Toi Harada, a visiting Fifth Year student from Japan, is heading home but in his short time here, he made many Conlethian friends and we will miss him dearly. Toi impressed us with his openness, eagerness to learn English, good humour and wicked penalty kick. Toi mixed effortlessly with the Irish students, getting the most out of the educational ‘exchange’ experience, and giving the most to his grateful hosts. A skilled footballer himself, Toi gets to head back to Japan just in time to watch his native team in action in the World Cup. (Note to Irish fans: The World Cup is a quadrennial, international tournament for the best soccer teams in the world.) The Japanese team is highly talented and may very well finish close behind the inevitable winners of the competition, the USA. We wish Toi the best and appreciate his offer to visit him. Hope he realises how much Conlethians like to travel. Stay tuned for Toi Story 2!
On the road again! In one day, Junior Sport Honcho Louis Magee visited Willow, St. Michael’s and St. Mary’s to get all the rugby matches in! Fifth Form had a great comeback vs. CBC Monkstown, down 4-1 and drawing 4-4 and coming away with two draws and a win in three games, overall. And, thanks to parent Michael Davitt, we also have great pics from Sixth Form’s recent matches versus Willow Park and St. Michael’s. Super stuff!
How do you match the dizzying heights (and widths and perimeters) of Maths Week? Well, follow it up with mathematics’ more exciting, slightly mad half-brother (oops…sister!): Science! Drop those protractors and compasses (but not on your toes), grab some radium and safety glasses and let’s have some fun in Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Reanimation! Yes, once again, St. Conleth’s went ‘full Frankenstein’ (pronounced ‘Frankensteen’) for Science Week! After a week of Science Quizzes, Rocket Science at the Herbo,’TY Brain Syndrome’-testing (results mostly… negative) and Bio-meddling at UCD, First Years absolutely squeezed all the fun and learning that could be found out at W5 in Belfast and all the residual energy out of our Science teachers Mr. Callaghan, Ms. Phelan, and Mr. Carvill, as well as artsy interloper, Mr. O’Sullivan. The science on show at W5 was quite technical, and you will have to ask one of the whiz kids for the details, but we do know the compound of one universal reaction: F-U-N! Understandably tired were all the teachers after such hi-jinks, but these grizzled, old veterans have juiced up again on laboratory gas and there is talk that they are ready to go again… but that hypothesis has yet to be peer-reviewed!
Conlethian alumna Maggie Tighe (Class of 2019) was recently presented with one of the most selective and competitive international academic prizes. Maggie’s research combined her two loves of Classics and Music and it earned her a Global Undergraduate Awards, one of only 25 given… in the whole world! Each year thousands of students from around the world submit their undergraduate research projects to The Global Undergraduate Awards (GUA), the world’s leading pan-discipline, undergraduate research awards programme. More than 600 academics volunteer as judges for the programme, assessing entries for their academic originality and rigour, and must pick the single best entry from each of the 25 categories. Maggie was named Global Winner of the Classical Studies & Archaeology category for her work titled “Ovidian New Pastoral: The Transformation of the Pastoral Genre through Music in the Metamorphoses”. With that honour, she presented her research to the 150 academics and other winners in attendance at the Global Summit and received the Thomas Clarkson gold medal at the black-tie Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony on 8 November.
Below you see Maggie at the summit and the ceremony, but you also see evidence of a different side to Maggie: less worldly perhaps but still important. Earlier in the term, and before all the high-brow hoopla, Maggie dropped by No. 28 to visit her old Classics teacher, just to say hello and deliver some inspiring words to a class full of eager, noisy Classics I students. Maggie may be now bumping elbows with elite scholars in the Long Room but she remembers her roots and has kept a warmth and openness as deep as her intellect. And the good news is that Maggie is now just down the road, at Trinity working on a Master’s in Classics… a resource her old teacher may well call upon ion the months to come!
You get the occasional teacher complaining about missing classes (we, the notable and enthusiastic exception!), but there is plenty of evidence that our many guest speakers and class outings have positive effects on our students’ lives, academic and otherwise. Our Commissioner of Guidance, Gordon Weldon, naturally leads the way in organising these events, but our Religion teacher, Mr. Lonergan, is a close second. Just recently, their time-consuming efforts at organisation paid big dividends in terms of the students’ careers and wellbeing.
Above, you see highlights from SuperGeneration’s excellent Study Skills Seminars with our 5th and 6th Years and our TYs outing to a special Careers Fair, just a couple examples of Mr. Weldon’s never-ending push to get our students on that career path that will enable them to take care of you in your golden years! But it is not all about points and PAYE: we really do emphasise the ‘whole child’ at St. Conleth’s, with Mr. Weldon also leading our Wellbeing Department and Mr. Lonergan leading initiatives from the Religion side. His latest coup was inviting in Elevate Industries’ Jason Maupin, who humoured, inspired, uplifted, and even hugged, our Fifth Years at a special assembly, themed ‘Take Off Your Mask’. The stories he told of the changes in his life may very well prove to be life-changing for those fortunate enough to be present!
Is bilocation still a qualification for sainthood? In the hagiography of St. Conleth’s, it is! In one day, Junior Sport Honcho Louis Magee visited Willow, St. Michael’s and St. Mary’s to get all the Junior Rugby matches in. Our very own large but cuddly Scarlet Pimpernel marshalled his forces of chivalric coaches and persistent parents to stage games all over the D4 hinterland of rugby. There were many memorable moments in all the matches but Mr. Sheridan’s Fifth Form grabbed the headlines with a great comeback against CBC Monkstown 4-1 down and drawing 4-4, and coming away, overall, with 2 draws and a win from 3 games. Super stuff! And, remember: if you want to arrange a sporting event with the Juniors, you must seek Louis Magee here… and everywhere!
Only Lidl gets rolling with the Christmas season earlier than us, thanks to Ms. Killen and Ms. Hopkins! Here are the Senior School Christmas Exam schedules, by year. We will carefully go over exam rules and regulations in class with the students, but the biggest change to the normal day is that if a student is not sitting the scheduled exam, they do not need to be in school for that period; however, if they wish (or their parents do!) they may attend and study quietly in their Exam Centre/Room seat. Otherwise, all normal school rules apply, Including uniform. Good luck!
Click on each year to see a PDF of their respective Exam Schedule:
We expected nattily dressed gentlemen and girls in gorgeous gowns and we were certainly knocked out with the style, but we also knew there would be a more important aspect of the Class of 2022 Debs’ reception at St. Conleth’s: a spirit of honest affection and appreciation, tinged with the tiniest bit of regret that we will no longer have these charming young men and ladies all to ourselves. College degrees and career destinations were not the only topics of conversation on the evening: there was plenty of looking back as well as looking forward, with plenty of smiles and laughs about the years, whether two or twelve, these young adults spent growing up with us.
Of course, the parents were there as well, proud as punch to see how well their sons and daughters turned out, on both the outside and the in. Whatever points were achieved in September, the more important personal gains made while at St. Conleth’s were fully in evidence on the evening: boys who short years (or months) ago were locking each other in cupboards, were now smoothly introducing their dates, and girls who perhaps apprehensively approached these doors not long ago, were now swishing across the floor with confidence and grace.
The only downside of the evening was that we, the board members of the ‘No Eye Contact with Girls Club’, have been forced to kick out a charter member: Oisín Power. Luckily, we still have several of his acolytes in the Debating Society… whose number of chaperones will henceforth be doubled!
First Year Art Students enjoyed the ‘Zombie Doubles’ so much, they asked for the rest. Enjoy them and get ready for the Christmastime avalanche of art!
Covid did not just lead to grade inflation… and cost of living inflation… it has also led to holiday hype: we are enthusiastically embracing and extending all the rituals we missed over the last few years, and Halloween, most of all! Our round-up of our Halloween festivities started with catching the latest transfer to St. Conleth’s walking to school: Barney the Dinosaur. (He was at Blackrock, but was put under undo pressure to play in the back row.)
This year, teachers enthusiastically shared in the dress-up fun!
With one teacher particularly giving 110%! (plus a spontaneous, if rusty, warm-up for Christmas by First Years!)
The Junior School Students, as they do every year, stunned us with the creativity of their costumes and the enthusiasm of their wearing them!
And the Senior School Students, hopefully starting a new tradition, ponied up 2€ for GOAL and matched their Junior brethren in Halloween gore and glee!
The scariest sound effect this Halloween for the St. Conleth’s Student Socialist Society/Debating Club was the clarion call of capitalism… as TYs kept ringing up the profits at their Halloween Mini-Company Fair! The timing was perfect as everyone filled up on the home-made, baked delicacies and, even after burning some off playing classic arcade video games, still had enough sucrose and e-numbers left to power them through the rest of the hectic day. Aside from the consumables, there were also some impressive handicrafts and art work for sale. And, in addition to teaching sound business principles, various charities also get their cut… or so we are told by TY Co-Ordinator, Gav ‘Three Macchiatos A Day’ Maguire!
Okay, by this stage it is only luke-warm as we have been a bit slow in getting it up since it was published last week, but here it is: the first issue of the Junior School student-produced St. Conleth’s Times (click!)!
The Senior School gathered for its annual Samhain/All Saints’ Eve Assembly and Mr. ODulaing and Mr. Gallagher again inspired those gathered with the true meaning of the holiday, as well as recognising those students who have already earned notice… positive notice, that is! We put aside all the costumes, plastic pumpkins and interactive doorbells to listen to Mr. ODulaing link the holiday to our school community’s values, as embodied as they are in our Mission Statement, and Mr. Gallagher connected us all to the holy day’s more enduring cultural significances.
We also honoured students who had recently earned commendations: the recent Maths Week competition winners, the Young Classicists Symposium competition winners and Caoimhe Moore, our School Captain who has also earned the rarely awarded Gaisce Silver Medal. Caoimhe was joined by her Co-Captains and the recently elected Class Captains, who together form our Student Council. And adding the perfect notes to the morning were Harry and Lochlann on the piano. Thanks, again, to Music Maestros McGuinness and O’Neill for setting it all up!
How do STEM devotees celebrate an illogical, incalcuable and inflammable holiday? Well, Ms. Phelan and her Sixth Year Biology students put on mad scientist costumes and visited the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training in UCD… for great hands-on bio-fun!
Our students learned all about the career and educational opportunities in the biotechnology industry in Ireland, including the lucrative reanimation of stolen corpses from the nearby Merrion Cemetery. They also got a tour around the training facility which is used by companies such as Pfizer, Amgen, Abvie, and Sanofi for training and education. We extend a big thank-you to Dr. John Milne, Training Director and Dr. Hannah Jones, for their time and enthusiasm. Their love for their work was infectious (relax, everyone wore masks!) and they, in turn, were impressed by our gang, even saying that there were some students on the trip whose scientific acumen was so evident, that NIBRT would happily have cloned them on the spot! Leo then explained that he had already been cloned during a recent ‘close encounter’ but that he was willing to go again. On the other hand, some of our other kids blended right in with the reanimated cadavers, the less twitchy ones in particular. Well, it takes all types in a bio-diverse world… and school!
We had a pretty hectic- and successful- close to the half term, sporting wise, at St. Conleth’s. We are still searching up more film of the already legendary First Year Boys Basketball win detailed below, but there have been several more chapters added to the St. Conleth’s Book of Sporting Lore in the short time since that winning basket snapped the net. Some of the very same boys took part in another ‘Heart Attack Kids’ special: after their stunning B-Ball heroics, the First year Boys boys followed it up on the rugby pitch against Sandford Park, winning on a last minute try by Christopher Comer in the corner, after Noah Dwan had made a great break, juggled the ball, caught it again, and zipped the killer pass! The First Year Basketball Girls may not have matched the boys for drama in their debut game but they pushed a Woodlands Academy Second Year Team all the way, showing much promise and great team spirit… and much better ability than the boys in posing for an orderly team photo! And there was another close loss (0-1) to a tough, classy opponent (Dundalk Grammar) but the Senior Hockey Girls have kept their heads, and smiles, up…. and they are still drawing the fans!
Maybe our regular basketball coaches, Peter Gahan and Sean Ingle, should stick to surfing! While the usually dynamic duo were off rolling in the breakers of Achill Island, Ronan Carvill led our First Year Boys Basketball Team in one of the most exciting victories in St. Conleth’s sporting history! In their very first game, the boys were soon down 14-0… in the first quarter. Ronan called a timeout and took out some of those over-sized yellow Maths gadgets of which he is so fond. A quick lesson in angles, resistance and velocity, and a team prayer to St. Anthony, and the boys were back on the court. They proceeded to make a gradual comeback, chipping steadily away, but were still down three, with mere seconds left. Then, Sean Keane, like a Norse god, struck a three pointer (the first of the game). Then a steal…. and a basket to win at the buzzer! And the boys went crazy! More pics to come!
Ms. Halpin and her Art students have transferred St. Conleth’s Senior School into a cool ghoul school! Below we see TYs enjoying the festooning of the hallways with skulls, spiders, pumpkins, screams and laughs. There are also close-ups of their work, including all the above plus skulls and the scariest creatures of them all: clowns! First Years were a bit more introspective, calling forth their inner zombie. Now they know what they will look like at the end of Second Year!
When current Marian College Basketball Coach (and teacher) Eoin ‘Trust Me, I’m a…’ Noctor wandered these halls as a student (Class of 2011), he was considered by some teachers, mostly of the female persuasion, to be ‘a lovable rogue’. Others just deemed him ‘a rogue’. Maybe it was due to his combination of stylish ringlets, exotic skin tone and melting eyes, not seen since Alexander the Great charmed the bow off the Queen of the Amazons… in any event, his basketball strategy has not matched said Alexander’s tactical genius. For, our U16s and U19s, coached by Sean ‘Use the Angles’ Ingle, just did the double on him! Yes, having such quality players as James ‘Tower of’ Power, ‘Chillin’ Dylan Cosgrave, Joe ‘Just Don’t Make Me Angry’ Kelleher and quickly rising newcomer Enda ‘Wow’ Crowley, certainly helped, and we allow that Eoin’s Marian are in a ‘rebuilding phase’… but so are a lot of teams, after we demolish them! We did spare the Good Noctor the blushes of filming the total wipeout but sent our ace TY photographer Finley O’Dea to our recent games versus Colmcille’s and you can enjoy his camerawork, and our players’ moves and ridiculous size advantage, below. The wins have qualified the U16s for the Quarterfinals of the East ‘B’ Boys Region and the U19s for the Plate Quarterfinals. Stay tuned!
The short course ‘Artistic Performance’ is quickly becoming a favourite of the Senior School. Ms. Orla Mellon takes her creative talents and boundless energy to each class and the students respond with gust… or guts-oh in this case! In honour of the approaching holiday, Ms. Mellon led the boys and girls in learning techniques of making their own ‘waxing scars’, using Vaseline, flour and foundation makeup. They really enjoyed themselves, some refusing to wash them off after class and establishing ‘zombie chic’ a the new to-die-for look in the school. Some teachers joined in on the act… or we think they did!
Artistic Performance also involves performance so earlier in the term, Ms.Mellon led the students in ‘Story, Story… Die!” in which participants have to improvise a line of a story, then the next person carries it onwards and so-on…. If anyone hesitates in anyway, the pupils shot ‘DIE!’ and the guilty party has to go into simulated death throes. Our budding thespians also did an exercise where they picked a scenario from ‘real life’ and act out what was going on. After a minute they had to freeze & roll a dice. The number rolled corresponded with an object. They had to add this object into their scene for another minute… improv at its best!
It is not just Chefs Mark and Emerson who serve up a wide menu at St. Conleth’s! Junior School Principal Brian Nolan and Junior School PE Head Louis Magee also both subscribe to the idea that choice is good and a variety of experiences, especially for the young, is the best education. Of course, Louis caters to the traditional round and oblong balls but we have also seen Shay Keenan lead the Prepsters through their gymnastic moves in the Sports Hall and below we catch some pupils giving cricket a crack, hearkening back to our early garden party days: the pros have been brought in to re-establish our oldest school sport. And the mind, as well as the body, needs variety: our Juniors, and one lucky Senior, also enjoy their after-school French classes each week with the energetic and inspirational professeurs of Alliance Francais!
It is said that infant Achilles was dipped in the River Styx by his heel, rendering him nigh invincible. Too bad about the heel. It is also said that Mount Anville charters a jet each year to fly their prospective hockey players to Hades, where they are thrown into the same river, and those that make it ashore, clinging to their sticks, make the team. Now, Ms. Speller is a tough teacher and coach, having made it through the notoriously tough Eagle Scout Two Week Training Course in a mere six and a half hours, but she is also a nurturing and supportive leader for her girls, and the fact that her Senior Girls made it onto the same pitch as Anville As for a Cup match is, in itself, a moral victory and a sign of how far hockey has come in a few short years, without so much as a toe dipped in the River Styx. This Senior team has itself gone from rank outsiders to a Dublin power in its own right, a remarkable achievement for a small school that only started hockey when some of these same girls came through the front gates. So, they did not find Mount Anville’s heel, but they put up a brave and skilful fight, sealing the reputation of St. Conleth’s as a ‘hockey school’.
Do you remember when retreats involved a lot of hushed voices, hastily drawn symbolic etchings, vague expressions of well-being and the occasional chorus of ‘Kumbaya’? Well how about climbing, fire-starting, faith-leaping, archery, hockey and sing-alongs? Yes, we believe that the Sixth Year Retreat to Ovoca House in Avoca has been a change for the better.
Never before have we heard a 100% approval rating from the students involved and it was not just because our excellent hosts at Irish Scripture Union kept them moving with fun-filled and challenging activities: the boys and girls did do proper, traditional retreat stiff too, such as goal-setting, reflection, scripture reading and bouts of outrageous silence. It was just that the whole overnight trip was so well-planned and well implemented, it satisfied both the needs and the wants of those involved. A big thank-you to Mr. Gallagher for organising, Ms. Killen and Mr. Lonergan for taking part so enthusiastically, and Mr. Latvis for teaching the hockey girls the proper method of body-checking!
The Video Highlights (Edited, Hopefully Thoroughly Enough, for a General Audience)
Fire and Fun
After enduring the zealotry of the covid cartel for all things scientific, or those things apparently so, it was a relief to have a guest speaker who could reasonably and engagingly discuss these matters without invective or condescension. Fr. Conor, a Dominican Friar, led our Fifth and Sixth Years in discussions regarding the misunderstood, and misrepresented, nexus of Science and Faith. Fr. Conor impressed us with his knowledge, open-mindedness and manners, and our boys and girls returned the favour. The perfect precursor to the Sixth Year Retreat!
Fr. Conor shared the image below with the students before his talk. It is a tiny piece of parchment from the 7th century that can be seen in St. Maurice in Switzerland. St. Brigid is on top and our very own St. Conleth on the bottom!
Think globally: act locally! TYs helped Paddy Byrne, of Ballsbridge Tidy Towns, to make flower plants by up-cycling wooden pallets. They will be on display around Ballsbridge when finished. Work Experience that makes a difference!
Saving the Earth is a worthy goal, but the TYs also know the value of pure profit: under Shay Keenan’s watchful eye they have been selling break-time pick-me-ups, a legacy of Mr. KDK, the original purveyor of the Tuck Shoppe. Here the profits are counted… and partially eaten!
Never mind the hockey jollies… our basketball girls roared straight outta Ballsbridge last week to take an emphatic double over Coolmine. In a little pre-Maths Week lesson in multiples, our 16s won 47 – 10 and our 19s, 52-20. Lucy ‘No Bricks’ McGoldrick led the way for the 16s and Anna O’Neill for the 19s, along with some standout play from Jodi Ryan, Greta Lawless and Isabella Lombardo for the 16s and Meabh Joye and Vivienne Roberts for the senior squad. Coaches Peter ‘Gangsta’ Gahan and Sean ‘Tingle’ Ingle were chuffed. Stay tuned for some similarly winning news from the boyz!
If it came down to a civil war between the partisans of our main sports of rugby, basketball, debating and hockey, we have to admit it would be likely that only the hockey girls would be left standing. First of all, there are hordes of them. Secondly, they have sticks. And thirdly, and most importantly, their Head Coach, Ms. ‘Give ’em Hell’ Speller, has Eagle Scout badges in Total Warfare and Imperial Aggression. But, thankfully, all our coaches and athletes are still on friendly terms… for now. Anyways, the First Years recently added actual wins to their already impressive portfolio of enthusiasm, hard work and sheer joy in playing the sport. And the Hockey Teams’ Official Transition Year Photographers, Greta and Juliet, won the ‘Artsy Sport Photos of the Week’ competition. Stay tuned for more hockey hoopla!
And don’t even mention An Triail… Yes, this actually happened a couple of weeks ago, but ‘Is fearr mall ná rómhall‘ and we thought we must spread the news that, finally, there is a more heart-warming work to discuss in Irish class: the all-Irish film The Quiet Girl based on the leabhar beag ‘Foster’ by Claire Keegan. The whole senior, Senior school went to see it at the Stella Cinemas and quite a few tears were shed… but this time, bittersweetly, and as gaeilge, of course!
We in the Senior School often miss what our Junior brethren are up to simply because they are so small and active that we sluggards can’t keep up with the little, industrious Harfoots! You read below how they have been sporting with both the oblong and the round ball, but, here, we get just a glimpse of other JS happenings: Texaco Art Competition commendees; The JSPA Teachers’ Day generosity and their Uniform Exchange; Principal Nolan doing his thing with parents and the whole school; after-school French with Alliance Francais; break-time shenanigans; the election posters from the friendly but intense Green Schools Committee Elections; and the latest episode of the most heartwarming show on TV: Shay Keenan’s Prepster PE Class!
Well, it is less likely to be the carbon in our atmosphere, cooking in the hot Irish sun, as our student body have listened to the clarion call of Green Schools Tsarina Ciara Thornton and already begun to make a difference. First up? Third Year Anna Carroll, An Taisce Climate Ambassador, led her classmates in raising over €300 with a cake sale to fund a biodiversity garden as part of climate change action. And all those aromatic goodies were ‘baked’ carbon-free on the bonnets of the many staff-owned Teslas!
Shay Keenan has been doing this for some years now: assembling hordes of willing and mostly able runners to compete in regional track meets. And, come to think of it, Mr. Smith has now been at it for a few years, too! A couple of weeks ago, our First Years competed in the West Leinster Cross Country Championships, with over 2,000 athletes running in Phoenix Park. All involved completed the race and several finished in the top 20%. Well done to the runners and to Shay Keenan and Mr. Smith for organising.
We got the rugby last weekend, and then the rains came in… but Junior Sport Czar Louis Magee knows what to do when the monsoon starts: head indoors! The boys and girls of Fourth Form visited Castle Park earlier this week to play them in basketball. Castle Park were Fantastic hosts, as always, and everyone had a great afternoon shooting for the stars!
… Don’t know much about a science book…” sweetly sang Sam Cooke but he did not have Mr. Carvill The Younger as his teacher. Nor did he benefit from a trip to the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin for a lecture and plenty of hands-on and eyes-on flora fun. Our debonair, bushwhacking Biology teacher cuts quite the heroic figure, poised, as he is always, with nunchaku in hand and on the cusp of some new STEM adventure, and our students flock to him like lemmings to a cliff, or, more appropriately for the day, like flies to a Venus Flytrap. Where to, next, for this intrepid explorer? We can’t do the calculations but we do know that if all teachers were so enthusiastic and devilishly handsome… ‘what a wonderful world this would be!”
Like the brave Gaelic warriors who scattered across Europe, our Junior Rugby teams spread across Dublin this past weekend. Head of Junior Sport Louis Magee had the headache of co-ordinating it all, but all his coaches did their part and showed up bright and early and eager to ruck and roll! Of course, the parents were also on the roads early, escorting their Nos. 1-15, across Forms 3-6, throughout Dublin 4-16 (and a bit of SoCo!). Well done to all invloved, especially the young players, themselves!
Once again, Ms. Speller’s hockey minions are off and running and winning and putting pressure on those rugby boys! Third Year Eva Ryan kindly gives us this update on recent jolly hockey goings-on:
In our Junior league match, last Tuesday, we won 9-1. In the first half we had a total of five goals and then racked it up to nine in the second half. Goals were scored by Maude Kinlay, Eva Ryan, Elizabeth Finnegan and Jane Sweeney. The team played extremely well and are very proud of their win. It’s definitely a good way to start the season! In the senior Leinster League match on Wednesday, we won 3-0. The goals were all scored brilliantly in short corners, twice by Juliet Donnelly and once by Maude Kinlay.
Growing up across the pond, the cheap, simple and carcinogenic ‘baloney’ was our metaphoric food of choice, but it marks how far we have come (or how urbane is the Conlethian cohort) that we recently heard the above expression served up at breaktime by one student to another, in response to some credibility stretching bit of braggadocio. And why not? For ‘falafel’ is on the menu, as well as several other delicacies which did not previously moo, oink, cluck, or bark, such is the vegetarian transformation of our eating habits. Perhaps this is due to Ms. Clarke’s subtle but strident vegan advocacy? This week, the kids get to leave the canines home, as they enjoy cauliflower casserole, roasted celeriac and sweet potato soups and the dearly missed home-made bean burgers! Menu PDF.
Commissioner (and Guidance Counsellor) Gordon Weldon is still doing the last bits of custom-fitting on the Class of 2022 (you just wait till you see their Final Destinations!) but he is also continuing to shepherd the Class of 2023 and has even started with the youngsters of 2024, at the Higher Options convention at the RDS. Our ‘2022s’ are currently starting degrees in Engineering, Law, Medicine, Nursing and Basket-Weaving at institurions up-and-down Ireland and across Europe. The 2023s have begun to at least think about their anticipated/dreaded CAO listing and the 2024s are still in that benign state of changing their life plans every few minutes based on the quality of the complementaries handed out at the RDS stalls. That’s three groups of 50+ students looking for guidance, but they, and we, have unflappable faith in The Commish!
The Transition Year dynamic duo of Gav Maguire and Richie Morris have completely banished the covid error image of TYs sitting around, watching videos and breathing resentfully through cloying, dehumanizing masks. Especially since this current term dawned, full of renewed promise, the TYS have been all action and we can barely keep up with them! Just last week, they learned how to actually do something useful with their phones, thanks to the Smartphone Film-Making Workshop run by Burning House Productions. (We promise to share any forthcoming some moody, morbid, art-house mini-masterpieces taht show up in our In Box.)
The TYs also found time to show off the signing skills which they had learned from Jenny Healy in their regular classes (Sign with Jenny), on International Sign Language Day.
AND….in Religion with Mr. Lonergan, they began the Alpha Course, “an evangelistic course which seeks to introduce the basics of the Christian faith through a series of talks and discussions… providing an opportunity to explore the meaning of life”.
Deep stuff, indeed, but these boys and girls are ready and able! There was also time for less cerebral stuff such as PE and just messing around. Enjoy the pics and video below and stay tuned for more TY news!
The KDK extension was rocking again as the whole Senior School gathered for the first assembly of the year. It was a busy meeting, with a full agenda, so let’s get down to the running order: Mr. ODulaing displayed his customary rhetorical style, easy-going but full of warmth and purpose, as he welcomed everyone back and set the stage for the morning and the year. Then, First Year Anna Sweeney joined a long line of Conlethians by playing music for her classmates and teachers. We will see and hear from her again, for sure! Mr. Gallagher then brought our attention to our enduring ethos, with prayers and a reading, ably assisted by School Captain Caoimhe Moore and Vices James Clancy and Timea Kovacs. Ms. Hopkins had the tough but necessary job of reminding us all of the rules. Now… what was that one about Form Teachers being on time? Fifth Year Ciara Thorton showed that Zoomers are not just spouters of hot air and CO2 when it comes to lecturing Boomers about the environment: she made an impassioned speech about her planned reinvigoration of the Green Schools Committee and inspired dozens of fellow students to sign up to the cause. They started by promising to try to limit their methane emissions (especially when in a closely packed assembly).
Old pro, but first time school performer, Harry Cooper-Reid parked the rhetoric for a few minutes and played beautifully on the piano. He was so good that we may ask him to make all his classroom contributions via the ivories in the future! The Transition Year Co-Ordinator was busy making a run to Offbeat so Mr. Morris lent a hand and presented last year’s TY with their Gaisce Medals, a proud moment for those involved and the school (and Gav Maguire, to be fair.) Then the house band, Pants on Fire, brought the house down (but kept their pants up) with their usual combo of stylish licks, grinding rhythms and profound lyrics. This time, Finn ‘MacCool’ Neilan and Ollie ‘Go’ West were joined by Daragh Sweeney on the drums. Perhaps the immortal JMS’s successor has sallied forth, sticks in hand, already!
The Fifth Years so enjoyed their ‘Lonergan Lark’ to Howth that they went back the very next day! And this time they took along Mr. Coleman, who took the following stunning photos. Mr. Coleman hails from the much less scenic Dundalk but he seemed to know his way around the Howthian coves and crags quite well- something about his border smuggling business occassionally necessitating a sea landing… but, regardless, we appreciate the high resolution pics, taken with the latest, snazziest camera-phone. And, typically, Mr. Coleman got this bit of tech on the cheap- it having ‘fallen off a truck’!
What are two Tipperary natives to do, come the first days of autumn when the breeze turns cold yet all of the RTE Player’s hurling highlights and All-Star lists seem to feature a certain Munster county, once known mostly for urban strife but now for winning three Liam MacCarthies in a row? Well, thank god it is not Kilkenny and take the Fifth Years on a hike up Howth Head!
Once again, Mr. Lonergan, and perhaps a prayer to the Child of Prague, provided the perfect weather for a school outing, and both teachers and pupils thoroughly enjoyed their perambualting circumnavigation of that lump of land you are usually admiring from afar, on the tip of Dun Laoghaire pier enjoying a Teddy’s ice cream. Well, it turns out the northside has pleasures of its own, and after sampling the flora and fauna and sights and smells of Howth Head, the merry gang returned to St. Conleth’s with sore legs but soaring spirits!
Two famous soups, Corn Chowder and Sweet Potato, make their glorious return on this week’s canteen menu (PDF)!
Yes, the desperate furtive glances and frenzied pocket patting usually results in a reassuring but slightly sickening feeling of comfort, as your hand closes again on your personal, pixellated portal to hell… ouch, a bit harsh, you say? Well, you should have seen the Transition Years when they were freed from their phones for the duration of their trip to Carlingford Adventure Centre. Yes, initially, there were the usual signs of withdrawal: sweaty palms. pale faces and awkward silences… but the last was quickly broken by Ms. Speller barking out some marching orders. And soon the boys and girls got into the spirit of the occasion and conversation, laughter and fun soon ensued, all somehow accomplished without the endless, pointless referencing to the World Wide Web under glass. Everyone was having a old-fashioned, good time enjoying the banter and watching Fionan and James Power rolling around on the floor of the bus.
And then they actually arrived in Carlingford! The medieval town opened up like a toy chest and the TYs experienced two thrilling days of pier-jumping, kayaking, rock-climbing, laser-shooting, axe-throwing and line-zipping. TY Head Honchos Gav Maguire and Mr. Morris did indeed bring the TYs back from their Carlingford Adventure Centre experience utterly exhausted but also deliriously happy! As they somnambulated off the bus on Friday afternoon, their sun, wind and salt-burned faces were contorted in a look that could only be interpreted as joy, though there was a bit of relief mixed in. After all, they once again had access to their phones.
Yes, you can’t get a broom closet in the original TriBeCa now for less than $10,000 a month (and no doorman!) but at least we can still enjoy the NYC neighbourhood’s most famous export: TriBeCa chicken wings! This week’s canteen menu (PDF):
Where you grew up…
I was born in Los Angeles, California as my parents were both from the US. I only lived there until I was 3, after which I moved with my family to Dublin, Ireland. I grew up in the Ballsbridge area, so I spent a lot of time in Herbert Park, going to matches at the Aviva, and hanging out with friends at Baggot Street.
How you came to be at St. Conleth’s.
I was familiar with St. Conleth’s having lived in the surrounding area for years. I knew my classmate from a previous school so when I found out about his positive experience at St. Conleth’s and when a place opened in 6th class, I decided to put in an application. I was greeted by Ann Sheppard and Kevin Kelleher during the interview, and I felt right at home as soon as I walked through the doors. Luckily, I received an offer soon after that and I knew the decision to accept it would be an easy one.
Favourite and/or least favourite subject in school.
Personally, my favourite subjects included maths and physics as they were very challenging, and I enjoyed problem solving. Eventually, I decided to enroll in applied maths for the Leaving Cert which I also enjoyed since it was a different application of maths including interesting concepts such as projectiles, inertia, and relative velocity which I quickly learned are relevant in many aspects of how objects work in the real world.
Fondest memory of St. Conleth’s.
My fondest memory throughout my 7 years at St. Conleth’s was having a very inclusive and supportive environment with both the teachers and the other students there. I always felt like there were many opportunities to get involved in extra-curricular activities such as volunteering during Daffodil Day for the Irish Cancer Society, adventure trips to Ovoca Manor, and going for a hike in Wicklow for the Gaisce Bronze Award in 4th year. I also enjoyed playing tennis, squash, and basketball which I participated in for many years on competitive and recreational teams. I always found that St. Conleth’s was a fantastic place to pursue my interests and try new activities as well.
Who/what influenced you to pursue your chosen field.
My form teacher in 6th year told us about the engineering open night at UCD and I decided to attend it that evening. I went to the talk with my dad who studied both electrical engineering and computer science in college. The talk itself discussed the course, modules, and experiences from current students at the time as well as professors who gave insight into the industry and current research within the school of engineering across the different disciplines. Both the talk at UCD and my family inspired me to pursue going into the field and eventually, I decided to choose engineering at UCD as my 1st choice on the CAO application and I accepted the offer later that year.
At what age did you know you wanted to work in your chosen field?
At age 10, I had a trip to the science museum called W5 in Belfast, and I remember being fascinated by new technologies there such as a stringless harp which could be played by not touching the instrument to advanced robotics that could solve Rubik’s cubes. When I was around the same age, I attended the Young Scientist Exhibition in the RDS, where I demonstrated an experiment involving a mixture of baking soda and vinegar while attaching a balloon to the top of a water bottle so that it expanded. By participating in both, I realised I was curious and interested about the field of science and engineering.
Tell us about your education/ career path.
At UCD, I started in a common first year where there is an opportunity to experience different engineering disciplines offered as well as ensuring the core subjects of maths, physics, and chemistry are learned. In second year, I chose mechanical engineering as my degree which is a combination of engineering principles and design with materials science. Some topics from my modules included explanations into how external environmental factors influence the power from the engine in a car, and how the density of building materials in a house influence the heat loss through the structure and the subsequent energy usage. I undertook various summer internships throughout the program including at ESB conducting research into future wind farm developments, and at Waterman Moylan where my role as a building engineer involved designing and surveying services into future housing developments across Dublin. I also had the opportunity to study abroad for a year at the University of Connecticut in the US which was an invaluable experience. I graduated with a bachelor’s in Engineering Science in 2020 and then stayed on an extra year during the pandemic to pursue my master’s in Mechanical Engineering from which I graduated in 2021. I recently began working as a Graduate Mechanical Engineer for a global multidisciplinary design firm called Arup in New York City. My responsibilities in this role include performing mechanical engineering design using 3D modelling software for HVAC systems within a building which are responsible for heating, cooling and ventilation purposes. Since I started, I have been performing this work for data centres and manufacturing plants. Another important aspect of my role is commissioning which involves performing site visits to test mechanical equipment for correct functionality to ensure that the building is as energy efficient as possible. I am fortunate to be involved in carrying out this work for an ongoing airport re-development in New York City valued at 8 billion dollars. In general, I have found myself intrigued with the complexity of engineering applications in the built environment, and Arup has exposed me to many large-scale developments with a focus on sustainability as there becomes an increased demand for building sector decarbonization in the future.
Proudest achievement to date.
My biggest achievement to date is completing my thesis as part of my master’s degree. The topic I chose is called Phase Change Material Characterisation for Demand Response in Buildings and it involved running computer simulations to see the effect of offsetting the energy usage in a building by installing thermal storage materials on the interior side of a building envelope so that a HVAC system can utilise off peak energy prices while reducing the impact of demand on the electricity grid during the day. I worked on the thesis for 10 months which involved writing reports, preparing presentations, and defending the research against the school of engineering. I received first-class honours for the thesis from UCD and it was nominated and won the 2021/22 ASHRAE Ireland Student Award which recognises the research contributions made to fields related to the built environment such as HVAC&R, building engineering, energy management, and sustainability. Currently, I am in the process of assisting my thesis supervisor with publishing aspects of my thesis in an international journal paper so that my research can be cited while possibly assisting others with future work related to the field.
Aspirations for the future.
My personal aspirations involve excelling in my career path and earning my professional licence and engineering chartership which is granted based on continuing education credits for attending talks on up-and-coming technologies related to engineering, number of years of experience working in the field, and exams related to a chosen engineering field of expertise. Once I earn this licence, I will be qualified to independently perform extensive engineering design, sign off on drawings, and mentor other engineers on design practices. My aim is that Arup will give me further exposure to state-of-the-art projects from across the world and possibly some travel opportunities to other regions which I have not visited before.
Advice for people wanting to work in your sector/ general advice.
My advice for anyone going into engineering or a career path of their choice would be do not be afraid to pursue what you are interested in and push the boundaries on your capabilities. During my time in engineering, there are many times I was convinced I could not complete a project or submit an assignment due to the complexity of the task, but I learned to work hard, and the results would follow. Also, it is important to ask and accept advice from others as I found that when I needed help, it was always around the corner whether it was from other classmates in school, lecturers in college, colleagues in the workplace, or at home from family.
This week, it’s celeriac and friends!
Like the fluid, flowing shapes in John Kelleher’s paintings, art flows ever onward at St. Conleth’s. Below you see Mr. ODulaing suitably impressed (and strangely dwarfed) by Second Year embroideries and Ms. Halpin already prepping a new class for the creation of the next set of masterpieces.
Regarding masterpieces, current art students need look no further than St. Conleth’s alumnus, the aforementioned John Kelleher (2019) who graduated from Fine Arts- Painting at NCAD and now is undertaking a prestigious MFA at the Royal College Of Art in London. Enjoy snaps from last spring of John’s exhibition and studio and his own explanatory notes. The torch has been passed!
Yes, there was grade inflation across the nation but, as usual, St. Conleth’s ‘turned it up to 11’ and we were like the Weimar Republic of average school points increases! No, not everyone received the perfect ‘625’, but Evan, Emily, Caraiosa, Ignacio, Louis… and maybe more… hit that magic number and there were several hot on their heels! But, as we always say, and believe, it is not the points but the people that matter most. and the fact that so many of the Class of 2022 decided to trek into school (when they could have just remotely clicked a key) and share the moment with their classmates and their teachers is a testament to the closeness of the St. Conleth’s community. Particularly significant for St. Conleth’s history and tradition is that the Class of 2022 was the first graduating class that had been co-educational since First Year. Vice Captain Hannah O’Sullivan and all the other girls, we especially salute you! One such very recent alumna, Caraiosa O’Farrell, featured in an Irish Times article. Well done to all the class. We are very proud of you and look forward to future visits and news of further success!
Yes, with the Transition Years bounding through the doors last Thursday, we now have everyone home and can start the year properly! Below you see the TYs in class (yes, they do have ‘classes’ in TY… as well as all that extra stuff!) along with the other Senior years and some drone shots of the youngest Conlethians, the Prepsters, at play. Now, it is time to get down to Business! And English, and Irish, and Classics…
One indisputably good thing about coming back to school: lunch by Chef Mark, Emerson, Anna and crew!
Yes, we are back in action at St. Conleth’s! In fact, the Junior School teachers (driven by General Brian Nolan) have been back meeting, planning and gossiping since last week, while we Senior teachers were still dawdling in Bundoran! Well, now we are back, along with First Years and all the Junior School pupils. First Years started last week with a Sport Camp and then took on a rather enjoyable first in situ assignment: pizza and chips in the canteen! We also see, below, the various Junior School classes uo to their usual break time antics… as well as some semi-serious classwork… and a snap of a very Zen way to start the morning of the First Day of School: yoga with Cecilia!
Sometimes, nice guys do finish first. TY Cillian Cooke recently secured a place in the prestigious DCU Centre for Talented Youth Engineering Programme. All of a sudden, all the doomy, gloomy forecasts seem a bit overkill… if we have more bright and hard-working youngsters like Cillian to build a better future!
Yes, it is the eve off the First Day of School, dreaded and dreamed of in equal parts… and that’s just the teachers! But have no fear, great days lie ahead for y’all at St. Conleth’s. Induction for tomorrow for First Years and First Day for all Juniors, except Junior Infants, but soon everyone will be back at No. 28, Clyde Rd. See below for start days and times and get some rest. The fun is about to start!
Of course, we St. Conleth’s teachers spend the summer busily preparing lesson plans for the upcoming school year, but apparently our students get up to all sorts of hijinks… and in the most unlikely scenarios! Case in point: incoming Transition Year Daniel O’Connor. Yes, quiet, unassuming Daniel usually just keeps his head down, his mouth shut and gets on with his work… who would have guessed that Daniel is an absolute Captain Jack Sparrow when he gets on the high seas? Well, just recently Daniel represented Ireland on an eight person squad that all travelled to Vilamoura in Portugal for the International Laser Class World Championships. He did very well for his country finishing comfortably in the top half of the 240 boat fleet and showing considerable style and flair as he swooped smoothly through the sea-foam and salty air. Below you can see video highlights from the event with Daniel featuring at about 1’46’’, sail number IRL 211260. Avast Ye!
We, the skeleton crew of the good ship St. Conleth’s, just welcomed the State Examiners Commission’s Junior Cycle Art Examiner aboard so that she could assess our Third Year’s officially entered pieces. Though we are certainly not privy to any results or grades, we did listen at the judiciously-left-ajar door of the Art Room and heard gasps of delight as the examiner systematically uncovered each creation. Then again, our hearing is not what it used to be, and they could well have been mixed with shrieks of horror and/or laughter… To be fair, judging by the work below from other classes of our Art Teacher, Ms. Halpin, the JCers will do just fine!
First Year Portrait Project
Second Year “Good Food’ Embroidery
First Year Imaginative Compositions
Everyone likes to win but sometimes, especially in Ireland, we have a difficulty in recognising and applauding excellence. We prefer the hard-luck story, the near-misses, the lovable-lad-who-is-about-to-be-lapped… the Buzz Aldrin over the Neil Armstrong. Faced with greatness, we feel as awkward as that NASA official when he had to pick a winner in the astronaut competition in the famous ‘Homer in Space’ episode:
Gentlemen, you’ve both worked very hard. And in a way, you’re both winners. But in another more accurate way, Barney is the winner. Mmm. Congratulations, Barney.
Never mind how that turned out, but we at St. Conleth’s have proudly shed that postcolonial reticence for saluting success and present to you now the winners of our Academic Awards 2022! But first up, some more of that lovely music which seems to accompany all our activities, courtesy of maestros Ms. McGuinness and Mr. O’Neill and the endlessly talented students, themselves.
…but at St. Conleth’s, the music is never over! Okay, we planned on providing you with a full 4K Super HD video version of the graduation ceremony but our ‘video guy’ dropped the ball, and memory card, and he has justly been put on fully paid suspension, pending review. Thank goodness our ‘sound guy’, the multi-talented Micheal Horan, came up trumps and we have a lovingly mixed soundtrack of the performance pieces from graduation night. So, hit play, close your eyes and revel in teh voices and sounds of the Class of 2022!
On Monday, June 27th, at about 17:03, upon the completion of the Leaving Certificate Latin Exam, a quiet will descend upon St. Conleth’s College which has not been ‘heard’ for about five years and ten months: for Oisín Power will have left the building. (And, no, we don’t whip out the future perfect tense just for anybody!). Yes, it has been a long, garrulous reign for the uncrowned king of diatribe, insinuation, invective, contradiction, conspiracy, sedition and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Each Thursday, we personally endured no less than six class periods with Oberstleutnant Power and though we shortened our life span considerably, due to the pressure applied to our brain, heart and spleen, we also learned a lot and enjoyed the barracking barrage of biblio-babble immensely. Do we need to know the religions of every US President’s Vice President’s wife? Or that a Bulgarian vagabond princeling has a legitimate claim to the title of Roman Emperor? (Or is he Finnish?) Maybe not. But maybe the plight of the Auslandsdeutsche after WWII is worth the occasional tangential discussion, or, perhaps, the underreported flouting of Geneva on the Ukrainian side in the current conflict or, god forbid, a reappraisal of Reagan’s blue collar Democrat mass conversion.
These were the kind of conversations intitiated in class and the hallways and in hyperspace by Oisín over the years; often aided, abetted, moderated or contradicted by step soul-brother Evan. Perhaps not many LC points were secured for them en route, but certainly our knowledge was deepened and persepctive altered, and perhaps theirs, too … and it was fun! Well, Oisín’s talent for edgy cultural commentary has also been recognised and lauded outside the walls of No. 28, too, as his alternate history story Failure of the Falklands has been featured on the popular and respected Talkernate History Youtube channel. Hear the hosts’ enthusiastic reception of Oisín’s story above and read it in full here. Oisín will soon be gone from these hallowed halls but we will long savour the lingering echoes of his beneficial bombast, and eagerly await news of his further rhetorical adventures in halls and chatrooms and on street-corners further afield.
We foretold the impending godhood of one Turlough Dineen below, and, it turns out, that we were as prophetic as the Delphian oracle, herself! For Turlough has won the Gold Prize in the Classical Languages category of the Young Classicists Symposium competition. Turlough’s prize is appropriately titled the Palma Lingua Antiqua and he won it in the national competition as the judges were ‘particularly impressed with the spoken Latin and the creativeness of his project; bringing Latin to life again!’ Even more importantly, Turlough pushed Gonzaga into second place! Enjoy his full project Ambulatio in Paradisio below (a brilliant walking and Latin talking tour of flowers and their mythological significance) as well as an earlier work on aqueducts which Turlough created on a whim, while touring Gaul, with the help of soror, Dineena.
Our other classics kids also had a ‘cool’ end-of-term. Below we see our Classics I class on a very localised tour of neoclassical Georgian architecture (pointing out a volute on Wellington Road); those same First Years enjoying a lecture and presentation by Maia Nolan, an American university student (and cousin of Peter Murphy) who kindly and passionately detailed her classical archaeology adventures in Greece; our LC Latin Class in various settings: the Classics Room, the Art Room (suitably edgy, cum manes, that day), the Herbo and on one last Zoom, for nostalgia; our Classics VI duo of Eliza and Julia constructing a Doric temple, literally (and we mean, literally!) on the board; and our small but mighty Classics V class absorbing the sun along with Medea’s parenting tips. Two of these Fifth Years, Finn and Ollie (aka: ‘The Husbands of Helen’; aka: ‘Pants on Fire’) actually won a Bronze medal in the Classics category of the same Young Classicists competition and you can hear their original song, Classic Mortal, here. We had hoped to have a matching video, but Finn and Ollie were last seen, on the last day of school, jumping into a Surfer Boy Pizza van with guitars and amps and a roadie or two, and have not been seen since!
Desk Clearing Time: What else did we do in those hectic last days of term? Well, Head of Sport, Fun Czar and Lord of Leitrim Ciaran Smith led Third Years into the forest and up into the trees for a Zipit adventure. Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah!
They’re here! JC & LC start tomorrow. Leave your bags in Room 3. Study Rooms are 4 (LC) & 5 (JC). At 8:30, there is a Mass in the canteen. JC Exam Centre is Sports Hall. LC Centre is Performance Hall. English Exams start at 9:30 but report to exam halls at 9:00 as it is the first day. Good luck!
With our Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate students finally hitting the books with gusto, our un-undead TYs working on their ghastly pallor in the Herbo and the rest of the Senior School taking end-of-year exams, it has been the Junior School kids who have been doing all the interesting stuff these last few days. First of all, a momentous milestone was passed when the Junior contingent of girls reached a total of forty for the first time, and they all gathered for a celebratory breakfast. Mr. Kelleher was always fond of letting the girls go to the front of the Tuck Shoppe and canteen queues. (‘Here come the girls!’ was a saying as dear to him as ‘Make way for a naval officer!’) We think he would have been thrilled to see that, with full co-education, that is no longer necessary… or possible!
And you can forget about the return of Love Island, the viewer ratings topper this week will certainly be the latest rendition of St. Conleth’s Junior School Has Got Talent. Musicians, magicians, actors, storytellers, comedians, shy retiring kids…. you name it, we got it! (That last act was scrapped due to a shortage of performers.). Above, we also catch sight of a simple but beloved tradition: the Sixth Form School Hoodies. They look cozy and cool… just don’t try to get by Ms. Hopkins in September with it on!
We were planning on making jokes about Gav, and many of the TYs, ‘method acting’ all year long for 10 Ways to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse, or inferring that Gav and Richie looked ‘undead’ even without the make-up, or, indeed, wondering what happened to the two full pies that went missing somewhere between the second and third floor when the dynamic duo sprung for pizza ‘for the kids’ and insisted on bringing it up from Mr. Deliveroo themselves, or even celebrating that Gav’s planned solo, leather-clad rendition of MCR’s The Black Parade was mercifully cut from the final running order… but that would be petty and inappropriate considering what a splendid evening the TY finale really was.
It is a credit to Gav’s work and rapport with this gang that he only needed to ‘go ballistic’ once in all the long weeks of preparation for this special night (and that was a treat to witness!): the work having been done, not many hysterics were necessary. Of course, Gav had a very impressive supporting cast all year long: Richie Morris was a co-executive producer of all the various adventures and activities; Mr. Ingle and Ms. Halpin led the TYs on their weekly Dublin sojourns; and numerous ‘class’ class teachers kept the kids learning, or at least awake, in their own academic subjects. And the big show had its own big-time crew: Simon Toal, enfant terrible of Edinburgh and the Enterprise, brought his own one-man-variety-show to the table; Seamus Gallagher tempered it with his genial gravitas; and Lucy McGuinness mixed and applied Industrial-Light-and-Magic-level make-up and mixed and applied the infectious music and score with ‘The Ferg’ O’Neill. And of course, the amazingly vital, vivid and vivacious TY actors, themselves: never have zombies seemed so zesty and full of chutzpah! Enjoy the full show above, and do it quickly, before the real undead, the lawyers, spot the copyright infringements!
There was more than brain-munching done on the evening. You can catch here the equally deadly slide-show concocted and compered by Richie (Jr.) and Micheál and the winners of the awards on the night.
We did pity Gav when it came to the awards: we have not seen him show such indecision since he was torn between the Krispy Kreme Chocolate Dream Cake and the Krispy Kreme Caramel Iced Ring. In that case he took both, but the Transition Year Awards force tough decisions, from Gav but also, in some cases, the voting teachers and students. Our two Cicero Classics Trivia Medal Award winners, however, took it on themselves, in a dramatic face-off in which Micheál Sweeney roared back to nip James O’Neill who had been marching unhindered like Crassus into Parthia. And Luke Timlin ran away with the Sports Award, beating Leinster’s best… sometimes on one leg. James Burke accepted the Francis John Barrett for Maiden Debaters directly from Francis’s brother, Richard. Then, the tough choices. Julia Pratginestos Carreno beat off many quality competitors to take the Best Website Award, capping a year in which she really blossomed at St. Conleth’s. And regarding the oldest, most bearable TY Trophy, the JP McGilligan Award, both Ciara Thornton and Micheál Sweeney earned deserved honourable mentionings, but Conor Kirwan walked off with the impressive sculpture for an awesome year, culminating in co-narrating the whole zombie thing.
The last awarded on the night is a very special one: special to everyone at St. Conleth’s as it is in honour of TY student Neil Quinlan who tragically passed away nine years ago. The award named for Neil is given to the TY student who shows the most spirit and is the most inclusive, as Neil always was. The TY students themselves voted Richard Caldwell to receive this award, and no better man of spirit or inclusion than Gav Maguire to present it to him.
Before there were looped videos of campfires on Youtube, there were real campfires. Before there were podcasts, there were real stories told by the lady who worked at the corner shop and the old guy at the bus stop who never seemed to get on a bus. Maybe not true, but real. Before there were on-demand streaming services, you had to rush home from school to catch Scooby-Doo because it was on at 4:00. And, no, you could not pick it up it on your Walkman en route… things have changed, many for the better, but sometimes we think more might be less, and we yearn for a time when we hung on every word as it sprung from the lips of a talented teller of tales. Well, those days returned to St. Conleth’s Junior School as renowned professional storyteller Niall De Búrca paid us a visit and regaled both students and staff with his Irish-flavoured tales of wit and wonder. It was a beautiful day in the front garden and all screens were put away and all end-of-term stresses and jitters were forgotten, as we all fell under the timeless spell of a story well told.
Aidan Lonergan was last seen in a classroom in 2009… but that was only because Tipp was in some league relegation play-off and he did not want to miss it on Setanta Sports. Otherwise, he has taken the ‘outdoor classroom’ philosophy to an extreme and, to be honest, thank goodness someone kept moving while the rest of us were busy fumbling with masks and competitive antigen testing. Mr. Lonergan’s once-ample waistline has benefitted from this sustained activity but so have the students: stretching their legs, minds and spirits as the second best red-headed midfielder (kudos, Mr. Aherne) in St. Conleth’s history awakened the wokesters to a world beyond their pixelated self-pity.
You read below about the fundraiser for Trocaire (300€!) and the local spiritual pilgrimages, but lately Mr. Lonergan has returned to his recent hunting grounds: the hinterland of South County Dublin and North Wicklow. Yes, in the last few weeks, this former Galtees goer has taken no less than three different year groups up and down the hills, and led them into the sea. Quite the influencer, yes, as has been his younger, even leaner sidekick: Mr. Ronan ‘Ro-Bro’ Carvill. And Carvillus Minor adds a wealth of eco-knowledge to the mix. We may not trust him with the Infinity Stones, but we are indebted to him for all the pics and videos above and below!
Slow Quick Dip!
Second Years (and Fifths)!
Junior School Principal Brian Nolan has brought youth and energy to the role (not that the auld fella wasn’t half bad!) and part of his newfangledness, learned on the international stage, is the increased involvement of parents and the community in the learning experience.
The only problem is that since Brian took over, a little bug trailing the number 19 has put paid to many of his most exciting initiatives. But now the floodgates, and the front doors of the school, have been opened and a few weeks back the Junior School hosted its inaugural Celebration of Learning! Parents from Junior Infants to Sixth Form were invited to come into classrooms where students wowed them with their learning from across the year. Much more of this to come, going forward!
Main Course One: Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli. Allergens: Gluten, Wheat, Milk.
Main Course Two: Pasta with Mushrooms and Peas. Allergens: Gluten, Wheat, Milk.
Soup: Vegetable Soup.
Main Course One: Chicken Casserole with Rice. Allergens: Fish, Eggs.
Main Course Two: Cauliflower Casserole with Rice. Allergens: Celery.
Soup: Potato & Leek Soup. Allergens: Milk, Celery.
Main Course One: Homemade Pizza. Allergens: Gluten, Wheat, Milk.
Main Course Two: Falafel Salad.
Soup: Minestrone Soup. Celery, Sulphites.
Main Course One: Hamburger with French Fries & Mixed Vegetables. Allergens: Gluten, Wheat, Eggs.
Main Course Two: Vegetarian Burger with French Fries & Mixed Vegetables.
Soup: Vegetable Soup. Allergens: Celery.
Carb: French Fries.
Fencing has been an integral part of St. Conleth’s since its founding, with national champions and Olympians a proud part of our history, present and our future. As St. Conleth’s bids farewell to Claudio Sosa and James Moriarty Smyth this year (see article below) as they to pursue their third level education and international fencing careers, St. Conleth’s has a new up-and-coming fencer in the Junior School. Joining Myles Moriarty Smyth in the senior school, Michael Davitt in 5th Form is carrying on the Conlethian fencing tradition. From one Conlethian to another, Claudio, James and Myles have passed down tips, techniques, and experience to Michael.
Their support and encouragement, and Michael’s determination, has led him to finish the year ranked No. 2 in the U12 male foil fencers in Ireland. Michael’s consistent performances both nationally and internationally in ten fencing competitions during the 2021-2022 season has earned him one gold, four silver and four bronze medals! Michael plans to emulate his fellow Conlethians fencing success for many years into the future and to represent his school with pride. Enjoy the pics above and below of Michael and Myles in competition, as well as a parting glimpse of Claudio and James, and, of course, our in-house fencing guru, Maître David Couper, who just yesterday wrapped up his last after-school session with the next generation of swashbucklers!
Yes, the zombies are coming tonight (Wednesday) at 7:00 as the Transition Years wrap up a lively year with a deadly show, The Zombie Apocalypse, courtesy of Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Toal (who has been method acting for this play for years). TY Co-ordinator Gav Maguire and his trusty (but always plotting) sidekick, Mr. Morris, will also be there, celebrating the best moments of the year and presenting awards, but the real work will all be done by the TY boys and girls, themselves. We don’t want to spoil anything (brains do ‘go off’ quickly) so, instead, we will just show you a sneak peak of some of just the most recent activities and adventures these kids have been up to: the Gaisce Hike, the visit of the Reptile Zoo and the TY’s most important business venture and a welcome sign of the return of normality and hyperactivity: the reopening of the Ye Olde Tuck Shoppe!
The Gaisce Hike
The Parseltongue Seminar
E Number Distributors!
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After all they have been through, it was a blessing, deserved and earned, that the Class of 2022 were able to celebrate their time at St. Conleth’s in a fitting finale: face-to-face, hand-in-hand and in full voice. Master of Ceremonies Ms. NiAonghusa presided over a beautiful ceremony which mixed prayers, music, words of wit and wisdom and a considerable amount of style. Some of the boys have been at the school since First Form, while the girls, for the first time at graduation, and a sign of our completed coeducational transformation, have been with us for a full six years. All involved seemed full of bittersweet emotions at leaving a place which for them had very much become a second home. Mr. Gallagher ‘s opening liturgy once again reminded us all of the ethos which helps make St. Conleth’s such a welcoming place, and the speeches and awards which followed both recalled the good times of the past and the promising deeds of the future.
Of course, this being St. Conleth’s where we are never at a loss for words, the musical challenge, detailed below, was met on the rhetorical front by Captain Rory Clarke, who added a new word, ‘randomer’, to the Conlethian lexicon; Vice Captain Hannah O’Sullivan, the eloquent embodiment of the success of coeducation Vice Captain Evan Power, who somehow channelled both Kevin McAleer and Oscar Wilde in his folksy, avant-garde performance; and Eva Stylianides, a shining example of both Conlethian legacy and unquenchable spirit. We can honestly say they were the best graduate speeches we can remember, as they avoided the easy cliché and, instead, tickled our funny bones as well as tugging on our heart-strings. And Principal Donal ODulaing, CEO Tony Kilcommons and PPU President Peter O’Neill matched the youngsters in oratorical innovation, showing that there is some spirit and fight yet left in the ‘old randomers’. All the speeches captured perfectly the nostalgic nature of the evening and Adam Rafter carefully composed (and re-composed) slideshow provided the perfect backdrop for their musings.
The speechifiers, however, had to share the stage with the other stars of the ceremony: the singers and musicians. Anyone wandering down Clyde Road last Friday evening very well might have thought that they were passing by a performing arts school at No. 28, such was the quality of sounds emanating from the sweetly reverberating edifice of the KD Kelleher Wing. Music is now at the heart of everything we do at St. Conleth’s, and in both the religious ceremony and the speeches and awards event that followed, with maestros Ms. McGuinness and Mr. O’Neill pulling the strings, it was the perfect accompaniment for the prayers, thoughts and memories.
The Show Pt.1
From the opening chords of There She Goes, played by the familiar Sixth Year combo of Anna Downey, Rory Clarke, James Moriarty-Smith, Ignacio Sadofschi and Anthony Steyn and the haunting strains of Rita Kelleher’s exquisite version of Clair de Lune, we knew early on that this night was going to more than match the impressive musical legacy already laid down by graduating classes past. The plaintive sounds of Mei Isobel Finnie’s string duet Wildest Dreams were the perfect accompaniment to the seven-tongued Prayers of the Faithful and, then, a musical performance that even with a notoriously dodgy memory, we can confidently say has never graced our graduation before: a stunning, mesmerising rendition of Shima Uta (Island Song) by Emilie Ogawa-Boostrom on the sanshin, a traditional Okinawan instrument. Emilie, radiant in her kimono, brought down the house with the haunting melody, bringing a fitting end to a three year stay at St. Conleth’s, which she enriched with her impeccable scholarship, infectious enthusiasm and warmth.
The Show Pt. 2
A hard act to follow, but no better man than James Moriarty-Smyth, who has served for years now as the latest edition of a Conlethian tradition: The Music Man. Part sound engineer, part musical promoter, part professional session drummer, part dodger-of-class-to-‘go set up the hall’… James joins legends such as Evan Kennedy and Joe Gallagher in the St. Conleth’s Roadie Hall of Fame. James dropped the drumsticks (briefly), picked up his guitar and, after a pleasant music hall-type seguée, performed a stunning solo piece: Before the Lavendar House, a show-stopper in its own right.
A raucous version of The 4 Non Blondes’ What’s up? followed, with Rory and James backing Eva Stylianides, Eliza Flynn, Julia Huckfeldt: the inseparable and irrepressible Gryffindor Gang. In stark contrast to those gleaming songstresses, the members Barbershop Quartet then took the stage. Oisín Power, Ryan MacDonnell, Seamus Joyce and Anthony Steyn looked as if they have logged as many miles, whiskies and women as Willie and Waylon, but we have to admit that their anti-pro-war OG rap was hilarious and delivered with precision and aplomb. The Sixth Year Band came back to the stage for their penultimate performance, with Anna’s hypnotic voice doing justice to the Cranberries’ Dreams and they were joined on stage by the rest of the Music Class for Iris, showcasing all their musical talents, and the leadership and dedication of Ms. McGuinness. And Captain Rory Clarke, a true Renaissance man, put aside his emblems of office with a sense of relief and of accomplishment of a job very well done, and picked up his guitar for a very sweet rendition of The A-Team.
The Awards Pt. 1
Aside from music and oratory, the main business of the evening is the presentation of awards, academic and otherwise: an impossibly difficult task with a group of such talented individuals. But until distinction is equated with discrimination, perhaps not far away, we will continue to salute the best of us in a time-honoured tradition. First to receive their crystal were our Student Officers: Captain Rory Clarke, Vice Captains Hannah O’Sullivan and Evan Power (photos 1-3) and our Auditor/rix/es of Debates, Oisín Power (4). Then, the Sports Captains (we don’t just play rugby and cricket, nowadays!): Ava O’Mahony (Hockey), Ryan MacDonnell and Emilie Ogawa-Boostrom (Tennis) (5); Hannah O’Sullivan (Athletics) (6); Matthew McKeown (Golf), Daniel Weatherley (Rugby) and Adam Rafter (Basketball) (7). And then, with considerable more drama, the academic awards were presented. Louis Cullen (8,9) was in the running for several awards but his expertise in our native tongue earned him the Liam Doran Irish Award (presented by the man himself in a secret AOH-type ceremony!). Ignacio Sadofschi (10) won the Art Prize for six years of stunning creations. Oisín Thornton (11) took home the impressive looking, and impressively earned in a large class, Geography Prize. Caraíosa O’Farrell (12) excelled in Biology, Physics and Chemistry, earning the Galileo’s Thermometer Science Award. Luca Saroli (13)edged out some keen competition to win the Hamilton History Award for his meticulously composed Research Study Report. James Moriarty-Smyth (14) won the prize that is harder to get than a Grammy: the St. Conleth’s Music Award (see reasons above). Evan Power’s (15) enthusiasm for grammar, both the useful and the arcane, in Irish, French, Spanish and Latin secured him the Linguist Award. Cael Cartes O’Shea (16) never met a number he did not like, even the imaginary ones, and this passion, added to a lot of hard work, equalled his going home with the AIB Maths Award. Conor Hyland (17) does not like to shake hands: he prefers to crush torsos; and this fearless aggression enabled him to grab the Sports Award for himself. And no-one dared say anything. It may seem that with all of Eva Stylianides’s (18) stage time, she would not have the time for any nerd stuff, but when the spotlights do finally dim, this diva devotes as much talent and energy to her studies. To seize the John Kelly Award from two powerful Augustan chroniclers (Oisín and Evan), Eva somehow breathed life into the notoriously moribund Richter Greek Art text, and the sculptures within. Emilie Ogawa-Boostrom (19) had already amazed us with her sanshin: her winning of the Woods Bowl with her five-layered lino overprint on the legacy of the Irish Japanese enthusiast, Lafcadio Hearne, proved that she is as talented in the visual arts. Evan Power (20) had stepped out for a constitutional, a brisk walk from Elgin Road to Appian Way, but he returned in time to accept the Cicero Medal for Classical Trivia. Oisín Power (21) may have been narrowly edged out for the Hamilton History and John Kelly awards, but his hold on the Gardner Debating Cup was secure and deserved, after serving, like Socrates, as the eminent and eloquent gadfly of this state. It was Oisín’s close friend, Yancheng ‘Jeff’ An (22) , however, who stunned us into a moment of silence and then thunderous applause, for Yancheng beat the bookies, and the immensely talented field, to romp home with the biggest prize of all: The Bank of Ireland Student of the Year Award. It was one of those moments when something seems surprising for a second, but upon reflection, makes perfect sense for Yancheng conquered us all with his warmth and sincerity, one smile, and one snap, at a time.
The Awards Pt. 2
The evening culminated in the rousing whole-class rendition of Stand By Me. And then it was outside for the graduation class photo on the immortalised steps of No. 28 and on to the Donnybrook Gastropub for a classy dinner for the graduates and their guest teachers and, surely, some further classy activities afterwards at A. Sixth Year’s gaff. For specifics of those nocturnal celebrations you must, carefully, check social media, but for pics of the ceremony look above and below. And here is the Graduation Booklet, with the full running order of the ceremony and the history and context of each award, and a testament to the hard work put in by Ms. NiAonghusa, Mr. Coleman, Ms. McGuinness, Mr. Gallagher, Mr. O’Neill and Ms. Hopkins. Well done to them and the Class of 2022!
Art Class Cake and Afterschool Study parties… the Jameses starting early on the debs date hunt… graduation mortar boards… one last classic Classics picnic.. and some artsy filters: all part of the Class of 2022’s rather clingy (but reciprocated) good-bye hug to St. Conleth’s!