the ‘overtime’ to get there, and on the day they pulled a ‘Tom Brady’ and nailed it. Granted, there was a mood that could best be described as ‘pleasantly somnambulant’ in the Junior School on Monday morning, but it was certainly well-earned and well-deserved! Proud Parent Michael Sheahan describes what it was like to be there on Sunday night:
A memorable nigh! 2000 children singing together on stage, from 52 school choirs, including St. Conleths JS Choir, an orchestra, pipers, drummers, dancers and a capacity crowd of 4000 in the RDS on Sunday night. A 2 hour avalanche of sound, excitement and sheer joy. I dont think those present will ever forget the experience. Well done to Noelle for suggesting Conleth’s involvement, to Mr K, Ms Kelly, and Kathrin for looking after our boys on the night, but especially to Eimar Hartnett who has done wonders with this choir in such a short time…PS I was not crying all through “Heal the World” and “Ireland’s call”..it was just some dust in my eye or something..
Are You Ready for Chess and Debating in Secondary School?
Chances are that if you are a Fifth or Sixth Class student, you are a bit nervous about making that transition into secondary school, and if you are not, your parents certainly are! You have already seen our Guide to First Year. Now we are running two seminars on Senior School activities for 5th and 6th Class Conlethians who plan on attending our Senior School and those from other primary schools who are interested. And we have chosen two activities which have become synonymous with St. Conleth’s: Debating and Chess.
First up, this Saturday, February 4th, 12:00-14:00, is our ‘Introduction to Debating and Public Speaking’. If you know St. Conleth’s at all, you know that we have dominated Irish school debating for the last decade decade and a half, winning multiple Leinster and All-Ireland titles and basically serving as a feeder school for the Irish Student Debating Team. Read all about our recent rhetorical exploits here but register for Saturday’s workshop to get hands-on instruction from two of our most decorated debating alumni.
Then, on Saturday, February 11th, 12:00 to 2:00, Grandmaster Alex Baburin will lead the St. Conleth’s College Secondary School Chess Workshop. Alex has been representing Ireland as its No. 1 ranked chess player for years, and he has also been passing on those skills to our Juniors as an after-school Chess teacher. The fact that St. Conleth’s Junior School are current Leinster and All-Ireland Chess Champions attests to his talent and teaching ability. Now, in this seminar, Alex will demonstrate how moving to secondary school affects your chess game (and vice versa!).
St. Conleth’s Senior School is a greta place to be and debating and chess play big parts in the fun and the learning experience!
All Aboard for the Parents’ Social Event!
St. Conleth’s parents are tireless in their support of the school, from concerts to fundraisers to chaperoning excursions to classroom presentations, and they deserve a night of their own, where they can just enjoy each other’s company and perhaps do a wee bit of networking. Our intrepid PA Chairmen, Peter O’Neill and Michael Mansfield, have arranged a Social Event on March 24th for both Junior and Senior School Parents in the salubrious setting of the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Judging by the mouth-watering details below, it seems sure to be a hit and places are limited, so buy your tickets early (through Easypayments) to assure your place.
And here are some pics from last year’s event. Don’t miss out on the fun!
Young Knights of St. Conleth’s
You have to admit: the fencing crowd comes up with some pretty wicked names for their competitions and trophies. This past weekend, for example, the Conlethian contingent of young fencers were competing in the ‘Excalibur Cup’. How cool is that? You surely feel more Harry Pottery or Tolkienesque competing for the Excalibur Cup, rather than the Johnstone Paint Trophy, for instance, or dare I say, the Vinnie Murray Cup. And as is becoming quite the norm, the St. Conleth’s cohort of fencers left the Excalibur Cup with a considerable collection of trophies and medals (and a good bit of swag):
Under 10 Mixed Foil: Myles Moriarty-Smyth- Bronze Medal, Mathew Sherlock- 7th Place
Under 12 Mixed Foil: Luke Sherlock-Gold Medal
Under 14 Mixed Foil: Claudio Sosa-Gold Medal, James Moriarty-Smyth-Bronze Medal
With the St. Conleth’s Past Pupil’s Dinner just around the corner (March 3rd: tickets), we thought this might be the appropriate time to catch up with two particular alumni, or alumnae if you will, who reached new heights in their respective careers in 2016. And with St. Conleth’s quickly becoming fully co-educational, what better role models for the school’s current girls than two women who walked the same hallways, learned in the same classrooms and laughed at the similar buffoonery of their male peers? They come from two very different disciplines, Classics and Engineering, but perhaps that too is a credit to their alma mater, where both sides of the brain are nourished and the only truly required course is having an open mind.
Diana Spencer, St. Conleth’s Class of 1987 and Professor of Classics & Dean of Liberal Arts at the University of Birmingham, delivered her Inaugural lecture “What I found there: Reading Classical Landscapes” (video). This is just the latest academic honour for Diana, who studied at Trinity College, the University of London and Cambridge University after leaving St. Conleth’s and has already forged a spectacular career in the Classics (bio). On hand in Birmingham to hear Diana’s lecture and celebrate with her was none other than Peter Gallagher, St. Conleth’s principal emeritus. Peter is busy himself these days as a practicing barrister but it may well have been one of those riveting History or Latin classes of his that helped first send Diana down the Appian Way.
Dervilla Mitchell CBE, Class of 1976 and a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of Engineers Ireland, was awarded an honorary Degree of Doctor of Science by UCD (link). Dervilla has been committed to addressing the gender balance in science, engineering and technology throughout her career. It would be a topic she knows something about: when she graduated from UCD with a BSc Engineering in 1980, she was one of only four women in a graduating year of 200! In 2014, Engineers Ireland awarded Dervilla with the ESB Outstanding Contribution to Engineering Award. In 2011, she received the Women of Outstanding Achievement Award for Inspiration and Leadership in Business and Industry. Dervilla was also her company’s design management lead for Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 project, the largest construction project in Europe at the time, and is currently the company’s project director on the £2 billion Abu Dhabi Midfield terminal development.
So, whether it is in the landscapes of ancient Rome or on the infrastructure of the contemporary Middle East, you will find Conlethian women at work!
On That Point!
We teachers at St. Conleth’s should get extra battle pay, but not quite for the same reason that they pay a bonus to the brave souls who venture into the toughest schools in the toughest slums of Chicago or Baltimore; rather, we should get some ‘encouragement’ money for facing the mighty rhetorical weaponry of some of these Conlethian student debaters. They may save their most impressive ‘Points of Information’ and bits of rebuttal for the prestigious competitions, but it is in classroom discussions where they sharpen those points and tip-toe along the line between enthusiastic participation and barracking! Ah well, it is all for the best and I guess we can put up with the thesis-length response to ‘Did you do your homework?’ if it helps our debaters to continue to dominate all the significant competitions.
You read here earlier how Frank Knowles and Joe Downey have qualified for the prestigious Cambridge International Debate Final. Now they have gone through as a team into the Leinster Finals of the Junior School Mace Competition, which will be held at St. Conleth’s March 3rd. They will be joined, as an individual qualifier, by James Hastings-Raftery, who once famously responded to a request to move his chair in After-School Study with a diatribe about ‘the modes of production and bourgeois control of proletarian freedom of movement’. On the Senior level, Harry Mansfield and Tomás Clancy have gone through to the Semifinals of the Leinster Schools, with Conor Power, Oisin Dowling and Simon Pettitt qualifying as Individuals. Other schools would break out the band and slaughter the fatted calf for such accomplishments, but at St. Conleth’s we simply expect such a level of excellence. A big part of that confidence is the way in which Debating Moderator Mr. Carvill brings back decorated alumni debaters as coaches: currently Conor White and Daniel Gilligan are whipping them (just rhetorically, we assume) into parliamentary shape while pursuing their own debating careers at the third level. Daniel has just qualified for the Finals of the Irish Times Debate, the pre-eminent third level debating completion in the country. Past competitors include many Conlethian alumni, most notably Liam Trophy who talked away with the trophy in 2013.
DELF Days Are Here Again!
Is that a whiff of Chanel mixing with the scent of curry wafting from the cafeteria? Did a well-dressed and stylishly-coiffed professeur just douse her cigarette and sweep through reception en route to the Conference Room? If so, it can only mean one thing: DELF days are here again!
Prendre le train en marche? Yes, schools all over the country are ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ and getting into ‘DELF’ these days, but do remember that St. Conleth’s was the first school in Ireland to have its students sit this prestigious French exam. Mr. Porzadny and Ms. Crowley worked tirelessly with Nathalie-Zoé Fabert , the Attachée de Coopération pour le Français en Irlande, to complete the quintessentially French labyrinth of paperwork to bring the DELF to St. Conleth’s last year and they made Trojan efforts again this week, and to be fair to the Transition Years, they responded to their teachers’ efforts and enthusiasm in kind, displaying both zeal and talent on the written and oral exams. Soon we will have the results and a little soirée to celebrate!
The Three Conlethians!
You have heard of ‘The Three Tenors’ and maybe even ‘The Three Priests’, Irish singers who have taken the vocal world by storm: well… here come the three Conlethians! Milan Moran and Edwin Dabsevicius of Fifth Form and Ben O’Brien of Sixth Form will soon be receiving their Bronze medals in a ceremony at the Pro-Cathedral for their musical study as choristers.
The boys will proceed to study for the Silver next as you only do the exams from Bronze through to Gold as you progress. Of course you can soon hear these three, as well as the whole Junior School Choir, under the direction of Ms. Hartnett at their upcoming Peace Proms performance.
A Guide to First Year at St. Conleth’s
Whenever we wield our camera through the hallowed halls of St. Conleth’s, all the teachers sensibly dive for cover but most of the students flock to the lens like moths to a flame. There are, of course, some kids are on the shy side (less and less very year…) but they are able to quietly slip away as their classmates begin to struggle for prime ‘dabbing’ position, all of which makes life difficult for the teacher whose class we have interrupted but quite easy for the aspiring photojournalist! Attached here is the newest version of the First Year Guide, a little publication we issue to incoming First Year students and their parents to provide them with the essential but perhaps not obvious information for those exciting but potentially stressful first days of secondary school. It will also be of interest to current First Year parents: they can see what has been going on this year and the pics will surely serve as cherished mementos (and perhaps for blackmail) in years to come!
The Offensive Continues…
Our fencers obviously did not fill up on too many mince pies this Christmas break, as they have picked up right where they left off in 2016, parrying and pointing their way up the Irish ranks. Robert Smyth reports: Saturday saw the St. Conleth’s fencing contingent head North once more, this time for Round 3 of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. As is customary, they returned with a fine hoard of medals: Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Bronze in the Mixed Under 10s, with Luke Sherlock and Claudio Sosa taking Gold in Under 12 and Under 14 Boys respectively. Mathew Sherlock attained 7th place in Mixed Under 10s while James Moriarty-Smyth ended the day in 5th spot, narrowly missing medal position in Under 14 Boys: a tremendous result given his recent six week stint on crutches!
Fun with Science!
Sixth Form may have done the hard work but all the Junior classes enjoyed their visits to the Young Scientists this year. See some snaps below of Ms. Dillon’s Third Form’s action-filled visit and the now famous pics of our very own Lucila enjoying some hands-on science fun with her family.
Missionaries of Chess at the YS!
Sixth Form did St. Conleth’s very proud at the Young Scientist Primary Science Fair, adding a special participation award to their already groaning Chess trophy shelf. Parent Michael Sheahan reports that the boys involved demonstrated their project professionally and confidently at a very busy stand and were friendly and informative to all their many visitors, including numerous fellow Conlethians and their families. It was great to see such competitive and tactically aggressive chess players showing their softer, more co-operative side! And their judge’s comments left no doubt to how impressed he was: ‘I really enjoyed this project. The question was really interesting as I do not play chess but would love to. Your productions and reporting of your findings was great. The testing you carried out was so resourceful and having a chess grandmaster in your corner was amazing! Your use of photo recording, observation, testing and data gathering was superb. Your project was so ‘hands on’! I found your presentation very clear and easy to understand. Your verbal explanation was excellent. It might have been interesting to have compared a delayed questionnaire a week or so after the lesson. Thanks to your teacher, your parents and yourselves as pupils for taking part and representing your school so well! Well done!”
Check out the boys’ project in their own words here and see some pics of their exhibition below:
Mock Exams! Communion! Basketball! Put These In Your Diary!
As always, you can check our Events section for all the regular and special events that make up the typical busy week at St. Conleth’s, but as there are loads of Communion and other events on the way, we have also updated the one-page Junior School Calendar which can be found here or under ‘Calendar + Information’. An updated Senior one will soon follow but here is the list of remaining Senior School basketball fixtures and, of course, the schedules for the Mock Exams are also of great interest (and dread). They can be found under ‘Calendar + Information’ as well as here (JC, LC) and below:
SCT Hold Heads High in Loss to CUS
To be fair, the final score actually flattered CUS. Yes, they were the bigger team in both individual size and pool numbers and, yes, they played good clean rugby, passing on the run (occasionally forwardly) and contesting the scrum with considerable strength and technique, but 47-7 does not tell the true tale of a well-played, competitive match of schools rugby which did the august setting of Donnybrook Stadium and both schools proud. We are in the midst of a ‘rebuilding year’, having lost so many essential players of last year’s championship squad to graduation, while CUS are at the cusp of a recent surge of development and are favoured to go far in this tournament and these facts showed on the day: they seemed to have an endless, interchangeable set of forward-sized backs and even bigger forwards rolling on-and-off the pitch as our boys manfully sucked it up and battled on, proving that heart and fighting spirit are not measurable in inches and stones.
Early on we seemed a bit nervous, perhaps as it has been a while since we have had a competitive match. Two tries went over for them and the threat of a rout loomed clearly on the cold horizon. But Captain Ross Murphy settled the side with his words of encouragement and strong play and his guided missile Colin Duffy and hitman Oisín Allen started whacking their counterparts into the French cheese section of Donnybrook Fair. In the second half, we began to tire and the CUS section of the crowd was baying for blood but our many supporters, including plenty of Junior School kids and nearly the whole Class of 2016, rose up as one and willed the team to a stirring try, with Mati Remi touching down with minutes to go after a true team effort marching up the pitch. Our Sixth Years certainly led the way, but there were plenty of signs of maturing and emerging talent, from Gavin Nugent’s emphatic open-field tackle through Joe Hyland’s scintillating runs to PJ Terry’s pony-tailed daring on the wing. Gavin and the boys walked off the pitch disappointed but with heads held high and it is clear that St. Conleth’s Rugby is in a very good place going forward, indeed.
Proving that the generosity of their spirit is as great as their tactical genius, our reigning All-Ireland Junior School champions decided to create a Young Scientist research project about the mysteries and realities of learning the noble game. All of Sixth Class united behind their champions and together they came up with a fascinating science project. You can read the boys’ own detailed summary here while proud chess parent Michael Sheahan gives us the nuts and bolts below, and until we have pics from the Young Scientists’ exhibition, enjoy some of the highlights of St. Conleth’s Junior Chess’s incredible accomplishments last year!
Can you learn to play chess in 30 minutes? As Conleths have dominated primary schools chess in Ireland in recent years a chess themed young scientist project seemed apt. find out on Saturday in the RDS when sixth form present the results of their groundbreaking research. 16 Conleths parents, 1 brave teacher, and 17 children (2nd-6th) volunteered to get a 30 minute lesson from one of the school chess team from 6th. How much they learned was then measured in a 25 question exam. The results were very interesting! Did males or females do better? Adults or kids? Visit our stand in the primary schools section on Saturday between 9.30 and 4 and ask lots of questions!
Jude Moes Floats Like A Butterfly!
The rumours about a roof-top swimming pool being part of the next phase of development at St. Conleth’s are fascinating and probably baseless but do we really need our own pool? The longstanding tradition of bringing our Junior School students down to Sportsco in Ringsend for swimming every Friday seems to do just fine in churning out multitudes of children with respect, ability and affinity for the water and quite a few top class competitive swimmers. At the recent Leinster Minor Schools Gala, Jude Moes swam two events and earned personal best times in both. In the 50m backstroke, he fell a few tenths of a second short of qualifying for the All-Irish Gala, but he did qualify in the 50m Butterfly. He’ll swim the All Irish Minor Schools gala on Feb 12th. Luke Timlin was unable to attend last weekend but we are sure he will soon be back in the pool and join Jude as the latest Conlethians to make a splash on the national swimming scene!
SCT Set for Historic Cup Match!
We knew that matching last year’s ‘golden season’ would be an impossible task for this year’s edition of the Ballsbridge Motors-sponsored SCT and, frankly, we had worries that there would be a rather sudden ‘crashing back to earth’ after the giddy heights of 2015-2016. We lost a veritable pantheon of rugby gods by name of Dolan, Pogatchnick, Doggett et al and we knew that his time around everyone would be ready for us… and eager to put us back in our supposed place! But Gav Maguire and the boys in black and green have confounded expectations by having a very strong year and now take another historic first step for St. Conleth’s rugby, as the man himself explains:
This years SCT have done fantastically well this season. They are the first St. Conleth’s SCT team to pre-qualify for the Vinnie Murray Cup. Their first round game is against CUS at 4pm in Donnybrook on Thursday 12th January. Captain Ross Murphy and the team would really appreciate as much support as they can get, so please if you are free please make the short stroll to Donnybrook Stadium. Last year there was a great atmosphere at the three games we had there and we would like to replicate it again. Admission is €2 per student and €5 per adult. Coach Gavin Maguire.
Prep School’s Nativity Play: Simply Beautiful
After the highfalutin drama, dance and comedy of The Lemonade Kid, it was back to basics with the Preparatory School’s version of the Nativity story (programme), but the simple elegance of the production proved that Howe, Hartnett et al are just adept at staging the timeless classics as the avant garde! Ms. Kelly’s charges were all suited up in exquisite costumes (thanks, parents!) and the assorted kings, angels, shepherds and the members of the Holy Family all performed with spirit and grace, bringing smiles and laughter to those assembled in our beautifully decorated hall. The Junior School Choir was also on hand to bring a fitting, perfectly pitched close to the term and our Christmas celebrations.
Yee-Haw! ‘The Lemonade Kid’ is a Smash Hit!
When Pat Howe swaggers into saloons in the wilds of South County Dublin, other drama teachers dive for cover as they know he is the rootinest, tootinest stage school top gun this side of the Shannon… even Billy ‘The Kid’ Barry was known to give Pat plenty of room if they happened to meet head-on in a dusty lay-by or the RTE canteen. And who is always tinkling the ivories and sorting out the notes, high and low, for the young guns? None other than Ms. Hartnett whose delicate playing belies the sternness of a true lawman when in pursuit of the perfect harmony. Well, along with the amazing painted scenery of Ms. Long and her student artists, the tireless assistance of all the individual class teachers and all the little gunslingers and arrow-launchers, these two managed to produced an awesome show which was pitch-perfect, full of guffaws and gushes and kept all and sundry on the edge of their seats from the first gunshot to the last yodel. Broadway surely beckons but we hope to hang onto our talented two at least as long as the summer spectacular. It will certainly be difficult to top the Lemonade Kid!
See the full Ms. Dillon-produced programme here and the Ms. Leary and Mr. Gallagher-taken pics below.
The kids know it… formally loquacious teachers who previously lectured continuously (if tangentially) for the full forty minutes of every class are now staring blankly ahead at a place somewhere between the tops of their charges’ well-coiffed heads and phantasms of Aunt Hilda’s much-desired tiramisu until the rescue of the nervous cough… others are referring insistently to students by the names of their long-graduated older brothers or even fathers… some are even drifting back to their own Christmas schooldays and warning recalcitrants that Sr. Bathilda awaits down the hallway, ruler in hand…yes, Christmas is almost here and everyone who is over the age of 17 and not teaching differential equations is suffering from….Christmas Brain! Luckily there is still a lot to do to help keep us focused, especially for the music teachers: Ms. Fay is doing Trojan work readying Senior School singers and musicians for our Christmas Carol service on Wednesday and Mr. Howe and Ms. Hartnett are working tirelessly with the Junior School’s acting and vocal talents in preparation for Wednesday’s premiere of The Lemonade Kid and Thursday’s nativity play. Of course, regular classes are still going on (especially for exam years) but everyone is getting a special Christmas day trip, whether it is go-Karting, bowling or the cinema. Photos are sure to arrive soon but in the meantime check out these snapshots of what is going on regarding our festive preparations:
Christmas is in their Sights!
Mr. TK gives us the run-down on all the Junior School Christmas barn-raisin’ and crop-dustin’:
Our Christmas assembly hosted by 3rd Form in the music room last week officially kicked off the Christmas period in the JS. Pupils read out interesting historical nuggets about the origins of Christmas interspersed with rousing renditions of Christmas favourites accompanied by Ms. Hartnett on the piano.
· The school choir have a heavy workload as many members have big parts in the Christmas show as well as preparing for carol singing at the Prep School concert. They also have to prepare their medley of song for the Peace Proms concert in the RDS on February 5th.
In a bid to try not to overdose on all things Christmassy, the Junior School is swapping Christmas hats for Stetsons and candy canes for six-shooters as they put the final touches on their big show – The Lemonade Kid- a raucous wild west musical extravaganza. To keep in the spirit of the season, the Prep School are busy putting the finishing touches on their nativity play.
· In a break from tradition. The Lemonade Kid is taking place after school on Wednesday 21st December at 5pm. All 99 cast members will stay after school to get ready so a long day is anticipated for staff and pupils alike. That leaves the limelight free for the Prep school the next day- Thu 22nd– their play beginning at 10:30pm.
· Raffle tickets will be sold at both shows with the draw taking place for hamper prizes at the end of the nativity play. This should bring us to 12:00 and the official start of the school holidays.
Happy Christm… ouch! Fencers Not Quite in Holiday Mode
It is the time of year when we are cheery with everyone: we actually discuss the weather with strangers at bus-stops, indulgently sign away our future earnings on a direct debit to ‘Save the Arctic Fox’ and let bygones be bygones with the in-laws… until that fourth mug of fortified egg-nog. That is unless you are a St. Conleth’s fencer: for these boys, the giving season is still on hold, unless you mean the ‘giving’ of a foil point in your armpit! Here is a report from Robert Smyth on the St. Conleth’s young fencers’ latest moves:
Last Saturday saw the St. Conleth’s contingent once again head north, this time to partake in Round 2 of the NI Junior Foil Series. Medals for the Senior School abounded as Luke Sherlock and Claudio Sosa respectively took Gold in the Boys Under 12 and Under 14 Foil. Mathew Sherlock and Myles Moriarty-Smyth fought valiantly to preserve Junior School honour, which was preserved by Myles taking Bronze once again in the Mixed Under 10s. Older brother James was hors de combat courtesy of injury incurred on the rugby field but he proved his coaching potential by guiding his sibling throughout the day!
One More Sleep! The St. Conleth’s TY Christmas Fair & Tree Sale Is Tomorrow!
It’s tomorrow! Only one sleep till the St. Conleth’s Christmas Fair this Saturday, from 9 to 5! Tell your friends, family, neighbours… tell everybody!
It’s that time of year. Christmas and the holiday beckon. But first, thanks to the TY students and the elves of the Parent’s Association, there’s the matter of the Christmas Fair & Tree Sale!
Saturday 10th of December is the date. The trees are on their way, more than 120 of them, ranging in size from 3 to 14 feet. Posters have gone out to the local community; to businesses and householders. Wreaths, Poinsettas, Tree Stands, Foodstalls, TY mini-businesses, free tea and coffee and the ever popular Waffles are all in the works, waiting for parents, friends and students alike.
This is an ideal opportunity to source a Christmas Tree and to assist the school in funding a worthy charity.
Since 2010, St. Conleth’s has worked directly with the Kitatya Secondary School in Uganda, and last year with the Ever Green National school in Minali, India. More than €35,000 has been raised through the Tree Sale. On behalf of the whole St Conleths community this money has been used to fund a diverse range of projects including solar power, staff accommodation, livestock development and educational subsidies for local children who would otherwise not be able to access education.
Students have raised their own funds to travel to the schools, to live within their communities and to exchange learning in language and culture. The effect of these wonderful journeys has been profound and lasting.
A lot of organisation goes into the fair and it would be remiss not to thank the students both for their work so far and for what’s to come, all of the teachers who have given so much help, especially Mr Trenier, Ms Long and Ms Killen and the members of the parents’ committee.
So please. Come along to the sale on Saturday 10th December. We’ll help you find the right tree, drill it, net it and even deliver it if you like. If you already have your tree, come anyway, have a cuppa and a bite – and bring a few euros!
Boat-building and sailing have been long engrained in this island nation’s consciousness but our kids are more inclined to explore more digital frontiers. Mr. Kilcommons managed to unite the best of the old and new as he arranged a Skype meeting with a real-life nautical adventurer:
Our 5th and 6th Form had the wonderful experience of participating in a Skype call to Enda O Coineen, skipper of the Kilcullen Voyager Team who is in the middle of an attempt to have an Irish sailor complete the ultimate in sailing tests – The Vendée Globe. The Kilcullen Team is sponsored by Ballsbridge Motors (sponsors of our Senior Cup Rugby team) who also organised this event. Only about 100 people have ever completed the race and no Irish person has ever managed it. This is seen as being the best chance for an Irish sailor to complete this non-stop, unassisted, extreme race around the globe. Neil from Kilcullen Voyager Team set up the skype call to Enda and we met him with the wind very definitely at his back somewhere in the Southern Ocean racing at high speed. He patiently fielded many questions from our pupils who seemed strangely preoccupied with his toilet routine onboard. Current Irish Sailing Oppy champion Russel Bolger got right down to brass tacks and asked him in what position he was in the race (19thout of 25 boats.) Enda admitted to feeling isolated but not alone as he had already covered 8000 nautical miles, instead of us trying to entertain Enda however, he took out his tin whistle and played us a lively tune from the West of Ireland, much to the delight of everyone in the conference room. Enda is a real character and we wish him the very best in his attempt. His new fans here in St Conleth’s can now track his progress every day in school. The best of luck to Enda.
Mr. Keenan, a Manchester trip stalwart, was thrilled to be back on the proper (red) side of Manchester, even though the match was on a Thursday night and we all know what that means… especially you Liverpool fans! And our Junior School Principal (and the world’s biggest Ryan Giggs fan), Tony Kilcommons, claimed that the ferry takes a little bit longer each year but we think he is just getting a little bit older. Rumours that he wants to add a trip to Parkhead next year (i.e. coach ride to Belfast and ferry to Glasgow) are unconfirmed. Here is his enthusiastic if a bit bleary-eyed report:
5th and 6th Form embarked on their annual pilgrimage to Manchester last week. After gorging on the caviar of Champions League and Barcelona and Bayern in the Etihad for the past two years, it was back to the meat and two veg of Old Trafford on a Thursday night for Europa League action against the might of Feyenoord. Feyenoord are no Barcelona and even Wayne Rooney and Henrich Mikhtaryan managed to get on the scoresheet in a routine 4-0 victory. Mr Keenan and the other three United fans in the party of 47 were nonetheless delighted. For the majority, the match itself was of lower importance in the grand scheme of things. Sugar intake seemed to be the priority for the 5th Formers from early to stockpile energy resources for the long day ahead. Excitement seemed to get the better of many of them and no amount of sweets could replenish the energy spent exploring every square inch of the ferry and Trafford Centre (no mean feat!) The efforts made by some of our pupils to stay awake for the entire 24 hours were truly heroic and if all-nighters are needed for college exams later in their life, they have shown serious potential. Roll on next year and hopefully the Etihad, the chances of Champions League football in Old Trafford look more remote by the day!
Class of 2016 Clean Up At Trinity and UCD!
We know we punch above our weight in rugby and the recent run by our basketball teams is certainly pleasing the bookies, but where we really annoy the actuaries (some of them our own alumni) is with our academic results. You have already seen our PPU-produced chart with all the percentages but just recently there was even more tangible evidence of St. Conleth’s academic prowess: Last week, Mr. ODulaing sat down for lunch with Paddy Cahill (Economics and Finance), Sean Frison-Roche (Medicine) and Harvey Gleeson (Science) at UCD, where they were awarded Entrance Scholarships for their excellent LC results. This week, Mr. ODulaing sampled the wine and hors d’oeuvres at Trinity College where he joined Exhibition Award winners Phillip O’Hanrahan (History and Politics) and Simon Ghose (Computer Science). Our other Entrance Award winners, Daniel Gilligan (Law and Politics) and Paul Mooney (Science) were unfortunately off debating the Trumpian political landscape and studying recombinant DNA, respectively. So, that’s 7 entrance scholars from 52 graduates… ‘Small enough to care, large enough to challenge’…indeed!
Book Fair Fun!
We only stopped in at the Junior School Parent Association’s Book Fair for a few minutes but it was long enough to be literally overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and energy of our students as they engaged in a book selecting, buying and reading frenzy! Luckily some dutiful and friendly parents were on hand to prevent a riot! Loads of books were sold, filling the school’s literacy coffers, and as you can see form these snaps, lots of fun was certainly had. Well done to the Parents Association for doing their part to keep books in their children’s classrooms and lives.
…and it’s Good!
Can you imagine the pressure on young Liam Reilly’s shoulders as he lined up his conversion attempt in the waning seconds of the JCT’s first Cup match of the season? The distance was considerable, the angle was ridiculous and hopes were perhaps unrealistically high… After all, the team had just fought back from a rough start with a tremendous second-half rally against an ostensibly superior team, capped by Craig Davis’s scintillating pitch-length run and try. Surely, St. Conleth’s would walk away as they often had in the past, taking pride in a job well-done: the moral victors but not the actual victors… But something happened last year when Gav Maguire’s SCT won a historic treble of titles and scared the bejesus out of several traditional rugby ‘powers’, galvanising our sporting spirit: St. Conleth’s rugby are no longer just the plucky little guys who play stylish, inspiring rugby but inevitably bow to greater size and numbers. St. Conleth’s now play stylish, inspiring rugby… and run over you en route to the try-line and then stick a dagger in your team’s heart with a soaring, time-stopping touchline conversion! Full credit to St. Columba’s for playing the game right and accepting the result like the young gentlemen that they are, but let us rejoice with Coaches Louis Magee and Jonathan Ingles and the whole team, and especially Craig and Liam. They are surely destined for even greater feats in sports and in life, but we will never forget this one that they so heroically provided: one afternoon in November in Ballsbridge when the underdog team fought back against the odds, scored a memorable injury-time try…and the kick was good!
Civil War: Junior School Chess Teams Face-Off!
The action in the Leinster chess leagues is certainly coming to the boil in the Junior School as our A team, current Leinster champions face their first potential banana skin in their quest to retain their title; namely our school B team who also operate in Division 1 and would dearly love to take a famous scalp. Staff and pupils alike will try to stay neutral even if there is a natural inclination to root for the underdog on these occasions. The two teams face off in the conference room on Tuesday 15th at 2pm. By 3pm we will know if the natural order of chess in the school has been overturned. Our C and D team are also in action this week as they host Gorey A and B teams. The best of luck to all involved and while you wait for the results, enjoy some pics of our chess action from last year:
Old-Fashioned Fun: Real Books for Sale!
Is your child’s letter to Santa full of requests for digital products or the screens on which to play them? Well, Santa and his reindeer may appreciate the fact that a downloaded game weighs considerably less than a bowling ball, but parents may want to supplement St. Nick’s deliveries, digital or otherwise, with some old-fashioned fun: real books, and some made of paper, no less! The annual Scholastic Book Fair run by the Junior School Parents Association begins tomorrow, Monday the 14th of November. The book stalls will be open from :
Monday, 8am to 9am , 1.30pm to 3.15pm
Tuesday 8am to 9am1.30pm to 3.15pm
Wednesday 8am to 9am
We would ask parents to support the book fair as the money raised is used to purchase books for the school literacy programme. Look at the fun our students had at the fair last year:
Fencing, Here and There!
The half-term closed with Maître David Couper, with the able assistance of Michael Li, our Senior School Fencing Captain, supervising the first instalment of the all-new St. Conleth’s Fencing League. Michael, recently awarded the coveted ‘Bronze Blade’, was the most senior fencer in action but he was joined by enthusiastic boys and girls from Sixth Class through Sixth Year. The League consists of a series of competitions to be held each term, culminating in a Grand Prix at the end of the school year. And, further afield, the St. Conleth’s younger fencers were once again in action over the midterm break. Last Saturday witnessed the opening round of the 2016 -2017 Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series, with medals aplenty for both the Junior and Senior School contingents. Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Bronze in the Mixed Under 10s; Luke Sherlock ended the day with a Bronze in the Under 12 Boys, and it was an all-Conlethian affair in the Under 14 Boys Final, where James Moriarty-Smyth earned the Silver and Claudio Sosa, the Gold. Great to see these young Conlethians competing in such prestigious competitions against each other!
Kevin Kelleher 1921-2016
(updated) It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that St. Conleth’s announces the passing of Mr. Kevin D. Kelleher, Headmaster. Mr. Kelleher is dearly missed and warmly remembered by the many different people whom he met and with whom he worked during his long and active life, especially in regards to his immense contributions to education and rugby. His many accomplishments were marked by an incredible attention to detail and aided by a prodigious memory. Combined with an irrepressible wit, these qualities made Kevin Kelleher a truly remarkable man, whose positive influence has spread across generations, disciplines and borders.
Kevin D. Kelleher was born and raised in Drumcondra, Dublin and was the proud inheritor of a family legacy which emphasised educational and sporting achievement and included a clutch of All-Ireland medals as heirlooms. Shortly after studying Latin, Irish and English and completing his Higher Diploma in Education at University College Dublin, Mr. Kelleher arrived at St. Conleth’s College in 1944, teaching and coaching sports and, in particular, becoming a dominant force in Leinster Schools and Club Rugby. After the untimely passing of the school’s founder, Bernard Sheppard, Mr. Kelleher became Headmaster at St. Conleth’s in 1960 and he performed this role with great strength and foresight for the next fifty-six years. In 1960, Kevin also married his beloved wife Patricia and became a loving father to Ann and these three together would be the lifeblood of St. Conleth’s College for the decades that followed.
Outside of the classroom and the Headmaster’s office, Mr. Kelleher forged a varied and richly decorated career in rugby. He was a past president of both Lansdowne Road RFC and the Irish Rugby Football Union Leinster Branch and was Honorary Secretary of Leinster Rugby’s Schools Committee for fifty-two years. Mr. Kelleher somehow also found time to become the most highly respected rugby referee of his era, blowing the whistle (or, as he himself would proudly say ‘not blowing the whistle’) on 23 international matches between 1960 and 1972, including a certain legendary encounter between the All Blacks and Scotland. More importantly, he was a guiding and nurturing presence for multiple generations of players, coaches and officials in a game he knew and loved so well.
The same boundless energy which he radiated in the classroom and on the pitch, Mr. K. showed in his personal and social life. He was a devoted family man, loving and loved by his wife Patricia, daughter Ann, sister Norah and brother Con, son-in-law Sean, grandson Cian and many other Kelleher, Power, Sheppard and Coakley relatives. Of course, Mr. Kelleher also had a larger family: the thousands of pupils who attended St. Conleth’s during his 72 years at the heart of the school. The man known as ‘The Boss’ or simply ‘KD’ will never be forgotten by generations of Conlethians who loved and respected him, just as he himself remarkably would never forget a name or a face amongst the many, many whose lives he had touched with such strength, grace and good humour.
Requiesceat in pace.
Juniors Getting Along Swimmingly!
At the recent Swimming Gala at Willow Park, two Junior Conlethians made a big splash: Luke Timlin qualified for the Leinster Schools Gala in breast stroke, and Jude Moes qualified in freestyle, backstroke, and butterfly. The Leinster Schools Gala will be held on January 7th and we wish them both the very best success. Clearly, St. Conleth’s long-standing involvement with swimming continues to pay dividends! And it was not just a two horse race: the overall results for the St. Conleth’s boys were also very good. The 10 boys swam 25 individual races, 15 of those races resulted in personal best times, and 6 races involved either a new swimmer or a boy swimming a stroke for the first time. And most importantly, they proved to be a great group of boys who supported each other and cheered each other on throughout the day. Thanks to Kristen Moes for attending and reporting!
The St. Conleth’s Fencing League Starts Friday!
A great honour has been bestowed upon St. Conleth’s Fencing: Our Captain, Michael Li, has been conferred with the Irish Academy of Arms’ Bronze Blade Award which “recognises the progression of fencers in their learning and expertise in fencing.” And did Michael rest upon this laurel? Of course not! Rather he has spent his time and effort organising St. Conleth’s first Fencing League, which will debut this Friday (28/10) from 2:30-4:30 in the School Gymnasium. All fencers from 6th Class to 6th Year are encouraged to take part, no matter what their level. The League will consist of a series of competitions to be held each term, culminating in a Grand Prix at the end of the school year. All the necessary equipment will be provided. Just bring your school tracksuit and runners. En guarde!
Junior School Socceroos!
Rugby took a back seat on Saturday for our Sixth Form team who represented the school at the annual AIJS 5 aside soccer tournament hosted by St. Gerard’s. As is usual with St Conleth’s teams, lack of physical size is counterbalanced by high technical efficiency and this team possessed those qualities in spades. They defeated both the A and B teams of hosts St Gerard’s, as well as dismissing Wicklow Montessori on the way to a final against the might of Willow Park. Leading 1-0 with time almost up, Willow scrambled an equaliser to send the decider to extra-time and then penalties. High drama ensued but luck was not on our side and the runners-up position was our lot on the day. The boys were disappointed but should be immensely proud of their contributions throughout the morning. A big thank you to Charlaine for taking on the managerial duties and well done boys!
Music in the Classroom (in the Concert Hall)
Second, Third and Fourth Forms, accompanied by their class teachers and music and choir teacher Ms. Hartnett, travelled to the National Concert Hall on last Tuesday to enjoy a performance of the wonderful RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s Music in the Classroom series. The pupils danced and sang to everything from Ravel’s Dancing Bear Suite to Katie Perry’s Roar. They had a brilliant time and this may well become a fixture in the calendar, judging by the feedback from teachers and pupils alike.
A Mathematician and a Philatelist Walk Into a Lecture Hall…
…and the kids go wild! This actually happened down at the headquarters of Engineers Ireland, where Professor Robin Wilson welcomed Ms. NiAonghusa, Mr. Sweeney and all of our First Years to a special ‘Maths Week’ lecture on ‘The History of Maths through Stamps’. We know… sounds about as riveting as ‘The History of Stamps through Maths’… but it actually was quite an exciting experience! Both students and teachers were on the edge of their seats as Prof. Wilson regaled them with a historical survey of these intertwining traditions and thankfully the feared dust-up between the Philately and Maths Clubs never materialised! Maths Week, of course, involves a whole lot more at St. Conleth’s: You can wreck half your head on the Maths Department Maths Week Daily Puzzles here and stay tuned for some ‘Maths Through Pictures Competition’ entries. And the Junior School was not to be outdone! They also enjoyed a maths presentation at the Engineers and once again had googles of fun with the IZAK9 Cubes. Check out the pics below!
Juniors Meet Kings Billy and James at the Pembroke Library
Fifth and Sixth Forms travelled the short distance (by foot!) to Pembroke Library to hear children’s author Nicola Pierce reading her latest historical novel – Kings of the Boyne– on Thursday 6th Oct. Nicola brilliantly set the scene of the famous battle involving Kings William and James and explained how the outcome has echoed throughout modern Irish history. The pupils were engrossed in the reading to such an extent that many have been inspired to read her previous books since the visit. We look forward to the next visit!
Juniors and Seniors Go Cross Country
Mr. Shay Keenan does not do things by halves: when he heard about the happy coincidence that there would be both junior and senior Cross Country race at Morton Stadium in Santry, he hired a bus and welcomed all comers! ‘The more, the merrier’ is the St. Conleth’s sporting philosophy and so it should be, as participation is the name of the game at our school and we make sure that no-one is ever left out. We did worry a bit for Mr. Keenan’s personal safety (and sanity), as filling a bus with Juniors and then throwing in a bunch of First Years at their seasonal hyperactive peak is the not the recipe for a morning ‘milk run’ but Shay is an old hand at these things and bringing along a sprinkling of seasoned, responsible hands such as Rory Sweeney and Tony Barry was just the ticket. As you can see form our pics below, everyone had a great time (free T-shirts always help) and completed the race in very good times. There will be more races ahead and remember that for First- Third Years, we have a special training arrangement with Crusaders AC. Keep running!
Conlethian Fencers Clean Up at the Killanin!
No, the major trophies in fencing are not called anything like the ‘Johnstone Paint Trophy’: they have a bit more of the ‘rarified air’ about their titles. Case in point this past weekend when Loreto Abbey in Dalkey welcomed ladies and gentlemen (and quite a few padawan) from all over Ireland to compete for the Lord Killanin Trophy. And we are proud to say that the Conlethian contingent, both Junior and Senior, absolutely cleaned up! Myles Moriarty-Smyth and Matthew Sherlock took Bronze in the Under 10 Mixed Foil and Luke Sherlock achieved Gold in the Under 12 Mixed Foil. And Claudio Sosa won gold in the Minor Mixed Foil with James Moriarty-Smyth finishing just out of the medals. A splendid performance from all involved and a fabulous start to the 2016 -2017 season!
The Weekend Warriors Are Back!
Messrs. Kilcommons, Sheridan, Maguire and Gleeson would all have very boring weekends if it were not for those early Saturday morning rugby blitzes. They have seen all the episodes of all the different incarnations of Scooby-Doo by now and after a lethargic summer, they really just can’t wait till October rolls around and they get to lead the Conlethian Juniors in rugby adventures on fields near and far. Reports are still streaming back regarding the different Forms, but here are some pics of our Third Forms in action against CUS. And a big thank-you to all the parent volunteers!
Junior Sailors Prove Old Salts!
Fifth and Sixth Form go sailing in the Royal St. George Yacht Club every Friday. The course utilises the RSGYC 1720 keelboat yachts. As sailing becomes more accessible to all, it is hoped that school sailing will foster a lifelong interest in the sport for the participating pupils. As is evident in the photos, our sailors are very enthusiastic and certainly have no fear of the open sea!
Juniors Getting Psyched for Rugby Blitz!
All of our success in chess, fencing, swimming and various other sports and games does not take away from St. Conleth’s first sporting love: the time-honoured past-time of the sons (and daughters) of D4 (and 6 and 12 and 3…) gentleman (and ladies) … rugby! Under the watchful eyes (and polite encouragement) of Mr. Keenan and Mr. Maguire, Third through Sixth Forms are gearing up for their first matches this weekend, and though we are sure to get loads of pics soon of all the teams, Ms. Dillon’s Third Formers are first in and, boy, do they look scary! Our first opponents, CUS, better be hitting the training ground with the same ferocity or there will be absolute carnage Saturday morning!
On The Offensive: Maître David Couper Makes His Points!
Fencing has a long and strong tradition at St. Conleth’s which got back to its earliest days, with several Olympians amongst our alumni and recent grad Philip Cripwell near the top of the national senior rankings. And judging by the talent in our Junior School, whence the Moriarity-Smith and Sherlock brothers regularly carved up Europe last year, this tradition is only getting stronger. Maître David Couper of Salle Dublin holds classes every Friday for both the Junior and Senior students and he recently held a few exhibitions to encourage even more participation. The First Formers, of course, were thrilled to be able to put on costumes and pick up weapons but we were pleasantly surprised to see how enthusiastically our First Years, especially the girls, took to David’s lively introduction to the ancient sport. It surely could not be the popularity of Game of Thrones, as they are much too young to watch such a series, but there certainly seemed to be a willingness to embrace the idea of strong female characters wielding a blade. A big thank you to David and his eager assistants, Michael Li and James Moriarty-Smyth, for demonstrating the cuts and thrusts of it!
Monday 11th Sept. saw the Junior School overrun with strange and wonderful creatures that could only have come from the imagination of Roald Dahl. Oompa Loompas, huge chocolate bars, friendly giants, hideous witches, fantastic foxes, angry farmers, filthy beards and oversized peaches all paraded around the sports hall and yard. As far as the Junior School pupils are concerned, Mr Kelleher is a modern day Willy Wonka, who just downsized the chocolate factory to a tuck shop. Prizes for the best costumes and no homework on the day rounded off a squishwifflingly good morning.
The Results Are In…
Yes, the 2016 Leaving Certificate results have been in our office for a while, but unfortunately this reporter did not benefit from being taught Maths at St. Conleth’s, so we had to go find someone else to do the ‘rithmetic. At first we asked a few of the nine students (out of 21!) who received As in HL Maths but they were all, unsurprisingly, packing their bags for high octane university courses (and Freshers weeks). ‘And besides,’ said one future actuary, ‘I long ago stopped wasting time on the mere multiplication and division of mere real numbers…’ Chastened we wandered away thinking said student had chosen the perfect career for his personality and resorted to Mr. Carvill, who though himself an alumnus of Big Blue and no stranger to Game Theory and the like, agreed to lower himself, get out his calculator watch and crunch the numbers… and we can proudly say these are the best results at St. Conleth’s in the modern era! The Maths department rightly garnered much attention on results day, but Spanish, Physics and Music had over 50% earning As and, as in nearly all our other subjects, over 90% took the Higher Level paper (in Chemistry and History, it was 100%! And English, 92%!). We could go on and on about the numbers….so we will! 8% of our students earned over 600 (National avg.: .03%); 32% over 500 (compared to 10%); and 64% over 400 (36%)…but of course what is more important is that our students qualified for the courses which they desired, and that was overwhelmingly the case, and not just for the hi-fliers. Below you see a few of the class of 2016 who came back to school to advise our current students, and a sample of last year’s class’s interesting university destinations:
Moriarty-Smyth Brothers’ Reprise!
Yes, the famous fencing brothers of St. Conleth’s (now one a Junior and one a Senior) were at it again over the summer. At the end of June, James (1Year) and Myles (3rd Form) competed in the 2016 Paris CEP Mini Marathon Fleuret. James in particular fenced extraordinarily well with multiple wins across 3 sets of Poules that saw elimination at each round; a stunning 4 /0 victory in the final poule enabled him to make the tableau of the last 32! He ended the day ranked 32 out of a field of 75, going out 3/8 to the no.1 ranked fencer in an amazing competition that saw fencers attending from as far afield as Australia, Malaysia and Brazil. Myles was the 2nd youngest fencer competing and scored an impressive 3/1 victory and several points across 3 Poules. He very narrowly missed the cut of 40 required for the U10 Direct Eliminator, ending the day ranked 41st. We look forward to receiving further updates in due course as the new season progresses: Paris is on the calendar again along with Poland! And perhaps… Tokyo?
No Free Lunch?
Parents’ Lunches are starting tomorrow, Wednesday the 7th, with our first guests being Senior School First Year Parents. Soon will follow all the other years from both the Junior and Senior Schools. It all kicks off at 1:30 in the School Canteen under the watchful eye and agile spatula of Chef Mark. And to join in all you have to do is go to Easypay…. Just kidding! Who ever said there is no such thing as a free lunch? You are all very welcome to get a taste, on the house, of what your kids are enjoying every day. The lunches are already up in Events but here is the schedule: Seniors: 1st Year- Wednesday 7th September; Transition Year-Wed. 5th October 2016 ; 2nd Year- Wed. 9th November 2016 ; 3rd Year-Wed. 16th Nov. 2016; 5th Year- Wed. 23rd Nov. 2016; and 6th Year- Wed. 30th November 2016. Juniors: 5th and 6th Form- Wed 14th Sept.; 3rd and 4th Form- Wed 21st Sept. ; 1st and 2nd Form- Wed 28th Sept.; and Junior and Senior Infants-Wed 12th Oct. Bon appetit!
And They’re Off! Conlethians Young and Old Start Year with Spark!
The Junior and Senior Infants seemed distinctly unperturbed by the momentous occasion, getting right to work (and play) under the watchful eye and encouraging words of Ms. Kelly and Ms. Murphy, and First Form seemed delighted with the dynamic duo of Ms. McGuinness and Mr. O’Brien, while the older Junior Forms also seemed happy to be back amongst welcoming faces and in friendly places. First Years admittedly seemed a bit nervous, as did our new female arrivals in the other Senior Years (to say nothing of our suddenly shy and tongue-tied resident males!) but the ice was quickly broken by a few classroom quips and Tuckshop tussles and by close of business on Tuesday, fledgling friendships were flourishing in the proverbial Conlethian calm. However there is always one… or in this case, two… as two of our senior boys, Basil Brindley and K.D. Kelleher, caused a minor hullabaloo with their raucous reminiscence just inside the door!
Junior School After School (and Preschool!) Activities: All You Need to Know!
We know you love your kids and treasure every moment you spend with the little darlings, but if they are able to bear separation from you for the regular school hours, why not make it just a bit longer…. so you can finish off that project at work and/or sneak off to that pilates class? And these after-school activities are good for them too, stimulating their minds and bodies in a way that Netflix or Pokémon just cannot do! Click here for our special brochure which explains all the available activities after school, as well as our Early Drop-Off Supervision Service. There is also the option of enrolling with our partners, One of a Kind, for a complete after-school programme. St. Conleth’s can truly be your child’s home away from home!
Welcome to St. Conleth’s!
The late summer flowers are still in full bloom and we still don’t recognise anyone on RTE but the days are undeniably getting shorter again and we must face facts: ‘Back to School Time’ is rapidly approaching! But have no fear, new and returning Conlethians, for your school is a fun and friendly place and all the information you need is in one place, on our ‘Welcome 2016/2017’ page. There, Junior and Senior School students and parents can find out all about start dates and times, year calendars, uniforms, booklists, the canteen and after-school care. All you need is there, but if you are in a rush, here are direct links (Junior, Senior) to our uniform supplier, and our Canteen deposit page on Easy Payments Plus. New Junior School parents may be interested in after-school care with our partners, One of a Kind. And we remind First Year Senior Parents about the First Year Multi-Sports Camp and Moontour Irish Language Adventure Centre. It is all there on our ‘Welcome 2016/2017’ page. Just keep scrolling down!
One More Round…
…of golf and other end-of-term Junior School News: The annual Junior School Golf outing in Stepaside resulted in defending champion Matthew McKeown sharing the cup this year with up-and-coming 3rd Former Charlie Kennedy. Louis McGovern came second and Trevor Bolger came third. Also receiving accolades were our Irish Board of Speech and Drama Gold Medal winners. Louis Grinnell received a gold medal for the 3rd year running which is an incredible achievement. Turlough Dineen from 4th Form, Jody Grace and Charlie Kennedy from 3rd Form and Declan de La Cruz Moylan from 1st Form were the other winners. Conlethians seem prone to speech and drama naturally but it does take a good bit of work to earn gold! As competitive but ore co-operative was the Junior School Table Quiz: The winning team had a surprisingly comfortable victory in the annual end of year brain teaser competition, remaining calm and composed all the way through even as the teachers shared puzzled looks after some of the questions. How many Premiership matches did Leicester City lose all season? These boys certainly knew. Last but not least, there are some pics from a new avenue of endeavour for Junior Conlethians this year: a specially organised GAA module with the Ranelagh Gaels. The boys and girls took to it as enthusiastically as they took to rugby, swimming, fencing, art, spelling, athletics, soccer, tennis, chess, choir, French, debating, sailing… and a bit of book-learning in between! Enjoy the summer but do get some rest and come back in September, ready for some more St. Conleth’s Junior School Fun!
Première Place! DELF Honorées
You have already read here and here how St. Conleth’s was the first school in Ireland to sit the prestigious DELF exam. Both Sixth Form and Transition Year blazed the trail for Ireland undertaking the prestigious oral and written French language exam. Well the results are in and everyone did très bien with a couple of students earning special mention: Thomas McKenna won a prize for the top exam mark (98%!) and Sebastian Del Val was runner up. Well done to all the boys and the teachers who made it possible!
Batman vs. Superman. Captain America vs. Iron Man. Hunter vs. Hunter. Once again, the two Hunter brothers fought out the final of the Junior School Tournament. A dramatic stalemate was called on the first day. Younger brother Eoin then beat Seán in a 12 minute blitz game the following day to the take the title for the first time and claim bragging rights in the Hunter household. Considering that the Hunter boys were integral parts of the St. Conleth’s team which won Leinster and All-Ireland titles this year, those bragging rights actually extend throughout the country! Well done boys and well done to all the Junior School Chess players for a record-setting year!
As an English teacher of some 20 years we have seen a marked decline in some traditional academic skills, coinciding with the rise of the machines, but we are happy to report that St. Conleth’s refuses to trade all for the bitcoin and continues to insist on the mastering of basic skills such as the three Rs and the much-neglected arts of handwriting and spelling. Earlier this year we saw Tathagat Kumar of our Second Form win First Prize in the AIJS Handwriting Competition and recently the Junior School held its annual in-house Spelling Bee. It was one for the bookies as Third Former ‘dark horse’ Patrick Coleman was the last man standing in a field packed with accomplished spellers (and Eason National Spelling Bee veterans). Sthitoprogyo Deb won Silver and Ruben Grace took bronze in a closely contested final. It is great to see such spelling talent from the spellcheck generation!
The Writest Stuff!
Among the many end-of-term events and activities, one of the most eagerly awaited is the announcement of the winner of the Kevin D. Kelleher Cup for creative writing, as judged by Dr. Ann Fallon. The Juniors, in particular, enter the competition in great numbers and we are very jealous that Dr. Fallon gets to read every one of those entries, herself! This year the main trophy was won by Ruben Grace for a wonderfully written story entitled “An Irish Refugee.” Ruben follows in the footsteps of such recent luminaries as Josh McCormack, Frank Knowles and Tomas Clancy, all who have gone on to further academic acclaim in the St. Conleth’s Senior School. There were brilliant entries from all classes with special merit certificates awarded to a number of pupils and Thomas McKenna receiving a special mention (and second place) from Dr Fallon. See all the writeous dudes below!
Junior School Stylish Summer Spectacular!
Maestros Howe and Hartnett once managed to create a masterpiece out of a cacophony of diverse voices and talents and Mr. Kelleher (who has seen a few) declared this Summer Spectacular the best ever! Ms. Hartnett’s Junior School Choir were in top form, thrilling parents and guests with their spot-on vocal performances and Mr. Howe led each Form through a skit which perfectly matched the class’s particular strengths in performance. And the school hall itself served as the perfect backdrop, with artwork from each class covering the walls and demonstrating the creativity of the kids, and the perseverance of Art Teacher Ms. Long and all the class teachers. Check out the snaps below of both the concert and the artwork. Bravo, boys and girls!
Fifth Form Richard Sheahan kept the St. Conleth’s Maths flag flying, topping the national leaderboard for his age group for the second year running in Learnstorm (formerly Mathletes), the online school maths competition. Here he is pictured with his gold medial, presented at the All-Ireland final event held recently in Dublin Castle. Well done, Richard. Be ready for some tough questions (and answers) future Maths teachers!
The New Parents Association Newsletter Is Here!
The Parents’ Associations are pleased to publish out latest newsletter, full of all the exciting things that have been happening in the school over the past two months. If you’re stuck for some beach reading, look no further! We hope you enjoy it.
Paul Allen & Peter O’Neill, Chairpersons Senior and Junior School Parents’ Associations
Avoid The Summer Doldrums: Get ‘Food Active’!
An army runs on its stomach and a school runs on its canteen. At St. Conleth’s College we are convinced that Chef Mark McColgan is the main reason why attendance rates are so high amongst both students and staff. A common scene in the early a.m. on the southside of Dublin: “Oh… French test today….I don’t feel very well…wait…it’s Tandoori Chicken Salad today…I’m in!” Well, you can spend part of this summer not only enjoying those fave dishes, but making them too! Chef Mark is returning with his popular ‘Food Active’ Summer Camp and July at St. Conleth’s is sure to be an exciting and eclectic mix of cookery, sport and fun. Find the contact details here or below and get onto Chef Mark. Places are limited and Food Active is always the place to be when those long summer days roll in!
Fourth Form Party Like It Is…1979!
Conservative American parents were terrified in the 1950’s as swing, jazz and blues morphed into rock ‘n roll and teenagers everywhere began showing up at high school gyms dancing with abandon. If Ms. Coleman were alive back then (and she assures us that she was not), she would have donned the bobby-socks and led the youngsters in their revelry! Last week, the Transition Years were busy preparing for their end-of-term production of Grease, which will hit the school hall stage this coming Wednesday at 7:00. The driving beats and soaring vocals could be heard throughout the school as Ms. deBhal drove the boys through their paces, and most teachers and students simply smiled and carried on, perhaps tapping a foot in sympathy… but Ms. Coleman could not contain her inner dancing queen and she quickly slipped on a record from her own youth: ‘September’ by Earth, Wind and Fire. And despite being a bit young to remember disco’s heyday, the Fourth Formers proved to be her worthy partners, making moves and wielding air guitars with abandon! See below as the boys down their books (for a few minutes) and party like it is 1979!
Recently Sixth Form joined our Transition Years in being the first students in Ireland to take on the challenging French written and oral exam, DELF. And not only did the boys pass with flying colours, they also were the subject of this very kind note below which we received from the examination’s director:
I have attached the photos of candidates and examiners who sat the recent DELF PRIM-SCOLAIRE at St Conleth’s Primary School. I would like to thank you all once again for your very warm welcome and faultless organisation. The pupils were charming and very well prepared thanks to their teachers. A special thanks to the examiners who gave of their time on a voluntary basis. I hope this partnership will continue for the coming years. Kind regards. Cyrielle Thimis Gestion Centrale DELF-DALF en Irlande Exams & Certification Officer
Free! Gratuit! Gratis! Frei!
Remember our free Easter Camp for future Conlethians? Well, the idea is catching on… Living Language, the premier language camp in Dublin, is offering St. Conleth’s students (and their parents) an irresistible package: You welcome a child from France, Spain or Germany into your home and your son or daughter gets to attend a professional summer sports, arts and language camp at St. Conleth’s for free! Don’t you just love the free market economy? All the details are here: Brochure, Explanatory Email, Applications: French, Spanish, German.
Junior Sailors Take Gold!
Brothers Trevor and Russell Bolger, along with 6th Former Kei Ando, represented the Junior School in the St. Gerard’s Regatta in Greystones on Wednesday 11th May. Racing in the Optimist Class, Trevor guided the team through strong tides as the team claimed the gold medal in their category. Weather has also proved kinder of late and twenty Junior School boys are in the middle of their summer sailing block which is proving another great success. Well done, boys!
Digital Hands Across the Water!
Junior and Senior School pupils gathered together in the Conference Room for an exciting presentation by Ms. Anne Cunningham, a teacher and administrator from the Tech International Charter School in The Bronx, New York. Ms. Cunningham was visiting Ireland, and St. Conleth’s in particular, to explore the possibility of setting up an ‘international partnership’ between the students of these two very diverse schools. The most interesting aspect (amongst many) of the project is that it is to be student-directed and student-run (with a small but essential bit of teacher oversight). So, Ms. Cunningham quickly ‘turned the tables’ after just a few minutes of presentation, and began asking the questions instead of giving the answers. At first, our pupils were a bit flummoxed by this, but being Conlethians and well used to creative contribution, they quickly jumped onboard and responded with an onslaught of ideas and opinions which ranged from the practical to the hilarious to the inspirational. The overall plan now is to come up with some sort of technological forum which enables the students of the two schools to work together on an issue of international importance such as mental health or homelessness. Next year’s First and Second Years will probably be the key groups involved, but some of the older kids seem very keen to act as mentors and leaders. It all sounds very exciting, and we will report back when the tweets, posts and whatevers get rolling. And Ms. Cunningham, showing that she knows the way to every youngster’s heart, provided free ‘I Love NY’ T-shirts for all the participants!
Fencers Finishing Strongly!
The Moriarty-Smyth and Sherlock brothers have continued their lunges up the junior fencing rankings! Once again both bands of brothers performed extremely well last week at the Irish Fencing Federation’s Junior National Championships, hosted at Loreto Abbey in Dalkey. The older boys fenced in the Under 12 Mixed Foil with James taking 3rd place and Bronze while Luke narrowly missed a medal spot and ended the day in 5th spot. His younger brother Mathew achieved 1st Place and Gold in the Under 9 Mixed. Myles chose to compete in the Under 10 Mixed Foil, ending the tournament in 7th place and winner of the Youngest Fencer Medal. Young Myles is coming up fast through the ranks, building upon his European Fencing debut in April, as he was recently awarded the Silver medal for his 2015/2016 season ranking of 2nd for Irish Under 10s. Up next is the Round 6 of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil series which will mark the end of a tremendous season for all four boys!
Junior Soccer Stars!
Junior School had their annual internal soccer blitz in Herbert Park on Tuesday 10thMay. Referee/organiser Mr Keenan and Alex O’Brien along with the teachers and pupils braved the inclement weather to participate and an enjoyable day was had by all. There was plenty of thrills and spills, shooting and shaping, tears and tantrums but all the teams, whether a medal was won or not were treated to a well deserved goodie bag afterwards. Well done to all!
St. Conleth’s in the News!
St. Conleth’s recently made the headlines for our scientific endeavour, and now seems reluctant to leave the media spotlight. Over the weekend our SCT’s fantastic season was featured in the Leinster Rugby Programme and on their website and, just today, the Irish Times ran a feature on our own special take on co-education. The author of this piece, Rachel Fehily, is also co-creator of our ‘Co-education: St. Conleth’s Style’ which can be seen above in our slider or on our dedicated Girls’ Page. Stay-tuned for more ‘St. Conleth’s in the news’!
Summer Menu: Harbinger of Heat-Wave?
Senior School PA Chairman Paul Allen long ago was hoodwinked into creating lovely PDFs of Chef Mark’s canteen menus and each week you can see them under Information on this website and the meals on offer for each particular day in the Events calendar, but surely a seasonal change in the design deserves a headline… especially when the appearance of a friendly animated sun on said menu coincides with a rather pleasing upturn in our actual weather!
S.T.E.M. Stars: Conlethians Win Coding and SciFest Competitions!
TY Corey De Jong Power and First Years Matthew Lynch and Joshua McCormack made St. Conleth’s history these last few days by winning, respectively, the Irish Computer Society’s National Scratch Coding Competition and the ITB Horticulture Award at SciFest. Coding guru, and head programmer of the St. Conleth’s Coding Club, Ms. NíAonghusa is justifiably proud of the ‘Corinator’ (as he is known in coding circles) taking the top prize in his age group with his beguilingly simple Scratch game. Fellow coders such as Saul Burgess and Sammy Butler were so overcome with emotion, they momentarily ceased work on their various AI projects to emit an encomium in Bocce. And what about the dynamic duo of Matthew Lynch and Joshua McCormack? Not since the heady days of the Zorin Brothers have young Conlethian scientists so dominated the headlines. Our Science teachers, Mr. Callaghan and Ms. Phelan, were particularly thrilled with the boys’ project ‘Repel the Shells’ as both teachers hail from our agricultural heartland where people ‘eat their dinner in the middle of the day’ and horticulture is a way of life. Both awards are of national prominence and we applaud the students and teachers involved for putting St. Conleth’s in the forefront of the relentless STEM advance!
TYs: French Fun with Fifth Form!
One of the best things about St. Conleth’s is that we have a Junior and Senior School on the same campus, and though it can be a bit scary (and very funny!) when our Sixth Year ‘loose-head’ prop turns the corner and bumps into a Junior Infant ‘conga-to-the-cafeteria’ line, there are also many plusses to the interaction of such a broad range of ages. Take this report from our own correspondent Mr. Julien Porzadny:
What a gorgeous day outside isn’t it? Almost as gorgeous as in room 2.1 where such a positive vibe was floating in the air. After about a month of preparation, our Transition Year students were finally ready to share their knowledge (and love) of the French language.
In groups of 3/4 they were asked to create an activity sheet with vocabulary and/or grammar and fun activities. These activities were aimed at the 5th form students from the Junior school who would learn/revise some French thanks to those and to their “newly appointed young teachers”. Ms Crowley, Mr Sheridan and myself were really please to see so much interaction going on between these two groups. In the end, after a 40 minutes interactive class where each group got to experience 3 different activities, the 5th form students said farewell to the Transition Years and went back to their routine.
Feedbacks from both years were very positive. The TY students were “impressed by the level of French” of the 5th forms. They said they were “cooperative, friendly, responsive”. They also enjoyed the experience of “being a teacher” and learning the “art of improvisation”. On the other hand, the 5th forms were all very happy with this “learning experience”. They liked the “fun” factor of the activities (drawing, word search, interaction etc.). They said the TY students were “nice to you, helpful, encouraging”. They enjoyed “the different ways each group was teaching” and if they had only one regret it was that they did not get to do all the activities.
So well done to all the students who put efforts in this project. Here is another keeper for St Conleth’s!
Junior School AIJS Debate A Success On All Points
For years, St. Conelth’s Senior School has been simply da bomb in debating, dominating the Leinster and All-Ireland Championships and making the Irish Debating Team our personal fiefdom. Well, judging by the talent in our Junior School, this dominance will surely continue. Current Auditor of Debates, and Irish Team Captain Daniel Gilligan, was very impressed by the in-house talents on show at the recent St. Conleth’s-hosted inaugural AIJS Debate. Dr. Fallon organised and ran an impressive show, with very enthusiastic and competitive teams from four other schools involved. The motions proposed were the familiar one about school uniforms and a rather timely one about Ireland leaving the EU. Past Pupils, and currents senior debating coaches, Matthew Collins and Christopher Costigan served as adjudicators, along with two neutrals, so there were no home town decisions and sure enough, the overall team winners were Alexandra College. There was, however, no shortage of home-grown talent with our own James and Trevor winning individual speaker awards and Morton recognised for serving up the best rebuttal. We look forward to an even bigger and better debate next year!
St. Conleth’s Leading The Race In The AIJS
Is there a busier junior school in the country? Last week we hosted the AIJS Debate and, once we translate all that rhetorical hyperbole into regular old English, we will give you a report on that Ciceronian contest. This week it was the AIJS Athletics meet and no better man than Mr. Kilcommons to give us a run-down on the event:
St. Conleth’s Junior School hosted the 2016 AIJS Athletics competition on Wednesday 27th in Irishtown Stadium. Over 250 athletes from Junior Schools all over Dublin braved pebble sized hailstones to take part. The standard of running, jumping and throwing was very high throughout the afternoon. As the host school we were delighted to boast the winners of the shot putt and 4th Form 150 metres. Castlepark Boys and Teresians girls took home team awards and this year’s overall winner was Mount Anville. A big thank you to the Junior School parent volunteers and Shay Keenan as always for organising the event.
The Gentlemen’s Game… Played By Gentlemen
We have heard the joke comparing rugby to soccer, but what about golf? The Junior School golf team took the opportunity to duck out of Friday tests and instead spend a beautiful morning in Delany GC competing in the AIJS Golf Cup hosted by St. Gerard’s JS. Judging by the photos, nine holes and a civilised lunch afterwards was not too much of a sacrifice. The boys played very well and even managed to make it back to school for their second lunch and afternoon classes. Impressive.
Young Fencers Continue March Across Europe
Fencing is as ‘St. Conleth’s’ as the Tuck Shop and Herbert Park duckpond plunges, and if you came by to our recent Junior School Open Day, you would have seen Michael Li and Luke Sherlock demonstrating their sport for our visitors. We also have heard news that Conleth’s alumnus Benedict Chambers just missed qualifying in Prague for the Irish Fencing team going to the Rio Olympics. And that James Moriarty-Smyth and his brother Myles have continued their steady progress across the continent, putting various continentals to the sword. while back it was Paris and most recently, it was the Rokietnica Cup in Poland where both boys competed in the U14 category and the boys, especially Myles, performed beyond expectation. The brothers have made a piece of sporting history by being the first fencers to represent Ireland on the European U14 circuit, earning the front page of the Irish Fencing website. Further details of their exploits are on the Pembroke Fencing Club Facebook page.
Putting the ‘Saint’ Back Into St. Conleth’s!
With all this (justified) hullabaloo about rugby and (unavoidable) panic about the state exams, it is easy to lose one’s sense of proportion, both as an individual and a school community. Thankfully, Mr. Lonergan has stepped in just at the right time to remind us of our ethos: to be, like St. Conleth himself, the moulders of young men (and women) in the lay Catholic tradition. Mr. Lonergan organised and led a group of TY boys and Fifth Year girls down to the RDS for a special Catholic Youth Gathering in honour of the Pope Francis-declared Year of Divine Mercy. The event was friendly and casual but also moving and meaningful and included inspirational music, personal testaments by Meath Carlin and Richard Moore, Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and a Mass celebrated by the Papal Nuncio, Rev. Charles Brown. Below you see the students involved pausing for reflection under the cherry trees in Herbert Park and then meeting Rev. Brown. It is great to see a word religion make the news in the name of Mercy!
Instructor Noel is delighted with the cycling skills of our 6th Formers at the CycleSafe class every Thursday. Spatial constraints in the yard mean that the obstacle course is necessarily tight which really puts a premium on skill. The pupils using their own wheels are noticeably more cautious than the boys doing wheelies on the bikes provided by Noel while his back is turned. Negotiating the rockery and garden as part of the course next week will give the boys an idea of the smoothness of the ride on the cycle lane of the Stillorgan Dual Carriageway.
PJ Lynch Keeps First Years in Their Seats!
Yes, our First Years have a reputation for being energetic and ‘spirited,’ full of positive energy which occasionally gets out of control… but there was not a murmur or twitch from the lot when noted author, illustrator and Conlethian Dad, PJ Lynch, came in to give presentation on his impressive body of work. PJ has illustrated the books of some of the best-known contemporary Irish authors, including Eoin Colfer and Derek Landy (both on the new Junior Cycle text list), and was co-creator of the million-copy-selling The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. He now writes as well as illustrates and his first ‘solo’ book, The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, is a masterpiece, if the slides which he showed the boys are anything by which to judge. Perhaps he will the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for a third time! PJ stunned the boys (and us) with his art but he also entertained us with his tales from the inside of the publishing world- including the not so equal split in labour between author and artist! Check out samples of his work below and visit his website .
Parent Associations’ Stylish Soirée
The luxurious setting was the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dún Laoghaire and the Conlethian parents came with the fashion to match. The fare was robust as well as genteel with an old-fashioned hog roast the centre-piece and an array of haute cuisine making up the surrounding buffet. But the stunning style and gourmet gastronomy were only the appetisers to the real event: the easy, friendly mixing of St. Conleth’s parents and the accompanying conversation and craic. It is no coincidence that the same cozy yet exciting atmosphere is the most defining attribute of the school, itself. Well done to saints Peter and Paul and all the PA Committee members on another smashing success!
Click here for more photos from Paul Allen on the PA Facebook Page.
Leinster? Checkmate! …. Ireland? Checkmate! … The World?
The Junior School trophy cabinet is almost entirely reliant on our “A” chess team to be regularly replenished with silverware. They were at it again on Saturday last as they retained their crown as the premier schools chess team in the country when they won the All-Ireland ChessForAll tournament for the second year running, swatting aside 38 other schools from all over the island in the process. This remarkable team have already been crowned Leinster Primary Schools League champions for the first time in the school’s history and there is no sign that their appetite has been sated yet. Seán, Eoin, Richard and Jamie were able to show off their trophies to the many visitors at the Open Day the following day in the school. They even set up their boards in the chess room but unsurprisingly didn’t get too many challengers to take them on. They now have put camaraderie( and brotherly love!) aside temporarily as the internal school competition starts this week. It will be interesting. Well done boys!
Calling All Writers! Let the Competitions Truly Begin!
***Deadlines extended, for both Junior and Senior Writing Competitions, till Sunday, May 8th. Get those stories in!***
Despite the points bonus for LC Higher Maths, and the general mania for all things scientific, calculable and reducible, it is still the arts, and particularly literature, for which Ireland is well known abroad. When that alien race eventually does contact us and ask for representative emissaries, joining the German engineer, the American entrepreneur and the Swiss banker will be the Irish writer- and it could be you! Dr. Fallon is masterminding two separate competitions this year for the English Department: the Kevin D. Kelleher Writing Competition for the Junior School and the soon-to-be-eponymised Senior School Competition. Check out the rules here (Junior Competition, Senior Competition) and get writing! In the meantime, we will leave you with a tantalising excerpts from last year’s winners.
From ‘The Dream’, last year’s Junior winner Joshua McCormack’s short story: Upon entering my legs felt as heavy as lead. I immediately saw his unoccupied chair; his coat and hat hanging on an elaborate wooden stand and unfinished papers lying scattered across his desk. The brown curtains were mostly closed as a mark of respect, with a tiny chink of light filtering through illuminating his chair. The room was as silent as the grave as even the ancient oak grandfather clock had been stopped. I collapsed into a chair and recalled a dream he had told me he had of his own death… (full story)
From ‘Empty Mirrors’ by last year’s Senior winner Rían Boyle: I have spent far too long sitting on the old, cracked red leather couches in therapists’ waiting rooms. After a time, one begins to notice they share a similar musk, as if they had all been bought from the same grimy antique shop. The plastic benches that litter the hallways of hospitals have also garnered that same contempt. Far too often I have sat and waited to hear the same results, that their tests have shown nothing or that I’m a particularly difficult case… (full story, as published in the Irish Times)
Nothing Sheepish About Our Open Day!
No, though there certainly was a family of rambunctious ruminants rampaging through the hallways of the school, there is absolutely nothing sheepish about our Juniors’ preparations for their upcoming Open Day (click). Mr. Kilcommons is leading a mighty team of teachers in the herculean preparations for the event, so please do come down and see all we have to offer this Sunday, April 17th, from 2-4. Oh yes, the sheep? Just one example of the hands-on approach we take to education (and fun) at St. Conleth’s. Kind sheep-farmers James and John Engman brought their ewes and lambs, Salt and Pepper, in for a visit. It is amazing how therapeutic a rub of a soft, downy fleece is, and it is amazing how useful a conversation starter it is when a sheep barrels past the door of your Leaving Cert oral! Un mouton! ¡un cordero!
All Aboard! The Parents Associations’ Social Event is Tonight!
St. Conleth’s parents are tireless in their support of the school, from concerts to fundraisers to chaperoning excursions to classroom presentations, and they deserve a night of their own, where they can just enjoy each other’s company and perhaps do a wee bit of networking. Our intrepid PA Chairmen, Paul Allen and Peter O’Neill, have arranged a Social Event for both Junior and Senior School Parents in the salubrious setting of the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Judging by the mouth-watering details below, it seems sure to be a hit, so get in there early to assure your place!
Mr. Kelleher has been at St. Conleth’s almost since its founding in 1939 and he has witnessed the school changing with the times yet remaining true to its original purpose and calling. One change for the better began over 4o years ago when girls were first admitted into Fifth and Sixth Year in the Senior School. At first it was just so girls could avail themselves of the Science subjects not taught in their schools, but soon the Chemistry between Conlethian boys and girls was undeniable and they were clearly here to stay. Now, decades later we have made the next leap and opened our doors to girls in Junior Infants and, next September, to all our classes throughout the Junior and Senior Schools. Last year we had a special evening marking 4o Years of Co-Education at St. Conleth’s and this year we commissioned a video by Rachel Fehily and Evan Flynn to highlight the strengths of co-education, especially at St. Conleth’s. As you can see above, gender does not matter at all at St. Conleth’s and our girls and boys mix with ease and grace…. well, that is, until Mr. K moves the girls to the front of the line at the Tuck-shop! Also check out our “Girls at St. Conleth’s” page and if you have a younger daughter, sister or niece, bring her down to our Junior School Open Day this Sunday to see how vibrant a part girls (and boys!) play at St. Conleth’s.
Communion Class Take Next Holy Step
The front steps of 28 Clyde Road have always been a favourite spot for the photographic capture of significant moments in the lives of Conlethians but we have to admit that those arrayed in smiling ranks have not always been the purest in mind and motive, such as the Sixth Years pausing briefly after their Graduation ceremony before a raucous night of celebration. How refreshing to have a chance then to take the snap below, of surely the most angelic little boys in Greater Dublin!
Full credit to Ms. Leary, their parents and the boys themselves for preparing so well. Below you see just some of the hard work that has been put in to make this day as special as it should be. And now, the long-awaited day is here! Tomorrow, Fr. Michael Collins will celebrate the mass in St. Mary’s, Haddington Road at 10am. The Junior School Choir will sing at the mass, having gone from strength to strength under Ms. Hartnett in this, their maiden year. After the ceremony, all the candidates’ parents will meet to chat over a cup of tea and a slice of a very special cake (see below) back at the school where the Third Class parents are providing a tasty spread for everyone . The boys will have their photos taken by the school photographer as they arrive back at St. Conleth’s on these very steps, having taken a holy step of their own! The stretch limos and ice sculptures of the Celtic Tiger years may be long gone, but First Holy Communion is still a very big day at St. Conleth’s.
Calling all Sailors!
The Senior School’s recent sailing success at the Leinster Championships was in part due to the participation of Trevor Bolger, a brave Sixth Former who competed well above his age level and enabled the St. Conleth’s team to take Fourth in their first ever competition. Well, there is the potential for a full ship’s crew joining Trevor as 5th and 6th Form sailors are heading back out on the high seas at the end of April when the summer block of sailing starts in the RSGYC (details). The sailing course has been a tremendous success and once again places are limited, so please log on to EasyPay on the website front-page to ensure your place on a boat.
After the success of our chess players and sailors recently, it is the turn of our tennis players to take centre stage as they begin their Leinster Primary School’s League this week. New age grade rules mean that we have to hold back some of our talented players from Third Form until next year but we still have a nice mix of experienced and rookie players. Players who didn’t get selected for the school team will still get a chance to show their talent later in the term in Mr. Keenan’s class tournaments. The fixtures can be viewed by clicking here. Until we get some new season snaps, check out some of our tennis players from last year:
I have always considered tennis as a combat in an arena between two gladiators who have their racquets and their courage as their weapons. ~Yannick Noah
Port Out, Starboard Home for St. Conleth’s Sail Team!
Conlethians have been sailing for generations. It just kind of goes with the ‘sons and daughters of Catholic gentlemen’ territory. And Conlethians have been sailing competitively just as long: one of our early alums, Archibald ‘Archie’ Winslow-Wilson, actually sailed with the famous skipper Briggs Cunningham on the Columbia when he wrenched the America’s Cup from colonial hands in ’58. And throughout the subsequent years, individual Conlethians such as Cian Cahill have parted the winds and wave with skill and style en route to sailing glory. But over this Easter break, St. Conleth’s and sailing were linked in a new and exciting way as a mixed-age team from the school competed in its first ever race and finished tied for third in the Leinster Schools Sailing Championships at the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. On the ‘count-back’, we slipped into fourth but it truly was an amazing finish for a group of youngsters competing as a team for the first time. Old salts from Sixth Year, Paddy Cahill and Richard Hogan, were joined in this maritime endeavour by the powerful Pettitt brothers, Sean and Simon, and eager youngsters Harry and Trevor. It is perhaps no coincidence that under Head of Sport Gavin Maguire sailing has become a mainstay of both the Junior and Senior Schools’ extracurriculars (Sr, Jr).
*Terms and Conditions Do Not Apply!
We are used to being wary of ‘free’ offers: there always seems to be an asterisk which leads to a labyrinth of ‘terms and conditions’ that leave the consumer feeling confused and disappointed. The St. Conleth’s Easter Camp, however, was truly free, with no terms, conditions or asterisks attached! Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Class students, many of whom are already signed up for the senior school, were invited to a Mr. Bolger-designed cornucopia of sport, art, music and fun. There was a great variety of activities on offer, proving that you actually can prove all of the people at least some of the time! Gav Maguire, incredibly spry for having just returned from Oz, and Alex O’Brien from the Junior School designed a challenging but friendly mix of ballgames for the grass and astro down at Herbert Park, ably assisted by student helpers Ross, Nicolas and Jamie. Ms. de Bhal managed to convey the art of ukulele-playing in one fun-filled session up in the Music Room. Ms. Kelly welcomed all the happy campers into Aladdin’s Cave, also known as our Art Room, where framed paintings and Easter eggs were on the agenda. Mr. Latvis got them moving again playing basketball in the school gym and we made sure that they all got a taste of a St. Conleth’s specialty: Past Pupil Conor White held a debating workshop up in the Conference Room. It was a fun-filled few days and we hope the campers all skipped away, feeling a bit more Conlethian!
Seachtain Gaeilge: Stíl St. Conleth’s!
Combine ‘Seachtain Gailge’ with the 1916 Centenary Celebrations and even a school which lies at the top of Waterloo and Wellington Roads comes out ‘all Irish’! Not that our Irish Department has ever been shy about celebrating our native language and heritage: for years they have been providing enough ceol agus craic to fill the school year, let alone just a double-seachtaine! But this massive Easter break is advancing like the yeomen on Vinegar Hill, so both our Junior and Senior School teachers have had to cram i bhfad ncosmó into just a few days: the páistí beaga all gathered in the sports-hall for Tráth Na gCeist , answering (sometimes hilariously) about everything Irish from the MacBride to Macklemore while the déagóirí took part in their own table quizzes on Irish themes and then got off their tóin to boogie in class-specific céilí (Fay/Kirwan productions) and take part in the traditional poc fada at Herbert Park, a noted gathering spot for dangerous Fenians. In Sixth Year, Simon Ghose was the winner, with Michael McKay and Maryrose Counihan just behind him, in a competition that was so intense it made a Tipp-Kilkenny final look like a friendly! And Nicolas Foreau and Sarah Spratt, two names redolent of Gaelic culture, won in Fifth Year.
Don’t Forget! Easter Basketball Camp!
Join St. Conleth’s Basketball Coach Eoin Noctor at the Easter Basketball Camp he runs through his club, UCD-Marian. All ages are catered for, and alumni include Dublin and Conleth’s player Luke Gilleran.
PA Associations Newsletter: Bigger and Better Than Ever!
We have our very own saints Peter and Paul at St. Conleth’s and like the originals they lead a loyal and enthusiastic group of disciples: we are talking about Paul Allen and Peter O’Neill, of course, and their band of involved, industrious parents in the St. Conleth’s Parents Associations. Here is there latest Newsletter, and remember you can always find out more about the PAs under their very own page on this website or their own Facebook Page.
Leinster Chess Champions!
Mr. Kilcommons, principal and ace weekend reporter, sends this back from the latest Junior School field of glory:
Saturday, the 12th of March, was a red letter day for chess in St. Conleth’s Junior School, as the school announced itself as a force to be reckoned with on the Leinster Schools Chess circuit. Our “A” and “B” teams were both leading their divisions coming in to the annual Finals Day held in St Catherine’s Donore Avenue. The “A” team got to keep their points total already accumulated but had to play three of the top four teams on the last day. The “B” team were involved in a straight knock out quarter final, semi and final if they could get that far. Their fearsome reputation may have preceded them as CUS failed to show up for the quarter final leaving the path somewhat less daunting. Our A team beat St. Andrew’s Malahide 3-1 but the top of the table was now becoming quite congested. The “B” team faced a very tough challenge from hosts St Catherine’s “B” but managed to come through a 2-2 draw after the 4th board result was discounted. The “A” team were involved in a very tough 2-2 draw with St Mary’s Junior School Rathmines which only added to the congestion at the top of the leader board. As the rest of the schools melted away from the hall, we were left with a Division 2 Final between St Conleth’s “B” and Hollypark Boys and just a few metres away our “A” team playing hosts St Catherine’s “A” in a winner takes last round fixture with St Conleths a half point ahead of their opponents. Despite the nervous energy from staff and parents, the players themselves were positively serene as we came to what Alex Ferguson famously called ‘squeaky bum time’.
Andrew and Daniel posted victories for the “B” team but unfortunately they were on the wrong side of the 4th board discounting rule in the event of a tie. Their disappointment was somewhat tempered by the knowledge that had already won promotion to the first division next year. All eyes now turned to the “A” team where Richard had posted a very quick victory. The second point which secured overall victory fittingly went to Sean at Board 1. St Conleth’s were now Leinster Primary Schools Chess Champions for the first time in its history. At the prize giving Lukasz Goralski, the tournament co-ordinator, made special mention of the two Hunter brothers who only dropped 2.5 points over the 9 game season. Jamie lost his only match all season in the dead rubber after the title had been sealed, while Richard came up trumps when he was needed most in the final round. A big thank you to Gillian, who took charge of the fixtures this year. With two teams in Division 1 next year, there may be room for a third team in the second division. Onwards and upwards and well done to all!
Sixth Form Almost Ready for Confirmation
Bodies and brains, but authorities no less than St. Augustine, St. Conleth and Principal Kilcommons agree that the spirit also needs appropriate guidance and development:
The St. Conleth’s 2016 candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation are almost at the end of their journey as the big day approaches. Three preparatory Masses in St. Mary’s Haddington Rd. during the course of this academic year led to parents and pupils coming together on Thursday 10th of March in the conference room for the Ceremony of Light. The room itself was transformed by Ms. Kelly, as only she can, with the candle light and stained glass lending itself to a deeply spiritual atmosphere. Ms. Hartnett had the musical and choral pieces beautifully prepared as always with the boys, while Mr Hickey who performed the ceremony had a very attentive audience from young and older alike. A big thank you to Dr. Fallon who has prepared the boys so diligently up to now. On Wednesday 16th, the candidates will be immaculate in their school blazer and rosettes. They will be photographed on the school steps and will then walk down to the church to be met by their parents and sponsor where they will be confirm their faith. One leg of a long journey of faith in which the school plays a vital role.
Of Bikes and Books: ‘Whole Child’ Education in Action!
Principal Tony Kilcommons takes the holistic emphasis of St. Conleth’s education philosophy seriously and strives hard to cater to both the academic and the ‘life skills’ needs of his charges. Here are his own reports on two contrasting, but equally important, recent events at St. Conleth’s Junior School:
Noel from the Cycle Safe programme called in to 6th Form to begin their block of workshops to prepare the pupils for all eventualities when cycling on the Stillorgan Dual Carriageway. It was all theory on their first day, but Noel will be bring the boys around the school carpark after Easter in an effort to replicate the real thing. It was great to see the boys’ zeal for an activity that did not involve a screen. It is important for them to learn that when something happens when on a bike, you just can’t hit ‘replay’!
Thursday, the 3rd of March, was International Book Day. You would think that the Junior School pupils would not pass up this opportunity to dress up and generally let their hair down, yet the Junior School resembled a ghost town on this date as our pupils headed off singing at the Corfheile (4th-6th Form) and Fighting Words Creative Writing Workshop (2nd and 3rd Form). (See separate reports!) Not to be denied, the pupils simply dressed up as their favourite literary character the next day and so we were met by Huckleberry, Scrooge, Darth Vader and about twenty Harry Potters on Friday morning. It was great to see that our parents and teachers are still inculcating a love of the written word in their children despite the competing temptations of this digital age. Well done to all!
Open Day! Come See What We Do in the Junior School!
And we certainly do a lot! Open Day is set for Sunday, April 17th (click for flyer), but we might need an ‘Open Week’ to show even a small portion of the stuff that we do in the Junior School, considering what has been happening in just the last few days:
Second and Third Forms attended a creative writing workshop today titled “Fighting Words.” It was a brilliant day and our pupils learned loads about story composition and, to top it all off, each student received a copy of their own very book. One of the results was ‘The UFO and His Best Friend Jacinta the Talking Pair of Pants! Ryan Boyle and Ruben Grace, two of our literary award winners, better watch out, with this talent on the rise!
Second Form also completed a special project (seen below) in preparation for their First Holy Communion, and still found time to learn about ‘Waves’ during an entertaining and informative, hands-on science presentation.
Third Form were spellbound by the visit of a special, professional Storyteller and then got to cuddle up with Clyde, a real, live guinea pig!
David Meredith L.I.B.S.D., Director of the Irish Board of Speech and Drama, was one of two examiners who spent the day in the Junior School as each student presented the pieces they had been rehearsing for the last number weeks with drama teacher Pat Howe. David was very impressed with the standard and especially the 5th and 6th Formers who had the confidence to act out unprepared improvisational pieces.
The St. Conleth’s ‘A’ Chess Team beat Star of the Sea in a local derby, the perfect warm-up for the approaching finals.
Well done to all, and please save some energy for the Open Day!
Junior Sport Update: Basketball and Fencing
All this hullabaloo about the SCT has led us to almost neglect the sporting prowess of the Junior Conlethians. Well the wee Conlethians continue to muck about on the rugby pitch, splash in the pool, serve and volley over the nets and, most recently, hoop it up and fence. Kathryn Grace reports first on the basketball adventures:
St. Conleth’s College took part in the AIJS Basketball Tournament held in Castle Park School today against teams such as St. Michaels, Terenure, St. Mary’s, St. Gerard’s and St. Andrew’s… The boys more than held their own with a super team of energetic and optimistic athletes but sadly they were defeated at the end of the day (not that you’d have known by their smiles while having an impromptu rugby session in the car park afterwards!) Thank you to Mr Keenan for coaching this group of potential NBA stars who were entirely delighted to have been a part of the afternoon fun. Thanks also to Castle Park for hosting the event and providing refreshments afterwards. Some photos of the boys and their warm up with Mr Keenan… before the games get serious! (Ed.: Perhaps some of these boys would be interested in the Easter Basketball Camp, detailed below?)
And the latest from Robert Andrew Smyth on our fencers:
The Conleth’s boys performed exceptionally once again in Round 4 of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. James and Luke reached the Semi Final stage and both achieved Bronze; James was especially pleased as this means he keeps his medals per round at 100%. Myles battled exceptionally well through 11 Pool matches in the Mixed Under 10s, and only went out by the narrow margin 6 /9 in the Direct Eliminator.
You Can be Like Luke and Play for Dublin!
First Year Luke Gilleran has been chosen for a prestigious team of Dublin All-Stars, due to play in an international tournament in Belgium this May. All the players come from top clubs in the greater Dublin area and Luke is no different: he plays for UCD-Marian, as well as being the anchor of St. Conleth’s First Year Team. And there is no coincidence that his coach for both school and club is Eoin Noctor. When Eoin was a student himself at St. Conleth’s he was known to be conscientious, polite and hard-working and he has channelled these qualities into coaching, with obvious success: We recently watched this U16s snatch the SDBL title and his First and Second Years are re-establishing St. Conleth’s on the basketball scene. Luke and his fellow First Years have beaten Colaiste Eoin, Holy Child and the High School, and lost to the formidable Pres-Bray at the buzzer. Colin Bolger has been to the forefront in the front-court with Luke but Mark Connor and Ted O’Kelly are rising stars. Second Years, led by Jamie MacMahon and Michael Cook, have beaten Marian, Benildus’s, Killian’s and the High School, with Suyash Patidar and Jack Doyle providing the stylish guard play. So, how do you be like Mike….or Luke? Come down to training at the school and over Easter attend the camp which Eoin runs for UCD-Marian. Check out the flyer here, and contact him directly at email@example.com or 0857313992. Get ballin’!
TYs Make Their Mark: Here, Abroad and On-Line
More details soon to follow on our Transition Year Information Night on April 7th, but in the meantime we shall update you on what has been keeping the boys busy: Our Build-a-Bank team, ‘Bank to the Future’ proudly finished in the top eight at the AIB competition’s regional final. Well done to all those involved, especially David Loftus, Garret Ivers, Hugh Etchingham-Coll and Conor Power, whom we see making their presentation below. And one of our hardest working TYs, Michael Li, ha just returned from China, having travelled there to celebrate the New Year with his extended family. A blizzard complicate the festivities, but Michael did get to attend the world premier of the new Kung Fu Panda movie. He is back now and ready to resume his duties as Official School Photographer. Also back are the rest of our TYs who have returned from various Work Experience postings around Dublin and beyond. Check out their stories, and all TY news by visiting the TY page under Senior School Curriculum and the students own Transition Year Blog. And keep the evening of April 7th free!
St. Conleth’s: From the Inside and Out
All future (and potential) Senior School parents are invited to the school tonight for a special talk by Arthur Godsil on the unique experience that is a St. Conleth’s education. Mr. Godsil is the power behind Godsil Education (link), Ireland’s premier educational consultancy. A frequent media commentator, keynote presenter and consultant on international and domestic educational matters, Mr. Godsil is committed to a strengths-based educational philosophy and in St. Conleth’s he has found the perfect manifestation of his beliefs. Our Senior School Principal, Mr. Donal ODulaing, will join Arthur in presenting the St. Conleth’s model within this broader context and in answering specific questions which current Junior parents may have about the school years ahead. And if you want to see the happy results of a strength-based educational philosophy at the secondary level, just scroll down the Senior School news page!
Junior Chess Teams’ Last Tune-Up Before Finals
Chess has a proud history at St. Conleth’s and our current Junior School teams are certainly worthy of that tradition. We have two teams at the top of the standings heading into Finals Day on March 12th, and both have one more tune-up before the big day. The Chess B team are playing St. Catherine’s B team this Wednesday at 1.30 in St. Conleths. (To be fair to the so-called ‘B’ Team, being a B chess player at St. Conleth’s is making to being a bench player at Barcelona!) And the Chess A team are playing Star of the Sea at 1.30 on Thursday, also in St. Conleth’s. On a separate but related note, Sean Hunter has been selected for the U-14 Irish Chess panel, and his brother Eoin has been selected for the U-12 panel! Well done to both and to Richard Sheahan and his father, Mike, who came in second at an Alex Baburin-run parent & child competition during the midterm break. Enjoy the rugby tomorrow but remember that we have warriors of all kinds at St. Conleth’s!
You’ve Got A Friend in We!
We have perused the calendar and figured out that there is not a single week left in the year that has not been co-opted for some higher purpose. We had our eye on the second week in November but it turns out that it is Amphibian Awareness Week. The search goes on… However, there is one designated ‘week’ which would warm the heart of even the most crotchety old cynic: Friendship Week, and you are currently right in the middle of it! So, if you getting some unusual smiles from strangers while waiting for the 46A, do not worry, it is just because it is Friendship Week! And Ms. Leary and Second Form want to make sure Conlethians take notice and perhaps even make a positive difference amongst their ever-widening circle of friends and the wider world. They are selling Friendship braces to one-and-all to raise awareness of how little it takes to bring a smile to someone’s face and all profits are going to Amnesty International, the NGO which works tirelessly for the release of political prisoners and other victims of unjust persecution around the world. The students are running the tax-exempt business all by themselves!
In Dogs We Trust!
The Egyptians may have worshipped cats but too many of us subscribe to the Edith Wharton description of ‘snakes in fur’ and frankly, if we did invite a cat to meet 150 excited, poky, drooling children, do you think it would show up? Now, dogs are different… loyal, warm, licky, incredibly easy to please: what more could you want? Just ask Fiona, the engaging representative of Dogs’ Trust, who came by yesterday with Ollie the Boxer to teach the Junior School students about proper pet stewardship. The Q & A session was very informative and we all learned lots about the responsible care of dogs (and the sometimes strange workings of the six-year-old-mind). Both Fiona and Ollie were big hits with the kids and the staff and we hope to have them back again!
Second Formers Blitz the Big Boys of Rugby!
As you can see from the pictures, Mr. Maguire’s tough and uncompromising Second Formers were more than a match for the traditional rugby powerhouses at the annual St. Mary’s JS blitz held in Rathmines last Saturday morning. The signs for next year were very encouraging as they followed Mr. Maguire’s “Total Rugby” doctrine throughout the morning with only isolated instances of mud balls being made midmatch and players being very upset because their hands were cold. Well done to Gav, all the parents who came out to support and the boys themselves!
Junior Schoolers Star in Blanch and Paris!
Yes, our Junior Schoolers choose the most elegant of locales for their athletic endeavour! Jude Moes from Fourth Form gained a Personal Best in the All-Ireland Minor Schools Swim on Sunday in the National Aquatic Centre, dropping his entry time by 1.6 seconds. He was understandably thrilled with his swim. Jude was modelling our new, bespoke St Conleth’s swim hat which is sure to be a “to die for” fashion item around the pools of South Dublin for the foreseeable future. The caps are on sale from each classroom for 10 euro per cap.
And James Moriarity-Smyth had a ball at the Paris Fencing Academy. He was the youngest by quite a margin so he was fencing 15 to 17 year old opponents for the last few days. All-in-all a splendid experience – pas mal!
Sorry… I’m out of film.
Do you remember the family occasions of old, when the whole clan had to be cajoled, threatened and manhandled into some semblance of apparent joy on the sofa in the good room, and the paterfamilias would threaten terrible things with his eyebrows until he decided there were enough opened eyes and unturned faces to commit the moment to celluloid history? Ms. Coleman and her Fourth Formers are too young to remember such pre-digital holiday horrors themselves, but last week they completed a remarkable project in which they explored the history of cameras and photography, getting at least a taste of what it was like before every waking moment was effortlessly recorded by the flick of a phone. Of course, we are no longer counting film exposures or film cubes so we have plenty of pics of the boys poking around with the Polaroids, as well as joining Third Form for more Maths fun with IZAK-9:
Sixth Form Share a Common GOAL with Syria
Sixth Form were delighted to welcome Louise and Alia from Goal today who presented a workshop on the charity’s work in Syria and the migrant crisis associated with the war currently being waged there. The workshop was a follow on from Ruben Grace’s recent winning of the GOAL Write the Future creative writing competition which was a national competition and a great achievement for Ruben and the school. Ruben was presented with a beautiful statue to mark his achievement. Local community newspaper News Four were there to record the event with the clearly impressed journalist conducting an interview with Ruben.
After initial project work in groups in the classroom, Sixth Form then settled in to the computer room for a live Skype call from Syrian National Alia to her compatriot Mohammed who is currently helping GOAL in the border region between Turkey and Syria, having had to flee the conflict and leave his family behind. A clearly emotional Mohammed explained to the boys the pain of having to leave both his family and his Master’s studies in Chemical Engineering behind and the great hardships that ordinary Syrians have had to endure. It hopefully will leave a lasting impression on the boys. The pupils then presented their Powerpoint projects on Syria to the GOAL workers and at the end of the day expressed their sincere thanks to the GOAL representatives for an eye-opening workshop that will be very beneficial to the boys.
Senior Infants Have Been Very Busy…
…but we have been neglecting them! Apologies to Ms. Murphy and the boys but we had outsourced certain of our heavier journalistic duties to foreign lands with more pliable labour laws and though we knew ‘Senior Infants’ had gone to a bidder in one of the -stan countries, we could not remember which one! But, at long last, we recently received a package to our door with as many stamps on it as the passport of Paddington Bear. And inside was this treasure-trove of photographs, some of which may be a bit dated but surely there is no expiration date on the smiles of happy children!
Junior and Senior Infants at Dublin Zoo:
Senior Infants Enjoying Aistear through Lego
Next Stop: The Maths Station
At the English Station and in the Library
On an Autumn Walk
Juniors Have Fun With Air, Snow and….Maths?
Ms. Leary’s Second Formers saw how cool the Sixth Year Math Team looks and decided to do some quantitative analysis themselves. Enter the IZAK9…and exit the boring, old Maths ‘Magic’! Ms. Dillon’s Third Formers took it to the Physics-al side: Their air pressure experiment used string, balloons and tape to create rockets which they had great fun racing and had great fun experimenting with Insta-Snow, the first and original instant snow polymer that actually erupts, creating some impressive snowmen. All that brain-freeze necessitated a PE class spent running an obstacle course at Herbert Park. Third Form also said their fond (temporary) farewells to Ricky, who returns to Italy till next September. Ciao!
Second Form Revving Up For First Rugby Match!
Inspired by the SCT’s astounding success this season, the Junior School rugby teams are also making their marks. Here we see Second Form gearing up for their first ever official match, to be played this Saturday against St. Mary’s College.
Conlethians Support The Caroline Foundation
There is not a family in the country that has not been affected by cancer, and the St. Conleth’s family is no exception. Many students and staff have had to confront the disease in support of their loved ones and some have even battled it themselves. In recognition of this, all of St. Conleth’s will band together this Wednesday, February 3rd, in support of the Caroline Foundation which funds research into a cure for cancer. Please send your child to school with 2€ on that day so that he or she can take part in Ribbon Day and help St. Conleth’s do its part in the fight against cancer.
Two sets of brothers from St Conleth’s fencing fraternity performed extremely well on Saturday at the Excalibur Cup in Dalkey. Luke Sherlock took Gold in the Under 11 Mixed Foil while younger brother Mathew along with Myles Moriarty-Smyth achieved Bronze in the Under 9 Mixed Foil. Myles’ older brother James took Bronze in the Under 13 Mixed Foil so maintaining his enviable record of a medal place at every competition this season.
Children of Destiny!
The Defence Forces Flag team which consisted of Lt. Áine McDonagh and Corp. Dermot O’Leary visited the school this morning to present the Irish Flag to one of our students on behalf of the school and to read out the Proclamation of the Irish Republic to both the Junior and Senior School student body and staff in attendance in the school Hall. James O’Neill, a pupil in 4th Form read out paragraph four of the proclamation. There was a brief explanation of the history and meaning of our flag and the protocol for flying, displaying and the placing of the flag which our pupils found fascinating. After a brief Q&A session Ámhran na bhFiann was sung by the assembled pupils and staff and Mr. Kelleher took possession of the flag for safekeeping until it is to be raised (correctly, with our new found knowledge) outside the school in in a ceremony on the 15th of March.
Weekend Warriors II!
Choir, golf, rugby… what happened to watching Scooby Doo for four hours on a Saturday morning? Well, add fencing to the list of Junior Conlethian weekend activities. James and Myles Moriarity-Smyth and Luke Sherlock were at it again, crossing swords with the best in Ireland and we are delighted to report that the St. Conleth’s contingent once again acquitted themselves with aplomb during Round 3 of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. James and Luke each took Bronze in the Boys’ Under 12s and Myles reached 5th in the Mixed Under 10s; this was no mean feat as it transpired he was incubating acute tonsillitis! A true warrior! Here we see the boys, a bit peaked after their considerable pointing!
TY Umbrellas: The Perfect Accompaniment to your Perambulation!
The boulevards and laneways of D4 are certainly nothing like that dreaded LUAS Red Line but they are known for a certain type of public altercation: the duelling golf umbrellas! Picture this: You stroll out of Roly’s with your Chai latte in one hand and your demure Leinster umbrella in the other (and perhaps a sourdough loaf under one arm) and, lo and behold, some complete gangster, surely NAMA-ed to the hilt, barges in, hollering for six macchiatos, all soy, with a fat tie and a ridiculously robust beach-sized umbrella and almost knocks you for six! Well, it is clearly an arms race and we have the solution:
St. Conleth’s Golf Umbrellas!
Transition Year Mini – Company is taking pre-orders for our specially designed, superb quality, automatic opening golfing umbrellas.
These umbrellas are a one off limited edition item, and only a small number will be available to purchase.
The cost will be €35 per umbrella.
If you wish to place an order, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and contact details clearly displayed.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Junior School: 24/7!
Remember when your parents would scare you with tales of foreign school systems where the poor kids went to school on Saturday and stayed in class till 5:00 everyday so they could top the Unicef Maths Tables? Well, forget about the Japanese! Our Junior Conlethians are busy seven days a week! Let us just take this past weekend as an example: On Saturday morning, Third through Sixth Forms (and their parents and coaches) were up a the crack of dawn to play rugby matches against Willow, with Third and Fifth Form winning handsomely against clearly shocked opposition! Rugby a bit too touchy-feely for you? Well then maybe you were busy with our golfers playing a nine hole competition in Leopardstown to finish their current coaching block on Saturday afternoon. Then on Sunday the Junior School Choir sang beautifully at the Commitment Mass for Confirmation in St. Mary’s Church on Haddington Rd at the main 11am Mass. Well done to all the kids and their bleary-eyed adult attendants!
Junior Swimmers Make a Splash in the Leinster Pool
Four of our Junior School boys posted times this year which qualified them to represent the school in the Leinster Primary Schools Swimming Gala last Saturday in Tallaght. Riccardo Rasini (5th) swam in the U-11 50 m Frontcrawl and Backstroke, Louis McGovern (4th) in the U-11 50m Breast and Backstroke and Luke Timlin(4th) in the U-10 Breast and Back. Jude Moes swam U-11 Butterfly and Breaststroke and he qualified through to represent the school in the All- Irelands to be held in the National Aquatic Centre next month, a great achievement. Hopefully he will be able to show of the bespoke Conleths swim caps (see above) which have been designed and ordered and of which we are currently awaiting delivery! Well done to all!
Worth Another Look II!
Our Juniors refuse to let their elders grab all the glory. Mr. Sheridan has sent us some more photos of his Fifth Form Young Scientists, which you see below, as well as some of the comments made by the judges when they evaluated their project on dental hygiene:
‘It was a really well-researched and presented project.’
‘The children were enthusiastic, knowledgeable and interested in their project.’
‘The children explained the project very well.’
Juniors Get Their Teeth into the Young Scientist Competition!
Everyone loves the Young Scientist Competition: The very ‘useful’ freebies, the stroll through the culturally vibrant ‘hood of Ballsbridge, the missed classes…. and, of course, the science! St. Conleth’s has a proud record at the competition with several entrants earning plaudits over the years, including the Zorin brothers winning the Senior Technology Section outright. This year a group of Fifth Formers are flying the Conleth’s flag with a very interesting yet practical project on dental hygiene, inspired no doubt by the recent visit of the Dental Den to our school. Here we see Mr. Sheridan and his Fifth Form team as well as some pics of Ms. Dillon’s Third Form enjoying the scientific and vehicular delights of the exhibition.
SCT Hold Heads High as Castleknock Score Heart-breaking Last Minute Try
I write it out in a verse—Dolan and Doggett and Cripwell and Pogatchnick, now and in time to be, wherever green (and black) are worn, are changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born.
Those lucky enough to be counted as current Conlethians will be talking about this match for years to come: Past Pupils’ Dinners will be enlivened with first-person accounts of the day when the boys in green and black from Clyde Road and Section A rose up and very nearly beat rugby royalty, and Section C frequenters, Castleknock in the Vinnie Murray Cup. We will leave the game report to the professionals from Leinster Rugby (see below), suffice it to say that it was a privilege to witness the way a team of well-coached and dedicated young men can galvanise the spirit of the school to such an extent that even the bitterness of sudden loss can taste like the sweetest of victories.
From the Leinster Rugby official website:
Andrew Hobson’s injury-time try put Castleknock through to the second round of the Bank of Ireland Vinnie Murray Cup at Donnybrook on Friday. The occasion, as much as anything, led to nerves from both sides as Castleknock’s Josh Connolly’s excellent penalty kick to touch put them inside the 22. St Conleth’s exit strategy was all about applying pressure from fly-half Ben Doggett’s clearance. It worked. The ball was spilled and centre Nicolas Foreau’s arcing break tested ‘Knock’s defence. Their ambition to play got the better of them when the ball hit the floor for ‘Knock lock Conor Stinson to dish out punishment on the counter carry. Then, hooker Michael Corcoran found Jack Horgan at a lineout and the subsequent maul generated momentum and problems for St Conleth’s. When that was ultimately fruitless, flanker Cathal Bermingham pulled his penalty slightly left of the posts in the 13th minute. Conleth’s number eight Kevin Dolan was solid off the back of the scrum and Foreau was keen to take it up again. Blindside Brendan Connor’s take at the front of a lineout got Conleth’s going well enough to force a penalty which Doggett whacked short of the target.
Full-back Michael McKay turned a difficult grubber from Patrick Murtagh to profit with a sizzling break. The penalty came. Doggett went for touch in what was a better decision.Conleth’s took care of the lineout and moved the ball with confidence left-to-right and back for openside David Pogatchnik to break a tackle on his way into the right corner. Fly-half Doggett’s conversion made it 7-0 in the 23rd minute. The underdogs had a lead to defend. Their centre Ross Murphy wrapped Sean Gibbons up in the tackle. They looked secure enough in defence until wing Hobson let rip down the right, cutting inside the last defender for Bermingham to square it from the conversion just short of the half-hour. Conleth’s flanker Connor hot-footed forward for Bermingham to see yellow for conceding a penalty and the lead to Doggett in the 33rd minute. It wasn’t long before Dolan was binned for his work at a ruck as the half came to a close.
Castleknock came out scolded. Bermingham’s simple penalty leveled it at 10-all from their first attack. The northsiders were beginning to turn the territory screw until Foreau broke from deep to remind them of the danger lurking from the boys from Ballsbridge. Captain Dolan tore through the middle. Connor was the link man. And Foreau finished with real intent. Better again, Doggett made the touchline conversion for 17-10 in the 48th minute.
The response was swift. The ‘Knock went more direct for Bermingham to drive over from a mini-maul in the 52nd minute. A high tackle incurred the wrath of Doggett’s right boot as the fly-half nailed another difficult penalty. This was wiped out by an immediate surge from Castleknock’s big men, replacement Liam Salmon having a snipe before James Gibney touched down for Bermingham’s extras to make it 22-20 in the 60th minute. The back and forth continued with Pogatchnik pumping his legs and prop Robert Cripwell punching in the five points for 25-22 in the 65th minute. Instead of kicking long, St Conleth’s wound down the clock through ball in hand rugby, the right option, until Castleknock wrestled away possession. It triggered a series of attacks that ended with wing Hobson claiming a glorious, match-winning try. CASTLEKNOCK COLLEGE 27 ST CONLETH’S COLLEGE 25
At Donnybrook – Castleknock College 27 (A Hobson 2 tries; J Gibney try; C Bermingham try, pen, 2 cons); St Conleth’s College 25 (D Pogatchnik, N Foreau, R Cripwell try each; B Doggett 2 pens, 2 cons).
Castleknock: Cathal Lacey; Andrew Hobson, Sean Gibbons, Jamie McGaley, Nico Eastmond; Patrick Murtagh, Josh Connolly; Carl Keogh, Michael Corcoran, Gavin Murray, Jack Horgan, Conor Stinson, Darragh McNally, Cathal Bermingham (capt), Cian Clancy.
St Conleth’s: Michael McKay; Sean Bortolozzo, Ross Murphy, Nicolas Foreau, Finn Mulcahy; Ben Doggett, David McKeown; Robert Cripwell, Colin Duffy, Mati Remi, Cameron Ross-O’Reilly, Patrick Cahill, Brendan Connor, David Pogatchnik, Kevin Dolan (capt). Replacement: Luke McKay for McKeown 60 mins.
SCT in Vinnie Murray Showdown with Castleknock College
You know you are approaching rugby royalty when your next opponent is the school which inspired half of the amalgamated alma mater of none other than Ross O’Carroll-Kelly himself! Yes, Castleknock College, one of Leinster’s traditional rugby powers, is crossing the river to meet Gav Maguire’s SCT in Donnybrook at 2:00 tomorrow (Friday). It is a big step up for St. Conleth’s but it is clear that Captain Kevin Dolan and the other boys are ready, having efficiently steam-rolled all of their Section A opposition this season. The whole school is heading down for the match, so we encourage all our parents to come and join us: it is sure to be a historical Conlethian occasion. Admission is 2€ for children and 5€ for adults. But don’t fret the cost: Gav has promised to stand all eligible alumni a victory pint afterwards in Kiely’s!
Other sports news:
See below (link) details about Sailing and Karate. Sailing starts Feb. 27th and Karate, next week, so do sign up on Easypayments (link), now!
Basketball has started up again. There will be no Basketball for 1st years tomorrow due to the SCT game. 1st and 2nd year start their league games this term. We will notify you as soon as fixtures are confirmed.
Athletics starts up on Monday, we are hoping to start the students in Irishtown Stadium. We will let you know once this is confirmed. If it is not in Irishtown it will take place in Wanderers FC. There will be athletics meets on this term and we will let you know about these in advance. Anyone who is interested in Athletics please come down and try it out!
Maths Magic! Cigire Refuses to Leave Rivetting Trigonometry Class!
Nevermind all that blather below about music, art, debating, chess and rugby! We have recently received official confirmation that we are in fact is a ‘Maths School’! Of course, we teachers of less computational subjects long suspected it: the number and size of classes, the seemingly endless supply of little pencils and plastic geometric shapes, the Maths Department company car (BMW, of course!), the banning of all but binary communication on the first floor, the slightly larger area of the Maths teachers’ lunch plates and the fact that even our pizza pies ‘r’ squared! The problem was it would take a Maths teacher to actually add it all up: we lethargic ‘arts’ types are too busy reading and arguing about freewill and the use of the semicolon! Well, now the almighty Department of Education and Skills has spoken and it is now quite clear that the Gentleman and Ladies of Arithmetic deserved their perks and many more! Click here to see the full report or just look at their main findings, verbatim:
Notice the use of the word ‘excellent’? Inspectors avoid such words of enthusiastic endorsement like the plague, but they felt compelled to bestow them on our Maths teachers liberally. And our inspector personally vouchsafed that she had never before seen such enthusiasm and sheer Mathematical knowledge amongst students at any other school! Well done to the Maths Department: the solid gold, engraved compasses are on the way!
Christmas Spectacular 2 ! The Junior School Strikes Back!
We collectively just shelled out over $500 million to watch Episode 7 of the Star Wars saga, so why shouldn’t we expect a sequel to be just as good as the original? The Senior School had put on quite a Yuletide show last Friday so the stakes were high, but of course Howe and Hartnett (our Gilbert and Sullivan) were more than up to the task! Beautiful melodies, smoothly cadenced choirs, cleverly choreographed skits and show-topping solos, with the usual bit of cross-dressing humour (a Howe trademark!) thrown in… there really was no competition. Yes, the heart does lift when two teenagers coquettishly croon to each other on stage (Thank-you, Finn and Maryrose) but can anyone really beat a five-year old in an animal costume? To be fair, there was a lot more work done on this production than just coaxing children into cutesy, flouncy bits and this was a team effort, as Mr. Howe and Ms. Hartnett were ably assisted by all the classroom teachers. And Mr. Kilcommons played a blinder in his first Christmas show from the producer’s chair with Ms. Kelly once again directing the wee folk with her usual uncanny mix of efficiency and kindness. Below you see a few snaps from the day and we may even post some video (once we painlessly remove some parents’ heads). Well done to all involved, especially the students themselves, who proved the old maxim true, that even the average Conlethian kid needs only a small part of the stage, a few bars on the piano and a bit of a nudge… to become a star!
Grandmaster Baburin Welcomes New Year Protégés
Grandmaster Alexander Baburin is, and has been for some time, the number one ranked chess player in Ireland. We are lucky to have him in charge of after-school chess lessons in the Junior School. His protégés dominate the amateur and professional rankings and it is no coincidence that our Junior School teams have become a dominant force in their own right. Well, don’t stalemate and get on board! Details on how to sign up for Thursday afternoon lessons for the new Jan.-May term are here.
Minister of State Kevin Humphreys Wowed by Ruben and St. Conleth’s
As he promised, Kevin Humphreys TD, took time to stop by St. Conleth’s to meet Ruben Grace, the Sixth Former who had recently won the GOAL ‘Write the Future’ Competition. The TD and the young epistolary star were mutually impressed and Ruben received a lovingly framed copy of his letter to go along with his trophy from GOAL. All the older Junior Forms were on hand to witness and applaud and we feel they will surely be inspired to enter (and win!) more such competitions. Click here to see more on Ruben’s impressive contribution to the ‘refugees’ debate.
The Christmas Force Awakens!
In years gone by the Parents’ Association kindly treated the Junior School students to a pre-Christmas movie trip, but this year we came up with even a better idea: why not enjoy a movie in-house, thereby saving a bit of cash for other projects and yet still having a jolly old time! And we combined the event with Christmas Jumper Day which may stretch the sartorial sensitivities of some, but raises money for charity and always provides a good few laughs. The Junior and Senior Infants watched The Flight Before Christmas on Cinemamultiomniplex Screen 1 (aka the Library). First through Fourth saw The Nativity 3 in the Conference Room and Fifth and Sixth proudly displayed our multiculturalism and tolerance of other faiths, joining the seasonal Jedi celebrations on Tatooine for Star Wars IV. The Parents Association kindly footed the bill for refreshments, and the only way we can pay them back is through barnstorming performances next Tuesday during our annual Preparatory and Junior School Christmas Concerts!
Sixth Former Achieves Impressive GOAL! TD Takes Notice!
Dr. Fallon encouraged her Sixth Form English Class to enter a national competition, Write the Future (link), run by the world-renowned Irish development charity GOAL. Write the Future is open to students across the country and is designed to involve young people in humanitarian issues and the work that GOAL does in the field. This year’s theme was ‘Refugees’ and competition entrants had to write letters on the topic. Several of Dr. Fallon’s students entered and Ruben Grace actually won the Junior Competition! He is to receive a trophy engraved with his name and a goody bag. Ruben’s letter emphasised the Syrian refugee crisis and was inspired by a debate which Dr. Fallon ran with the class about the topic. In accordance with the competition, the letter was addressed (but just nominally!) to local TD Kevin Humphreys. The kicker is that Mr. Humphreys heard about Ruben’s victory, actually read the letter and is now coming into St. Conleth’s to meet him and the whole Junior School! Mr. Humphreys will be here along with representatives from GOAL to honour Ruben at 2:00 this coming Monday at 2:00. Now, that’s a Christmas-time goodwill story! You can read Ruben’s letter and some of his classmates’ here.
Crazy for Christmas!
It is just about at fever pitch right now at St. Conleth’s: The Senior School has wrapped up exams and attention has turned to our Christmas Jumper Day, Annual Carol Service, Kris Kindle and Year Outings. And the whole Junior School is just about bursting at the seems with preparations for their Christmas Concerts and the decking of the halls (and walls and hallways and doorways) with all sorts of yuletide decorations. Below you see Ms. Hartnett rehearsing a carol with the boys, a sampling of what our Infants classes created and the other forms in the actual artistic moment with Ms. Halpin and Mr. Gleeson. Now, who is going to take all this stuff down in the new year?
Don’t Worry, Parents! The FutureKids Are All Right!
At some point over these Christmas holidays you will find yourself looking worriedly through eggnog-addled eyes at your six-year-old child’s eyes lit up with digital joy as he is hunched over his screen-of-the-moment, inputting your Visa number and ordering a drone from Hong Kong. But don’t worry! He probably already knows about PayPal’s no-fault returns policy and is just testing his piloting skills for a later, more significant purchase… So, who do we blame for that sinking ‘I have become a dinosaur‘ feeling in the pit of the stomach? Mr. Travers! Yes, under his tutelage, our Junior Schoolers are quickly becoming the Jobs and Zuckermans of the next generation. You may have to keep an eye on your current account (unless junior has already blocked you) but you can’t but be impressed by the ways in which Mr. Travers is preparing our FutureKids. In particular, our Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Forms have been creating brilliant technology newsletter over the last few weeks in Computer Class. They both informative and eye-catching. Below you see some sample snapshots, but you can view your son’s full masterpiece by clicking on the GoogleDrive link, Here! Well done to all! And remember to double-check that digital shopping basket!
Première en Irlande! St. Conleth’s Signs Contract to Host the DELF Scolaire
What exactly is happening in our French Department? They are supposed to represent a nation which proudly invented the 35-hour work week, the two hour/two bottle déjeuner and battle-tanks with only reverse gears, but here are Mr. Porzadny and Ms. Crowley again trumping the other Conlethian academic departments, as well as all the other French teachers in Ireland! Insouciance? Non… chutzpah! Our colleagues have somehow managed to find time to mark their exams, conduct their aurals and orals, carve some new oak wine casks for Mr. K’s extensive cellars and earn the right to be named as the first school in Ireland to host the DELF Scolaire, the most prestigious International French programme and exam for secondary students. Our two teachers have been sneaking away for ‘in-services’ since September and we thought they were just hunting for unpasteurised cheese but lo-and-behold they return with such an unprecedented honour for the school! Now, Transition Years, you must brush up on that vocabulaire et grammaire, because when you get back in January, the eyes of two nations will be on you!
Click to see how Mme. Fabert announced it on Twitter:
This just in, an update on our Junior Chess Teams from Gillian O’Leary:
The Conleth’s teams are having a great run in the Primary Schools Chess League so far this season. The A team are leading Division 1, but have some tough matches to come! The B Team are out on their own at the top of Division 2! Fantastic results! As both teams will be playing in the finals, please book Saturday, March 5th in your diaries. (from ~10am to 4pm!) The A team have a couple of matches in January, but the B team’s next match isn’t until February. Well done to all the players! And a big thanks to all the Mums for the support, transport and supervision!
And here are the Leinster League Tables to prove it!
“And How Marketable is that Degree in Ancient Greek?”
To be fair to Alastair Daly, one of the most dedicated and honest intellectuals ever to grace these halls, he is also studying English at Trinity, which does make that position of venture capitalist/vampire a bit more attainable. So, why was Alastair willing to answer such tough, probing questions? Because he was invited back by Captain Hannah Collins to speak to current Fifth and Sixth Years as part of the Alumni Redux Programme in which recent graduates return to spill the beans on their university courses, helping to guide the current Conlethians with their CAO decisions. The questions ranged from the practical to the esoteric: What is the Maths like in Engineering? Are Nursing students really like that? How practical are the BESS classes? Is it true that you undergo a procedure to remove your soul in First Year Law? …. Vice Captains Noah Brabazon and Josh Harvey-Graham were on hand for security, just in case the girls went crazy when they heard legendary heart-throb alumnus Ross McHugh was dropping in to speak about his Business Degree and his newly started career at LinkedIn. The more binary-oriented students flocked to Computer Scientists Owen Mooney and Matt Donnelly who gave the low-down on the high-tech and are living proof that a dedication to the Jedi Code does not preclude gainful employment. Conan Quinn denied the Sith rumours but did admit that Law at Trinity is a challenging but ultimately rewarding arena. James Lardner used a hypothetical model to finally put to bed the ‘Engineering at Trinity is not applied enough’ argument. Holly Davage stressed the opportunities available in General Science and Matthew Collins, for once, let the oligarchy, patriarchy and other -archies rest, instead giving sound, practical advice about pursuing a degree in Politics. It was an enjoyable and useful evening for all involved and plans are afoot to run something similar for Transition Years.
Weekly Canteen Menu, Holiday Style!
Each week, Senior School Parents Association Chairman (and Master of All Media) Paul Allen (amongst his many other duties) creates a lovely PDF Weekly Canteen Menu from the raw ingredients provided by Chef Mark. It always looks great, but this week’s one is bursting with Christmas cheer, so we thought it deserved pride of place! (Click here for a PDF!)
The Madchester Trip: Conlethians Party (and spend) Like Sheikh Mansour!
Many moons ago, when on the ‘red’ side of Manchester a certain ginger midfielder was passing with aplomb and tackling with fury, and a young winger was running like the wind and exposing his chest hair with glee, a then-cub reporter of ours accompanied Mr. Shay Keenan on a Junior School trip to Paris. Said cub reporter was an American and thought soccer was for ‘girls, sissies and foreigners’. Said Mr. Keenan set him straight, lecturing him on the glorious history of United and its demigods. Then they both tuned in to some footie that happened to be on the television in the eh … museum: It was the 1999 Champions League Final. QED by Mr. Keenan and Gunnar Solskjaer. This time around, the journey was a bit harder to stomach, for both the lads, who settled quickly settled into a ‘sweets-spew-sweets’ routine on board, and Mr. Keenan, who had to endure both a triumphant night for the nouveau riche of Maine Road and a rather ignominious drop into the Europa League for his beloved Red Devils. Thankfully, Mr. Sheridan was also there, and his twelves hours of consistent snoring somehow soothed the soul. Of course, Mr. Keenan was man enough to forget about the current plight of the plodding Huns and PSV-cast-offs who are desecrating Old Trafford and joined in the fun: the boat-trip of giddiness and nausea (but fun nausea!), the mall invasion where the Conleth’s kids adopted the spending habits (and lack of savvy) of the City director and the match itself, which honestly was a classic with goals galore and some memorable (but not to be repeated in a family publication) chants. And Mr. Kilcommons took it all in, as he always does, with a well-earned sense of bemused satisfaction.
The Write Stuff!
Congratulations to Tathagat Kumar of our Second Form, who was presented with his certificate and prize for Overall Winner in the Dublin schools AIJS Handwriting Competition at assembly yesterday. Now, if only Tathagat could influence some of the scrawlers and scribblers we have elsewhere in the school!
It is Beyond Debate: St. Conleth’s is the Home of School-Age Rhetoric
We just recently hosted the annual St. Conleth’s College Junior Mace Debating Competition which was another smashing success, with over 100 students taking part in a debating competition which is now a firm fixture of the Matheson Junior Mace National Competition. Moderator of Debates Mr. Carvill was assisted by Auditor of Debates, Daniel Gilligan, and Ms. Justice Caroline Costello chaired the Grand Final after four initial rounds, with 14 debates running simultaneously throughout the school. The young students all dextrously debated diverse topics, such the ethics of eating animals, to the payment of housewives and househusbands, and the topical issue of blasphemy in the media. So, does the St. Conleth’s Debating Machine take a break after such herculean efforts? That would be a rhetorical question: of course we don’t! Conleth’s Debating ‘old boys’ (and Irish team-mates) Matthew Collins and Christopher Costigan were back in over the weekend to run the second of our Junior Debating and Public Speaking Workshops this year! The workshop was open to students from Fifth and Sixth Class from any school, and focused on areas such as speaking confidence, critical thinking and introducing students to a broad range of topics in current affairs and beyond. And, of course, our two old pros were able to impart some very helpful hints regarding competitive debating to the stars of tomorrow’s inter-school rostra!
It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
…because the TY Christmas Tree Sale is coming! Yes, indeed, the wind has picked up, the falling leaves are halting nearly all movement in the city, Switzer’s has a vaguely yuletide theme to its window display, and if we just lost a few degrees, we would be neck deep in snow! And, of course, the Transition Years are once again readying themselves for another Christmas Tree Sale extravaganza. (Click for poster!) They have been like busy little woodland elves: planting, cultivating and cutting the finest of firs and poinsettia and etching and whittling the most exquisite of Christmas cards and crafts. And Mr. Trenier has been doing his best trying to fill in as Santa: not quite able to grow the wintry whiskers of his predecessor, Mr. Bolger, he has opted rather for the rounder middle and the rosy red cheeks! Make them even rosier with joy by ordering a Christmas tree from the TY boys and come by this Saturday, December 5th, from 9-5, for them and all the extras, including holly wreaths, poinsettia, tree stands and tea and coffee. All proceeds go to supporting the India 2016 Expedition. Here we see some of the artwork of the TY boys which deservedly came so close to being selected for the poster above:
Third Form Fun!
It is hard to keep up with our Junior School form classes, as they are all up to so much, all of the time! Every so often, however, we like to spotlight the activities of one particular Form, and the boys of Third Form have recently grabbed our attention… because we literally stumbled over them as they were lying prone on the hallway floor! We soon found out that Ms. Dillon was leading them in a measurement activity, as well as various other maths and science experiments. And after all that heavy-thinking, what better way to relax than engage in a mass fencing brawl, of course under the watchful eye of Maître David Couper (Click)!
Check-mates: Chess Teams Make Friends With Vanquished Opponents
After years of following and reporting on different St. Conleth’s sports teams on a variety of courts, pitches and tracks, we can honestly say that our most intensely competitive and ambitious athletes are those who play their game on the smallest of fields: 64 black and white squares, to be exact! Yes, the boys and girls apply their checks, captures and threats with a measured aggression which is a wonder to behold. Our Junior chess players are threatening to make their chosen pursuit rival debating as the quintessential Conlethian activity: Our current Junior School “A” team (reigning Chess-For-All All-Ireland champions) are a just half point off top spot in the Premier League after taking an impressive 10 points out of a possible 12 after 3 fixtures. The “B” team have been much busier, and are absolutely flying it! They are out on their own at the top of the table with only 2 points dropped out of their first five fixtures. We may well have two teams in the Premier Division next year. There is also a healthy supply of younger up and coming chess players in the Junior School. Twenty of our pupils played friendly matches against St. Lawrence’s from Crookstown recently with the visiting coach clearly very impressed with the ability of our players, with a First Former managing 5 wins out of 6 games! And après match? Everyone celebrates together as friends, thanks in part to Mr. K and the Tuck Shoppe!
No-one is more thrilled by this news than Ms. NiAonghusa and Leni Adanov, our Senior School Chess Moderator and Coach. Leni famously won the St. Conleth’s Senior Chess Trophy while still in First Year and now is helping to guide Ms. NiAonghusa’s teams to glory. They have campaigned well in the toughest section of the Leinster League, even taking 1 1/2 points from Gonzaga. It is no wonder, considering that our team members have emerged from the intense selection competition of the cauldron-like Tuesday Lunchtime Chess Club!
Michael Li: Fencer on the Rise!
Within St. Conleth’s, Transition Year Michael Li has an impeccable reputation for manners, behaviour and school spirit. However, if you place an épée, foil or sabre in his hands, you all of a sudden have a veritable beast on your hands! Fencing has a long tradition at St. Conleth’s with our weekly classes under Maître David Couper of Salle Dublin as strong as ever. We have several Olympians amongst our alumni and recent alumnus Phillip Cripwell is ranked first in the National Junior Foil Rankings and third in the Senior. Well, Philip had better watch out, because the sabre-rattling Michael is on his way, and he is not easily foiled! Last weekend, at the 2015 Irish Open Championships at the Loughlinstown Leisure, Michael came in 23rd out of 50 fencers, in the Senior competition. He was one of the youngest competitors there and he impressed the judges with his attacks, balestras, beats and binds. Considering Michael’s rapid development, Phillip’s continuing reign and the recent successes of our Juniors (click), we can proudly say that St. Conleth’s Fencing is entering a new golden age!
Art on the Double!
Ms. Halpin does double duty at St. Conleth’s, teaching Art to both the Junior and Senior Schools, and though it takes immense amounts of both creativity and organisation on her part, she says it is all worth it when the students respond with some very impressive efforts of their own. Our walls are quickly getting covered in student art, from the youngest forms to Leaving Cert portfolio-worthy pieces and St. Conleth’s is quickly becoming known as an artsy school, in the best sense of the word. One of Ms. Halpin’s prize pupils, Mati Remi, is the creator of several of those worthy works hanging here and there at 28 Clyde Road, and his latest venture takes it to a new level and new medium. Look below to see his latest masterpiece in double-time on YouTube and some of the the other creative goings-on in the most popular room in the school, the Art Room.
The Parents Associations’ Combined Newsletter is Here!
This just in from Paul Allen, Chair of the SSPA:
Dear Parents – we’re delighted to provide you with a copy of our November newsletter. This is the first time that a joint newsletter has been produced by both the Senior and Junior School Parents’ Associations. I hope you enjoy the read, it’s our biggest newsletter ever! Click here!
Dig It! Doggett Conversion Goes Viral!
St. Conleth’s SCT have gone viral! From Australia to Georgia, the rugby nations of the world are all clicking on the video of Ben Doggett’s miraculous conversion. Post, post, post, crossbar and over! Click here to see what everyone is talking about?
SCT Marches On: Tullow Gets Tanked
Not since Cromwell’s time, have the young men of the hinterland been mowed down so mercilessly. First it was Navan…then Ardee…now Tullow. St. Conleth’s SCT is now the nightmare that haunts the dreams of wannabe ruggers from Wicklow to Louth. They may grow ’em big down on the farm, but we now have our own monsters to match them, and the beasts of Clyde Road have a skill set which belies their pow