Gav, We Are So TYred!

Just what were the Transition Years up to in recent weeks as the rest of the students took their exams and then stumbled toward the finishing line of the Christmas break? Well, plenty! There were more trips around the hinterland of Dublin (Covid be darned!), Yuletide-specific mini-companies, the continuation of such courses as Sign Language and a host of other academic and ‘real-life’ activities, some of which you can see below!

Life Skills with Ms. McGuinness!

BioProjects with Mr. Carvill (the Younger)!

LIFT (Leading Ireland’s Future Together) with Guru Gav!

Yuletide App-less Fun!

No, there is no ‘app’ for Afterschool! All participants in Cecilia Franken’s fun-filled festival of freedom must use their own hands, feet, eyes, ears and imaginations, and all screens are forbidden, unless the chosen activity for the day is sifting for gold in the River Dodder. How refreshing it is to see children enjoying themselves the old-fashioned way! And all this adventure time just intensifies at Christmas, as you can see below!

Secret Santa Prizes

Christmas Party Time

Masks Off… Hands On!

Exterminate: A DIY Recycling Christmas tree inspired by Doctor Who’s Dalek robots!

Art in Action!

Sticks and Style!

A good news story to start the year and the return to school: Ms. Speller’s and Ms. Handley’s hockey hordes all received their stylish new school jerseys before the break. 2022 promises even more hockey plates, cups and trophies… and now we have the stylish gear for proper team photos! A big thank you to the Transition Years who helped organise the whole, complicated process.

Io, Saturnalia!

Yes, Jesus’s arrival was the game-changer, and Christmas and Easter are holy days of a different class, but in the years B.C., the Romans already had a calendar as full of holidays as an Educate Together Sports Day is full of medals. And our Classics classes dutifully and enjoyably mark as many of them as they can! Saturnalia is the festa most linked with Christmas and was infamous for its bacchanalian excess and its subversion of the usual social order: slaves would even be served their dinner by their masters on this one day when the world turned upside down. We settled for the magister serving his discipuli the symbolically, mythically rich pomegranate and demonstrating the wonders of the Pythagorean Cup: an ingenious vessel that rewards moderation but punishes excess by emptying completely of wine (or cranberry juice, in this case) if filled too high. See some snaps from our Saturnalian parties below as well as some from Classics hijinks earlier in the term and our Young Classicist Symposium Award winners from last year. There is a new competition in the new year so stay tuned!

Io, Saturnalia!

Young Classicists Symposium Winners

Christmas Capers and Cuddles!

Sadly, there was no Howe/Hartnett Whole Junior School Christmas Spectacular on the stage this year, so teachers had to work even harder coming up with classroom, pod-specific Yuletide activities. Videos of those are going straight to parents but we can show you the post-production parties!

Our Senior School Parties may seem more sedate, but these were taken before the sweets kicked in!

And our Sixth Years showed the collegiality and spirit which have helped them manage remarkably well during the covid restrictions:

Christmas Crooners and….KERRANG!

No, it was not the usual wholesome, whole-school Christmas Concert experience but Mr. ODulaing, Mr. Seamus Gallagher and Music Maestro Ms. McGuinness managed to organise FIVE (!) separate Christmas assemblies and concerts, one for each remaining year of students. The readings were perfectly picked by Mr. Gallagher and sincerely delivered by select students in each year and Mr. O’Dulaing’s talk on the various (and, some, long-lost) traditions of Christmas in Ireland was eye-opening for both the audience and The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Wrens. Mr. O’Dulaing delivered his messages with friendly emphasis and good humour; in fact, we were privileged to a trend all five assemblies and have to say that his jokes really hit their peak with their fourth rendition! But what was no surprise was the display of an absolute abundance of musical spirit and talent in each and every year. Somehow, on very short notice, Ms. McGuinness cobbled together the various soloists, duos and groups into a slate that once again proved that St. Conleth’s is a ‘music school’ above all else, especially now that the Parents Association-purchased instruments and equipment have hit the stage. We had pianists from First and Third Years, full pop bands from Second and Sixth, the singular talent of Third Year Michael Horan and that barnstorming, reverb-surfing duo of Ollie and Finn from Fifth Year. Enjoy some highlights below, and stay tuned, as all this talent will once again take the stage… hopefully together!

Christmas with the Kooks!

Ms. Speller and Mr. Lonergan were not going to let covidaphobia cancel Christmas for our kids! After the cinema trip was cancelled, they got their thinking caps on and organisational skills buzzing and they came up with two fun-filled activities that thankfully got our kids out of the classroom and left the rest of us to enjoy the mince pies and spiked egg nog. Mr. Lonergan led each year through a ‘Mini-Sports Day’ and it was great to see how initial moans of reluctance were soon transformed into the life-affirming grunts and shouts of healthy competition. Ms. Speller concentrated on Third Year and came up with the most remarkable of Christmas Scavenger Hunts, replete with very specific yuletide-themed challenges such as ‘recreate a famous Christmas movie scene’ and ‘organise a Christmas feast from the detritus of the Herbo’. The competition really spurred that famous Conlethian creativity and kookiness and some of the resultant mini-masterpieces may be seen below!

Zoo Story

One of the many changes we have noticed in recent years is the reduction in the number of our older Senior School students ‘doing a line’. Yes, we should clarify that this is not a reference to illegal stimulants stronger than a L&C latte but an euphemism for youngsters pairing up in boyfriend/girlfriend (or other variety) relationships. Anyways, even when we had a much more skewed gender ratio in the school, you could always depend on a few ‘couples’ developing in Fifth and Sixth Year… and not to scare anyone, but a small (but surprisingly large) number of these ended up in Past Pupil Marriages!

Perhaps it’s this generation heeding Greta the Good’s call to dwindle our species or, more likely, its a sign that relationships are mostly digital now and hand-holding in the corridors, heart-shaped graffiti in the homework journal and illicit rendezvous at the bike rack have all morphed into the passionate exchange of emojis. In any event, we thought the one place we might witness budding romance would be the zoo. You know, all that nature and stuff. Yes, Sixth Year Form Teachers Ms. NiAonghusa and Mr. Coleman took the cinema cancellation in stride and promptly organised a safer even more enjoyable outing for their charges, providing some small respite for a cohort of kids who have had nearly all their rites of passages postponed. No news yet of any canoodling near the canaries or lingering by the lemurs, but as you can see, above and below, the boys and girls were certainly thrilled to get a day out and enjoy the animals’, and each other’s’, company.

Holiday Hucksters!

Is there anything more beautiful than a tidy little profit, fairly worked for and won? Well Gav Maguire and his TYs don’t think so, and their recent Mini-Company Christmas Fair led to happy customers, reasonable profits… and Karl Marx rolling in his spare, unadorned lonely grave. Home-made Christmas crafts and baked goods were once again on the bill of sale, but the real star product was the hot chocolate: rumours abound about the identity of its ‘special’ ingredient, but we don’t really care what it is… just pour us some more!

B-Ball Glory Days!

The Oblates Hall in Inchicore was once again the venue for a colossal Conlethian basketball triumph as Coaches Sean Ingle and Peter Gahan led the U16 Girls to the Dublin Basketball D League Crown with a thrilling victory over Gaelcholáiste an Phiarsaigh! Hi-Scorers were Jodi Ryan and Lucy McGoldrick, netting ten points apiece, but it was a real team effort and every single player deserves notice: Ciara Prendergast, Greta Lawless, Ru O’Sullivan, Ella Smyth, Charlotte O’Donoghue, Sadbh McGonigle, Anna O’Neill and Brook O’Connor.

The first half was close but a huge third quarter, in which the green-and-black outscored their opponents 15-0, enabled the St. Conleth’s girls to pull away, rooted on by Head of Sport Ciara Smith and a raucous gang of select supporters. Yes, after the Covid lull, St. Conleth’s basketball is back with a bang and the cups and shields are starting to bulge the trophy case, once again. Well done to the coaches, all the players and the supporters!

First Years Get ‘Booster’!

Last Friday, our First Years enjoyed a day of faith and fun with the dynamic Christian group, An Tobar Nua, just as Second and Third Years did in October. And the reviews have once again have been rave. Our Religion Department, namely Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Lonergan, have found the perfect antidote to students with low energy levels and, perhaps, a lack of a faith-filled background: a retreat that is large parts fun and ‘generally’ applicable, yet also true to our Christian ethos and mission. Just think of these retreats as faith and wellbeing ‘boosters’… but with only positive side effects!

Tom Hennigan

Current location: São Paulo, Brazil

Education path

I started in St. Conleth’s on the first day of second form and stayed until sixth year, one of a relatively large group of us who went right the way through both junior and senior school. After the Leaving Cert it was off to study Arts in UCD, again with a sizeable cohort of classmates, eventually taking a degree in history. For a while I thought about continuing my studies and did a masters in England as a possible first step towards a doctorate. I really enjoyed my deep dive into the turbulent politics of 1790s Ireland. But for various reasons, mainly based on excited reports coming back from friends who had already gone there, I dropped the studies and went to live in the US instead. I spent four years in San Francisco which was a great experience in a wonderful part of the world at a very interesting time in its history. Though the San Francisco I knew has had an aggressive makeover thanks to tech money I would recommend to anyone spending a few years in California. But I have always had a touch of wanderlust so eventually made the difficult decision to leave and went to London. There I did a journalism course, my last stint in formal education.

The class of 1990 Confirmation in May 1984

Favourite memory from St. Conleth’s

It would be hard to pick one favourite memory from over a decade at the school. The best of them would involve the friendships made there. Every time I am back in Dublin I will meet up with a few former class mates and I am in frequent touch with others also living abroad (Hello Diarmuid).

Forced to pick one memory I would go with the school trip to Paris in 1988. While I loved growing up in Dublin it seemed back in the pre-boom years to this teenager at least a small and provincial place. That week in Paris as well as great fun was also an early window onto a bigger and more cosmopolitan world waiting out there. I fell in love with the city to the extent it became a fixed idea to go and live there which I did for a year after I finished UCD. And it lived up to all the expectations and then some.

Tom and Karl at the The Pompidou Centre in 1988
Ronan and Rory in 1980s Paris
The class of 1990 with Tom front centre.

How you came to be in your current location

After a few years working in media in London I was itching to get on the move again. I did not have much of a plan except I wanted to go somewhere I had not been to before. I was half-thinking about Iran because I had read a lot about its history and culture which really appealed to me. But one of the lecturers on my journalism course, an old China hand, always emphasised to us the need for a foreign correspondent to quickly grasp the language of the country they planned to base themselves in. That was an issue for me as foreign languages were always a bit of a challenge. A cursory study of Farsi made me think I should look at some other options besides Iran. It was my fail, but you need to recognise your weaknesses. So I ended up going to Argentina instead, Spanish being less intimidating. The country had just experienced another of its periodic economic implosions which meant it was on the radar of news editors while after the plunge in the local currency it was suddenly unusually cheap for anyone earning in hard currency. That was a winning combination for a freelance reporter just starting out.

So I headed off to South America. Then after two fantastic years in Buenos Aires one of the papers I was writing for at the time asked would I be interested in going to Brazil as their stringer there was heading back to Europe. I had already visited the country a few times and loved it so jumped at the chance. I did not realise then that after lots of ups and downs and swings and roundabouts I would still be here 17 years later, still fascinated, still in love with it. Initially I wanted to move to Rio. It has probably the most stunning location of any city in the world and like most gringos I instantly fell under its charms on my first visit. But for reasons largely beyond my control I ended up settling in São Paulo. It is bigger, colder, uglier, and greyer than Rio but also South America’s most cosmopolitan metropolis and Brazil’s most dynamic city. Though I would never have believed it possible when I first visited the place I’ve loved living here and could not imagine spending so long anywhere else.

Proudest achievement

Wrangling a free ticket out of Fifa for the 2014 World Cup final in Rio. I jest. More seriously several articles that were very important personally to me were ones I did on a massacre committed by São Paulo police in 2006. It was my first deeply reported work after arriving in Brazil the year before and researching it really plunged me into the reality of the country and the weeks working on it were the steepest learning curve I had ever been on. It was an important story giving voice to people who were victims of the state that felt they had been largely ignored by local media. Both as a reporter and a gringo living in Brazil I have always felt those articles mark a before and after.

Class of 1990 – 30 Year Reunion Dinner February 2020

It’s A Given!

In recent years, a mainstay of the Junior School’s Christmas calendar has been the collection for Brother Kevin’s Capuchin Day Centre: students, parents and staff get together to collect food, toys and other suitable Christmas gifts, and the Centre makes sure they get to those who need them most. Brother Kevin and his team were particularly appreciative of the amount of donations from St Conleths this year, especially the number of toys, as he reported that a large number of families were attending and the St Conleths contributions were need and very welcome.  Junior School Principal Brian Nolan thanks all those who made this year’s donation drive for the a smashing success!

Straight Shooters!

Our U16 Girls Basketball team are through to the Dublin Final and not only are the players accurate markspeople, so are their coaches. Here, Coach Ingle gives a straight-up account of his bball bro, Mr. Gahan’s, latest tactical triumph.

Adamstown started strongly, netting two quick baskets and getting out to an early lead. Ciara Prendergast got St. Conleth’s on the board and retaliated with a basket for St. Conleth’s but Adamstown Community College stretched their lead out further to 10 – 2 with a couple of baskets in quick succession. An early timeout by Coach Gahan and a change of team tactics to zone defence seemed to slow the scoring run.  


After getting used to the physicality of Adamstown. St. Conleths roared back in the 2nd Quarter with baskets by Jodi Ryan, Lucy McGoldrick and Anna O Neill. With great teamwork on display from all of the girls, a lot of purposeful passing ended up with some wide open looks at the basket. The St. Conleth’s defence held firm and only allowed 2pts in the 2nd Quarter which allowed us to take a small lead into the halftime break. 
The 3rd quarter was much of the same from St. Conleth’s with some defensive contributions from Brooke O Connor and great passing from Ella Smyth and Ciara Prendergast. More timely baskets in the 3rd quarter stretched the St. Conleths lead to 9pts by the end of the 3rd Quarter. 
Another great start to the 4th quarter allowed us to pile on the points with great baskets from Charlotte O Donoghue and Anna O Neill. However, Adamstown weren’t going to lie down that easily. They scored a flurry of baskets to make it a 5pt game with 1 minute to go. The St. Conleth’s defense came through and held out for the win. 
Final Score: Adamstown Community College (25) v St Conleth’s (31)
Top Scorers: Anna O Neill:16 pts; Lucy McGoldrick: 9pts; Charlotte O Donoghue, Ciara Prendergast, Jodi Ryan: 2 pts

Ismail Squashes the Opposition!

Dating from the glory days of Pat McGrath and William Prasifka, St. Conleth’s has always had at least one sneaker in the squash court, and current Third Year Ismail Abdelwahed has continued that storied tradition. Ismail was back playing squash after almost two years of covidiocy and he certainly came back with a bang: winning two trophies in the first few weeks of the season. Ismail won Gold in the Mount Pleasant Junior Open (not losing a single set in the final!) and Silver in the Connacht Open in Galway. Should the strong performances continue, Ismail is on course to be ranked the Irish No. 1 in his age group. Well done, Ismail!

Leinster Lioness!

The Toy Show had plenty of adorable kids jumping around the place, emitting affected roars, but there is one St. Conleth’s Third Year whose charming growl you had better listen to! Lucy McGoldrick has been chosen as goalkeeper for the Leinster squad and has even been put forth for Irish trials, a great honour for herself, her coaches and St. Conleth’s as a whole.

We have had Leinster rugby tennis players and Irish fencers, golfers and basketball players but this is certainly our first Leinster hockey player, and a a tribute to the remarkably quick transformation into a ‘hockey school’ which we have undergone since Ms. Speller’s arrival a few short years (and several trophies) ago. Lucy, of course, earned the honour, herself, and if anyone is lucky enough to have Lucy in class, they know of the talent, spirit and leadership skills she shows in every field of endeavour. Above we see Lucy with her coach and her Leinster teammates while below we hear more about her motivation and goals.

Cup Courage!

There were two stirring Rugby Cup matches for St. Conleth’s this past week, and both conveyed the same message: the boys in black and green are talented, committed and spirited and all opponents, no matter how big, must be ready to battle to earn every single yard of the pitch. The SCT fought bravely against the big boys of Good Counsel- New Ross, losing 14-5 but earning plaudits from the coaches, opponents and the ref. It was a real team effort, with our well-honed skill set trumping the opponents’ brawn and accomplishing a complete domination of territory in the second half but, alas, we could net get over the line.

The JCT were inspired by their older brothers and came out thumping against the ‘Auld Enemy’, St. Columba’s. It was a real team effort, and when star player Fionán went off early injured, we knew his teammates would respond with gusto. Stefi scored a scintillating try and super sub Diego came off the bench to cut stylish swathes through the opposing defence. In the end it was 17-12 to St. Conleth’s and we look forward to the next round. Well done to Coaches Mr. Smyth and Louis Magee, Assistant Gav Maguire and the whole staff!

Hoopsters: En Garde!

Never mind all that hoopla! We are still a Fencing School! Claudio Sosa was back on the podium recently- twice! At the
Irish Open he took Silver and at the Derry Open, he swashbuckled his way to Gold! Claudio is currently ranked as the No. 1 Male foilist in Ireland. And that is the senior/adult ranking. Not bad for a seventeen-year-old!

Look What the Tide Dragged In!

Pity the Geographer, for he plows a lonely course as he strides through the sands of time and bends to measure the accumulated scree, for he he is caught between two camps: too social and humane for the hard science droids yet too rocky and jocky for the effete artsy crowd… except when he leads the Leaving Certificate Geography class on their mandatory field trip! Mr. Smyth was joined on his mid-morning jaunt along the seaside by the best and brightest students of Sixth Year (who don’t take Classics) as well as some curious TYs and had a veritable party by Geography standards (but has nothing on the bacchanalian festival that is the ‘Ides of March’ Classics Quiz).

Eventually our resident rock-stars got down to work and measured their longshore drift, wave frequency, beach profile, cliff height and, yes, most excitingly, beach fabric size and angularity. This being Killiney, the well-compensated tide rolled in just when it was supposed to, did its business and left quietly out the service exit. Job done, well…almost: now comes the hard part of writing it all up!

Double Dribble!

The girls are at it again! U16s and U19s Girls Basketball won the double over Mount Anville: 44-16 and 44-28, respectively. Lucy McGoldrick led the youngsters with 20 and Greta, Anna and Ciara chipping in 4 each while Timea returned to net a stylish 15 for the 19s with Vivienne adding 10 and Marie netting 4. Well done to both teams and Coach Sean Ingle! And the stylishly moustached Assistant Coach Adam!

The Fairest of Them All!

We love and miss all our alumni: we really do! In fact, some alumni are like certain vintages of wine: they take time to mature, and what we thought rather brash and bold back in the day, turns out to be mellow and deep when unearthed anew. And, yes, some just turn to vinegar… but if they pay for the PPU Dinner in advance and keep their hands off our Modern Languages staff, we are all good! The subject of this tribute, Michael Li, is clearly not from either of those groups: from the first day he crossed the threshold of No. 28, Clyde Road, Michael has exhibited the honest effort, open personality and good will and humour which made him the quintessential Conlethian, and a sorely missed ray of light in these somewhat darker, unfriendlier times. One of things we look forward to most, when this iron curtain is finally lifted, is Michael dropping by… with a pack full of pastries!

Yes, Michael has taken on the honourable mantle of the pastry chef, as well as kitchen management, graduating recently with a Distinction from the TUI. Now he is training to be a pastry manager in the Donnybrook Fair chain, making another happy connection with St. Conleth’s: the chain’s founding family are the Doyles and we have fond memories of Joe, Hugh and Stephen, as well as their parents, who are still strong supporters of St. Conleth’s and were the hosts of a very enjoyable Captain’s Party somewhere back in the mists of Wicklow and time. We caught up with Michael recently in Malahide, but he has also been spotted in the Greystones DF and in Donnybrook, the original, but the exciting news is that he takes up his new post in the Dundrum Town Centre on December 3rd when Donnybrook Fair have their grand opening, there. Stop by for a glass of Prosecco or a dainty pastry, and the boost of bonhomie that one always gets when chatting to the one and only Michael Li!

Gahan’s Gangstas!

Coach Gahan’s B-Ball Gangsta Girls are off to a fast start with the U16s beating Presentation-Terenure and the U19s getting nipped by a buzzer beater. Lucy McGoldrick and Anna O’Neill starred for both teams and 19s Captain Julia Huckfeldt provided the on and off court leadership. Charlotte O’Donoghue and Ella Smyth also stepped up for the U16s and Sixth Year Emile Boostrom marked her first ever basketball game with a brace of baskets! Stay tuned as Coaches Gahan and Ingle lead our basketball teams, of both genders, to further heights of hoopla!

Exam Schedule and Rules. Yay!

How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat? Below is your Christmas Exam Schedule and accompanying rules and regulations. Apparently all those supply chain problems have had no effect at all… in this regard at least. And we strongly suggest that you do not try a Fred and George Weasley gambit… Dolores Umbridge does not even come close to the authority and devotion of our Exam Secretary, Ms. NiAonghusa. Just do your best and when they are all over, invite 50% of your friends over for a celebration!

An Offer We Couldn’t Refuse

St. Conleth’s a Gaelscoil? Well, the other Modern Languages also lay claim to our turf, including a recent arrival: gli azzurri! Ms. Crowley has brought Italian into Transition Year and last week they indulged in a stereotypical but delicious mainstay of Italian culture: homemade pizza. Yes we enjoy using and celebrating the Irish language but as now Italian is also la cosa rostra, we had better share the spotlight with our cugini… or else!

Imagine Dancers

Even in the deepest and darkest dungeons of the most totalitarian states, the imagination flies free… as it does in the minds of Ms. Halpin’s JC Art students, despite the gathering morbid covidity… and covid morbidity! Check out these Imaginative Composition Illustrations from the current crop of Third Years, who may just be lucky enough to sit the first Junior Cycle to be administered in three years!

Gifted with Gab

Apparently, their day has come! Banishing rugby, hockey, fencing and even their fellow modern linguists to the back pages, the Irish Department have apparently taken over this website. First, Gaeilge24 and, now, success in GaelLinn’s Díospóireachtaí: the team of Evan Power, Caraiosa O’ Farrell and Coleman Hegarty are through to the next round, after debating with Templeogue College, Loreto Beaufort and Our Lady’s Grove.  The debate took place in the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel, just off the Red Cow Roundabout, at 5pm and Ms. Fay and Ms. Dormand thoroughly enjoyed the mentoring experience, and the traffic. “Tá droch thionchar ag na meáin shóisialta ar an tsochaí.” or “That social media has a bad influence on society.’ An-mhaith!

TY Gaeilgeoirí!

No, Torthaí Tráth na gCeist, is thankfully not an Irish Spelling Bee but a General Knowledge Table Quiz in the mother tongue, and in this age of skills over content, organisers wondered if any of the participants would have any of the answers, separated as they were from their out-sourced data storage devices, the ones with the 4.7 inch bevelled screens (or 5.7 in D4)! Well, Conradh na Gaeilge need not fear when Conlethians are in the competition. Ms. Dorman and Ms. Fay’s TY Gaeilgeoirí rocketed up the charts of the Gaeilge24 event, finishing in 8th place of 260 schools, with Harry Cooper Reid individually notching 46th place out of 1,455 students. Harry, a noted connoisseur of historical and political facts (and strongly stated opinions), answered such tough questions as: What is a sloth called in Irish? ; When did World War II end?; and Where did the 2008 Olympics take place?… all as Gaeilge. An-mhaith!

Pass the Test!

Yes, Christmas is coming early… well St. Conleth’s Senior School Christmas Exams, anyways! Nice to get them all wrapped up so we can enjoy 50% of the usual fun with 50% of our friends in the run-up to Christmas. Unfortunately, Doc Tony’s suggestion of the halving of holiday cheer does not apply to your exams: they are the full deal… more PCR than antigen, if you will… so get studying!

Exam Schedule PDF

Climbing the Walls?

Yes, over the last twenty months or so, we have all been ‘climbing the walls’ at some point or another, in our Covid-compliant, semi-cocooned claustrophobia. And we are still struggling with viral vestiges… witnessing worrying signs of the return to the return to our kitchens, home offices and garden sheds. But for now, at least, Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire is giving his beloved charges the best possible Transition Year, despite the circumstances. He has steadfastly kept up the Thursday Outing tradition, somehow finding venues and activities that were still open and willing to take on the excess energy of fifty adolescent adventurers. Safeguarding them on all these jaunts across Dublin are Gav’s faithful lieutenants: Ms. Halpin and Mr. Ingle, who clearly have the best jobs at St. Conleth’s. Last week, on the agenda was an exciting visit to The Wall, where the boys and girls enjoyed climbing the wall… literally!

TYs: Gang Gaeilge 24!

Yes, we cringe a bit when, in mid-March, those few Americans who don’t claim an actual, specific percentage of Irishness as a birthright, state they are ‘Irish for a day’ and proceed to drink copious amounts of green-tinted weak beer and shamrock shakes. Well, Múinteoirí Fay and Dorman celebrated a different kind of Irish when they led our TY Gaeilgeoiri through a full day of activities as gaeilge, as they took part in Conradh na Gaeilge’s Gaeilge24, a nationwide celebration of the Irish language, with over 300 schools taking part. From a Tráth Na gCeist to Tae agus Plé to a Tóraíocht Taisce, all day long, the TYs had their Irish (T-Shirts) on!

They’re Playing Basketball!

Yes, the Covid cops tried to spoil the fun but Coach Ingle used his ‘hood connections to apply some pressure and , lo and behold, we were tipping off and snapping nets, once again! Yes, indeed, the Basketball Boyz are back in town! Sean and Coach Gahan were biding their time while all this ‘hockey school’ talk was in the air, and once given the chance, they made a claim for their own sport as their U-16 B-Ball Boys returned to winning ways with a thumping of our near neighbours, St. Michael’s. Fionán Power led the way with 26 points while Dylan Cosgrave and Joe Kelleher each chipped in with 6. Of course, the U-19s were also in action, narrowly losing to the same opponent. Below you see both teams, and some action shots from earlier matches against Marian College.

And while we are talking hoops… the First and Second Year Boys have also been in action, and we must not forget the girls, who train all together on Mondays, from First through Sixth year, in one gregarious but garrulous gang. Nor are the Juniors neglected, as Coach Ingle makes sure another generation of hoop heroes are ready to take the court for St. Conleth’s when their time comes!

An Olympian in the Making

Some people’s 10% is better than others’ 100%. Or in Ronan Roche Griffin’s case, 3% can trump 100%, when applied with spirit and talent. Ronan never let his childhood cancer, which left him with 3% of vision, and in only one eye, get him down. 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, this proud member of St. Conleth’s Class of 2013 has transferred that swashbuckling style to the sun and snow-basked slopes, striving to become the first winter Paralympian to ever represent Ireland. He already is one of the few Conlethian alumni to get a full page article in The Times of London!

Art: On the Double!

Ms. Mellon and Ms. Halpin, Art Teachers of the Junior and Senior Schools, respectively, make for a formidable dynamic duo: the school’s walls are full of their students’ creations, testaments to both teachers mastery of helping their charges hold that difficult line, the one between impulsive creativity and enabling organisation. Ms. Mellon ran a Winter Art Competition, with each class winner taking home a ‘state of the art’ forty piece pencil set. The winners were: 1st Form- Harry McDermott; 2nd Form- Emily Freedman; 3rd Form (and overall)- Beatrice Perinati; 4th Form- Eleanor Hobbs; 5th Form- Conor Hobbs; 6th Form- Nathan Keogh.

And Ms. Halpin has been busy teaching ‘Lazy Daises’, ‘French Knots’ and ‘Rough Purls’, as her First Years enjoyed the soothing rhythms and controlled creativity of combining embroidery with seascapes. Enjoy seeing their work below!


Afterschool Ghouls… and More!

Cecilia Franken’s latest Morning Club and After-School Newsletter available right here! Catch up on all the goings-on from September and October, including Halloween and a whole lot more!

Triumph Through Trauma

We have been personally involved in the production of the last four St. Conleth’s ‘quinquennials’, our every-five-years collection of Conlethian memories, tributes and polemics; and we have enjoyed the reading and editing of these diverse collections, with contributions coming from all over the globe, from all types of personalities (albeit, all quirky Conlethians) and a wide range of writing styles; however, of all the contributors, two stand out in terms of sheer writing talent: Peter Gallagher, Principal Emeritus and deity of generations of History Boys, and Dr. Chris Luke (Class of 1976 c.), retired head of multiple A & E Departments and respected commentator and negotiator of the minefield that is public medicine. With both these contributors, we could sit back as mere spectators and simply enjoy the show, as their instinctive power of insight and command of English made their memories come alive: not a pen mark was made, not a character was deleted.

We are sure Chris would be thrilled to be linked with one of his teacher heroes, and likewise for Peter, as he takes pride in a protégée who may have taken the STEM highway towards his career, but obviously also kept faithful to the paths of literacy and culture, so valued at St. Conleth’s. Dr. Luke is all over the news lately because of the publication of his memoir ‘A Life in Trauma’, a very personal recounting of the trials, tribulations and triumphs of his high-profile medical career, but also his own life journey, including the years at No. 28, Clyde Road. We have yet to get our hands on a copy, but it currently sits atop the Irish Nonfiction Chart and is earning rave reviews. If Chris’s article in our last Quinquennial (p.8-9) is anything by which to judge, Dr. Luke is as skilled a wordsmith as he is a surgeon!

Classical Kellehers!

The Kellehers, from Lorcan (Class of 2008) through to Joe (2025) have been, and still are, are an essential part of the St. Conleth’s culture and community. In between Lorcan and Joe, there were John (2019) and the shining sisters pictured below: Bridget (2011), Lois (2017), Mary (2015) and Rita (2022). They are seen on the Quad, celebrating Lois and Mary’s earning of their Trinity College Classics degrees. Yes, Mary may have wandered a little ways down a STEM pathway, but she was drawn back to the light, and the right, side and now can have those sisterly chats with Lois in the real mother tongue… with Rita, a Leaving Certificate Latin student, soon to join them!

Birds of Batik

Batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to the whole cloth, or cloth made using this technique. Of Javanese origin, batik is made either by drawing dots and lines of the resist with a spouted tool called a canting, or by printing the resist with a copper stamp called a cap. The applied wax resists dyes and therefore allows the artisan to colour selectively by soaking the cloth in one colour, removing the wax with boiling water, and repeating if multiple colours are desired. Or, in other words…. batik-ing is cool! Ms. Halpin’s Leaving Certificate Art students mastered the batik technique, transforming tropical birds into something even more beautiful. Below you see the original photos and the resulting masterpieces. Pretty impressive work from the students… and from Ms. Halpin, who has been forced to take her art show on the road, or at least- the corridor, because of Covid restrictions.

Seniors: Too Cool for Ghoul

Unfortunately, nearly all the Senior School students and staff thought they were ‘too cool to be ghoul’ for Halloween and did not dress up in costume for the last day before midterm. Thank goodness for Ms. Halpin then, who brought in her dinosaur costume, and who found an unnamed, border-accented staff member to show off his dancing moves in the entrance corridor.

True, Gav Maguire was also dressed up: as an Leinster/Conleth’s/Wanderers rugby player, presumably retired. But he wears that costume every day. Gav’s TY charges did bring a lot of life and energy to the day by inaugurating The Transition Year Halloween Bake Sale and it was a smashing success, with Dougie and Co.’s pellet pizza oven the highlight but plenty of other teams of TYs serving up delicious delicacies and earning some honest profit.

We must thank Emilio for the photos above. Regarding those below, we are not so sure. We think it has something to do with Michael Sweeney, who garnered much attention (and camera film) while on the TY Carlingford trip. See, Emilio and Michael go way back, with their friendship dating from their time spent as hoplite warrior buddies in the Spartan phalanx, and they have been best friends- and rivals, since. We feel the Emilio-Cam was thus motivated, but to be honest, he did get some great shots of various school personalities. And all have subsequently tested negative.

We may have not worn costumes, but the Student Officers continued a long-standing tradition of raising hundreds of euros for the charity GOAL through a jersey day, moving it up from the spring, because, well, we need to start doing fun stuff again! School Captain Rory Clarke and his loyal deputies, Hannah and Evan, organised it all and even got their hands dirty, collecting the filthy lucre themselves. Oh… did we say ‘loyal deputies’?

Masks On! It’s Halloween!

Yes, some have tried to cancel Halloween, but luckily Principal Brian Nolan did not get the memo and, if anything, the Junior School’s Halloween celebrations were more horrible, horrific, horrendous, haunting and hilarious than ever! The students themselves, powered by twenty months of restraint, and approximately 1.2 kg of glucose each, rose to the occasion like so many zombies from the grave. And the individual class teachers, and our very own Morticia Addams- Cecilia Franken, were there to urge them on, finally enjoying the wearing of masks and the sight of horrors larger than that pesky, minuscule virus. So, before you go tricking and/or treating (from a safe distance… we suggest hand grenades!) have a gander at the various ghoulish but gregarious goings-on before the break!

Prepsters Assemble and the Puffy Monster Race!

Best Home-Made Halloween Costume Competition 2021

Afterschool Ghouls!

Halloween Happenings!

What… me worry?

Unfortunately, Alfred E. Neuman’s famous motto is no longer universally shared, even amongst the youngest of our children, who have grown up in a more complicated world in general, and then had Covid hysteria descend like a fog on their bright horizons. But here comes Louis Magee, a gentle giant of a guru, to the rescue! Junior and Senior Infants and First, Second and Third Forms have all enjoyed a seven week Mindfulness course which helped puncture that gloom. Activities included Mindful colouring competitions, breathing exercises and thinking deeply… but not too deeply! Want a dose of a true vaccine: take a peek into one of our Prep School classrooms, or, even better, the yard at break-time. Nothing will fill your mind with more joy than to see the youngest Conlethians loving life and school, again. Up next for Magee, the Mindful Magician: Third through Sixth Forms!

Buzz, Buzz…

You would think that Mr. Carvill The Younger would be the last to fall for the old honeypot trick, but when Rose showed up from the Dublin Beekeepers Association he was as gaga as Barry B. Benson when he first caught sight of Vanessa, and the fact that this visiting veteran apiarist was carting all sorts of cool beekeeping equipment and gadgets and gear meant that there was also one suddenly smitten young biologist/amateur mellitologist!

And the TYs were soon won over too, as Rose gave a fascinating presentation on all aspects of beekeeping and allowed the students to try on what ha story be the coolest costumes this side of a ninja-yoroi. And Rose even pointed out that… according to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. It’s wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway, because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible!

Do Touch!

Too often, especially during Covidity, we retreat to the easier option of not getting too involved: don’t get too close, don’t touch, don’t get infected. But life, and learning, is about getting to grips with things… literally, sometimes. And we at St. Conleth’s, truly support the educational philosophy which underpins the new Junior Cycle syllabi: ‘hands-on learning’. Here we see manual dexterity from both sides of the brain: a cool cinematic special effects workshop from Ms. McGuinness’s Second Year Artistic Performance Class and Mr. Callaghan’s Science class discovering the simple but stunning sights of onion seeds under the microscope. Time to get down and dirty!

No Free Lunch!

First Years daily enjoy Chef Mark and Emerson’s canteen concoctions but occasionally they do have to earn it! Below we see them feasting on the daily delights, and each other’s company, but also sitting the CAT-4 tests with Guidance Guru Mr. Weldon which, upon completion, provide a useful snapshot of each child’s abilities and interests. Yes, First Year is a lot of fun, but formative assessment has its place… as well as Thursday’s burgers and chips!

Of Faith… and Fun!

Rapid changes in technology, and our society as a whole, have made the currents students’ attitudes sometimes seem very foreign to those of us of previous generations, even for such relatively young teachers at ourselves! We remember the tantalising promise of ‘We will watch a filmstrip in class if you are good…’ being met with barely suppressed yelps of intense excitement, and glared silent warnings at the messers that might derail this rare break from the routine… even if the filmstrip was akin to the one memorably mocked on the Simpsons: Meat and You: Partners in Freedom. Nowadays, the visually sated kids react with a bored shrug if you promise a YouTube video. Whatever.

Retreats, the same. Yes, we did think the Kumbaya sing-along sessions were a bit cringy, but we got to go somewhere and do something different! And maybe, just maybe learn something about ourselves. Nowadays: groans. Well, the young men and women at An Tobar Nua may have just changed that. Our First Years will soon be enjoying a day of faith and fun with this dynamic group, just as Second and Third Years did in recent weeks, and the reviews have been rave. Our Religion Department, namely Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Lonergan, have found the perfect antidote to students with low energy levels and, perhaps, a lack of a faith-filled background: a retreat that is large parts fun and ‘generally’ applicable, yet also true to our Christian ethos and mission. And only one verse of ‘Kumbaya’!

TYred?

Well, maybe you should change out of your pyjamas and slippers before you log on to work from your comfy little wingback? Just think how exhausted your TY sons and daughters are: taking a full slate of academic classes as well as special courses such as Sign Language and Fencing and then being dragged around the place every other Thursday afternoon! Tired, yes, but good and TYred! Just two examples of the stuffed-to-bursting-point TY schedule below: They get into the holiday mood, making papier mache pumpkins with Ms. Halpin in Art Class but eschewing the predictable orange for cool ‘cadet gray’ and they venture to the Botanic gardens where the boys and girls received expert guidance from Ms. Halpin (a glutton for punishment!), as they enjoyed the Sculpture in Context exhibition… and the local wildlife!

All Hail Halloween!

Creeping, creepy Americanism or just a good bit of fun, Halloween has rocketed up the charts as a favoured holiday in Ireland in recent years, no doubt in part to the enthusiasm with which it is celebrated at St. Conleth’s. And leading the way has been Cecilia and her After-School Ghouls.

And this year, more than any other, we need a particularly smashing Samhain to banish the last vestiges of that lingering ghost whose name we shall not say. Cecilia has come up with a brilliant competition, the details of which are above, and below are some photos of some eager Afterschoolers, already off the mark with their Halloween decoration creation!

Turtle-Time!

Remember the butterflies? The worms? The chicks? No, these are not plagues from the Old Testament, sent to harrrow Pharaoh: these are references to the many wonderful creatures which Cecilia has arranged to visit St. Conleth’s After-School Programme, and the junior School as a whole. Thomas, the Yellow-Striped Slider Turtle, was our latest guest and he certainly won over the crowd with his coolness (of blood and otherwise) and his scant care for anything inedible, including morbid covidity!

Afterschool Cool!

Cecilia Franken, our After-School Manager, runs such an exciting and interesting programme for our Junior School students that we often see Senior School Students (and some teachers, too!) looking on longingly from the sidelines. Yes, they are a bit too long in the tooth but who would not want to join Cecilia’s merry troop of lost boys and girls as they get their homework done and then climb, cook, cackle, create, cuddle and, basically, live the ‘can-do’ life! Hopefully, Cecilia’s Morning Club will also soon be open again, and the kids can bookend their days with a host of activities that will make them happy, and just as importantly… tired at bed-time!

Holier Than Now

Yes, by Saturday afternoon, all these little devils will be a good bit holier, having made their First Holy Communion at St. Mary’s Church. To be fair, they deserved the chance to let off a bit of steam, having missed out on so much, including this important sacrament, because of Covid, and even now, with the planned celebrations a bit restrained because of the safety protocols… not that any of that seemed to bother the kids themselves! if you were within 100 miles of St. Mary’s Home on Friday afternoon, the shouts of mischief and joy were evidence, loud and clear, that the communion candidates’ spirits were anything but cowed by covid! A big ‘thank-you’ to Ms. Dillon, Ms. Coleman, Mr. O’Brien, Fr. Fachtna and Fr. Michael for getting the boys and girls ready and the JSPA for the treats. And who baked those fancy cupcakes for the communicants? None other than Kate Green of the Class of 2015! Kate is making quite a name for herself in the creative confectionary business, with both Roly’s and Neven Maguire on the CV, and her own cakery side business rising nicely. See you at St. Mary’s on Saturday!

Adventure Time with Gav!

Yes, Peru has unfortunately been parked by Covid contingencies, but that will not stop intrepid adventurer and explorer Gav Maguire from leading our students on the trip of their lifetimes! Someplace closer to home, but just as enticing has been chosen for Expedition 2022: Slovenia. Yes, it is often confused with Slovakia as they are two of the many Slavic nations which routinely outclass us in soccer, but after watching the presentation below, you will realise that Slovenia clearly deserves to be distinguished! True Adventures are our partners this time, and they have cooked up the perfect plan for thrilling and maturing our willing Gav Maguire protégées!

Great Sports!

We mentioned below how the St. Conleth’s rugby and hockey teams have hit the ground running, and we are soon to hear from the basketball teams, too, but sport at St. Conleth’s involves a lot more than the extramural teams. In fact, winning matches is great, but we are probably even prouder that all our students are encouraged to enjoy physical education and sport of the more everyday kind: in classes with Mr. Lonergan and the other PE teachers, at training sessions with the various coaches, on ‘Wellbeing’ brisk walks and even at break-time in the yard. Here are just a few snaps of what is going on at St. Conleth’s everyday, in a sporting way:

1) Shay Keenan, St. Conleth’s Games Master/Coach/Absolute Legend, gets the Sixth Year soccer boys lined up for a proper team photo at the grand re-opening of the Herbert Park Astro. They look great: a shame they will be crushed by the Staff Team in May!

2-3) Both the Transition Year girls and the boys get the opportunity to help improve St. Conleth’s sporting acumen. The girls are great helping Ms. Leary coach the Juniors… and the boys get to do Gav’s laundry!

4) Coaches Ingle and Gahan get the Basketball girls ready for the season, which is just about to tip off!

Art Kid Kool

No, it was not open auditions for The Breakfast Club re-boot, but, yes, our art kids are certainly proud of being in the vanguard of alternative nation. And having Mr. Simon Toal along for the ride is not quite like bringing a Business Teacher, or actuary, along to keep everyone in line and on budget. Good thing Art Teacher Ms. Halpin, the Countess of Creativity but also the Queen of Common Sense, was there to get everyone back to earth safely, after visits to the ‘Sculpture in Context’ installation at the National Botanic Gardens and, later, to the National Gallery’s Jack B. Yeats exhibition. Mr. Toal was actually quite helpful on the Glasnevin leg of the trip, as he is a local and speaks the language… that is, until he tried to enter a sculpture which he claimed resembled a rudimentary TARDIS.

Seriously, it was an eye-opening trip to the Tolka watershed, as the rain held off, the sun shone and the art came alive in the landscape. Such was the experience that we are pretty sure that someone in this crowd will end up studying sculpture, maybe at St. Martin’s College. And then, to top it off, the exhibition of an Irish artistic institution: Jack B. Yeats. Yes, there is a singular piece hanging nearer by, but to see so many masterpieces together, certainly made it worth the trip. Never you mind that ‘jock school’ stuff!

Wound Art

Puss-filled blisters, bleeding sores, open wounds, angry rashes… newly discovered symptoms of The Covid? Nah… just some cool cinematic special effects from Ms. McGuinness’s Third Year Artistic Performance Class. Yes, we have all met long-suffering artist type, but usually the only physical effects of their suffering are our sore ears, subjected to all that moaning, but Ms. McGuinness and her charges have really brought out the pain of artistic performance… and all ‘home-made’ from simple ingredients in room 2.6! Watch out, Industrial Light & Magic!

Lock and Load!

Many years, in fact, decades ago, when Transition Year Elder Gavin Maguire was a young lad, of about 17 or 18 years old, he was absolutely obsessed with the US military. Every Saturday, and all summer long, would be spent dressed up in American army fatigues and toting a toy M16, and young Corporal Maguire would scour his Blackrock cul-de-sac doing recon for his superior officers, who were safely ensconced back on the base in young Gav’s imagination. But people move on and grow up, and with Gav’s politics having slidden to the left: he now spends his off-time in his UN ‘blue cap’ replica uniform, complete with replica rice bag. But, boy, there is something in the old toy guns that brings us back to them, again and again! Case in point: the TY’s trip to Carlingford Adventure Centre. Yes, we expected a feverish if slightly clumsy eagerness from the Fortnite enthusiasts, but even the boys who talk to girls were gung-ho for the Laser Combat! And not just the boys either, as Ms. Speller, as super-powered as the Black Widow, ditched the Swiss Army knife, picked up a bazooka and led a gang of TY women warriors on the rampage!

It was not all combat, though. In fact, the theme of the trip was team-building and togetherness and besides the many social occasions (stretching well into the wee hours) there were organised exercises, such as orienteering, hill-walking, Skypark, rock climbing and Ziptopia, which emphasised co-operation and support for your friends and classmates. And though the youngsters somehow still had energy to chat and giggle and keep Mr. Morris busy, there was one high-ranking officer, in his blue night-cap, who hit the bunk early and snored the night away!

Like Princess Di and various Kardashians, Micheál Sweeney just commands the camera lens, so much so that we have put together his very own slider. Next time, in order to save on film costs, we just might find a camera-person who is not so enamoured with Micheál… if such a person exists!

Jock School?

Art School? Music School? Debating School? Yes, we could be classified as any, or all, of those but maybe we need to reconsider and re-market ourselves…. as the neighbourhood jocks! So, stand aside when the boys and girls in black, yellow and green come sauntering into the DART station- we want that space to flex and pose, and we will have it! Okay… not very likely: our students are too mannerly to strut and strop like that, but we would have every right to! Just look at our recent results and add three more wins from Wednesday. Coach Speller’s Junior Hockey girls squeaked past St. Raphaela’s 1-0 in a close match, with Isabella Donlon assisting on Roisín Ingle’s goal and the rugby teams won the double over Newpark, with both the JCT and First Years winning close, fairly fought games. We certainly don’t want to lose our reputation for our creativity and intellect, but it is not bad being the big boys (and girls) on campus, too!

The Great Outdoors!

These last couple of days have been a bit nippy but the sun is still shining and we at St. Conleth’s Junior and Preparatory School will continue to make great use of the fine weather and get outdoors in that fresh, germ-free air, especially as we have acquired access to the green spaces of St. Mary’s Home: our own ‘secret garden’, right next door! But, apparently, the secret is out, as you can see! Pat Howe has taken his Speech and Drama classes al fresco, as has Sensei Ed Charmont with his high-kicking karate kids and Elaine Chapman with her Dance Class. And Shay Keenan takes the Prepsters through the gates for PE, as another generation benefits from this Conlethian legend. Is it all hustle and bustle? Not at all, as we realise the benefit of a bit of mindful relaxation in the sun, as the three old-timers pictured last in the scroll below have clearly copped on to!

Idle Hands…

Well, in Transition Year at St. Conleth’s, we really don’t have to worry about the conclusion of that old proverb because the TY students are never idle: their hands or their brains or any other part of their body. Currently, they are enjoying Carlingford Adventure Centre but we will have to wait for news and pictures of their cool Cooley kicks. in the meantime, take a look at just two of the many active courses in which the boys and girls take part during the regular school day: fencing and sign language. It is such a joy to visit both halves of TY and not hear a solitary vocal sound! Maître Aaron puts them through their paces in full fencing gear and only the beeps and buzzes of the electronic scoring, and the shuffling of sneakers on gym floor can be heard. And Jenny teaches them sign language… through the language itself. ‘Talk’ about total immersion! What a joy to return to Victorian values: TYs should be seen, and not heard!

Moral Victories!

Now, we are not saying that the SCT headed into their first match of the season as absolute underdogs as the European Ryder Cup Team when they faced off against the stronger, more accurate, louder, more handsome and trimmer USA team but we were facing Templeogue, a much bigger school and one with quite a rugby pedigree. But Coaches Louis, Ger and Callum and the boys were certainly not intimidated and they all hit their tackles, ran their lines and heaved their scrums with the enthusiasm, if not quite the mass, of Shane Lowry. The boys kept it very close, with Luke O’Keeffe providing a spark off the bench, and climbed within two points before it got away. Overall, a good, hard-fought match and, with quite a young, a harbinger for better days to come.

The Junior Girls Hockey Team also earned a moral victory with their 2-2 draw with Sandford Park. Juliet Donnelly found the net twice with stylish goals but it was a real, strong team effort, with girls from different years melding together into a true team effort. Coaches Helen Speller and Jules Dale were thrilled with the progress shown. All that summer training is paying off! Particularly impressive was Leinster-chosen Lucy McGoldrick in goals, repeatedly stymying the opposition with stunning saves.

Barney and Mr. Nolan Agree!

Clean Up! Clean Up!
Everybody, Everywhere.
Clean Up! Clean Up!
Everybody do your share!

Yes, the purple dinosaur may not quite be the dominant force in children’s television (and lives) that he was in the Cretaceous Period or the 1990s but his catchy little tune still rings true: we can all make a positive difference in our local environment by just pitching in. The Senior School is currently reinvigorating their Green School campaign and Junior School Principal Mr. Nolan has enlisted eager Sixth Formers in following a basic, but essential tenet of environmentalism: Start Locally. The clean-up crew not only makes the yard and playground a better place: they also help themselves, engaging in an activity that helps them develop self-reliance and independence, important attributes as they get ready to make the transition to the Senior School. Yes, Sixth Formers are probably too old for even the friendliest carnivorous thunder-lizard ever, but if you happen to be in the yard early in the morning while the boys and girls are doing their duty, you might hear the faintest of tunes being hummed as they go along!

Colourful Kids!

Junior School Art Teacher Orla Mellon always has a grand design in mind when she enters the classroom, and that has only intensified since relocating to the old chapel in the former St. Mary’s Home. The high-arching windows let in the light and spark the imagination of both Ms. Mellon and her charges. The current project involves ‘colour theory’ and it encourages the students to learn about the variety and range of colours, and the way you can mix them to create even more. After all this practice and exploration with colour, each child artist will contribute a multi-coloured feather to a giant, collective figure of a bird which will almost take flight, such is the energy and creativity that empowers it. All the Juniors are taking part, but we caught Second Form in action. Stay tuned for the finished product!

Bray Rave

There comes a time in every world class athlete’s life when he or she must acknowledge the march of time and take a step back from the front lines. Ronaldo has prospered by moving to the 9 while Messi is struggling with his new role at PSG. TY Co-Ordinators are very similar to world class athletes: the adulation, the pay, the paparazzi. But also the effects of the indomitable effects of ageing. Luckily for St. Conleth’s, our TY Co-Ordinator Extraordinaire, Gav Maguire, is taking these changes with good grace. In his younger days, he would accompany his TY charges on all their trips, from Donegal to Dingle, while spending his summers marauding across Mongolia or kicking his heels on Kilimanjaro.

But now, with early middle age settling in, he has learned of the magical concept known as ‘delegation’ and entrusted the weekly Thursday trips to younger, spryer colleagues such as Pat McGrath and Ger Cummiskey. This year, Louise Halpin and Sean Ingle have stepped up to the mark and this combination of the artist’s eye and the athlete’s regimen should prove particularly helpful in marshalling our eager but dawdling adolescents to worthy sights across the hinterland of Dublin. Already, they have a Greystones to Bray Day in the books and the photos tell us a good time was had by all. But have no fear: Gav is not done with intrepid exploring! Like David Attenborough, this fellow just can’t resist the grand tour. Peru 2021 is still on the agenda!

Jolly Ho, Jules!

In the short years since Hockey Czarina Speller first brought hockey to St. Conleth’s, there have already been several Cups, Shields and plaques added to the trophy cabinet, watched over, woodenly but joyfully, by St. Conleth of The Foyer. We so quickly became a ‘hockey school’ that it is easy to forget how far, and how fast we have come. And the fact that our Senior team opened this season with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Sandford Park is a tribute to that legacy: our still-small numbers make fielding a senior team a challenge, yet we make up in quality of effort and coaching what we lack in quantity of players. Helping Coach Speller lately has been Julian Dale, famous Irish international player and cutting-edge coach. Already, we can see a difference in the confidence and cunning with which the girls are making runs, playing passes and taking shots. Caioimhe Moore scored a scorcher and Lucia Waldron netted a brace: two Fifth Years, which bodes well for the future. And it looks like jolly hockey sticks are set to continue for the younger teams, too. First Years are turning out for training in their droves. Stay tuned!

Sophomore Smash!

If anyone had the ‘pleasure’ of supervising First Years at lunchtime last year knows, the boys and girls have a lot of energy and enthusiasm, especially of the running around and running into each other kind: perfectly normal and normally to be encouraged. but potentially bubonic during plague times. Keeping rats on a sinking ship is easier than maintaining social distance amongst this crowd! Well, they all survived and now with the return of after-school sport, the now Second Years have been given full reign to go out and run in to things- like the St. Michael’s rugby players, for instance. To be fair, the Michael’s boys made the first rugby match of the season a close-run affair, but with the might and bulk of players like Rían Wickham and Paul Jackson and the slashing moves of Ross Weatherley, the Kirwan Bros. and Diego O’Reilly, the Conleth’s boys were able to nip it in the end, chalking up a win under then guidance of Head of Sport Ciaran Smith and his coaching team. Now, hopefully we will get a more sedate crowd at lunchtime!

Jack Kirwan

Where you grew up…

I grew up in Killiney right beside the sea. Getting a few extra minutes of sleep on the DART each day before the walk to school is something I’ll always remember fondly. Attending secondary school near the city centre was somewhat of an adjustment for me but being able to listen to music through my headphones on my “long” journey eased the trip magnificently. 

How you came to be at St. Conleth’s…

I remember not really minding where my parents decided to send me to secondary school. I didn’t know a lot about St.Conleths but I heard a couple of the lads from my primary school would also be attending which eased my anxieties. When the idea of St.Conleths was presented to me I hadn’t a clue what the school embodied but the moment Mr.Kelleher handed me a packet of smarties after my interview I would say that helped aid in my decision making process exponentially.

I would say the fact that the school was small and mixed were enticing aspects for my parents. I think having no particular interest in sport, it was also important that the school I attended taught art and music which I had always had strong interests in.

Class of 2014

Favourite and/or least favourite subject in school…

4th Year work
Jack's handy work
Jack’s Handy work

My favorite subject by far would have to have been art. The art room was where I felt most comfortable and confident during my time at Conleths. I would say I knew by third year that art was definitely something that I knew I wanted to pursue after secondary school. Ms.Halpin had a huge influence on my decision to study art in college. Instead of taking a year out to do a portfolio course after sixth year, I decided to give it a go during my final year. I would never have been able to complete a portfolio worth submitting if it wasn’t for Ms.Halpin’s help. She would stay back after class most weeks to help me edit and work on different aspects of my work and I’ll always be grateful for that. The support I felt from Ms.Halpin and other teachers in school was something I possibly took for granted at the time but now I’m fully able to appreciate just how much that support has helped me over the years.

Having art class to look forward to in the timetable was always a relief to see. Being able to express myself visually and artistically during school hours created a balance that helped me get through the day. Knowing I had art to look forward to during a double period of double maths helped more than I can say.

Fondest memory of St. Conleth’s…

Jack singing in Irish with Evan Byrne
Jack singing in Irish with Evan Kennedy

I think a lot of people wouldn’t agree with me but I’ll always remember 6th year fondly. I’m still extremely grateful for the classmates I was put together with as some of them remain to be my closest friends to this day. Navigating adolescence and becoming adults together is a bond I think most of us will appreciate for a very long time.

The short period of time between finishing up classes in 6th year and preparing for graduation is a fleeting moment that sticks out in my head. Being able to celebrate our time at St. Conleth’s and the bonds we had made before that final push for the Leaving Cert was quite special. I’ll always remember the anxious fits of laughter everyone shared while prepping for the ceremony and reassuring each other everything would work out in the end.

Being able to go back to the school for the 5 year anniversary with my classmates was a surreal experience. Sitting in our old desks and viscerally remembering specific moments during class was an occasion I’ll never forget.  

Who/what influenced you to pursue your chosen field…

I had always been interested in animation from a young age. I can remember watching countless DVDs and clicking on the bonus features after the credits had ended to find out more about how each film was made. Watching the animators in their studios coming up with plots and character designs was extremely inspiring.

I knew I wanted to pursue art after my time at Conleths but was never sure on which exact path to take. Being able to have a career and a salary was something I knew would be extra difficult when choosing this field but when I saw the animation course in the IADT prospectus I knew straight away it was the one for me. I also knew that by attending an institute like IADT that supported their student’s artistic explorations I would learn more about myself than I had before.

Tell us about your education/ career path…

Luckily, I got enough points in my Leaving Certificate as well as enough points in my Portfolio to get into Animation in IADT. For some reason I think in the back of my head I thought getting into art college would be the hardest part but the next four years were a lot more tough than I had expected. The imposter syndrome hit me like a tonne of bricks as I started attending lectures and tutorials with other art students surrounding me. Thankfully I kept working hard and getting through each semester until reaching my final year.

I teamed up with Éabha, my now creative partner and decided to direct and produce our own grad film, The Usual, which turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve made. The film went on to win the award for Best First Short Animation at the Galway Film Fleadh that year. Because of this, we got to attend multiple film festivals nationally and internationally which inspired us even more to keep pursuing careers in animation.

The success of my grad film helped me to get a job quite quickly with Radii Animation just around the corner from St.Conleths where I am currently creating and directing my fourth film as we speak.

Proudest achievement to date…

I think for sure my proudest achievement to date would have to be winning an IFTA at this year’s virtual ceremony. Myself and my co-director, Éabha Bortolozzo picked up the award for Best Animated Short Film for directing our second piece of work, Her Song.

Her Song

Apart from being in shock for winning the award I was extremely grateful our film won because of the subject matter that the film revolves around. Her Song is produced by Radii Animation in conjunction with Screen Ireland and RTÉ. The film sees the main character, Eve learning of her Grandmother’s harrowing history in a Mother & Baby home. Woven through her past is the mythological and misunderstood figure of the Banshee, whose comforting presence inspires the strength she needs to tell her story. Being able to highlight the dreadful issues associated with the Mother & Baby Homes to the public was our main goal with this film. For me, using animation to feature important issues to its viewers is a lot more interesting than using the medium for cartoons and children’s entertainment.

Aspirations for the future…

At the moment I’m really enjoying my field of work. I won’t lie though, the first year of the pandemic was quite a tough experience for a young filmmaker in Ireland looking for work. Thankfully I got to take the time to work on my craft and explore different avenues which have led to very rewarding and exciting experiences. For now I want to keep making films through animation that leave audiences with something to think about and stay with them after they leave the theatre. I want to keep pushing my craft and being open to any opportunity that comes my way. I believe that Irish people are some of the best storytellers out there and I would love to eventually bring more of our stories to light.

Advice for people wanting to work in your sector/ general advice…

I’m not sure if I feel old enough yet for me to have a reputable answer for this specific question but I can certainly give it a go.

If I was talking to a student currently attending St.Conleths who was worried about which path to take after their time at school, I would firstly tell them to relax. Because of St.Conleths academic reputation I think it could be quite easy to think that you may have to go down a path that you are not inspired by. The support that I felt from the school when I was open about what I wanted to pursue was extremely comforting. Students that I know from my time at Conleths have gone on to explore exceptionally interesting avenues in their careers. I believe that if you have the potential to work in an area that seems overwhelmingly niche at first, you should give it your all. St.Conleths is a great support system which I will always be thankful for.

Mushroom to Improve!

We are quite fond of twisting the latest news we receive into the corniest headlines, but in this case Third Year Charlie Plant and his Science teacher Seamus Callaghan did all the work for us. ‘Mushroom to Improve’ refers to Charlie’s award-winning ecology project in which he explored the potential use of mushroom mycelium and waste materials to produce more eco-friendly packaging.

SciFest 2021 judged the project to be worthy of an Outstanding Achievement Award in their regional finals and the certificate just a roved in the post. One thing is certain, there is not much room for improvement for Charlie and Mr. Callaghan’s scientific research expertise, but rumour has it that the dynamic duo are currently woking on modifying an old Delorean sports car so that it can travel…

Captains Covid Courageous!

Whom do you trust to lead us from this microviral morass? School Captain Rory Clarke and Vice Captains Evan Power and Hannah O’Sullivan, that’s who! Now, with gleaming badges! These are the last cohort of student officers to have benefited from experiencing the great Kevin D. Kelleher in person. His legacy lives on! Princeps Fidelis, Magister Fortis!

After-School Cool!

What could possibly be better than spending five to six hours in St. Conleth’s Junior School, certainly the coolest private Catholic primary school in town? Why, extending that stay either backwards of forwards, by an hour or two! Morning Club and Afterschool Director Cecilia Franken and her team are up to their old tricks: making pre- and post- school-time as much fun as possible, with an energetic mixture of learning and fun… with emphasis on the latter! Here are just a few pics of what shenanigans they get up to!

Wish We Could Turn Back Time…

…to the good old days. When we would spend a good portion of Philosophy class admiring a classmate’s precarious coloured pencil structure. Ah yes, life gets more complicated as you age, even when you are still at school. Last week the Fifth and Sixth Years ‘enjoyed’ Study Seminars which gave the students practical tips on how to get through the whole ‘Leaving Certificate/CAO/Growing Up’ thing that awaits us all.

To be fair, there is a pretty nice reward at the end: you get to do what you want to do, and the seminars presented by the professionals from The Super Generation certainly pointed them in the right direction (Fact Sheet). But it all is a bit more stressful than being in First Year, where your biggest worries are getting a primo spot on the canteen line and, yes, maintaining your precarious coloured pencil structure in Philosophy class. Well done, Inez!

Inez presents Grand Designs

Park Life

One good habit that has developed during covidity has been the growth in Conlethian usage of Herbert Park. We had always treated ‘Herbo’ as our adjunct classroom: making use of the greens spaces and fresh air for honest pedagogical reasons… or just to give the kids (and teachers) a bit of a break. And because of the rather annoying covid contingencies such as mask-wearing and inside social-distancing, we have really colonised the place since the first skiers returned from northern Italy with a persistent cough. Some teachers have gone al fresco with gusto: Classics has returned to its ancient outdoor classroom roots; Wellbeing nearly always involves a walk; and the PE department has made the green fields of Ballsbridge (and the take-away lattes of Lolly’s) their own. This academic year, thanks to both the good weather and lingering mask-wearing, has also seen heavy Herbo usage.

Above, you see Mr. O’Brien assemble a troop of willing adventurers to embark to the park while Mr. Sheridan’s Fifth Form opt for story-time in a bucolic Ballsbridge setting. And our Seniors often bump into the Juniors (without touching) on the winding paths: Mr. Callaghan, expert entomologist, leads his Science class on a bug-hunting trip; Mr. Lonergan teaches the exciting and energetic (but less contacty) sport of Ultimate Frisbee; and 3C assemble for Class Captain speeches and vote (Liam, speaking here, was chosen as Vice with Finley taking the captaincy). A multi-use space, indeed, but what do we do when the rains come in?

Monkeys go to Uni!

One more bit of ‘results news’: if ‘Monkey (or Piggy) in the Middle’ were an Olympic sport, these boys would be medal contenders! Over their years at St. Conleth’s, every chance they got, they took: to grab an old rugby ball and find a spot between the school management’s late model executive salons and play the timeless game to their hearts’ content (sometimes well into the start of the next period).

Their styles differed with Nathan using his height and intimidating ‘hawk eyes’ to scare opponents into fumbling; Stephen claiming special privileges due to his Screen Actors’ Guild membership; Robert using Jedi mind tricks; and Matthew applying his maths and physics acumen to figure out the trajectories of the ball; of course, they were usually joined by Harry, with his dangerous, blood-freezing smile and Fergal, the whirling dervish of ‘Monkey in the Middle’. You could never separate these good buddies by much, except by a few feet when they were playing the game at break-time. And the LC barely did, either: four of the boys finished exactly one point apart, with the rather impressive spread going from 519-522. So, the game lives on, maybe spread across a few campuses, but we shall always look out at break-time and think of a bunch of good-natured boys enjoying themselves in the prime of their lives and destined for even better days.

Of Points and Plans!

There is nothing wrong with a bit of friendly competition, especially when the end result is a shared victory.  On Leaving Certificate Results Day, in a sense, everyone is a winner as everyone gets that piece of paper which serves as a key in unlocking their future.  Obviously, there is always a range of results and myriad paths forward.  We congratulate all of the Class of 2021 for working to the best of their abilities and responding so well to challenges posed by the Covid contingencies.  We particularly congratulate Dylan Alves, Ted O’Kelly and Sophie Lee, who all managed to garnish the full quota of 625 points on offer and finish in a draw atop the class and the nation.  These perfect scholars, but also perfect gentlemen and lady, will be headed where they want to go come late September, as will the rest of our recent graduates and we wish them all well at university and beyond.  Stay tuned as we await news of offers and acceptances and a more detailed breakdown of results.

When is Midterm Break?

Actually that favoured retort of the class wit did not pop up this year when the Form Teachers settled in their charges, went through the rules and procedures and asked ‘Are there any questions?’ Maybe covid compliance has actually convinced them all of the value of getting back to school… and life as used to be. Our Fifth and Sixth Year students certainly seemed more willing to pause, if not pose, for the camera.: definitely suffusing ‘cool’… but not too much for school!

And we caught our younger years still in class and behind masks, ready to get on with the business. You may not be able to see it, but you could feel the energy and enthusiasm emanating through the layers of protective gauze. And with news that all sports and activities are back, all Conlethians are looking forward to savouring a term of near-normalcy, made even more special by the way recent events have made us value the simple good things in life. Like midterm break, which commences on Friday, October 22nd!

JI’s Smooth Settle!

What… me worry? Well, you naturally do on the first day of school, especially if you are starting Junior Infants… or dropping off your first child for the first time to attempt such such a grand step. Such feelings of hesitancy evaporated very quickly last week as Ms. Dolores Kelly welcomed her charges with her usual grace and aplomb and left Mr. Kilcommons and Mr. Nolan to handle perhaps the more fragile if intensely friendly crowd of slightly worried parents. But moms and dads certainly put on brave faces at the door and they quickly found solace in a cup of coffee and the sharing of the experience: the first of many occasions when, as St. Conleth’s parents, they will band together. There was also the slow dawning of another realisation: the kids were gone for a few hours, maybe for the first time in years! Roly’s must have been rollicking until pickup time.

Meanwhile, the Junior Infants themselves were settling in as Ms. Kelly and Cecilia (our Afterschool Programme Manager) quickly made the boys and girls feel at home but also feel something brand new and exciting: they were at school and the adventure was just beginning!

Sailors, Ahoy!

Yes, it was the Irish rowers grabbed Olympic glory over the summer but we believe we have, right here at St. Conleth’s, a few talented and experienced sailors who may soon be piloting their svelte-hulled vessels through the spray of the whitecaps towards international glory. Conleth’s parent Rowena Bolger kindly brings us up to date with the maritime exploits of Russell Bolger, Daniel O’Connor and Louis McGovern.

Russell Bolger competed in the Laser 4.7 Worlds which were held in the Royal St George and National Yacht Club in August 21. It was a gruelling 6 days of sailing with teams competing from all over the world. Russell Bolger (TY) and Daniel O’Connor (3rd Yr.) competed and represented Ireland. They made the silver fleet and reached 34th and 49th place respectively, very respectable scores indeed. They are pictured here below with the other Team Ireland competitors. 

Russell competed in the 29erNationals as on the 3rd and 4th July, his first ever event. The 29er is the high performing skiff. He sails with his long standing sailing pal Peter Williams.  The The Elmo Cup was held in the Royal St George at the weekend and of course Daniel and Russell competed along with Louis Mcgovern(TY). The 29er team Russell and Louis’ team, the 29ers were runners up, losing by inches in the last 2 races. Pictured here receiving their prizes from Daniel’s dad, the current commodore of the RSGYClub. I’m sure Daniel is glad to back Laser sailing along with his brother Robert and Russell and Louis are delighted to be back in the exciting 29er. Good luck to Russell and Louis who compete in the RYNA Youth championships in Carraigfergus on the 11th Sept 21. 

Hooray! Afterschool Study Starts Monday!

Time to face facts: summer is over and it is time to get some work done! But the worst part of ‘work’ is not working at all… but dodging, delaying, dithering and dilly-dallying, instead. Once you start doing your homework and your necessary revision, you will realise how manageable it all is… so just get started! One way which may ‘work’ for you is attending ‘Supervised Study’. There are two separate ‘programmes’:    Mr. Latvis’s ‘After-School Study’ which is open to everyone and runs from 3:30-6:00 on M,T,TH and Fri. and 1:30-4:00 on Wed.  Mr. Maguire’s ‘Night Study’ (only for 5th and 6th Years) runs from 6:30-9:00 on selective Mondays and Thursdays. Here are all the details. You must sign-up and pay for each programme separately through Easypayments Plus. After-School Study starts on Monday (6/9) and Night Study on Monday (13/9). Yay!

First Days: Fun Days!

Bittersweet is the first day of school: a bit bitter as parents bid farewell to their near constant summertime companions and whole lot of sweet… as parents bid farewell to their near constant summertime companions! Our newly appointed school leaders, Junior Principal Brian Nolan and St. Conleth’s CEO Tony Kilcommons, were there to take the youngsters off their hands and our teachers got straight to work with them in the sparkling clean classrooms.

But school, at least at St. Conleth’s, is also about the education of the yard, the canteen and the hallways, where students are encouraged to mix freely (within their pods!) and imaginatively. Each year we seem to have a bit more space, a bit more light to encourage the growth of young minds and bodies. Yes, the Juniors are off and running, but stay tuned as our Seniors start to arrive!