It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Ann Cramp. Aside from the Kellehers and Sheppards and perhaps a certain games master, no-one has been part of St. Conleth’s for longer than Ann Cramp. And certainly no-one has been more universally appreciated and beloved. Generations of Conlethians have benefitted from the ‘ship-shape’ in which she kept the school for decades, for most of them almost singlehandedly, and, just as importantly, staff and students alike have been for so long blessed with the constant presence of our own benevolent fairy godmother, always there with a kind word, a cup of tea, a quick joke and an unswerving loyalty and a capacity for care. Ann’s domain had shrunk a bit in terms of time and place in recent years, but whenever and whatever part of the school she was in, it was always the cleanest… and the happiest!
Our former Sixth Forms are probably in the full swing of summer by now but if they (or their parents) would like another glimpse at some of the highlights of their time in St. Conleth’s Junior School, here is a video of those key moments edited by parent Kathryn Grace. Enjoy!
Mr. Kilcommons and Ms. Loomes led Sixth Form through a very fitting Graduation Ceremony as the boys and girls bid a fond farewell to their Junior School days. Many will be right back here in late August to join the Senior School as First Years, while some are heading in a different direction, but for both groups it was a poignant end to an important chapter of their young lives. There were prayers, photos, songs, jokes and memories a plenty with the perfect mix of fond nostalgia for the past and enthusiasm for the future with the students, teachers and parents, particularly Mrs. Connor (who has been through a few of these before!) playing their proper part. Well done to all who made it such a special evening and best of luck to our Junior School graduates as they take their next steps, both near and far.
The USS Enterprise’s loss has certainly been our gain. Since his arrival at St. Conleth’s on Stardate 96268.25, Ensign Simon Toal has displayed a remarkable talent for dealing with those who need a little extra help, those with behavioural issues or those who find it hard to get along with those around them… and that is just in the staffroom! In all seriousness, Simon has been a godsend for those students who have benefitted from his help in his official position as an integral part of the SEN team, alongside stalwarts Ms. Killen and Ms. Long.
He has also, more unofficially, brought a breath of fresh air and a bright spark to the everyday life of the school with his wit, charm and inside knowledge on how to battle the Borg. On the last day of school, the Juniors got to experience another talent of Mr. Toal’s: Simonsmagicparties.ie landed its Tardis in our outdoor classroom and a special magic show closed out the term in style. Everyone, even brave volunteer Mr. Sheridan, enjoyed themselves immensely as you can see from the shots above and video below. New series starts next September!
St. Conleth’s is going to the dogs! The Junior School recently celebrated its ‘Take your Dog (or Guinea Pig) to School Day’! Everyone behaved themselves, though the Boxer did get his name put on the board for over-enthusiasm!
We have a proud tradition of being an ‘artsy’ school and it seems like that legacy will continue! Our art teachers, Ms. Halpin in the Senior School, and Ms. Mellon in the Junior School, have filled our walls with examples of our students’ artistic masterpieces. Now, we will have to make room for at least one more! Second Form Conlethian Alistair Seery came 4th in his category at the Texaco Art Competition! Below we see him with his prize-winning piece and his certificate. Well done to Alistair!
We have found even more evidence of both the fun and learning that went on during the visit of the Gardai to the Junior School last week. Below you will see more pics, courtesy of Morning Club and After School Care Director Cecilia, as well as a list of the rather serious advice the officers gave each class, along with plenty of thrills!
-personal safety while walking outside
-what to do if you get lost
-not to talk/follow strangers
-personal safety while walking outside
-what to do if you get lost
-not to talk/follow strangers
-what a kid should do if someone approaches him/her asking him/her to follow them
5th and 6th class
Safety when on social media
-how to keep safe as they walk alone – for girls: how not to put –themselves in a vulnerable position
-the right attitude towards alcohol and drugs/peer pressure
First Year Russell Bolger spent a gruelling four days racing at the trials for the Irish Optimist Sailing teams at Easter in the Royal Cork Yacht club. Russell, a former Regatta Fleet National Champion had qualified the previous year for the under 12´s Irish Optimist Team competing in Weymouth, but it was a dream come true when he landed a coveted place on the Irish Development Team competing in Nieuwpoort, Belgium this June 19.
It has been a busy year of strenuous sailing to achieve this goal with some significant successes along the way, including a share of the Feva DBSC award. In true Conlethian fashion, what better way to decide who keeps the trophy: a chess match at the Royal St George Yacht Club between Russel and his sailing partner Peter Williams from St Andrew’s! Well done to Russell, who is following in the wake of his big brother, Third Year Trevor, and accomplished and decorated sailor in his own right.
We actually find Barney the Purple Dinosaur even more inspirational than Hillary Clinton, particularly his little ditty about taking care of the environment in a small, everyday way: Clean up, clean up: everybody, everywhere. Clean up, clean up: everybody do your share. Ah, those were simpler times, perhaps, but the friendly fellow’s words of wisdom still ring true today. Take Mr. Sheridan’s Fifth Form: last week they embarked upon some community service, and not because they were trying to avoid some jail time, but out of the sheer goodness of their hearts (and perhaps a bit of relief from Mr. Sheridan’s manic enthusiasm for Irish grammar). They suited and gloved up and headed down to Clyde Lane to beautify one of the few neglected areas in bounteous, beautiful, bourgeois Ballsbridge. Others may make grand statements about ‘Saving the Earth’ but it is this kind of local action that makes the difference. Well done to Mr. Sheridan and the boys!
St. Conleth’s After and Pre-School Czar Cecilia welcomed An Garda Síochána to St. Conleth’s and the Juniors got so excited a few over-eager youngsters had to be tasered! Well, not quite, but for a while there it did look like a scene from a children’s zombie movie with the Junior Infants swarming the Paddy Wagon and our brave police officers barely resisting the call of the baton. All was well in the end though, as many got a chance to wear the police hat and and jacket and everyone boarded the state-of-the-art vehicle (short ‘e’ when you pronounce that!). The kids were especially eager to get locked into the mobile cell, but the officers assured them that there was plenty of opportunity for that later in life when they were at university. In all seriousness, the visiting Gardaí were top-class professionals who managed to be both personable with the kids and purposeful in their presentation. You could see the awe in the eyes of the boys and girls as the officers explained their jobs and delivered some safety tips. And it was reassuring to hear once again children talking about growing up to be a Garda… take that Google coders!
Yes, our Conlethian contingent of debonair duellists did approach their last ‘fence’ of the season but unlike the figurative horse, there was no stumble! Inspired by the Game of Thrones, we will organise their Annual Awards and Irish Open results by ‘clan’:
The Sherlocks: Luke Sherlock was named ‘Fencer of the Year’ in both the U14 Foil and Epee, as well as winning the latter, and finishing third in the former, category at the Irish Open. Brother, Matthew, he of the angelic smile but devilish thrust, finished third in the U12 Fencer of the Year category, a s well as third in the U12 Foil at the Irish Open.
The Moriarty-Smyths: (Nominally arch enemies of the Sherlocks, but actually good friends). Myles Moriarty-Smyth was named U12 Foil Fencer of the Year and also took First in that category at the Irish Open. Big Bro James also enjoyed a very successful season but wrapped up early due to his preparations for the Junior Certificate.
Claudio Sosa Smatrala: Claudio was simply crowned as the Cadet, Junior and Senior Male Foil Fencer of the Year, beating out hordes of competitors much older (and a little bit bigger) than him! He also added the small matter of First Place in U17 Foil at the Irish Open.
Whew! Well done to the Three Clans. Summer is Coming and maybe the boys can catch up on Scooby-Doo and the parents can reacquaint themselves with their gardens. But, as we have said before, the fencers and debaters keep this rag in business, and we look forward to more swashbuckling exploits next season!
Past Past Pupils Union President Donal Milmo-Penny and Current PPU Pres John Carvill organised the first ever St. Conleth’s Business Lunch and it was a smashing success, with close to 100 attendees at the Lansdowne FC. The featured speaker was Past Parent and famous entrepreneur Brody Sweeney and, by all accounts, his talk was as entertaining as it was enlightening, with Brody displaying both the confidence and humility, the ambition and realism which have enabled him to climb to the top of the Irish business world… twice! The Conlethians and friends who were gathered had a blast, with a bit of networking perhaps, but only as a side dish to the main courses of friendship, reminiscence and shared interests. Many schools do ‘business lunches’ but, as with everything at St. Conleth’s, we do them our way!
Junior School Principal Tony Kilcommons’s recreational activities have been assumed to consist mostly of the traditional, robust sports and agricultural fairs of his ‘Middle Connaught’ origins but few realise what a supporter of the performing arts the man is! Rumour has it that he flies over regularly to BGT finals and that he, Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh regularly meet for skinny lattes at L&C’s in Herbert Park. ‘Modern Dance’, in particular, is a passion of the principal’s and now he is bringing that love to the students of the Junior School. Last week, a professional modern dance performer and teacher came in to the school and led each year group through an intense but extremely enjoyable ‘hands-and-whole-body-on’ activity session and we rarely have seen the Sports Hall pulsating with such a combination of effort, fun and art. It was such a success that Mr. Kilcommons is considering adding ‘Modern dance’ to the After-School portfolio for next year, and- who knows? He may then even be tempted to show us some of his own legendary moves!
Apologies for not posting this sooner, but the combined Junior and Senior School Parents Association produced a fantastic newsletter back in March which highlighted some of the many goings-on at St. Conleth’s College from the start of the school year until February. It is available here and on our Parents page where there are also back issues. Well done to the many parents and students involved in its production. Life at St. Conleth’s has gone on since then, so we do expect an update, but in the meantime, stay tuned right here at stconleths.ie or, for a quicker read, our Twitter feed: @Stconleths. The normal disclaimers apply!
Parent Robert Smyth mixes two noble professions, fencing and Latin, long associated with St. Conleth’s, in his latest report from the front lines.
Last Sunday marked the last round of this season’s Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. And a markedly auspicious occasion it most certainly proved to be. Continuing the union forged and tested under the proud Eagle of the XXIII Legion ‘Latvis’ during the recent Classics Quiz campaign, fratres in armis James and Myles not only each took Gold on the day, but also the season trophies for 1st place in Under 12 and Under 16 Boys, respectively. Of the other brothers in arms, Luke, absent due to being in action on the Spanish Front, took the season trophy and 1st place in Under 14 Boys, while Sherlock Minor, Mathew, finished in 5th place on the day. Given the outstanding performance of the Conleth’s cohort this year, perhaps Belfast’s motto “Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus” has never seemed more apt!
We are well used to the benefits having our very own guru on the Senior School Staff, but now Mr. Porzadny has begun to spread the love and the wellness to the Junior School! Last week, Fourth Formers completed their Mindfulness course with the Master and earned certification. Mr. Porzadny led the boys and girls through the same breathing and thinking techniques which have proved so successful in the Senior School and even incorporated the ITC Room for further exploration of the world of wellness!
St. Conleth’s hosted another very successful AIJS Athletics Championships last week at Irishtown Stadium and, this time, we even won some medals! Yes, usually we let our impeccable manners get in the way and we act the perfect hosts, slowing down just a bit (like Robert ‘Dash’ Parr) or landing an inch or two short- just so our guest can win medals and go home happy. This time, however, we said, ‘What the heck, let’s win a few for ourselves!’ So, the honour roll: Charlie Kennedy – Gold in the Shot putt; Hugh Leahy – Bronze Fourth Form 150m; and John Engmann – Bronze in the Long Jump. Our guests from around the AIJS still enjoyed themselves and commented on what a smooth show we ran. Well done to Shay, Gav, Mr. Kilcommons, The TY students, all the class teachers and the parents who helped out, and of course the many boys and girls who took part.
Mr. Porzadny and Ms. Crowley are at it again, keeping le français alive and active and fighting a two-teacher war against the ever-encroaching English and Mandarin. The French Transition Year classes are again involved with interactive projects with the Junior School but this year they taking new and varied forms. Below you see some snaps from a Football Français tournament run by the TYs for our Junior School friends. All the teams’ names (Monaco, Lyons, PSG…) were French as were the coaches’ and referees’ instructions (and a few muttered expletives when passes went awry). We even saw some French flair in the play on the field! Stay tuned as more of the projects come to fruition. Monday will see more French football (avec les professeurs!) and a special addition to our canteen menu: ‘French (Definitely Not Belgian) Waffles’!
Nothing gets the blood up like a local ‘derby’. Just think of the blue versus the red of Manchester or the hoops versus the bigots in Glasgow… well St. Conleth’s also has its fair share of neighbourhood rivalries. Our Senior School Chess teams particularly love taking points from Gonzaga; the rugby and basketball teams get particularly ferocious against Marian and, before they relocated to a higher sphere of being, John Scottus and we used to have epic yogic flying races. Well the recent Junior School Basketball match in our Sports Hall (our first ever ‘official’ home basketball game) took it to a new level as we were facing St. Mary’s of Haddington Road, a school we know well from epic chess battles and the express queues at Tesco. And there was something extra on the line, for St. Mary’s was coached by none other than the brother of St. Conleth’s Head of Basketball Sean Ingle! This showdown had the makings of a Hollywood movie, or at least a Hallmark channel tearjerker.
But there were no tears, only cheers as the two teams competed in a spirited but friendly manner and the nets were snapping at both ends of the court. The final score had St. Conleth’s winning 31-29 and that in itself tells a story: many junior basketball games end with baseball scoreboard totals: 8-6, 12-7 etc… But such was the enthusiasm and skills on display from both sides, that the scoreboard was spinning like it was an NBA All-Star game: a true tribute to the players and the Coaches Ingle!
Last September, Mr. Trenier started the Junior School After-School Science and Maths Clubs and they have been going like gangbusters ever since, with all sorts of lights and sounds (and smells) emanating from the laboratory after school, attesting to the Frankenstein-like activities going on inside. The Maths Club might be a bit quieter than the Science, but be careful… those algorithms can be just as dangerous. You need to know your limits!
Mr. T. ‘s STEMmy adventures with the youngsters recently culminated in participation in the ESB Science Blast, a programme in which (as the blurb says) ‘projects are whole class-led and collaborative, and participants are encouraged to think, wonder, investigate, create, design, explore the why behind the question – and in doing so they learn invaluable new skills. Participating schools exhibit their work at showcase events in Dublin, Limerick and Belfast, where they receive feedback from the team of expert judges and participate in science themed workshops and shows. ESB Science Blast aims to promote curiosity and critical thinking in children at primary school age to enable them to better respond to the challenges of the future.‘ Or as the kids themselves might say: ‘It is fun with magnets!’ Our participating young scientists cooked up various projects involving magnets, from a magnetic car to a magnetic wind generator to magnetic sugar (!). Here you can read more about the Fifth Formers projects. Above, you can see some action shots of their displays’ s well as some of the judges’ comments (very complimentary!). And below, you can also see some of the Maths Club engaging in some geometric hijinks!
Our Classics Kids do indeed ‘kick as‘, or more precisely, ‘kick argentum‘ because they walked away with the silver, not the bronze, last night! Johnny ‘Julius’ Barry led XXIII loyal legionaries into battle at the ‘Ides of March’ Table Quiz in Mount Anville College where our vanguard team, ‘The Cyclops’, made up of Johnny, Matthew ‘Marius’ O’Farrell, Maggie ‘Messalina’ Tighe and Andrew ‘Lucius’ Latvis finished tied for first after the regulation battle and grudgingly settled for a close second after double-overtime, sudden-death gladiatorial combat. But this elite cohort had plenty of back-up: when the call went out to the provinces the recruits came in droves.
We had six teams for the first time in our long history of involvement with this august competition. Joining ‘The Cyclops’ were: ‘The Harpies‘: Grace ‘Gaia’ Childs and Katya ‘Karyatid’ Lawlor; ‘The Julio-Claudians‘: Oisín ‘Publius’ Power, Nathan ‘Numitor’ Harrington, An ‘Otho’ Other and Joshua ‘Marcus’ McCormack; ‘The Hoplites’: Shane ‘Octavius’ O’Rourke, Leo ‘Nerva’ Nolan, James ‘Hermes’ Hastings-Rafferty and fratres in armis James ‘Justinian’ and Myles ‘Miles’ Moriarty-Smyth; ‘The Lotus-Eaters’: Riccardo ‘Romulus’ Rassini, Adam ‘Flavius’ Fanning, Harry ‘Rufus’ Rooney and James ‘Jacobus’ O’Neill; and ‘The Epighoni’: Vivienne ‘Rufina’ Roberts, Kazim ‘Helios’ Haider, Zakaria ‘Charon’ Chabaane and Loghlann ‘Phoebus’ Flynn.
It was a glorious night with a suspenseful end worthy of the greatest of Colosseum combats, and Classics Captain Johnny can now retire with pride, having earned his salt and rustic retreat to Ranelagh by serving loyally in six straight ‘Ides of March’ campaigns. Judging by the talent and enthusiasm shown by the raw recruits in the younger yeas, his legacy will certainly live on!
For One Night Only! Last Thursday night, the Junior School Musical, ‘The Peace Child’, premiered in our stately Performance Hall, and by all accounts it was a smash hit! Yes, Pat Howe/Emer Hartnett Productions have done it again: clever lines and lyrics, spectacular costumes, nifty dance moves and, of course, the show-stealing talent and cuteness of our student performers … all the hallmarks of our dynamic duo of theatrical delight! Broadway surely beckons but we hope to hang onto our talented two!
Mr. Kilcommons and all the class teachers also played their parts through the whole pain-staking but joy-producing process and we must mention the amazing painted backdrop scenery of Ms. Mellon and her student artists. And the night finished with our Parent Association’s rather impressively supplied raffle: someone has to pay for all this, after all! See the Ms. Dillon-produced programme here, some stills above and the full production below!
Next time a flash of spandex, go-pro and attitude nearly takes you out as you innocently step from the path… don’t blame a Conlethian! Yes, at times when walking the streets of Dublin, it seems that a two-wheeled contingent of the Golden Horde has invaded our fair city but with initiatives like ‘Cycle Right’, the council and its partners are assuring that the next generation of cyclists learn the proper rules and practices which will ensure their safety… and ours! Our Juniors are currently getting a professionally delivered cycle safety course, right here in the school, the yard and the surrounding streets. The eight hour course includes both class time and practical and that all important road test… after a few turns around the front yard of No. 28 Clyde Road!
With all this hockey hullabaloo we have been a bit neglectful of our other newsmakers, particularly our little Conlethian brothers in Fifth Form who have been up to all sorts of activities (and surely a bit of mischief on the side), and without much fanfare at all! Well, better late than never! Below you will see an eclectic mix of photos documenting what Mr. Sheridan and his kids have been up to: space exploration and other science projects; taking part in our ‘miracles’ line-up; weekly rugby matches; using maths outside with our measuring tools; the Johnny Sexton ‘lucky boot’ competition; a business leader visit from Past Pupil and famous financier Matt Ryan; our Dragon’s Den event (dragons – Henry Sheridan, Mike Malone, Damien Clarke) for the JEP programme (Junior Entrepreneur Programme); and, of course, the various activities associated with our great ‘Egg to Chick’ project. Busy, indeed!
They have done it! It was a happy, historic hockey happening for St. Conleth’s, as the whole school downed tools and headed to the wilds of Rathfarnham to watch as our Minor Girls beat Loreto-Beaufort in a ‘1 vs. 1’ shootout to decide the Leinster Final and bring home the cup! Ms. Speller, Ms. Stanley, Ms. Purcell and Ms. Leary were justifiably proud of the girls as they fought tooth-and-nail in a mighty defensive struggle which lasted the length of regulation time.
Sydney was, as usual, omnipresent in midfield and Caoimhe set our hearts racing with some scintillating runs. And Meabh, Siobhan and Ciara were all making game-saving stops and clearances in a see-saw battle of wills. In the end it went to a ‘one-vs.-one’ shoot-out and the girls were confident stepping up to the mark, having dispatched mighty Mount Anville in a similar showdown. The pressure was on but the Conlethians did not wilt: Vivienne came up huge in goals, stonewalling the opposition by bravely dashing from her line and then Alanna cooly circumnavigated their goalie and scored emphatically. It all came down to Sasha.
She had been there before, and perhaps Beaufort did not know, but she has ice in her veins. Some impressive stick-play, a burst of speed, a confident shot…. and the crowd goes crazy! And what a crowd it was, with the numbers and the enthusiasm recalling glory days of the past in rugby and basketball. Well, those sports have made room on the top shelf for a new trophy: one that says ‘Leinster 2019 Minor Girls Hockey!
Our Minor Hockey Girls are into the Leinster Final! A first in Hockey for St. Conleth’s. They beat Dundalk Grammar in the Semis in a hard-fought defensive match, winning 1-0 on a short corner by Sydney Weir McErlean! A charming footnote to the match is that three players had older Conlethian siblings on the sidelines- granted special release from classes: Sydney, Vivienne and Ciara were cheered on by Georgia, Pierce and Oisín. But for the next match, there will be more than just siblings: the Leinster Final is on Monday against Loreto High School Beaufort- and the whole school is going to witness this great moment in St. Conleth’s sporting history!
Junior School fencer Myles Moriarty-Smyth ventured to Scotland last weekend to fence in the Edinburgh stage of this season’s Leon Paul Junior Foil Series. In a narrative worthy of Rosemary Sutcliffe’s ‘Eagle of the Ninth’, he wrestled 1st place, Gold, and the trophy from the amassed Scottish ranks
of Under 11 Boys. He fenced extremely well, winning all his ‘DEs’ and the
Final by comprehensive margins. What really added to the occasion was
being refereed and subsequently awarded his medal by Britain’s 5-times
Commonwealth Men’s Foil winner, Keith Cook. Big brother James and the other Senior School fencers had better watch out for this rising star!
Our Minor Hockey Girls Team is through to Leinster Semifinal! This historic hockey happening will take place on Friday vs. Dundalk Grammar at the YMCA grounds in Sandymount. It is simply amazing that in a few short years, St. Conleth’s has become a legitimate power in girls school hockey and it is a credit to Coaches Speller, Leary, Stanley and Purcell. We will also see, below, the First Year team join with the Junior School players for a combo training session and pics from the Junior School team’s recent blitz at Mount Anville. It looks like hockey is here to stay at St. Conleth’s!
…our Junior School Art Classes have a good time! Ms. Mellon somehow regularly gathers the anarchic energy of our Junior School pupils and channels it into the most creative of avenues. Even when her art class falls immediately after little break and the kids are at their most hyper!
Recently, perhaps inspired by a three week spell of constant freezing rain, Ms. Mellon decided to incorporate practicality (umbrellas) and hope (rainbows) and led her charges through a project where they designed their own ‘rainbow and rain’ background and then posed for an action-shot self-portrait. See the results above and below and stay tuned for more art news!
It has been an exciting few weeks at St. Conleth’s as our Great Egg-to-Chick Experiment was planned, initiated, brought to fruition, and now, bittersweetly, concluded with our fluffy, feathered friends earning retirement in the bucolic splendour of County Wicklow and our students left tearful at the parting but full of warm memories and some serious learning. Just before the midterm break, Cecilia, our Pre- and Post-School programme director and lead poultry farmer, led a whole-school assembly to wrap up the project. The students themselves played a large part as several detailed their part in the project, making multimedia presentations which were full of information and fun. The biggest cheers, of course, were reserved for the famous chick races, on which Mr. Kilcommons ran a book, financing the chicks’ Wicklow retirement (and a few of his Six Nations pints). Well done to Cecilia, Mr. Kilcommons, the class teachers, the students and the chicks themselves on starting what is sure to be a great, new St. Conleth’s tradition!
Yes, maybe it was just the shine off the trophies, but our little chicks did seem awfully impressed by our returning chess teams. Mr. Kilcommons, himself, give us the details.
All four chess teams competed in the Leinster School League Finals in St. Catherine’s Sports Centre, Marrowbone Lane on Monday 11th. Three parents travelled with the team as well as Mr. Kilcommons, with each assigned a team. Rafa De La Cruz gave a rousing motivational speech to the players on the road. It had the desired effect with all teams performing brilliantly.
Every one of the 32 players notched at least one victory from 5 matches. Patrick Coleman and Alex Dooley won individual prizes for remaining unbeaten throughout the day, a perfect five out of five. Declan De La Cruz Boylan is also worthy of mention with a score of 4.5 in the dizzy heights of Division 1- a great performance. Our “B” side also bagged a team prize, an 8-0 whitewash in their last fixture catapulting them up to 3rd place and a podium finish. We were one of only two schools to enter the maximum amount of teams- 4, so a gold medal for participation. The players will turn their finely tuned chess minds on each other later in the year for the annual in-house chess cup.
Though we do not subscribe to much eastern mysticism, we do admit that the old ‘yin yang‘ theory tends to work out: things do seem to find a balance, on a whole, given time. For example, last week we in the Senior School hosted two lovely (honestly!) inspectors from the Department of Education and Skills but the Junior School hosted a few guests from the Department of Agriculture and Life who were even cuter and cuddlier than the cigiri. Cecilia, the equally cuddly czar of our Pre- and After-School Programme, took the initiative with this ‘Eggs to Chickens’ project and to be honest, over our long association with this school, we have never seen anything bring as much excitement and joy to St. Conleth’s. And that was just in the staffroom!
Cecilia is in charge but she has enlisted the help of all the Junior School staff (especially night nurses, Ms. Kelly and Tom) as well as the eager little hands of the Junior School Pupils, as everyone has watched, charted and documented the progress from warm, little eggs to vibrating balls of fluff to rampaging little T-Rexes! Now we all await the final transformation to Frank’s Hot Wings… just kidding! The science behind the project has been fascinating and you can see some of the many associated student projects above, as well as the many smiles (above and below) that this venture has brought to St. Conleth’s, just when we really needed it!
Signs of Spring: St. Brigid’s crosses get made in schools. The daffodils force their way up through the mud. And St. Conleth’s is crowned AIJS Chess Champions! Liam Hunter, Charlie Kennedy, Samson Labintsev and David MacNicholas now turn their attention towards the Leinster Schools Championships. They scored 30 points out of 32, 8 points ahead of Monkstown Park School, who came in second and Rathgar Junior School, who came third. A big thank you goes out to the parents who helped organise all the matches and provided transportation and, in particular, Rafael de la Cruz Arribas, who wrote this hilarious yet inspiring motivational speech for the occasion. Rafael reminds us that the chess (or tennis or anything) may be very competitive but we should not forget that it should also be fun!
Mr. O’Brien and his Second Form certainly put all that new-fangled ‘co-operative learning’ and ‘kinetic intelligence’ into practice, and they do it in a way that makes school seem fun and educational and all that theory actually useful!
From September, they have been at work on various projects and below you will see just a few highlights of the hands-on happenings, from a study of the Culture of China to kite-building to geometric robot-making to a Study of Eating Habits. Of course, they also enjoyed showing them off… and honing those presentation skills!
Don’t tell Gav but the word on the DART, in the queues at D-Brook Fair and at the pilates and spinning classes is that there is a new hockey school on the block and its name is…. St. Conleth’s! The ever-enthusiastic Helen ‘Rah-Rah’ Speller, and her coaching crew of Mses. Leary, Stanley and Purcell, have engineered a quiet revolution in St. Conleth’s sport. Actually, it has not been that quiet at all, as you would know, if you ever hear the hockey girls traipsing through the hallways en route to another amazing upset. The latest was when the Minor girls beat hockey-hallowed Mount Anville to qualify for the Leinster Quarterfinals, another notch in an already impressive list of hockey achievements. Below you see the minors celebrating that accomplishment and the Seniors saluting the sunset after another rambunctious training session.
Magic Boots! Below you see our winners in the Junior School’s aforementioned ‘Johnny Sexton Legendary Drop Goal Boots Competition’. Maybe Johnny should have borrowed them back for Saturday’s match against the auld enemy? Ah well, you can’t win them all… Still, our Juniors were proud to be part of one of the most memorable moments in Irish sports history, as well as to help out with a good cause.
Fencing is cosmopolitan in the truest sense of the word: our band of brothers are racking up huge air miles (and bills for their parents) competing around the continent. As you read below, the Conleth’s Moriarty-Smyths and the Sherlocks recently dominated the Northern Irish Foil Series.
Now it was time for those Parisians to fall to our swashbuckling heroes. Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Silver on Saturday at the Tournoi De Fleuret Des Petits AS, hosted in Paris by CEP. He was the sole Irish entrant, and achieved a superb 2nd place finish out of a field of 46 Under 11 fencers. The competition draws foilists from all over France, and the prestigious host club fielded a very strong selection. Myles narrowly lost the Final 8/6 to their No. 1 seed, having despatched all others on his way. Another trophy for the shelf… and, undoubtedly, more to come!
Where were you when it happened? Yes, when you are old and grey and the memories are starting to fade there will be at least one etched forever in your sporting (and national) pride. Johnny Sexton’s drop goal at the death vs. France in the Six Nations will be played again and again and again until the rising seas short circuit all our screens. And somehow, I think, Johnny just will not let that happen either. Let us do our part:
But the story gets better. Johnny donated the famous footwear for auction to help a very sick girl and a certain St. Conleth’s family ended up with the prized bootikins. And this family loaned the hallowed hoofers to the school! Mr. Kilcommons then organised an interesting competition: one of our sports hall’s basketball hoops was festooned with said stilettos and all the Juniors had the chance to kick a hole-in-on, so to speak. Everyone had go, and the crack was mighty, with one particularly skilled booter being carried off the court by his classmates! Check out the pics below and stay tuned for the individual class winners.
Is there anything more exciting than a fire engine? Cecilia welcomed the Fire Brigade to visit the After-School Programme and the boys and girls were thrilled to get a chance to board the fire engine, try on the helmets and blast their favourite teachers’ cars with the fire-hose!
And Officer John gave the older kids a talk about fire safety at home and put them in charge with going home and check all smoke detectors and the kids talked at length (!) about their experiences. It was lovely afternoon for all involved!
We certainly do believe in miracles, because it was a miracle that Transition Year Dylan Alves was able to fashion such a smooth final product out of the buckets of video and audio recordings we sent him! Yes, Mr. Kilcommons shot the original footage of the Junior Choir’s ‘When You Believe’ himself, but fancying himself a bit of cinema auteur, we had quite an opus on our hands: part pop video, part film noir, part horror musical. Dylan came to the rescue and after many an hour spent in the digital editing ‘room’ we came out with this rather professional looking and sounding video. A big thank-you goes out to Dylan, as well as Ms. Emer Hartnett who led the choir through the many stages of the process. So, here it is, in all its post-production glory. We also would like to honour the students whose art was selected to adorn the CD, itself: the Herbot Brothers (Scott and Eimhinn), Aisling Grant and Sean Lennon. Well done to all involved in this ‘first ever’ accomplishment for St. Conleth’s.
A New Year, another round of fencing…. The band of brothers headed North on Saturday for Round 3 of the NIJF series, and in time-honoured fashion, they returned with a full complement of medals: James Moriarty-Smyth- Gold in Under 16 Boys; Luke Sherlock- Silver in Under 14 Boys; Myles Moriarty-Smyth- Gold in Under 12 Boys and Mathew Sherlock- Bronze in Under 12 Boys. In addition to fencing, James, as qualified Level One referee, officiated throughout the day, including all of Mathew’s poule matches; needless to say fair play and impartiality prevailed.
After the extraordinary drama of the Junior School’s first ever professionally produced single (see below), it was back to basics with the Preparatory School’s version of the Nativity story, but the simple elegance of the production proved that Drama Teacher Pat Howe et al are just adept at staging the timeless classics as the avant garde!
Ms. Kelly’s, Ms. Leary’s and Ms. Purcell’s charges were all suited up in exquisite costumes (thanks, parents!) and the assorted kings, angels, shepherds and the members of the Holy Family all performed with spirit and grace, bringing smiles and laughter to those assembled in our beautifully decorated performance hall: a perfectly pitched close to the term and our Christmas celebrations. See and hear for yourself, below!
Everyone knows that Conlethians are the coolest of cats and that 28 Clyde Road is hipster heaven but last Friday we reached new heights of hipness as Piano Teacher So-Young invited some of her musical friends by to help out with the accompaniment: there was Dave Mooney plucking the Double Bass, Conor Murray keeping the beat on the drums and So-Young herself organising the whole affair.
And who was the fourth member of the quartet? Why, a whole slew of Conlethian ivory-ticklers, students of So-Young from First Class to Fifth Year took their turn at the piano stool and under the spotlight. It was a stylishly sonorous affair and, except for the brightness and cleanliness of our Performance Hall, you might have thought you had wandered into some Jazz bar in the depths of Manhattan or Chicago, such was the quality and coolness of the music. S0-Young was justifiably proud of her students and friends, and the parents and guests were very impressed, indeed, with this tasteful and pitch perfect use of our musical space. See and hear the action, above and below!
Cecilia Franken, St. Conleth’s After-School Programme Co-Ordinator, knows how to throw a party! DJ, dancing, disco lights, limbo bar and (of course) sweets were on offer as Cecilia’s kids (and some of their parents) really got into the holiday mood!
Of course, fun and games are always part of the After-School Programme, that is, after you get your homework done! Cecilia runs a tight ship, but a fun-filled one, and arts and crafts, snacks, sport and all sorts of indoor and outdoor games are on the agenda. When the weather, and light permit, there are even trips down to Herbert Park where the kids enjoy the greenery and the fabulous playgrounds.
Cecilia also runs our Early Morning Drop-Off Supervision, where her charges benefit from a similar diet of learning and fun!
The first miracle of this Christmas season was Music Teacher Emer Hartnett’s almost unbelievable accomplishment of organising and executing the Junior School Choir’s grand plans for this Christmas: the practising, recording and promotion of a charity single, ‘Would You Believe?’, to benefit St. Conleth’s partnership with a community in Uganda. The hours that went into the project were countless and the stress, on both mind and ear considerable, but Ms. Hartnett and her army of sweetly-singing girls and boys pulled it off. Please support this impressive accomplishment and noble cause by purchasing a copy of the single from the school. In the meantime, feast your eyes on these videos. I think you will agree, that miracles do happen, but they are often preceded by talent, hard work and enthusiasm!
First up, a rather rough mash-up of the choir singing in different settings around the school, with a real, live soundtrack!
Now, the same video but backed by the studio recored vocal track.
And, now, the choir in studio, on one of their many ‘takes’:
And lastly, a special note, or is that an arpeggio? Notice one particular boy’s ‘shush’ attempt at the end!
Yes, the band of brothers (and Claudio) have been busy leading into the holidays, building up their supply of precious metals… perhaps for re-gifting at Christmas? There simply is no more room on the trophy shelf! Pembroke Fencing Coach Olga Volga and Conlethian fencing parent Kathrin Chambers provide a round-up of our recent fencing exploits:
At the National Fencing Seniors Championship, Claudio Sosa won a gold with his team, the mysteriously-dubbed ‘Pound of Fleche Reloaded’, made up mostly of fencers from The Queen’s University of Belfast (which our young Claudio was welcomed to join!). They were crowned as the National Champions for 2018 in the modern pentathlon premises in Blanchardstown.
Then Claudio and Luke travelled to Marburg in Germany for the 18th Marburg International Open City Championships. The standard was high as every at the competition and both boys competed on both Saturday and Sunday. Their efforts were rewarded as Luke brought home Bronze in both the U14 Epee and U14 Foil competitions. Claudio brought home Silver in the U17 Foil and Bronze in Senior Foil.
And, finally (for now!), the merry fencers travelled to Belfast last Sunday for the 2nd of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series and they returned with their now customary haul of medals, with Claudio securing gold once again in the U17 category, Luke Sherlock gold in the U14 and Matthew Sherlock taking home a hard fought silver in the U12s. Alas, it was a slightly depleted group as they were missing the Moriarty-Smyth brothers. James suffered an injury playing a more modern (and less sophisticated) sport t break-time. However, he is on the mend and will soon be back in action, leading the charge onto new fields of fencing glory!
St. Conleth’s is all about inclusion and participation, and though our top chess teams compete with the best in Leinster and Ireland (and, indeed, winning both those championships in recent years), we also have a very high participation rate in chess, covering a range of ages, abilities and experiences. Earlier this week, our Junior School Chess D Team were tough competitors but perfect gentlemen as they hosted a Leinster Schools ‘cluster’ competition. Everyone played three matches with Harrison Noble winning two of his! Well done to our whole team and our visitors, too. Everyone enjoyed themselves with an afternoon of challenging but friendly chess. Team members: Conor Daly, Sam MacKenzie, Harry Noble, Michael Davitt, Luke Gilligan, Harry Collins, Paddy Cosgrove and Rowan Flynn.
The Annual St. Conleth’s Traditional Christmas Fair is being held this year on Saturday, December 8th from 9.30-4pm. As well as trees (€30-€120), beautifully hand decorated wreaths (€20-€80), poinsettias, lucky dip, raffle, hot refreshments, live music, carol singers and lots of Christmas cheer, the students will have lots of wonderful stands selling cakes, crafts, treats and much more (please remember to bring old-fashioned cash on the day!). This is a wonderful opportunity to do some essential Christmas shopping whilst helping a good cause and adding to the Traditional St. Conleth’s Christmas Fair Cheer! Proceeds as always will go towards the Africa Project. The schools past fundraising efforts have borne fruit and the latest development is that the villagers now have their own borehole to collect water – a huge step and a massive help to the community. Check here for our price-list and see our TY students’ artful promotions below, as well as a photo of the good which comes from it all. See you Saturday! Mr. Alan Trenier, TY Co-Ordinator.
Pardon if we sound a bit like Ross O’Carroll Kelly, but as it is with rugby, hockey and sports and culture in general, to be the best in Leinster in chess is to be the best in Ireland! Our Junior School A Team recently had their Leinster Division 1 Play-Off and, once again, competed with the best chess teams in the country. St. Conleth’s mother and chess guru Gillian O’Leary reports:
The Division One Chess Play Offs went very well today, with 10 teams of 8 players each competing. The standard was very high with St. Marys Haddington Road coming out on top. The top 4 teams will progress to the Division One finals, while the other 6 teams will participate in the Leinster Shield in February 2019. The St. Conleths team played 3 matches winning one in style (7-1) but losing two matches to strong opposition (1.5, 2.5). All team members played really well, and represented the school in an excellent manner. Special congratulations to John Byrne and Samson Labintcev who both scored 3 out of 4 and each won a team board prize. Having consulted with Alex Baburin, we selected the board order based on current strength (rather than the standings earlier in the year). Well done to all involved! Team members: Charlie Kennedy, Liam Hunter, David MacNicholas, Matthew Sherlock, Declan de la Cruz Boylan, John Byrne, James Maher and Samson Labintcev.
Masters of an almost lost Art! Two of our Juniors have won ‘Highly Commended’ awards in the AIJS Handwriting Competition. Well done to Elí Strahan and Eli-John Kiernan and their teachers. Below you can see our two honourees, as well as a sample of their fine cursive writing. Now, if only the two Elis could influence some of the scrawlers and scribblers we have elsewhere in the school. Good penmanship goes a long way!
With Black Thursdays, Cyber Mondays and various other promotions and mercantile devotions, it is easy to get all ‘wrapped up’ in the more commercial aspects of Christmas. One way to remain grounded and stay closer to the holy day’s original significance is to support the Junior School’s annual charity appeal in aid of Brother Kevin Crowley’s Homeless Day Centre. Below you can access all the details and see a couple of photos from last year’s impressive collection.
The Junior School Parents Association will once again be organising a charity collection for Brother Kevin Crowley’s Homeless Day Centre in the inner city. This is a very practical and visible annual event for our pupils and parents which brings home the realities of life for many families less fortunate than ourselves. Attached is the information flyer and an article on the Day Centre in yesterday’s Irish Times newspaper.
For too long we have let the fencers, the debaters and the hockey and rugby players dominate the headlines: we all know St. Conleth’s is really a chess school! Well, opening gambits have been played, and we have the first news of the season. First a general run-down on the season ahead from Principal Kilcommons and then a helpful Conlethian mother, June Fanning-Kieran gives her report:
The format of the chess leagues is different this year with each team doing a “cluster day” of matches against all the schools in their group rather than single school fixtures spaced over a long period of time. We will be hosting the “B” and “D” cluster days here in the school in the coming weeks. The “A” team are playing in the Talbot Hotel this Thursday. We have four teams with eight players on each team. There are some very young players on a couple of the teams but they will gain valuable experience and we are sure the proud Conlethian tradition of chess success will continue. T.K.
Somewhere Squanto must be smiling… as he sees the celebration of the anniversary of his extraordinary act of goodwill and friendship spread to new shores. Of course, if the Mayflower had brought along a galley staff like Mark, Emerson and Anna, the colonists would not even have needed the largesse of the native population! Be that as it may, the turkey, the pumpkin pie, the sage stuffing, the creamed corn and the cranberry sauce were served on that first Thanksgiving day over 400 years ago, and we have been recreating that harvest feast ever since. We personally have enjoyed Thanksgivings in many parts of the USA, and the local variations never ceased to amaze: galumpkis on the side in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; hominy grits in the backwoods of the Carolinas; stuffed chipotle on the edges of the Arizona desert; and cod cakes on the furthest toe of Cape Cod…. Well, Chef Mark’s ‘last-Thursday-of-November-unless-it-is-not-followed-by-a-Saturday-within-the-month-then-it-is-the-third’ extravaganza beats them all! Both Juniors and Seniors and the ghost of Elvis Presley (he had seconds) joined us for a musket-bustin’ Thanksgiving feast for the ages. See the pics below to get a taste. At St. Conleth’s, Thanksgiving is not just the day before Black Friday!
Our Annual School Mass is always an affair in which we engage with mixed emotions. In this liturgical time of remembrance, we rightly look back and remember the Conlethians who are no longer with us, a list which grows longer each year. But we also take great joy and hope in seeing the ever-renewing community of St. Conleth’s, gathered as one in celebration of our Christian ethos. Our Chaplain, Father Michael, as always, had the right words for the occasion, reminding us of the hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day, and also the universality at the heart of our ethos.
The many names of St. Mary’s Catholic parishioners on the World War Remembrance plaque poignantly drove home the message. We are more must-cultural and multi-faith as a community than we were in 1918 or 1939, but the essentials of our Catholicism are such that they find much resonance in many other faiths and beliefs, and though the rites may be different, there is much more in common to keep us together. Together also were the Junior and Senior Schools which is always a delight to see- and hear. Ms. Hartnett and Ms. Fay and Ms. DeBhal had their respective choirs in top voice, as you can hear and see below!
With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings
With your feet on the ground
You’re a bird in a flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite
Oh, oh, oh!
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!
Mr. Kilcommons does not at first strike you as the musical aficionado type but he surely must have been inspired by Mary Poppins when he concocted the idea to invite a professional kite building and flying company in to the Junior School. Or perhaps he had just, in a rare moment of pique, use the idiom when the Sixth Formers were getting on his nerves, and now he was just covering his tracks! It might also have had something to do with Science Week. In any event, it worked out well for all involved as the Junior School boys and girls enjoyed a day of kite-building workshops in the gym and then strolled down to Herbert Park to launch their aerodynamic creations. That is, if ‘aerodynamic’ also mean to catch and not just dodge the wind! They certainly did that, and now you can see some of these kites festooning the sycamores and chestnuts of Herbert Park. Think of it as early Christmas decorations! And yes, despite Ms. Poppins’s claim of this eternal delight costing just a ‘tuppence’, the bill was slightly larger. Thankfully, the JSPA have offered to pick it up. That is, unless they now tell us to just go fly…
Actually, it is quite a rare occurrence that a St. Conleth’s teacher needs to ask students to ‘speak up’: it is Conlethian tradition to speak one’s mind, at length and repeatedly about topics known and unknown. Perhaps it is our strong debating tradition… perhaps it is from being prompted for party pieces at numerous dinner parties… but it definitely has something to do with Speech and Drama Czar Pat Howe’s long association with the school. We all know about his year-end, West End-ready productions such as The Lemonade Kid but valuable work is done week by Pat week-in and week-out as he visits each class and leads the boys and girls in various public speaking and acting activities. The kids are given free rein and full voice. Seen and not heard, indeed! A highlight is always the Speech and Drama Exams, whereby external examiners come in to test and officially recognise our students’ prepared performances. They always leave with a smile on their faces if with somewhat weary ears!
The Junior School Parent Association has once again enabled us to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Nevermind those flashy Chromebooks (take ages to polish), audiobooks, interactive whiteboards and language-learning apps. The JSPA just completed their annual sale of the absolute must-have item this Christmas, and our students who availed of the opportunity to purchase said technological marvels may well be the ‘first on the block’ (or cul-de-sac) to have them. Yes, Paperbooks have arrived! Their advantages over old-fashioned, traditional screen-based and app-accessed books are many: they are quite portable; they are backwards and forwards compatible with any reading program you have installed; they have infinite battery life; they have a pleasant aroma and realistic ‘touch-surface’ which you may well mistake for a real screen; and they fulfil all GDPR regulations (that is, unless you are prone to writing ‘JK luvs TC’ inside the back cover). Well done to all the parents who took part in this worthy but weighty enterprise and raised significant funds for school development. We may well now buy some of these ‘books’ ourselves!
Well, technically they do not actually compete on horses (yet), but our young fencing heroes do display all the necessary knightly virtues: fighting skill, courage, impeccable manners, an eye for the young fencing ladies… and the willingness to spend their weekends dressed up like medieval warriors! And the most ‘ye olde worlde-ly’ of all the fencing competitions must be the Lord Killanin Trophy: the title alone fairly reeks of the antiquarian aspect of the noble sport. But we fear that they may change that title soon to the ‘St. Conleth’s In-House Trophy’ if we continue to dominate the competition!
Last weekend, at Loretto-Dalkey, the band of brothers (Moriarty-Smyth-Smyth and Sherlock) and Claudio ‘Zorro’ Sosa once again bagged most of the shine available. In Cadets (Under 16s) Foil, Claudio won Gold and James finished 5th. In the Under 14 Foil, Luke won Gold! In the Under 12 Foil, Myles won Gold and Mathew placed 5th, and in the Under 15 Epee, Luke won Silver. That was just on Saturday. On Sunday (after completing several pages of their Study-Books), the merry band headed north to Belfast, where they competed in the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series Round 1. And our boys did not do the Brexit negotiations any favours! In Cadets (Under 16s) Foil, Claudio won Gold and James took Silver (another all-Conlethian final!) In the Under 14 Foil, Luke won Gold and in the Under 12 Foil, Myles copped Gold and Mathew finished 5th. Whew. And, yes, there are rumours of a jousting court being included in our next extension!
A few years ago, a research report commissioned by UNESCO/UNICEF/The Illuminati found that Ireland’s schools were lagging behind the international competition in their Maths scores. In response, the rusty gears at the Department of Education and Skills slowly began turning and soon were churning out an endless series of STEM-promotions. Expensive and of dubious effectiveness, the mandarins of Marlborough Street would have been better off just paying a visit to 28 Clyde Road to see how Maths teaching is properly done! We recently celebrated another whirlwind Maths Week with daily puzzles, sudoku competitions, Maths Magic Shows and visits to special lectures at Engineers Ireland. And the winners of the competitions were honoured at our October assembly (and can be seen sporting their ‘Maths Mugs’ below). But the funny things is: every week is ‘Maths Week’ at St. Conleth’s! And our Maths teachers not only do the fun, happy-clappy, ‘up with people’ bits well, they also deliver the curriculum better than anyone in the country. The results, both Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate, speak for themselves and can be seen on the slide below. Even more impressive is the high praise earned during an official inspection a few years ago. Click here to see the full inspection report or just take a quick look at their main findings, verbatim:
Notice the use of the word ‘excellent’? Inspectors avoid such words of enthusiastic endorsement like the plague, but they felt compelled to bestow them on our Maths teachers liberally. And our inspector personally vouchsafed that she had never before seen such enthusiasm and sheer Mathematical knowledge amongst students at any other school. And since that inspection, our Maths results have only gotten better. George Soros, and whoever else is really in charge, better take notice!
But have no fear: it is not the lumpenproletariat looking for the redistribution of wealth, it is a fun-loving gang of scary but innocent Junior Schoolers, led by the commander-in-chief of puerility! Every year we have an October assembly which marks the ever-more-important holiday of Halloween but also serves to recall the past and look to the future at this poignant point in the waning of the year.
Mr. ODulaing, once again, led our assembly, eloquently looking back with fondness and forward with enthusiasm, and Mr. Gallagher provided the multi-cultural background to this ancient feast day. And, this being St. Conleth’s/Fame Academy, Russell, Amy, Mark, Colin and Stephen musically accompanied the dignified affair. Everything was going swimmingly until a loud, obnoxious knock was heard at the door and in barged the Chief Executive of prolonged toddlerhood and his minions and an enjoyable chaos ensued. Check out the photos above, which include some of each Junior classs, captured in their own lairs before the attack on their rather delighted victims. And below we see and hear Stephen Allen, who has adorned our assemblies with his superb singing many times over the years.
Winning is obviously infectious. Our First Year Rugby Team continued its record-setting start to the season with a blitz win at the High School and then a comprehensive whomping of Marian College 59-15, in the salubrious setting of the Aviva Stadium, no less! But this victory virus has also spread to our other teams: the SCT enjoyed a solid Leinster League victory last week, led by our very large Rugby Captain, Dylan Browne, and the gory old-school heroics of Johnny ‘Rambo’ Barry. Then the Sixth Form team joined the fun with a 13-1 win over St. Michael’s over the weekend. So, yes we applaud the successes of our hockey players, debaters and fencers, but let us not forget: St. Conleth’s ‘bread and butter’ is still rugby. Of course, that would be a sourdough loaf from Marco Pierre White’s, topped by butter which is hand-churned and organic!
In the dark times of Spanish Colonial administration of California, a masked hero emerged from the shadows of the Los Angelean pueblo: a champion of the people who used his mastery of the sword and his quick-fire wit to fight injustice and puncture the pretensions of the arrogant and bloated overclass. Well, Claudio Sosa is obviously the Conlethian Zorro! Anyone who has him in class knows well about his undisputed rhetorical ability and the senior fencers of Ireland are quickly learning about his skill with the blade. Claudio (and classmate James Moriarty-Smyth) are competing now as adults, and Claudio has already racked up two bronzes and a gold on the senior circuit. Recently, he finished third in the West of Ireland completion (notice the facial hair on his competitors!) and now he has been crowned Intermediate Champion. Claudio is ranked 8th amongst Senior Fencers in Ireland and he is only 14! In other St. Conleth’s fencing news, we proudly announce the passing of the torch (or saber?) from Michael ‘Mr. St. Conleth’s Fencing’ Li to new Fencing Captain Stephen Rockett and Vice-Captain James Moriarty-Smyth-Smyth. Also making moves is James’s younger brother, Myles, who we see below, accepting a bronze medal at a Newcastle competition. With swordsmen like these, we are obviously in good hands despite that impending zombie apocalypse!
The St. Conleth’s Hockey Machine keeps rolling! You have already read about our Minor team’s stunning early season success. Now the Senior team are demanding their share of the headline, with a stylish win over Sandford Park. Below you see the pre-match team talk huddle, led by Georgia Weir McErlean (Captain) and Emily Mansfield (Vice) and the post-game celebrations with Georgia again leading the festivities. In-between these moments, was a great game with some lovely team work displayed by all involved. Georgia and little sister Sydney both scored, with Georgia’s coming from a strike from a short corner and Sydney’s from a lovely reverse sweep at the top of the D. Ava’s two goals both resulted from some impressive attacking ‘in the D’. Georgia and Emily’s instructions could be heard throughout, showing their great leadership and passion for the game. And, just like in class, adding a few comical moments to the game too!
This follows a blitz vs. Sanford Park, where our Minors teamed up with the Junior School’s Sixth Class, for an afternoon of good-natured but competitive hockey. We were on the winning side in all the matches, and though our goal-keeper got a bit bored, it was great to see the different age groups working together.
Well, we cannot promise that traditional, dubious American ‘treat’, but we are sure Chef Mark will pull some Halloweeny surprise out of the pot before the midterm break. The already planned delectables are below on our special holiday menu. Mark’s menus can be found each week (from the previous Friday evening) under Information on this website and the meals on offer for each particular day are in the Events calendar. It would be great if parents looked over the menu with their children before the start of the week. This will speed those canteen queues and lead to healthier eating. Now, anyone for some succotash?
St. Conleth’s Maths teachers, both Junior and Senior, do not let traditional boundaries limit their enthusiasm for the world’s favourite subject! They have already earned 125% of the regular Leaving Certificate points and now they are giving 110% in promotion of all things ‘STEMmy’ during Maths Week 2018. Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Nigel Tunnel would be proud! You have already heard below how our teachers are turning St. Conleth’s into a veritable ‘Manga High’. And now, with Maths Week upon us, they and their students are buzzing around like free electrons! There will be the usual, maddening Maths puzzles each day, a special Sudoko Challenge on Thursday, an extra special ‘Maths Magic Show’ by Mr. Toal on Friday and a session of ‘Dating Tips for Mathematicians’ somewhere along the way. And Ms. NiAonghusa is going to take her First Years to a special Maths Week Event, ‘Can You Engineer the Code?’, down the block at Engineers Ireland. Watch out, Singapore!
Mr. Keenan does not do things by halves: when we say that sport at St. Conleth’s is all about participation, he practises what we preach and issues an open invite to all students, both Junior and Senior School to join him on his Track and Field outings. As you can see from the photo below, this year’s call for Cross Country runners did not fall on many deaf years. And we do not just do quantity: there were some quality runners hidden amongst this horde of student athletes which Mr. Keenan led over the mountains and through the trees to the ‘Brother at Your Side’ Cross Country Meet in Santry. And our boys and girls showed great sportsmanship and camaraderie, too: the Juniors, in particular, as they decided to race as one block at the back, biding their time to make their move towards the front. Unfortunately the race ended, just as they were about to shift a gear upwards. Regardless, it was a beautiful day and everyone involved enjoyed the run and the craic. Stay tuned for more Track and Field adventures with Mr. Keenan!
Conlethians are rather used to ‘All-Ireland’ titles: chess and basketball immediately come to mind… but to be the ‘Best in the British Isles’ is clearly another step up! With a slight sympathetic nod to republicans, we nevertheless will enjoy this new ranking for all it is worth! Apparently, our students have been digitally attending Mangahigh in droves and getting most of their challenging Maths problems correct. So much so, that we are now the top-ranked school in all the British Isles… and apparently that includes both Sark and Inisheer! Some of this success must be credited to our ICT Department: Mr. Travers and Mr. Porzadny are like Sheldon, BB-9E and Santa Claus wrapped up into one great big huggable user interface! The Google Chromebooks are particularly popular, as you can see Ms. Dillon’s class enjoying the portable digital experience, but so is our ICT room, where you see Ms. Leary’s class opting for the wired version of digitally interactive education. And the algorithms say that our Maths teachers, both junior and Senior, also have much to do with this success. Probably. But let us not forget an earlier technological invention: the Paperbook. Its death has been greatly exaggerated, and below you also see Third Forms reading ‘old school’ books such as ‘Tom Sawyer’ and the like. Another valuable wireless experience!
Mr. Kilcommons is running a lucrative side-business at St. Conleth’s: providing unwitting subjects for scientific research. Some might question the propriety of his entrepreneurial spirit when they see the heavy duty lab equipment which has been carted in to the Visitor’s Room: a veritable Dr. Frankenstein-type array of wires, lasers, helmets and saws. But everyone ends up happy: the researchers get their guinea pigs; the teachers get even smaller classes for a while and the kids get to miss the objective pronoun in English… and get a bit of a buzz out of it, on the side! Seriously, the research is quite serious (and very safe) and St. Conleth’s is proud to be part of it. Trinity College Psychology Graduate Students Corinne Holmes and Sarah Cooney are conducting some very interesting research into some specific ways in which children learn (all the details are here). And, no, Mr. Kilcommons is not getting a ‘cut’ of the nonexistent profits!
Yikes! The Vikings are coming… on the History Channel! But have no fear… Fourth Former Harry Groarke (and siblings) will be there to charm our hairy, excitable Nordic brethren. Scarier, indeed, is the make-up session and the waiting on set. Thank goodness for the catering!
Mr. Trenier is multi-talented mountain of a man. His Cavan neighbours know about the range and depth of his rodeo talents: from steer roping through steer wrestling to steer riding, he has mastered them all. We all know him as TY Co-Ordinator supreme (more on that later!). And give him a white coat and stick him in a laboratory and another facet of Mr. T. emerges: Master of all STEM!
The Junior School Science Club (Tue. @ 3:45) is quickly learning about this side of his skill set. Drop by the lab on Tuesday afternoons and you will here all sorts of solutions bubbling, cathodes emitting and artificial intelligences lamenting the absence of a soul. But don’t be afraid! It is all in the name of Science and Mr. T. follows the strictest of safety protocols. This Tuesday, the Junior kids fashioned their own simple robots and set them free (briefly) to draw the perfect circle. ‘Perfect circles’ sound quite Mathsy to us, and guess what? On Thursdays, Mr. Trenier runs an After-School Maths Club, too!
How do you ‘bridge the gap’? Your little Conlethians are dismissed at 2:45 but you do not get off work until 5:30. One sensible solution is to let them stay in the happy and secure environs of St. Conleth’s. All our Preparatory and Junior School have the option of enrolling in our After-School Programme, where their physical and intellectual appetites are catered to with a mixed diet of homework, snacks, games and sport. The After-School Co-ordinator is Cecila Franken and she may be contacted at: email@example.com. Attached here is the enrolment form, which should be returned to the school.
We have cultivated, nay, invented a good-natured competition regarding our Past Pupil accomplishments: Who has been more influential, the STEM-siders or the liberal artists? Well, here is one alumnus who strides both sides of that artificial line. Colin Stafford-Johnson (Class of 1982) has been filling British and Irish TV screens with stunning wildlife photography and insightful, knowledgable commentary for decades. So, Biology, English and Art teachers of yore, all take a bow! What is Colin up to now? Well, paradoxically in a culture of digital dominance and ephemeral video bites, the grand Victorian tradition of the ‘Talking Tour’ has returned with gusto. It seems people do want meet, see and listen to real people in the flesh, and share in their extraordinary experience. Well, there is no-one with more tales to tell and experiences to recall than Colin, and I am sure the moors, the bogs and the mountain-tops will come through in vivid colour and their wildlife will spring to life when he walks on stage and takes the mic. See the dates and details of the tour below and stay tuned for more St. Conleth’s Alumni News!
It did not take long for our First Year Boys and Girls to find a suitable and satisfying place at St. Conleth’s. Yes, the first few days were a bit hectic with three way subject splits and multiple room switches but all that confusion had a noble purpose: to give as much academic choice as possible to the newest Conlethians. And there were the usual negotiations around the water fountain, canteen queue and break-time ball-games in the yard but they are all part of settling in at No. 28 Clyde Road and part of growing up. There to give a helping hand to our ‘freshmen’ were Mr. Carvill’s small army of Fifth Year Mentors, old pros at cultivating the culture of St. Conleth’s.
Of course, our Juniors are also settling in and one place which is new to all is the Art Room. With acres of space and copious amounts of light, it is the kind of room that just draws you in and you simply don’t want to leave. Past Pupils Mati Remi (a great artist himself) and Muireann Dempsey dropped by for a visit and were duly impressed. Below you see Junior School Art Teacher Ms. Mellon with some of her budding Bacons at work!
Actually, the students did not look dazed at all, hitting the ground running on their first day of the new school year at St. Conleth’s College. Yes, some of the teachers may have had a somnambulant glaze as they struggled to adjust their seasonal clocks and certainly some of the parents looked a bit punch-drunk (and relieved) as they jettisoned their precious cargo at the door (of our newly renovated reception area) but the boys and girls themselves were full of vim and vigour and decidedly gung-ho about the start of a new school year. Yes, the Juniors may have been more willing to reveal and revel in their enthusiasm, but even the coolest of the cats in the Senior School cracked a smile, admitting it is not such a bad thing to be back at school, when that school is St. Conleth’s!
Our Juniors got right back into the swing of things with a full school day!
But Junior School Principal Tony Kilcommons and Preparatory School Principal Dolores Kelly knew their staff were up for it!
While the first batch of our Seniors opted for the taster menu, whetting their appetite for the whole shebang on Thursday!
We are sure all our students, old and new, are eagerly looking forward to the start of school (and perhaps their parents even more so!) so we are giving you all the information necessary to make it a great start. Start of school dates and times can be found under Events, as well as on our calendars which are always available, along with booklists and information on uniform and the canteen, under Calendars and Information, but if you are in a rush, here are direct links (Junior, Senior) to our uniform supplier, and our Canteen deposit page on Easy Payments Plus. We will see you all over the next few days, bright-eyed and bushy-tailled, at 28 Clyde Road, but in the meantime checkout some of the further developments to the St. Conleth’s campus accomplished over the summer.
By now, the young Conethians who were part of Expedition East Africa 2018 have settled back into their cushy South Dublin teenage lives: a barbecue at the friends or relatives, a jump off the 40 foot, a daily hour (or six) on Instagram, a burrito at Tolteca and maybe a walk out the pier to get an ice cream at Teddy’s… everything is back to normal, nothing seems to have changed… but take a better look at these young men and women. You see the suntan and the fitness, honed over five weeks of hiking and biking under the African sun, yes, but look even closer, into the eyes, and try to see more deeply: ‘where the meanings are’ in the words of Emily Dickinson. The fact is the members of the expedition are changed and will never be the same again.
A new maturity? A more open mind? Less complaints about the choice of cereal in the cupboard? Hard to pin down, but let us just say that no-one who goes on an expedition of this scope and intensity returns the same person. And it is a change for the better. Above and below you will see photos of just some of the adventures and activities which Expedition Leaders Gav Maguire and Dolores Kelly led them through (with the help of Earth’s Edge): hiking through a rainforest, sampling the local markets, teaching (and learning) at local schools, attempting a native dance, biking across the wild plains and, of course, climbing Kilimanjaro. The photos capture much but to truly grasp the value of an expedition like this takes time. Over the years to come, these lucky (and brave) Conlethians will, from time to time, think back, remember and savour again, the experiences of a lifetime.
In this splendid summer weather it is almost a sin to mention those three words beloved of advertisers (and, sometimes, parents) but dreaded by most children, even the normally happy and well-adjusted kids of St. Conleth’s: Back to School! But we realise plans must be made, books must be bought… so here are the new calendars and booklists. They can also permanently be found under ‘Calendar + Information’ along with information about Uniform and the Canteen. Now, back to enjoying this summer while it lasts!
Well, loads, judging by the 47 (!) pages of the 2017-2018 St. Conleth’s College Parents Association Combined Newsletter (*now with the proper 2018 message from Principal ODulaing!)! If you are a parent, check your email or get it right here. Well done to PA Chairs Michael Mansfield and David MacNicholas and all the parents and students who contributed. Perfect beach reading!
An army runs on its stomach and a school runs on its canteen. At St. Conleth’s College we are convinced that Chef Mark McColgan is the main reason why attendance rates are so high amongst both students and staff. A common scene in the early a.m. on the southside of Dublin: “Oh… French test today….I don’t feel very well…wait…it’s Tandoori Chicken Salad today…I’m in!”
Well, you can spend part of this summer not only enjoying those fave dishes, but making them too! Chef Mark is returning with his popular ‘Food Active’ Summer Camp and July at St. Conleth’s is sure to be an exciting and eclectic mix of cookery, sport and fun. Find all the contact details here or above and get onto Chef Mark. Places are limited and Food Active is always the place to be when those long summer days roll in!
You knew the fencers would not give up the headlines to all that graduation hullabaloo without a fight. Two fencing parents Kathryn Chambers and Robert Smyth report on the last salvos of another record-setting season, and as you might expect, our young competitors did not fall at the last fence!
Our Conlethians were all on the piste again two weekends ago at the Irish Youth Open. We have three newly crowned Irish champions from the event. Claudio Sosa won both the U14 and U17 categories in foil, Myles Moriarty-Smyth won the U10 foil category and Luke Sherlock won the U14 mixed épée. Claudio, Myles and Luke also won the Pembroke Fencing Club’s best fencer trophies for their categories. James Moriarty-Smyth finished second in the U14 foil and Matthew Sherlock third in the U10 foil.
We are also thrilled to announce that Myles Moriarty-Smyth has been awarded an Adrian Lee & Partners Fencing Scholarship for 2018/19. He ended this season ranked No.1 in Under-10s Mixed Foil both here and in the North. He amassed a record 210 points for his age group, taking Gold in all competitions on both sides of the border. Aside from winning Pembroke Fencing Club’s Best Fencer Award for Under-10s, he also ended this season ranked joint 6th in the Boys U-11s category of the UK’s prestigious Leon Paul Junior Foil Series.
And last Friday, the St. Conleth’s Fencing Club annual competition took place in the school sports hall. The aim of this competition is to put to test the skills of all the fencers in the school, and there was certainly stiff competition to see who came out on top! The 2018 champion was Claudia Sosa (2nd Yr); in second place was Luke Sherlock (1st Yr) and in 3rd, Matthew Sherlock (4th Form). There was a nice mix of 2nd years, 3rd years as well as a couple of 4th formers competing on the day. Other 4th formers also fenced it out in old fashioned style… that is, without electric equipment! There was also the poignant moment captured on film below, when Michael Li, Conlethian fencing god, handed the Captaincy over to Stephen Rocket. Well done Michael on captaining St. Conleth’s during a tremendous period of growth and best of luck to Stephen taking us even further!
Fencing, tennis, rugby, polo… yes, it does seem at times that we conform to the stereotypical image of the private school when it comes to our sporting activities, but we also have the common touch: for instance, we also play golf! This just in from Principal Kilcommons about our Junior School golf team:
Our Junior School Golf Team, defending champions, finished a close second (by only 2 shots!) to Willow Park in the the AIJS Tournament, run by St. Gerard’s at the Delgany Golf Club. Well done boys, and a well-deserved drink afterwards in the clubhouse!
Pompeii, 79AD: The sun shone bright streaks of light through the scattered clouds, turning the sky surrounding the city an amber shade of orange and causing bright twinkles along the waves of the city… Thus begins Fifth Form James O’Neill’s AIJS commendation winning short story set in Roman times on the day of the famous Vesuvian eruption. We knew you would want more so here is the whole story. Well done, James, and we look forward to reading more of your work in the future!
Junior School had their annual internal soccer blitz in Herbert Park on Tuesday 8thMay. Referee/organiser Mr Keenan and Louis Magee, along with the teachers and pupils, braved the inclement weather to participate and an enjoyable day was had by all. There was plenty of thrills and spills, shooting and shaping, tears and tantrums but all the teams, whether a medal was won or not were treated to a well deserved goodie bag afterwards. Well done to all!
Regular readers might surmise that we have no editorial process at all, but St. Conleth’s is such a busy place that we actually do have to sift daily through a pile of news and events, trying to determine what is ‘fit to print’. For example, look what happened in and around 28 Clyde Road, just in a couple of days, last week: 1) Mark Hainbach, School Captain of the Class of 1973 and current administrator with the Ballsbridge College of Further Education, visited to give Fifth Year students a careers talk and to chat with his old rugby coach, Mr. Keenan. 2-3) Mr. Bolger’s Geography Second Years (and Trevor’s drone!) helped Ordnance Survey Ireland with mapping Herbert Park 3) A motley soup of Fifth Years goggled through the window at After-School Study 4) Juniors photo-bombed Gav’s SCT photoshoot 5) The girls torched the boys in tag-rugby! 6) The Friday Champions League entered its crucial stages 7) Latin Second Years pick their flores like Proserpina and 8) found some interesting graffiti and 9) joined with Ms. Leary’s First Class for an impromptu picnic. 10) Sixth Years practise their graduation song. 11) Classics kids had a civilised discussion about Hellenistic sculpture. Busy, busy, busy! 12) And this just in off the wire: We previously reported that Ciara MacNally had finished a hard-luck second (by 1 pt) in the Leinster Girls Golf Competition, but due to a correction in the handicap calculation, she has now been declared the winner! Well done!
Everywhere you look in St. Conleth’s, there is art: from Junior Infants to Sixth Years, each class and year seems to have its own artistically talented students, and their work is rapidly filling in any blank space left on our walls! We may not be specifically an art school but we are quickly getting the reputation of being an artsy school. Ms. Mellon and Ms. Halpin, our dedicated Art Teachers, make sure of that!
Of course, this being St. Conleth’s, participation is the name of the game and everyone is encouraged to put pen or brush to paper or fingers into clay or papier mache. However, at certain times, judgments must be made and recently our Junior School teachers had the difficult job of deciding which artworks, from the many quality ones created in their respective classes, would go forward as qualifiers to the AIJS Art Competition. You see our qualifiers above and we are happy to say that Nathan was overall AIJS Winner in the 2nd class category; Declan and Katie placed 2nd and 3rd in the 3rd class category; and Fionnuala earned a Special Merit in the 5th class category!
Yes, like the Royal Marines, our Junior School Conlethians are successful on all fronts and in all environments! Russell Bolger recently qualified for the U-12 Optimist Sailing Team, representing Ireland at the UK nationals in Wales this summer (following in the footsteps of his brother, and top sailor, Trevor). You can see Russell below, with his boat (sail no. 1502) behind him. Coincidentally the Junior School Sailing club starts its sessions at the RSGYC today.
And our golfers enjoyed the fairways, greens and brunch at the Hollypark Invitational at Charles. As parent Jane Byrne reports:
The boys on the St. Conleth’s Golf Team were so well behaved at Charlesland GC . It was a lovely event – nine schools, including Willow, St. Michael’s, St. Gerard’s, Scoil San Treasa, St. Brigid’s and Hollypark- took part. It was followed by a formal set of speeches, prizes and a lovely brunch. Louis won a prize for closest to pin. They hope to make it an annual event. Our boys won a spot prize of a free group golf lesson!
We were already the ‘home of debate’ in the way that Brazil is the home of football but with John Carvill perennially hosting the Junior Mace in the Senior School and Dr. Fallon the same with the annual AIJS debate, we are literally the home of debate! Dr. Fallon once again organised and ran a spectacularly successful AIJS Debate at St. Conleth’s this past Wednesday. Ten schools took part with more than twenty teams competing. Loreto on the Green narrowly won the overall competition with the St. Conleth’s team of Emilio Sadofschi, Russell Bolger and Turlough Dineen taking second place. Luke Timlin and Turlough were also named Best Speakers of each chamber. Luke and his team-mates, Richard Caldwell and Kazim Haider, won out their room and the third team (Lochlann Flynn, Nicolai Bjerke Morris and Louis McGovern) won their first round but lost in the final. Not a bad showing for the home-side! And six Senior School debaters were on hand to serve as the impressively impartial adjudicators, more evidence of the special partnership between St. Conleth’s Junior and Senior Schools.
Well, not quite, as both Transition Year and Fifth Form are now co-educational, but 1/3 of the French national motto serves well in describing the close relationship between the Junior and Senior Schools of St. Conleth’s, and when Ms. Crowley and Mr. Porzadny, the dynamique duo of the French Department, and Mr. Sheridan are involved, you know all this Francophonic co-operation will also be a lot of fun! The Transition Years used fun and games to teach grammar and usage to their Junior School fellow francophiles, and such was the craic (French?), the youngsters were learning about such things as prepositions, imperatives and l‘imparfait without even knowing it! And, of course, since the educational theorists say that the best way to learn is to teach, the TYs came out of the experience winners, too!
The front steps of 28 Clyde Road have always been a favourite spot for the photographic capture of significant moments in the lives of Conlethians and Barry Regan of Icon photography always captures the boys and girls in the best possible light (even when there is little of it!).
Full credit to Second Form Teacher Mr. Alex O’Brien, whose permanent state of unruffable calm somehow emanated from him and becalmed the whole Communion Class, so that the boys (and girl!) could really show how well they had prepared for this most important sacrament. Fr. Fachtna McCarthy, a mainstay of the school’s spiritual life, celebrated the mass in St. Mary’s, Haddington Road, and the Junior School Choir, under the guidance of Ms. Hartnett, sang beautifully. After the ceremony, all the candidates’ parents met to chat over a cup of tea and a slice of a very special cake (see below) back at the school where the specially aproned Third Class parents provided a tasty spread for everyone, a fitting appetiser for teh later celebrations at Marco Pierre White’s restaurant in Donnybrook.
Well, our Confirmation Class may not like to be called be as cute as their Communion counterparts so we will settle for handsome. And that beauty is not merely skin deep: their souls are also in great shape, too! We like to think that they have proven, over the course of the year and especially during their challenging Confirmation preparation course, that they are the best and brightest young Catholic gentlemen around! The celebrant of the sacramental mass at St. Mary’s was the Very Reverend Enda Cunningham and the ceremony captured perfectly the significance of this important step in the development of our chosen faith and ethos. Ms. Vicky Loomes, who led the class in its preparation, was proud that her charges gave the occasion its due importance and respect. Afterwards, the party moved to Marco’s, apparently, as you do!
Two teams from the Junior School represented the school in the AIJS Table Quiz hosted by St. Gerard’s JS. It was a very enjoyable competition and even though we did not win, we feel our boys knew all the important, regal stuff and simply did not lower themselves to the more ‘common’ categories: St. Conleth’s pupils know their national flags and dingbats and obscure geography inside out but do not know their Robbie Keanes from their Roy Keanes and have absolutely no clue what Irish celebrities look like. The latter ignorance not necessarily being a bad thing!
We still see no sign of the much-rumoured swimming pool on the roof of 28 Clyde Road, but CEO Ann Sheppard and Development Officer John Carvill have been seen closed with architects again, so you never know… In the meantime we will just have to make our weekly sojourn to Sportsco and periodically make a big splash in the pool of our competitors! Castlepark School held the AIJS Swimming Galas for Third and Fourth on Monday 23rd and for Fifth and Sixth Form on Tuesday 24th Apr. All the boys swam very well but particular mention must be made of Sixth Form who won their competition against stiff opposition and two brave Second Formers who competed against much older swimmers in the Third Form events and very much held their own.
Nestled as we are between the shadow-dappled courts of Herbert Park and the power and prestige of the Fitzwilliam Lawn and Tennis Club, it is rather natural that St. Conleth’s would develop a tennis culture. And, indeed, tennis, like fencing and cricket, has been linked with the school since its very founding. You have seen below how our Senior School teams have approached the net, but now our Junior School Team has made St. Conleth’s history. They have won all their group matches and have qualified for the knock-out stages… and with a game in hand! The Junior School Team has never previously qualified beyond the qroup stages, but with the latest Kellehers and Kennedys and Co. doing their stuff on the courts, they may fancy themselves to go all the way!
Junior School Chess success continues! When great teams reach the pinnacles of their sport and win the championship, there is often a fallow period that follows, when the team slowly rebuilds with draft picks, trades and the slow development of promising youngsters… Well that didn’t happen in St. Conleth’s Junior School Chess. We just kept winning! After winning a historic Leinster and national ‘double’ a couple of year back, we all expected a ‘rebuilding’ period. But Grandmaster Baburin’s coterie of chess masters must work miracles, as Conlethian teams have stayed a the top of the sport. We may not quite have matched the heights of two years ago, but our two teams in the Leinster Premier division finished 4th and 5th on the recent League Finals Day at St. Catherine’s.
Two of our B team members were unable to attend the rescheduled event (after the snowstorm) and so reinforcements were needed from our lower teams. It certainly didn’t weaken the “B” team as they managed to overtake the “A” team in the standings and finished the year in a very respectable 4th place with the “A” team having to be content with 5th place. Having both teams performing well in the Premier Division is a great achievement so well done done to the boys, as well as the coaches and the parent helpers!
We may not have won all the races but we certainly came first in the ‘Event Management’ category! Yes, once again the St. Conleth’s-hosted AIJS Athletics Meet at Irishtown Stadium was a great success! This time, the weather co-operated and all sixteen teams of talented athletes enjoyed the afternoon of friendly competition. Castlepark won boys category. Teresians won the girls and Mount Anville won overall with a brilliant team performance. Well done to all the athletes who competed and the teachers, parents and TY helpers who organised, coached, congratulated and consoled!
Do you remember this? 1,2,3,4,5,6, Safe Cross Code/Remember, one, look for a safe place/
two, don’t hurry, stop and wait…. Well, kids (and their parents) have more than just automobiles, busses and cyclists to negotiate safely these days: in fact, many of our kids’ journeys are done on-line and it is a bit more complicated of an environment than the standard suburban cul-de-sac. So, in order to help parents, children and teachers get a better grip on internet safety, we invited in CyberSafeIreland to do workshops with 4th-6th Forms and a talk with parents. Both were very successful and now we have the results of the internet safety survey which they carried out. Below are a few excerpts and here is the whole report. Now, back to Fortnite!
CyberSafeIreland is the Irish children’s charity for online safety. It was established in 2015 to provide expert guidance to children, parents and teachers on safe and responsible use of the Internet. Our main focus is on supporting children aged 9 to 13, when many are first communicating or gaming online, and when, unfortunately, some can fall victim to bullying, harassment or other exposure to harmful contact and content.
We believe that providing children with online safety skills is fundamental to making technology an enabling and rewarding environment for Irish children, alongside supportive parental communication, involvement and supervision. Prior to our visit to the school, we conducted an anonymous survey with each year group and this report outlines our main findings. We’ve also included some helpful tips and resources to help parents get started.
The Conlethian fencers, again, went international and grabbed the gold in foreign fields of glory. Poland, Durham (UK) and Northern Ireland all fell to our swashbuckling swordsmen. Details from Robert Smyth…
The Easter holiday period saw the St. Conleth’s boys (come on, girls!) continue to fence across the waters of the Irish Sea:
Claudio Sosa and Luke Sherlock journeyed to Poland for the worldwide Challenge Wratislavia, with Claudio reaching the last 64 in the Boys Under 15 out of 220 and Luke achieving his goal of placing in the top 100 in the Boys Under 14 out of 240 fencers. Meanwhile, James and Myles Moriarty-Smyth returned to Britain’s North East to compete at the Durham leg of the Leon Paul Junior Foil Series. They returned with Bronze medals for Under 15 and Under 11, respectively.
The second week of the holiday saw the whole band travelling North on Saturday to compete in the final round of this year’s Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series, and as usual, they returned with medals and trophies: Under 10s – Myles won Gold and overall 1st place for the season and Matthew Sherlock took Silver, after an all-Conlethian final. Under 14s – Claudio Gold and overall 1st place for the season. James took Bronze and overall 2nd place for the season. And Luke won Bronze and overall 3rd place. And you just ate chocolate all break long!
We all knew that Daniel Gilligan was the perfect gentleman: no Conlethian had won as many laurels as Daniel in his time at 28 Clyde Road, and no Conlethian had worn them so lightly. Now Trinity College is enjoying the benefits of having Daniel Gilligan as a debater, student leader and downright, old-school intellectual. Everyone knows about the ‘schols’ of Trinity: an elite group of students who are selected by rigorous examination to receive a generous scholarship, including rooms and ‘commons’, a Hogwarts-like daily gathering of the berobed great and good of TCD for conversation, a meal (with ‘Grace’ said in Latin!) and a tipple. Daniel now joins this august company and we look forward to his future battles (rhetorical and otherwise) with rival Conlethian alumni great, Conor White, who is currently marshalling his crew amongst the Ad Astra crowd at UCD. Batman vs. Superman II!
We take Lent seriously at St. Conleth’s and the Prep and Junior School pupils especially like to ‘give something up’ or ‘do something extra’ to honour the special Christian season. This year, one of our Third Form parents, Ms. Tonia Spollen, devised a way they could do both and everyone (except perhaps the dentist) was happy. Tonia’s son Lenny and all the other Prep and Junior School boys and girls (with some pivotal assistance from the Transition Years) gathered up 387 eggs which could have ended up in their tummies and donated them to the Capuchin Day Centre where Director Kevin Crowley ofm will make sure all 386 will end up with people who need a little pick-me-up on Easter morning. The only problem was where to store 385 eggs. Ms. Kelly enlisted the help of her Junior Infants to carefully store and guard the 384 eggs and we are happy to say that all 383 are now neatly stacked and ready for delivery!
There is ample evidence in these pages that we attend to the bodies and brains of our students, but authorities no less than St. Augustine, St. Conleth and Principal Kilcommons agree that the spirit also needs appropriate guidance and development:
The St. Conleth’s 2018 candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation are almost at the end of their journey as the big day approaches. Preparatory Masses in St. Mary’s Haddington Rd. during the course of this academic year led to parents and pupils coming together on Thursday, the 8th of March, in the Performance Room for the Ceremony of Light. The room itself was transformed by the candidates’ own artwork (see below), with the candle light and stained glass lending itself to a deeply spiritual atmosphere. Ms. Hartnett had the musical and choral pieces beautifully prepared as always with the boys, while Mr. Gallagher and Fr. Collins, who performed the ceremony, had a very attentive audience from young and older alike. A big thank you to Ms. Loomes who co-ordinated the whole affair and produced the special missalette. On Thursday the 22nd, the candidates will be immaculate in their school blazer and rosettes. They will be photographed on the school steps and will then walk down to the church to be met by their parents and sponsor where they will be confirm their faith. One leg of a long journey of faith in which the school plays a vital role.
Because of the unexpected missed days due to the storm, the planned Junior Cycle Inservice for Senior School teachers has been postponed and Monday will be a normal schooldays for both Senior and Junior Schools.
The Clyde Road Residents Association, the local constabulary and the gendarmes may be relieved, but it is with great regret that we announce that the 2018 Past Pupils Dinner has been cancelled. Full refunds are available. It is the first time in the full seventy years of its existence that the ‘show’ has not gone on. We will leave you with some photos from last year’s soirée to ease the pain and hope to see you all back at your alma mater in 2019!
St. Conleth’s College, both Junior and Senior Schools will be closed Wednesday- Friday, 28/2-2/3, by order of the Department of Education.
Conlethians are famously (and sometimes, infamously) able to express themselves rhetorically, with a good deal of confidence, and usually a good bit of volume, and it is great that our kids are able to ‘speak up for themselves’: it is a skill which keeps us at the top of the debating leagues and has wider significances in terms of personal development and success in the wider world. But Ms. Redmond decided to develop quite a different skill with her Senior Infants: the art of listening. She gathered her charges and took them on a perilous journey… to the front steps of 28 Clyde Road! At first, the kids were a bit nonplussed by the less-than-exotic destination but when Ms. Redmond explained the objective, to really listen to all the subtle noises around us and to take notes, it was amazing what they heard: from the cry of the lonely seagull to the garrulous banter of some nearby landscapers and, for the very attentive, the softest of slurping sounds from the ladies who latte down in Lolly and Cooks… The boys and girls were duly impressed, as was Ms. Redmond with their efforts. And best of all: no-one was ‘expressing themselves’ while they were listening! Bliss!
With all this fencing in our headlines, it was fit and proper for that other dominant Conlethian sporting tradition to speak up for itself: yes, the sport of wizards- chess. You read here recently how Second Year Utkarsh Gupta raided the Gonzaga boys on their own turf and walked away with €400 (yet somehow refused to share it with his Form Teacher). Well, our Junior chess teams have been winning Leinster and National titles for years, and last week they added another item to the groaning shelves of the trophy cabinet. The boys below made the short trip to Rather NS where they vanquished all and sundry, walking away with the Association of Irish Junior Schools Chess title. Take that, fencers!
Malory, T.H. White, Walt Disney and innumerable subsequent interpreters of the Arthurian legends all emphasised the ‘chosen-ness’ of young Art. Like the later Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter, the hero was one in a million and we all wanted to be him (or her) but in the end we could only read and watch and dream and maybe buy the T-shirt…. but not at St. Conleth’s where everyone is special, everyone is ‘the chosen one’!
Ms. Dillon, displaying the cross-curricularness which thrills education theorists (and kids) everywhere, led her class in an exploration of the legends of the Round Table through books, pictures and film and then, as a coup-de-grace, an incredibly ambitious and enjoyable art project. Everyone took part, everyone made a ‘sword in a stone’ and everyone was able to grip their sword and withdraw it from the stone (or marshmallow) and lay claim to the heritage of King Arthur! Mr. Kilcommons had the unenviable task of picking the best project while surrounded by the heavily armed contestants but all ended relatively peacefully!
We make ’em tough at St. Conleth’s, both teachers and students! Last Sunday, there was Junior School Information Day in the afternoon in which all the teachers and many student volunteers welcomed future Conlethians in for a show-and-tell around our newly revamped school. And then everyone retired to their local for a carver, a few bags of crisps and the Six Nations on the big screen… no, they did not! It was straight over to the RDS for the Peace Proms for last minute voice-tuning and a performance at 8:00. No-one hit their pillow before 11:00 pm, and Principal Tony Kilcommons in particular had a zombie-like quality about his movements for a few days afterwards… but it was well worth it! He managed to get this report off before sneaking into the school elevator for a well-deserved nap.
At St. Conleth’s, students, teachers and parents often share in the enjoyment of a school event but rarely have we seen a ‘feel-good factor’ to the extent of that which was generated over the weekend by the Junior School Choir’s participation in the Peace Proms at the RDS. A memorable nigh! 2500 children singing together on stage, from 52 school choirs, including St. Conleths JS Choir (27 members!) and an orchestra with pipers, drummers and dancers under the baton of Conductor Greg Beardsell. All playing and singing an eclectic mix of classical, Disney, pop and dance tunes to a capacity crowd of 4000 in the Simmonscourt on Sunday night. A two hour avalanche of sound, excitement and sheer joy. Primary kudos must go to Ms. Eimar Hartnett, who worked tirelessly in the weeks leading up to the event, getting the boys and girls pitch perfect. The class teachers and parents also pitched in, making sure all the young choristers got to their many practice sessions. And of course, the students themselves: they put in the ‘overtime’ to get there, and on the day they pulled it off once again (unlike Tom Brady this year!). Granted, there was a mood that could best be described as ‘pleasantly somnambulant’ in the Junior School on Monday morning, but it was certainly well-earned and well-deserved! I dont think those present will ever forget the experience.
The recent exploits of Philip Cripwell, Class of 2014, marry two of our consistent themes at stconleths.ie: fencing and STEM. Fencing, as you can see above and below, is a consistent good news generator at the school, as training continues for both Juniors and Seniors under Maître David Couper and our merry band of swordsmen gather trophies from far and wide. Of course, fencing has been a part of St. Conleth’s since the beginning, and Philip played a pivotal role in its legacy while a student here, winning at every level in many competitions. And as you can see from this attached letter from TCD, Philip’s fencing has gone from strength to strength since graduation and is current East of Ireland, Irish Open and Senior National Champion, and now the proud recipient of a Trinity College Sports Scholarship. And what is Philip’s chosen field of study? Mechanical Engineering (that would be the ‘E’ in STEM). So, yes, the laboratory and school sports hall can claim equal credit for this latest Conlethian alumnus making the headlines!
Whatever alchemy Michael Manning, Brendan Doyle and the other St. Conleth’s Science teachers were up to in the school lab over recent decades, it certainly did work! You can read about the multiple American based professors of Maths and Science spawned in the Manning/Doyle lab in our 75th Anniversary Annual and you have read in these very pages about Dervilla Mitchell, an Irish female engineering pioneer, nevermind the Zorin brothers, more recent Conlethian alumni (of the Mr. Callaghan era) who are shaking the very foundations of the Microsoft Empire with ZorinOS.
Well, now they all must make room in the pantheon of Conlethian STEM greats for physicist Michael Moloney, recently named the CEO of the prestigious American Institute of Physics, one of the most influential science organisations on the planet and industry leaders in science publishing and research. Basically, Mr. Moloney is now Tony Stark, Professor X and Dr. Bruce Banner all rolled into one! Check out the AIP and the press release above, and try to pick Michael out in his graduation photo below!
Link to slightly altered Mock Exam schedules follows. (Click ‘more’ and then the link.) Good luck!
St. Conleth’s Chess Teams, both Junior and Senior, have had more than their share of success in recent years and both are currently playing their way through their respective Leinster leagues but we have to admit that taking points from Gonzaga College, where they have instituted a training programme last used by Ivan the Terrible, has always been a particular pleasure. So, when our very own Utkarsh Gupta had the nerve (and the talent and the guts) to make the short journey to Ranelagh and bring home one of the main trophies of the Gonzaga Chess Championship, we feel entitled to crow about it!
Above, you see Utkarsh receiving his prize and, below, the final tally of the tourney: only the top 10 that is, as Utkarsh actually finished atop a list of 82 of the best young chess players from Ireland, and beyond!
Dr. Livingstone is long gone, but there is now a kindler, gentler explorer trekking the wilds of Africa: our very own Mr. Gavin Maguire! And gone too is the weighty baggage of messianic zeal and cultural imperialism: Mr. Maguire’s expeditions are an exquisitely crafted mix of adventure and development, mutually beneficial to both student traveler and the local resident. After two trips to India, the focus is back on Africa and Mr. Maguire and his TY/5th Year team members have been walking up and down the hills of the Dublin and Wicklow Coast in preparation for the slightly higher (and drier) topography of East Africa.
Check out the pics above from these hikes but we would also like you to get personally involved… don’t worry, no malaria and yellow sickness shots for you, just a glass (or two) of a fine Pinot Noir or Sauvignon Blanc! Below are more details (pdf) from Mr. Maguire regarding this tasteful fund-raiser (and more on the expedition itself), so have a look and come on out and grab that rare opportunity to do a good deed while having a bit of fun!
On Thursday 1st February the Transition year students going on the East Africa expedition will be hosting a wine tasting. The East Africa expedition is taking part in June 2018 with 32 students from 4th year and 5th year. The students have two big challenges on this expedition: the first and biggest challenge is Kilimanjaro where they will attempt to summit the highest free-standing mountain in the world at a height of 5895m. Students will spend 7 days attempting to conquer the mountain after which they set out on a cycling tour in the Massi Mara in Kenya for 4 days covering over 220km. Once recovered, the students make their way into Uganda to work in a school where they will teach the local students about Irish culture and where the local students will teach the St. Conleth’s students about their culture. The expedition finishes off with white water rafting on the Nile!
St. Conleth’s prides itself on its ‘coziness’ but, to be honest, sometimes things were a bit too cozy at 28 Clyde Road before our latest expansion. Now, with the Kevin D. Kelleher Wing in full use, we have room to swing as many proverbial cats as we would like! Just before Christmas, we enjoyed the Prep School’s Nativity Play in the new Performance Hall and, last Friday, Principal Kilcommons figured it would be the perfect space for a Junior School Assembly. After Mr. Kilcommons gave his ‘state of the union’ address, Mr. Sheridan’s Fifth Form took the lead, beguiling all assembled with poetry readings in both English and French. The students who took part were as talented as they were brave and now a very impressive precedent has been set for the other Forms to follow, as they too take a turn leading an assembly. Stay tuned!
Around the globe, time-honoured Christmas traditions are being replaced with bland, inoffensive, meaningless but marketable gimmicks which ring rather hollow when all are gathered around the Winter Seaonal Holiday Recyclable Plant Facsimile. The St. Conleth’s Preparatory School, however, sticks by our ethos and traditions and simply but beautifully retells the nativity, ‘the greatest story ever told’.
The now legendary production team of Howe and Hartnett somehow combined mega-cuteness with an understated eloquence of message. Ms. Kelly’s, Ms. Leary’s and Ms. Redmond’s charges were all suited up in exquisite costumes (thanks, parents!) and the assorted kings, angels, shepherds and the members of the Holy Family all performed with spirit and grace, bringing smiles and laughter to those assembled in our new Performance Hall. The Junior School Choir was also on hand to bring a fitting, perfectly pitched close to the term and our Christmas celebrations. Enjoy the pics above and video highlights below!
Perhaps a better headline for Spring, but this past Autumn, our Junior School artists were busy little bees! We already showed you some Senior School masterpieces, so it is only fair that you get a glimpse of what Ms. Mellon, Ms. Halpin and the individual class teachers have been up to:
We also wanted to clear the way for the Christmas Art avalanche which has already swept through the school, so before the snowmen, Santas and Christmas trees take over let’s take a last look at those autumn colours and creations! And, just in case you missed them, some Halloween ghouls again!
St. Conleth’s celebrated its Annual Mass in the new Sports Hall and welcomed back some special guests for the Grand Opening of the Kevin D. Kelleher Extension. The music, as usual, was amazing with Ms. Fay and DeBhal leading the School Choir and several soloists chiming in.
The con-celebrants- Frs. Paul Lavelle, Michael Collins and Noel Redmond- all have a long, warm relationship with the school and they, and Mr. Odulaing spoke movingly about the great strides made by the school and the great man, Mr. Kelleher, who made it possible. It was a significant, watershed moment for St. Conleth’s as everyone from Junior Infants to Sixth Year was able to gather comfortably in our newly extended hall and share in the Annual School Mass, a time-honoured tradition of the school. There were also tours and a Chef Mark-catered lunch for the grandees… and ice cream for the masses!
Actually, it is quite a rare occurrence that a St. Conleth’s teacher needs to ask students to ‘speak up’: it is Conlethian tradition to speak one’s mind, at length and repeatedly about topics known and unknown. Perhaps it is our strong debating tradition… perhaps it is from being prompted for party pieces at numerous dinner parties… but it definitely has something to do with Speech and Drama Czar Pat Howe’s long association with the school. We all know about his year-end, West End-ready productions such as The Lemonade Kid but valuable work is done week by Pat week-in and week-out as he visits each class and leads the boys and girls in various public speaking and acting activities. A highlight is always the Speech and Drama Exams, whereby external examiners come in to test and officially recognise our students’ prepared performances. They always leave with a smile on their faces if weary ears!
Evidently, the fat lady has still not sung…. as Past Pupil and rennaisance man Nick Kelly has continued to push boundaries and mix media in a variety of creative pursuits: first, as the main singer/songwriter of the aforementioned, seminal 1980’s alternative rock band, then as a solo artist and fluid musical collaborator while working a commercial film director and, most recently, as the writer and director of The Drummer and The Keeper, an innovative and daring look at the issues of autism and mental illness through the captivating story of a young man’s friendship with an ageing rock star. Nick was kind enough to invite our older students to a special showing of the movie and then followed it up with a Questions and Answers session back at the school in our new Performance Hall. It was a fantastic experience for the students, as these issues touch many of our lives and Nick was so open and engaging. And our film aficionados, such as Cinema Club president Rory Sweeney, particularly enjoyed this chance to hobnob with a professional. Rory recently spent time working with the Gleesons (Brendan et al) on the shooting and production of a short film and seems destined for a career in the field. Also on hand was fellow Sixth Year Alex McCarthy, cousin to The Drummer and The Keeper lead, Jacob McCarthy.
It’s this Saturday! Only 5 more sleeps till the St. Conleth’s TY Christmas Fair this Saturday, Dec. 9th, from 9 to 5! Tell your friends, family, neighbours… tell everybody!
Pre-Order Now for delivery on Saturday 9th December!
From: The Christmas Fair Committee, St Conleths Parent’s association
To whom it may concern,
We would like to introduce you to the St Conleth’s School Annual Christmas Tree Sale. This year it is being held on Saturday 10th December. This is an ideal opportunity to source a Christmas Tree for you or your business and to assist a local school in funding a worthy charity.
Since 2010, St. Conleth’s College has worked directly with the Kitatya Secondary Schoola school in Uganda, and last year with the Ever Green National school in Minali, India. More than €35,000 has been raised at the annual Tree Sale and this money has made a direct impact on the lives of school children and their communities. Projects included solar power, staff accommodation, livestock development and educational subsidies for children.
Students from St. Conleth’s have raised their own funds to travel to the schools, to live within the school communities and to exchange learning in language and culture. The legacy of these wonderful journeys has proven profound and lasting for students.
If you, your staff or customers would like to attend the sale on the 9th of December we’d be delighted to meet you and help select a tree. We will also have snacks, free tea and coffee, a range of stalls from our Transition Year students and a raffle with some great prizes.
For this raffle, we would be very grateful if you could consider donating a small prize. Any donation would be greatly appreciated and raffle proceeds too, go directly to our fund.
We have also some publicity material and would ask you please, to display the poster in your place of business. The help of local retailers and businesses in the Donnybrook and Ballsbridge areas has been invaluable in “spreading the word” every year.
Thank you for your time. If you have any queries about any aspect of the Fair, or indeed would like to pre-order your tree, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Prices are below.
May we take this opportunity to wish a Happy Christmas to you and yours!
Everyone knows that Conlethians are the coolest of cats and that 28 Clyde Road is hipster heaven but last Friday we reached new heights of hipness as Piano Teacher So-Young invited some of her musical friends by to help out with the accompaniment: there was Dave Mooney plucking the Double Bass, Conor Murray keeping the beat on the drums and So-Young herself organising the whole affair.
And who was the fourth member of the quartet? Why, a whole slew of Conlethian ivory-ticklers, students of So-Young from First Class to Fifth Year took their turn at the piano stool and under the spotlight. It was a stylishly sonorous affair and, except for the brightness and cleanliness of our brand new Performance Hall, you might have thought you had wandered into some Jazz bar in the depths of Manhattan or Chicago, such was the quality and coolness of the music. S0-Young was justifiably proud of her students and friends, and the parents and guests were very impressed, indeed, with this tasteful and pitch perfect christening of our new musical space.
Shhhh! Seniors are sitting exams in the spanking-new Performance Hall (reviews of said performances to follow) but the Juniors are up to their usual jumble of assorted hi-jinks in their spankingly newly decorated school! Next Wednesday, the annual Speech and Drama Exams will take place, an event that may fill the average youngster with palpitations but just whets the appetite of our little exuberant, extroverted, dinner-party speechifiers! And in the meantime, there has been lots of learning fun: digital adventures both in the ICT Room and when the Laptop Trolley stops in the neighbourhood; a Thanksgiving feast (complete with creamed corn!) served up by Mark, Emerson and Anna; an investigation into human organs in 1st Form (not real ones!); a trip to see Manchester City (talk about hi-jinks!) and good old-fashioned story-time in the younger classes. Stay-tuned for an update on Junior School Art!
Junior School Principal Tony Kilcommons had a dream, and despite the inevitable construction delays and the almost-as-inevitable Irish tendency to undercut any idealism and enthusiasm, he persevered… and now the Junior School boys and girls are walking, talking and learning within that dream!
Or, in Mr. Kilcommons’ own words, uttered just a few short months ago: “We are working with design company TAP Creations to invigorate the spaces created by the new building work in the school over the summer (and autumn!). We wish to give our pupils a platform to express creativity and work together in a relaxed and enjoyable environment.
The St. Conleth’s Primary Learning Programme places an emphasis on personalised learning and the installation of break-out seating areas and cluster pods will be very conducive to such a focus. Ideas from our own pupils, as well as staff, will be incorporated into the design process and we know that when it is finished, we will have a bright and visually stimulating school, of which we all can be proud.” Well, judging by the pics and video above and below, that dream has been realised!
It has taken a little while to get the new Art Room settled down, but Ms. Halpin and her art classes are now back up to her already legendary rate of masterpiece production!
Above and below you will see just a sampling of the pieces produced in just the opening weeks of the term and we hope to bring you more as the year progresses. Of course, you can also see current and ‘classic’ student pieces adorning every open space in the school. We are always proud of displaying our students’ best work and loathe to simply hide them way in storage!
We miss Mr. Kelleher everyday at St. Conleth’s but there are certain days on which we miss him more. Halloween is one: no-one (not even the various vampires, witches and Batmen) enjoyed the annual ‘Spooks’ Parade’ more than Mr. K himself. He would lead the assorted Junior terrors around the school, invading senior classes with his army of ghouls and delighting in disrupting the humdrum with a burst of creativity and fun. That this year’s Halloween festivities also marks Mr. Kelleher’s year anniversary seemed especially suitable: Mr. ODulaing and Fr. Collins presided over an assembly that perfectly mixed the celebration of the holiday with the remembrance of the man who was its ringmaster for so many years. That this day also coincided with the opening of our new sports hall seems uncanny: no-one over the last 75 years did more to promote the development of the school than Mr. K. We are not too sure if he would have personally used the ‘Fitness Suite’ (being a bit ‘old skool’ himself regarding his personal fitness regimen) but he would have understood its potential and he certainly would have been delighted with the Performance Hall which is soon to grace the treetops of Clyde Road. Mr. Kelleher loved to hear the students show their musical talents, and the Halloween assembly provided a tantalising foretaste of the treasures to come, as Eoghan Fitzmaurice’s Dubinersesque ballad and Emer Healy-Kavanagh’s classical harp piece bewitched us all.
Calling all free peoples of Middle-Earth, the Outer Rim and the United Federation of Planets! It all starts tomorrow (Thursday)! Come in early give it a toss of the dice!
TABLE-TOP AND BOARD GAMES CLUB
Newcomers of all types welcome! As all games will be explained to new arrivals
Every Monday, Wednesday & Thursday from 7:20 to 8:15 before school starts.
Venue: Room 4
Monday: Dungeons and Dragons Campaign*
Wednesday: Dungeons and Dragons Campaign
Have a favourite board game at home that you want to share with the club? Bring it in on…
Thursday: Miscellaneous one-off games from home (just tell us on the previous week)
* If you would like to join our Dungeons and Dragons campaign we will be holding an introductory session on Thursday the 18th of October. After which you should contact us for a personal intro:
Evan and Oisín in 2A! See you there!
St. Conleth’s College (Prep, Junior and Senior Schools) is open for all business on Wednesday, October 18th!
Due to a national directive in response to Hurricane Ophelia, St. Conleth’s College will be closed on Tuesday, October 17th.
Mr. Shay Keenan does not do things by halves: when he heard about the happy coincidence that there would be both junior and senior Cross Country races at Morton Stadium in Santry, he hired a bus and welcomed all comers! ‘The more, the merrier’ is the St. Conleth’s sporting philosophy and so it should be, as participation is the name of the game at our school and we make sure that no-one is ever left out. Sadly, this trip was the first in a long time which did not include our tracks and field talisman, Tony Barry. (He was busy… off trying to scupper the Budget!).
We did worry a bit for Mr. Keenan’s personal safety (and sanity), as filling a bus with Juniors and then throwing in a bunch of First and Second Years at their seasonal hyperactive peak is the not the recipe for a morning ‘milk run’ but Shay is an old hand at these things and the increased proportion of girls certainly helped settle things down (in decibel if not pitch!). As you can see form our pics above, everyone had a great time and completed the race in very good times. There will be more races ahead and if any Seniors are interested, their are efforts being made to get Athletics training up and running again! Stay tuned!
Signs of Autumn in D4: frappuccino sales plummet, Kiely’s sells more hot port, the DART is delayed because of ‘leaf-fall’ (Could not see that coming!) and Conlethian fencers start arriving at school with bags full of swag! This time, the well-travelled merry swordsmen were closer to home as the St. Conleth’s fencing contingent competed in the Dublin-based Lord Killanin Cup, culminating in an all-Conlethian final in the Under 14 Foil! Results as follows: Under 10s: Myles Moriarty-Smyth – 1st Place and Gold Medal; Mathew Sherlock – Joint 3rd Place and Bronze Medal; Under 14s: Claudio Sosa -1st Place and Gold Medal James Moriarty-Smyth – 2nd Place and Silver Medal; Luke Sherlock – 5th Place. And there is promise of more treasure as, next weekend, James and Myles head to the UK to compete in Newcastle as part of the Leon Paul Junior Series. Stay tuned!
Rugby took a back seat on Saturday for the Fifth and Sixth Form team which represented the school at the annual AIJS 5 aside soccer tournament hosted by St. Gerard’s. The team, inspired by coaches Keenan and Sheridan, played well in all four matches: winning one, losing one and drawing two. Good enough for Ireland in Italia 90, but alas these AIJS tournaments are more selective and the boys narrowly missed qualifying for the semi-finals. The boys were disappointed but should be immensely proud of their contributions throughout the morning. Wait until next year, when the boys will have had a full year of training in our new gym under their belt!
It is quite an achievement to say that one arrived at St. Conleth’s at the same time as a certain Kevin D. Kelleher and Michael O’Dea was as proud of this distinction as any other in life full of personal and professional distinctions. Michael’s life, family and legacy are as intertwined with that of St. Conleth’s as was Mr. Kelleher’s, and it is fitting in this time of such great excitement over the new KDK Wing, we also remember the man who did so much over the years to build this great school, both in bricks and mortar and in ethos and spirit. Ann Sheppard, CEO of St. Conleth’s, remembers Michael’s life-long loyalty and friendship:
It was with great sadness that we learned that Michael O’ Dea had passed away on Monday evening. Micheal had been a Trustee of St. Conleth’s since the Educational Trust was set up in 2001. He started in St. Conleth’s in 1944 as a nine-year-old pupil, the same year as Kevin started as a teacher and has been a friend to us all ever since. His brother Mark, as well as his four children – Michael, Caroline, Stephen and Joe, his niece and nephews – Ruth O’Dea, Paul, David and Ben Moore, and his grandson Sam O’Dea were all pupils with us and his grand-daughter Eva Stylianides is currently a bright spark in Second Year. He has been president of the Past Pupils Union, a proud winner (twice) of the Kinlen Cup and many of us will remember his gifts as a public speaker and his memorable voice as the official voice of Lansdowne Road for all interntational rugby matches.
My last official business with him was to seek approval to appoint Peter Gallagher as a Trustee, with which he wholeheartedly agreed. He had been so disappointed not to be able to attend our Board dinner last year. He has always been so supportive of St. Conleth’s and interested in all that was going on and thrilled that his granddaughter Eva was in the first bunch of First Year girls and was Pupil of the Year. Needless to say his contribution to the development of St. Conleth’s, as its architect, has been enormous, starting with the revamp of the kitchen around 1961. The yellow formica table, around which we all still gather, is still in great nick, a small but fitting legacy to a man who did so much to build the essence of St. Conleth’s.
We will miss him.
Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis.
Michael’s writings about St. Conleth’s:
Second Year Trevor Bolger continues to make waves in the world of junior competitive sailing. Last year he won the inaugural St. Conleth’s ‘Sailor of the Year’ Award. And just last weekend he captained the Royal Saint George racing team as it represented Ireland at the Warsaw Invitational Regatta. The Royal St. George team were invited to represent their country along with the Royal Cork Yacht Club team, the two top Optimist racing teams in the country. With Trevor ‘at the helm’ the RSGYC made the finals and came 4th overall, quite an achievement for Irish sailing. Of course, St. Conleth’s knows the RSGYC very well, as it is there that our Fifth and Sixth Formers go sailing on Fridays, hoping to follow in Trevor’s wake to sailing glory! Below you will Trevor and his team as well as our Juniors as they hit the water, with none other than Past Pupil Evan O’Connor, showing them the ropes, and the knots!
The old line, ‘Jolly Hockey Sticks!’, may have been originally intended as a ‘reverse snobbery’ slur by the begrudgers against the over-enthusiastic elite but at St. Conleth’s it is quite accurate and we actually take it as a straight compliment! Our hockey players really are jolly and enthusiastic! One year on from a historic tip-off in Herbert Park, hockey is now enjoyed by dozens of girls in both the Junior and Senior Schools and, though it is still early days, Coaches Leary and Speller have pushed the girls so hard in their development that the big hockey schools have started to take notice of those plucky players from 28 Clyde Road. The Senior School girls now practise twice a week (Tue. and Thur.), once on the full, proper pitch at Pembroke Hockey Club, where they get professional guidance from the Club coaches as well as the attention of St. Conleth’s Strength and Fitness Guru Shane Robinson. And the Junior School girls recently had their first hockey session down on the astro… another sign that co-education and girls sports are two aspects of St. Conleth’s destined for further growth and success!
Recent alumni visitors (like Michael O’Dwyer below) have noticed the changes at St. Conleth’s: the new teachers, the new building (on-going!) and, most of all, the increased female presence across the different year groups. And though loth are we to ascribe certain behavioural traits to certain genders, comment has been made (by some unreconstructed dinosaurs) that despite the increased numbers of students overall (and the scaffolding) the place seems more orderly, pleasant, aromatic and welcoming than ever and perhaps this reverie of calm has something to do with the benign influence of……..the girls? Recently we sent one of our reporters up to the Junior School for some ‘early days’ pics, as we always do, but in the past said Transition Year would often return a bit worse for wear, bearing a film canister full of fun-filled photos but also appearing as if they had just run the Mohican gauntlet! But now it is like going to Disneyland: take Ms. Dillon’s Third Form for example. Just a normal mid-morning session of Maths, with the girls and the boys participating in small groups in some hands-on learning in an atmosphere of blissful co-operation. Perhaps the boys have learned that eating one’s rubber does not always impress the co-eds? We can’t wait to see what learning adventures both girls and boys will get up to when the educational ‘nooks and crannies’ of the new Junior School campus are finished!
While other kids their age were home lost in the Amazing World of Gumball, the Moriarty-Smyths were living real-life adventures as they continued with their fencing forays on the continent:
Not content to rest on the laurels won earlier this year, the summer holidays saw the boys again continue their campaigning season into Europe; in early June they headed into deepest Gallia to attend the two day 2017 Mini Foil International Marathon hosted by CEP Paris. Both fenced extremely well and their efforts clearly showed the progress made by each of them over the season. Saturday saw Myles compete in the Boys’ Under 10 which followed an unusual four rounds of poule format with elimination after each round; multiple victories ensured he made all four rounds before going out just prior to DE. He ended the day ranked an extremely impressive 38th out of a field of 68 fencers, having after Round 3 reached a rank of 19! James fenced Boys’ Under 13 and similarly had to contended with elimination after each poule. Having made the 1st cut he likewise narrowly went out just prior to DE stage, placing a strong 55th out of 68. Stay-tuned as the Conethian fencers continue their international careers!
Our Junior and Prep School children are so busy with their various activities that we can barely keep up with them! Our ‘Co-Curricular’ section on this website needs some updating but until then, the Junior School and Prep School Curricular and Extra-Curricular Activities booklet contains all the necessary details for activities during the Academic Year 2017-2018. Most activities start this week, so get involved and have some fun!
Alas, the Kevin D. Kelleher Wing is not quite finished (builders and their promises!) and we must wait a little while longer for all those architectural goodies, but school started with some style, nonetheless. The Junior and Senior Infants seemed distinctly unperturbed by the scaffolding, getting right to work (and play) under the watchful eye and encouraging words of Ms. Kelly and Ms. Redmond, and First Form seemed delighted with their new teacher, Ms. Leary, while the older Junior Forms also seemed happy to be back amongst welcoming faces and in friendly places. First Years admittedly seemed a bit nervous, as did our new arrivals in the other Senior Years but the ice was quickly broken by a few classroom quips and canteen-queue tussles and by close of business on Thursday, fledgling friendships were flourishing in the proverbial Conlethian calm.
We are sure all our students, old and new, are eagerly looking forward to the start of school (and perhaps their parents even more so!) so we are going to give you all the information necessary to make it a great start. Click for start of school dates and times for the Junior/Preparatory and Senior Schools. Booklists and information on the uniform and the canteen are always available under Calendars and Information, but if you are in a rush, here are direct links (Junior, Senior) to our uniform supplier, and our Canteen deposit page on Easy Payments Plus. And below are the Booklists, along with the welcome letters sent earlier this summer. Enjoy this last weekend and we will see you next week, bright-eyed and bushy-tailled, at 28 Clyde Road!
Preparatory and Junior School:
Second Form through Fifth Form Welcome Letter
Second Form Booklist
Third Form Booklist
Fourth Form Booklist
Fifth Form Booklist
Sixth Form Booklist
(For First Years we also have a special publication: A Guide to First Year)
It is understandable that students and their parents and teachers get obsessed with the ‘points race’ when it comes to the Leaving Certificate: for better or worse, that mid-August sum is quite significant when it comes to plotting one’s immediate future. And this year’s Results Day was particularly nerve-wracking, as a new system of grades was instituted with Hs and Os replacing ABCs and totals no longer finishing in multiples of 5. Mr. ODulaing and even Ms. Hopkins were pushed to their arithmetical limits mastering the new arcane numerology necessary to find out if you were likely to be doing Medicine at UCD with Sean Pettitt or Basketweaving in Bangor with the kid from the next estate. We will soon do further number-crunching of the results overall but we can say already that there were many satisfied smiles on the day, as you can see below!
St. Conleth’s recognises the value of those CAO points but we also know there is much more to the education and development of children and young men and women. Coincidentally, on that day of the cut-and-dry points totals, we also received a letter from parents, Irene Bloemraad and David St-Jean, who wished to thank St. Conleth’s for all the good things that made up their son Maxime’s year at the school. We will leave you with their points!
We write to express our thanks for everything the school has done during our year in Ireland. Please feel free to share our very positive experience with other prospective families.
St. Conleth’s College was a wonderful school. It is not easy, as a teenager, to transition to a new school, especially when this involves moving to a new country and learning a new educational system. Maxime’s experience was made more of a challenge by the fact that he was coming into Third Year and had to catch up on two years of material for his Junior Certificate exam. His teachers were very supportive in making sure that he succeeded.
The St. Conleth’s students deserve special praise. They welcomed Maxime without question, including him in their activities, and provided a warm, friendly community. St. Conleth’s small school environment meant that he quickly felt comfortable. The students have a strong ethos of embracing the unique interests and talents of their peers—letting them be individuals—while including and accepting everyone within the community.
Despite being a small school, Maxime had the opportunity to try new activities that he had never done before. He was welcomed into the rugby team and enjoyed learning and playing the sport. He participated in a math challenge team. He became involved in debating and really enjoyed participating in regional debating tournaments. He has now developed an enthusiasm for debating that he plans to take to his next school…
Thank you Irene and David, and best of luck to you and Maxime!
28 Clyde Road, Apparently! Only our older students will remember personally the last, heady days of the Celtic Tiger when cranes crowded the horizon and a postage stamp apartment near Five Lamps cost a half a million. Another feature of the high times was the absolute scarcity of tradesmen and builders, especially during August, the traditional month of “builders’ holidays”, when you had a better chance of getting a chippy named Murphy or a sparky named Kelly on the Costa da Sol then in Phibsborough. Well, as we all know, times have changed, and that is good news regarding the construction of the Kevin D. Kelleher Wing. Our Fundraising and Development specialist, Mr. Carvill, has been keeping an eye on things better than a quantity surveyor from Cavan, and he reports back that the bricks and beams are going in on schedule and that the coming weeks will certainly see our new gymnasium, performance hall and fitness suite taking shape. Enjoy the pics below and stay tuned as we get closer to opening day!
Mr. Kelleher would surely be proud of the drive and efficiency with which Robert Quinn Ltd. have taken to the construction of the new wing which is to bear his illustrious name. It is interesting that Mr. K’s most famous rugby feat has been in the news again thanks to ‘Sonny’ Bill Williams’s recent misdemeanours against the Lions. Mr. K was justly proud of sending Colin Meads to the showers all those years ago, and was not shy about recounting the event over the breakfast table, but he was never one to dwell solely on the past. He knew that those who stand still inevitably get left behind. Mr. K., himself, oversaw several expansions to St. Conleth’s and we know he would be thrilled with the next step in development, now taken by CEO Ann Sheppard, Principals Donal ODulaing and Tony Kilcommons and the Board of Trustees.
Indeed, St. Conleth’s never sits still… and continuous development is so important to the school that Mr. John Carvill has taken on a new position which will allow him the time to organise and co-ordinate the fundraising which is essential to the future development of the school. Read all about it in Mr. Carvill’s Development Newsletter and check out the photos and video of the early stages of construction. Stay tuned for more news as St. Conleth’s strives to be bigger and better from the very first day of school this autumn!
Those highly paid and well-benefitted civil servants of the Department of Education are certainly earning their keep! We recently enjoyed a one-day ‘drive-by’ inspection and earned an overwhelmingly positive appraisal (Inspector’s feedback), with the girls and boys of 1B (and their teachers) impressing their official visitor…for six class periods in a row! This follows several subject specific inspections and a ‘Whole School Evaluation’ not too long ago, all of which may be read about in previous ‘News’ posts. But the sun may be setting on the ‘Age of the Cigera’ as the Department is now promoting ‘School Self-Evaluation’ as the way forward. Or as they say themselves: School self-evaluation (SSE) is a collaborative, reflective process of internal school review. It provides teachers with a means of systematically looking at how they teach and how pupils learn and helps schools and teachers to improve outcomes for learners (link). And St. Conleth’s has responded enthusiastically to this challenge, with Assistant Principal Ms. NiAonghusa leading the way with a comprehensive survey of students and parents about their perception of the overall effectiveness of the school, with special emphasis on assessment and learning, numeracy and literacy. Ms. NiAonghusa’s report on her findings can be found here and please do stay tuned for more news and information from St. Conleth’s implementation of School Self-Evaluation.
Rumour has it that the tiger is back and with it, for the lucky ones, the custom of multiple, exotic, annual family holidays! So, to help you plan that mid-term adventure in Thailand (and/or the long weekend in Bundoran) we attach the school calendars for next year.
The Parents’ Associations not only do loads for the school: they also write it up and publish it in a slick, attractive and easily digestible package! Michael Mansfield and Peter O’Neill, Chairpersons of the Senior and Junior School Parents’ Associations, and Paul Allen, Chairperson Emeritus and Editor in Chief, organised a small army of active parents and once again they have finished it off just in time for you to pack it away for some beach reading! Click below and enjoy!
Maestros Howe and Hartnett and the Prep School Team of Ms. Kelly, Ms. Murphy and Mr. O’Brien once managed to create a masterpiece out of a cacophony of diverse voices, talents and story-lines. Mr. Kelleher would have particularly loved this Summer Spectacular as The Jungle Book is one of the few ‘modern’ books to have made his quite selective list of approved classics! And who does not love the simple but timeless characters and themes of Toy Story and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
Ms. Hartnett’s Junior School Choir were in top form opening the show, thrilling parents and guests with their spot-on vocal performances and Mr. Howe led each class through a skit which perfectly matched the class’s particular strengths in performance and cuteness. And the school hall itself served as the perfect backdrop, with artwork from all the Junior School classes covering the walls and demonstrating the creativity of the kids, and the perseverance of Art Teacher Ms. Long and all the class teachers. Check out the snaps of the concert above and the artwork below. Bravo, boys and girls!
Mr. Keenan is at Irishtown Stadium so often these days, rumours are flying that he has a hand in coaching one of the Irish youth soccer teams which are based there. And it may well be true: Shay has rugby, athletics, tennis, basketball, cricket and a bit of snooker on the resumé so why not soccer, too? Well, this time, it was for the Junior School Sportsday and Shay has this annual event so well-planned and organised that it always runs like clockwork, especially when the rain keeps away. Wellies were thrown, penalties were taken, the jumps were both long and high, and the races were run, with and without the sacks. And medals were handed out like confetti, much to Shay’s ‘old school’ consternation about supply decreasing demand etc… But then someone handed him a serving of the legendary Herbots’ Belgian waffles and ice cream and all was forgiven! This tasty treat proved to be the ideal pre-(and post)-race nourishment though we imagine a few backseats needed a bit of cleaning when the day was done. The Parents’ Race is becoming more impressive every year: not because they are getting any faster, it is just the spectator Staff are getting older! (Which explains why the Staff Race itself was cancelled: due to the previous day’s efforts vanquishing (as in ‘drawing with’) the Sixth Years.) Amongst the kids themselves, there were too many inspiring wins (and a few hilarious ‘fails’) to mention any one in particular- except for the Junior Infants doing a spot-on ensemble Forrest Gump impersonation: they took off on their 50 metre dash with enthusiasm, revved it up in the first 10 metres, hit the 25 in good form and were in reasonable condition bearing down on the finish line… but they just didn’t stop! Shocked parents laughed and laughed and then grew a little worried as the little black spots faded over the horizon, so they immediately set off in pursuit- well, after another serving of those Herbots waffles, that is!
Whenever chess makes the headlines, the other great Conlethian tradition, fencing, is sure to follow! Luke Sherlock, Sixth Form and Claudio Sosa, First Year, have both been awarded an Adrian Lee & Partners Fencing scholarship for 2017. Adrian Lee is both a past pupil and a past parent of St. Conleth’s. These scholarships are based solely on competitive fencing performance to date and potential to perform in the future. This annual scholarship covers fencing expenses such as memberships fees, lessons, competition expenses such as entries and transportation. Stay tuned as Luke moves into the Senior School and joins Claudio and other notable fencers such as James Moriarty-Smyth and Michael Li. More medals and trophies are sure to come St. Conleth’s way!
Yes, the motion has been carried: St. Conleth’s is the pre-eminent school in the country for student debating. We have seen repeatedly how the Senior School debaters dominate their field, and now the Juniors are starting to do the same. Fifth Year Oisín Dowling, one of our Senior School champion debaters, provides this report on the recent Association of Irish Junior Schools Debate which is always hosted by St. Conleth’s.
On Wednesday, the 10th of May, St. Conleth’s became a proud host for junior debaters, ranging from 10-12 years of age, whom will surely become the leaders of tomorrow. Several primary schools assembled for their various prepared debates on a variety of motions ranging from the serious such as renegotiating voting rights and decisions to arm our police to the outright hypothetical decisions to attend Hogwart’s School for Witchcraft and Wizardry if given the choice and determining once and for all if debates are indeed a waste of time.
The debaters were all judged by veterans of the industry: Conlethians and college students et al were full of congratulations by the end for the talent possessed by the future politicians and barristers. It was unanimously agreed that all competitors have strong debating careers ahead of them. The school wishes also to extend their congratulations to the Alexandra college team that won overall and of course our thanks to Dr. Fallon for organising the tournament and the various staff who ensured all were kept happy during their visit.
Second Form’s First Holy Communion took place on a sunny Saturday on May 6th, last. Another first that day was the fact that there were two girls to celebrate the Sacrament that day with the boys in St. Conleths! The girls were beautiful in white dresses alongside the boys in their smart blazers. Our chaplain, Fr. Fachtna celebrated mass in St. Mary’s, Haddington Road, and he has got to know the children as they progressed through the year. Parents, families, godparents, grandparents, teachers and Ms. Ann Sheppard all returned to the school afterwards for a welcome tea/coffee and lovely spread put on by the parents of 3rd Form. A memorable day for all!
The front steps of 28 Clyde Road have always been a favourite spot for the photographic capture of significant moments in the lives of Conlethians but we have to admit that those arrayed in smiling ranks have not always been the purest in mind and motive, such as the Sixth Years pausing briefly after their Graduation ceremony and before a raucous night of celebration. How refreshing to have a chance then to take the snap above, of surely the most angelic boys and girls in Greater Dublin!
The 2017 AIJS Athletics Meeting was hosted by St Conleth’s in sunny Irishtown Stadium on Wednesday 26th April. Sixteen teams from ten different Junior Schools meant that there were 240 athletes competing on the day, with plenty of support on the sidelines from parents and teachers leading to a great atmosphere for the competitors. In the girls section, Mount Anville and Teresian School had another ding-dong battle this year at the top of the leaderboard with Mount Anville eventually prevailing by a point.
The leading boys team and overall winners was a superbly drilled Castlepark team who eventually pulled well clear of a strong St. Michael’s squad. Hosts St. Conleths had their best ever finish coming in 3rd place in the boys section and 5th out of the 16 teams overall. Well done to Lucas, Joseph and Luke who won gold medals in the high jump, long jump and 5th From 200 metres respectively. Mr. Keenan, aided by an army of parent volunteers, PE staff members and Transition Year conscripts ensured that the meeting was run as efficiently as ever.
Last Sunday saw the St. Conleth’s fencers foray north for the final competition of the 2016- 2017 Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. Once again, the merry band returned with medals aplenty and trophies galore: In the Under 14 Boys Foil, Claudio Sosa won the Gold and James Moriarty-Smyth took the Bronze, with the pair having met at Semi-Final stage. In the Under 12 Boys Foil, Luke Sherlock won the Gold and in the Under 10 Mixed Foil, Myles Moriarty-Smyth won the Bronze and Matthew Sherlock placed 5th. Well done to the boys (and their tireless parents) on a tremendous year of multiple trophies in multiple countries and the continuation of a proud Conlethian tradition!
St. Conleth’s alumni brothers, Kyrill (2012) and Artyom Zorin (2013), were the Wozniak and Jobs of their time when they graced the halls of 28 Clyde Road, winning the Technology Section of the Young Scientist competition and repeatedly amazing their teachers and classmates with their rare combination of technological genius, common sense and honest enthusiasm. Their old school project, Zorin OS, is now a global project and Artyom fills us in on what is happening with our favourite social, digital entrepreneurs:
We’ve been constantly working to make our operating system even better over the past 4 years since we finished school. Kyrill graduated from Trinity this past December, but I decided to defer from university to focus on the business.
After nearly 9 years of development and 12 versions on, Zorin OS is on track to reach its 17 millionth download next week. We have users in homes, schools, businesses and even governments around the world. Last summer we got word that a city in Italy began moving its entire municipality from Windows to Zorin OS. We’re now working on new tools that will allow even more organisations and schools to make the switch to Zorin OS. They will help fund the next phase of our company: building the computing platform for the developing world.
Computers could have an enormous impact on people in countries like India and China. However, the price of traditional PCs have always been out of reach of the people than could benefit from them most.
More importantly than merely creating the most affordable PC on the market, we’re re-imagining its software to be as useful as possible for our users. As most of the people we target won’t have reliable access to the Internet, we’ll be pre-loading the most important parts of the Internet onto the computer itself. They will finally have access to the tools and software to let them work and run their businesses. Even more meaningful will be the educational content shipped with every PC: Wikipedia, videos from Khan Academy, textbooks, resources about health and apps to teach a full school curriculum, just to name a bit.
With this new venture, we want to provide billions of people tools & knowledge with the power to improve their opportunities, their livelihoods and their lives.
For more information on Zorin OS, see the brothers’ website https://zorinos.com or on Facebook: https://zorinos.com.
Well, our Sixth Formers may not quite be members of that mysterious group of elites who secretly control the world but we like to think that they have proven, over the course of the year and especially during their challenging Confirmation preparation course, that they are the best and brightest young Catholic gentlemen around! And let us not forget Agustina, who made history as the first girl ever confirmed at St. Conleth’s. The celebrant of the sacramental mass at St. Mary’s was the Very Reverend Enda Cunningham and the ceremony captured perfectly the significance of this important step in the development of our chosen faith and ethos. James Clancy read a thought-provoking Communion Reflection and he and his classmates gave the occasion its due importance and respect. Afterwards, the party moved to Marco Pierre White’s restaurant in Donnybrook and the select few who made it in to school on Friday were treated to hot chocolate in Insomnia, a rollicking ramble around the city and the Senior School Concert in the afternoon!
Conlethian kids are many things… intelligent, athletic, creative, devilishly handsome, knowledgeable about LOTR and Star Wars trivia… all the important things, but one thing that most of them are not, is shy. Conlethians are always eager to put up their hands (or just call out) when questions are asked or volunteers sought, even if the outcome of said volunteerism is still in doubt. In other words, there is no doubt that if St. Conelth’s was around in 71 BC, Crassus would have had even more work to do after asking, ‘Who is Spartacus?’ Luckily, the questions asked nowadays at St. Conelth’s, not far from the Appian Way, are more like: ‘Who would like to be a guest conductor of the No. 1 Army Band?’ And the response was so overwhelming that a section process was then employed, with Second Year Jack O’Connor correctly guessing the regular conductor’s nation of origin (Australia). Jack was joined by several Junior and Senior School students in taking their turn directing the wind, strings and percussion. Our visitors, from the captain conductor to the fourth trombone, were, as always, friendly, good-humoured and, above all, extremely talented: a credit to an Irish Army institution that dates back to 1923. A brilliant performance, with plenty of booming bass, to stretch the auditorium for the School Concert soon to come!
Only in the Junior School Annual Internal Soccer League could you find a final pairing of Boca Juniors V Falkirk! And the students tried hard to emulate their namesakes, with ‘Falkirk’ playing a rather dour but effective Scottish style and the ‘Boca’ boys opting for samba soccer! Mr. Keenan started with the Prep School in early morning, then 5th and 6th Form mid-morning and 2nd-4th Forms in the afternoon. There were thrills, spills and a few tears and tantrums. Only some players received medals but all received juice and crisps, which made it worthwhile for everyone involved. A big thank-you to Mr. Keenan and the parents who lent a helping hand!
The Conleth’s fencing contingent has been in action again both domestically and abroad. Saturday 25th March saw James, Myles and Claudio fence in Poland at the Challenge Wratislava. Claudio ended the day ranked a tremendous 30th in the U-13 Boys Foil while James finished 192nd out of the field of 230 fencers. Myles competed in the Under 11s and ranked an impressive 106th out of 172. Seven days later, and all three plus the Sherlock brothers were back on piste, this time competing in the Irish Nation Youth Open held at Loreto Abbey Dalkey and marking the end of the domestic season. Again results were impressive: Myles took Gold in the Mixed Under 10s with Mathew taking Bronze. It was a similar story in the Under 14 Boys with Claudio taking Gold and James the Bronze. Luke finished 6th in the Under 12 Boys category. The St. Conleth’s fencers have once again laid down the gauntlet for the chessmen and the debaters!
… of St. Conleth’s. The pupils and teachers of both the Junior and Senior Schools have us run ragged trying to keep up! Look what they get up to in just a week: Emilio won the St. Conleth’s Spelling Bee and made the 4th Round of the Eason’s Dublin Final, with several classmates in attendance; Our Junior School swimmers competed gamely at the Willow Park Swimming; Mr. Bolger and the TYs began their Green School Re-invogaration programme; Mr. Keenan continued his integration of gymnastics into the PE curriculum; 6th Year took a healthy stroll around Herbert Park and refuelled at Lolly and Cooks; Ms. Long continued to inspire the Juniors in the art room; Mr. Lonergan led his 6th Years on their Geography Fieldwork and Mr. Porzadny encouraged 3rd Forms to get moving in the Conference Room. And stay tuned for the week ahead: more Orals, Confession, Confirmation and the School Spring Concert are all on the agenda!
The luxurious setting for the Parents Associations Annual Social Event was the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dún Laoghaire and the Conlethian parents came with the fashion to match. The fare was robust as well as genteel with an old-fashioned hog roast the centre-piece (along with Fianna Fáil Councillor and alumnus Frank Kennedy) and an array of haute cuisine making up the surrounding buffet. But the stunning style and gourmet gastronomy were only the appetisers to the real event: the easy, friendly mixing of St. Conleth’s parents and the accompanying conversation and craic. It is no coincidence that the same cozy yet exciting atmosphere is the most defining attribute of the school, itself. Well done to chairmen Peter O’Neill and Michael Mansfield and all the PA Committee members on another smashing success!
Well, it is about Coach Eoin ‘Noctor J’ and his basketballers, both Junior and Senior School versions, shaking things up on the Irish Schools Basketball scene. We have had the pleasure of attending four different SDBL and Dublin U19 and U16 Finals and our First and Second Year teams are following in their ‘eurosteps’ with Second Years winning a thriller recently in OT and then a close, quality loss by 3 points in the Dublin Plate Final. First Years had a respectable close loss to perennial power Pres.-Bray and are into the SDBL play-off ladder. But most impressive of all was the Junior School’s team victory over Castlepark earlier in the season and then close loss to the same team in the AIJS Tournament Final. We have been going to this tournament for years and this was by far our best finish. Just wait till the new extension is built and we have a full-sized basketball court on which to practice. The boys and girls will be leaping to new heights and shooting out the lights!
We do not just pay lip service to the sacraments at St. Conleth’s! Yes, there is the social aspect to each step which our children take in the development of their faith, and every family marks these occasions with different emphasis and significance, but as guardians of the progressive Catholic ethos exemplified by our founder, Bernard Sheppard, we make sure each of our sacramental candidates approach these important events with due reverence. Of course, this does not mean it cannot be fun, as any witness to the visits of our friends in the Carmelite Order to our Confirmation class can attest. The Confirmation class (see below) is also very lucky to have Br. Noel and Fr. Jim who visit every Monday morning in the oratory to discuss spiritual matters in a relaxed, peaceful and good-humoured setting.
Continued spiritual guidance from our special visitors, the classroom teachers and the priests of St. Mary’s-Haddington Road has been ongoing since September for Second Form (Communion) and Sixth Form (Confirmation) as they prepare for their respective Sacraments. Recent preparation has included a beautiful Family Mass for Second Form in St Mary’s where the school choir sang beautifully. The Ceremony of Light for Confirmation was performed by Head of Pastoral Care David Hickey and the Conference Room was decorated wonderfully for the occasion (see below). Practice continues for both classes as the Sacrament of Reconciliation takes place in Avila House on the 5th of April with the school choir again accompanying the candidates. The big day fast approaches for Confirmation candidates also as they will walk down St Mary’s Church to meet their families and sponsors on the morning of the 6th of April.
Like the speaker in a medieval Irish poem or prayer, our Junior Schoolers have been out in the elements: Our Fifth and Sixth Formers came third in the AIJS Swimming Gala in Castlepark, showing that all hose trips down to Sportsco for Friday Swimming have done more than just fray the nerves of the attendant teachers! And, this being Ireland, running over grass is what we do and Fifth and Sixth Form recently competed in the Parkside Schools Cross Country race in aid of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. A great cause indeed (see letter below) and as you can tell from the photos, there was great craic at both events!
For years St. Conleth’s múinteoirí Gaeilge have been providing enough ceol agus craic to fill the whole school year, let alone just a double-seachtaine, but they certainly déan a ndícheall leading up to St. Patrick’s Day! Both our Junior and Senior School teachers have crammed i bhfad níos mó into 28 Clyde Road, turning it into the Gaeltacht is galánta this side of Carna! The páistí beaga gathered in the Conference Room with Mr. Ahern and Mr. Sheridan, a dynamic duo of Senior and Junior teachers, for Tráth Na gCeist, answering questions (sometimes hilariously) about everything Irish from MacBride to Macklemore while the déagóiríall took part in the traditional poc fada at Herbert Park, a noted gathering spot for dangerous Fenians. Bhí sceitimíní ag teacht ar na déagóirí their own table quizzes on Irish themes and First Years are particularly busy rehearsing with Ms. Fay for a special ‘Busker’s Corner’ on Thursday: Coirnéal na Ceoltóirí Sráide. So stay tuned for more nuacht na hÉireann at St. Conleth’s!
Gillian O’Leary, chess mom, enthusiast and enabler, reports on the wild weekend which wrapped up the Junior School Chess Team’s season:
Leinster Primary School’s Chess Finals
St. Conleth’s is very proud of its four chess teams who all qualified for the finals of the Leinsters Primary Schools Chess League. In Division 2, the Conleths D team, Alex Corrigan, Charlie Kennedy, Patrick Coleman and Michael Sweeney, put up a brave battle, but were beaten in the quarter finals by Scoil Lorcain. Also, in division 2, the Conleths C team, punched well above their weight! They drew with CUS in the quarter-finals, and went through to the semi-finals on tie-break. In the semi-final, they also drew to the Kildare champions, Two Mile House, but unfortunately, lost out on tie-break. Their final match was against Scoil Lorcain to determine the third and fourth place, and again the C team drew! Another great result, but unfortunately, were pipped into fourth place on tie-break. The team, comprising Richard Caldwell, Luke Sherlock, Jude Moes and Liam Hunter, can be very proud of their achievement. In division 1, the Conleths B team came fifth overall. Andrew Morgan, Louis McGovern, Luke Timlin and Sean Caldwell played really well over the whole season. Only half a point separated 3rd, 4th and 5th positions. This team will be back again next year!
The Conleths A team, Eoin Hunter, Richard Sheahan, Jamie Kennedy and Johnny Corr, had led the table for the season. Their final match was against their chief rivals, St. Mary’s Haddington Road, and it came down to the final match of the league. St. Conleth’s drew the match with St. Marys, but overall, St. Marys had a better final result and won the title. Congratulations to St. Marys! And many congratulations to the A team for a strong, consistent performance over the whole season. A special call-out to Jamie, who won every single one of his matches! A big ‘Thank You’ to all the Mums & Dads and Mr. Kilcommons who came out on Leinster Finals day to support the teams. It was great to have so many supporters on the day, and the boys really appreciated it. A special thanks also to all the Mums who helped out with the transport and supervision of matches during the school term. It would not be possible to have such an active and competitive chess community in St. Conleths without this support. Thank You!
Alex Baburin Team Chess Competition
And if that wasn’t enough chess action for one weekend, St. Conleth’s teams were back in action again on Sunday, 5th March in a team competition run by Alex Baburin. There were four teams from St. Conleths. The Conleths A team, determined to put their runners-up place from yesterday, behind them, went out and stormed to victory with a clean sheet winning all 6 matches. In addition, they took home three board prizes (highest score on the board!) Many congratulations!
Two more Conleth’s teams represented by the Caldwell brothers, Sean and Richard, Jude Moes and Turlough (Dineen) and Charlie Kennedy, Alex Corrigan, Patrick Coleman and Scott Herbots played really well, and finished strongly in a field of 28 teams. A special mention to the team from second class – the future chess stars! Well done to Liam Hunter, David MacNicholas, Harry Groarke and Tadhg O’Connell. The team finished 12th overall, and took home three prizes – best board 1 and board 4 for the younger teams, and runner-up board prize overall for board 1.
…when you have a book in your hand! Apparently, reports of the death of the book were greatly exaggerated. Yes, the old dog-eared paperbacks and weighty cloth-bound tomes were missing in action for a while as Kindles and ebooks became all the rage, and dare we say people became more accustomed to reading news feeds, FaceBook posts and tweets than anything with a full sentence, nevermind an actual paragraph. Well, as often the kids have set us right and have led us back to what we were missing: the sales of books (the real ones) are climbing across the globe and credit can be given to events like the Road Dahl Day and the Junior PA Book Sale earlier in the year and the recent World Book Day festivities. For the latter, the Junior School teachers ran a ‘Design Your Own Cover’ competition and the numbers nd quality of entries attest to the enduring love of children for their books. The winners were: JI- Ronan; SI- Alistair; 1st Form-Conor; 2nd- Mohnnad; 3rd- Myles; 4th- Dawson; 5th- Edwin and 6th- Riccardo, but everyone enjoyed the competition and the special awards ceremony in the Conference Room.
Ms. Dillon took the ‘retro’ vibe even further and encouraged her 3rd Form charges to investigate the outdoor games that their parents and grandparents played as kids. The current generation were shocked to learn of the shenanigans such as ‘tag’ and ‘tip-the-can’ which were got up to, with nary a mobile phone or GPS tracer attached! Then Ms. Dillon had them tell each other all about it in our outdoor classroom: yes, that bluish blur on your screen behind the Pokemon really exists, and it is available for unlimited, free download!
Preparations for the annual Past Pupils Dinner is quite similar to those made before the visit of a head of state from a Caucasian ‘republic’: the hedges are clipped back, the recycling bins are surreptitiously emptied into the Dodder, the good silverware is well hidden, extra security cameras are wired up and Willie takes up his customary position on the roof with his high-powered sniper’s rifle. You just do not take chances when this crowd come to town! On a serious note, this year’s dinner will simply not be the same without Mr. Kelleher there to greet every single alumnus by name, cajole them and good-naturedly threaten them with retroactive expulsion. Mr. KDK would be justifiably proud, though, of the record-breaking numbers at this year’s dinner, many no doubt coming to mark the passing of ‘Mr. St. Conleth’s.’ Ronan O’Kelley has been keeping his Thatcherite schedule compiling lists, making mildly threatening Tweets and rolling his eyes when another current teacher joins the ‘comped’ list. Surely it will all be okay on the night and rumours that ‘The ROK’ plans on sitting ‘Black’ Tom Moylan and those troublesome 2007s out in the gazebo are just that… for now! Well the first salvo of polite applause for this year’s guest speaker is just hours away but until then amuse yourself with these class photos of Conlethians in those halcyon, hirsute days:
All future (and potential) Junior School parents are invited to the school on Monday for a special talk by Arthur Godsil on that significant first step into formal education: the move into primary or junior school. Mr. Godsil is the principle power behind Godsil Education (link), Ireland’s premier educational consultancy. A frequent media commentator, keynote presenter and consultant on international and domestic educational matters, Mr. Godsil is committed to a strengths-based educational philosophy and has a unique perspective on the pressures and opportunities which are encountered by both child and parent as they negotiate that first significant educational transition. Our Junior School Principal, Mr. Tony Kilcommons, and our Preparatory School Principal, Dolores Kelly, will join Arthur in presenting the St. Conleth’s model within this broader context and in answering specific questions which parents may have about the school years ahead.
All four St. Conleth’s Junior School Chess teams have qualified for the finals! Just when the debaters have established a firm rhetorical grip on the headlines, the Chess boys come back fighting proving that we are All-Ireland class in at least these two extracurricular activities!
The two teams in division one will have two matches each on Finals Day, whereas the two teams in Division 2 are in a knock-out competition. All quarter-finalists in Division 2 will receive medals. Well done to all teams on their achievements so far! Here are the final standings of the Primary Chess Leagues, along with the schedule for Finals day on Saturday 4th March. A big ‘thank-you’ to Gillian O’Leary and all the other parents who help keep such a busy chess schedule rolling and Baburin Incorporated for instilling some of those Grandmaster-type moves!
Back in the days before our culture evolved to the heights of meme creation, we used to pass around little ironic jokes that made us feel smart and smile. Sometimes we even said these jokes face-to-face, and not on Skype or Facetime. A common theme was the omnipotence of certain individuals: Demba Ba and Chuck Norris most notably. Well, if anyone deserves to make that a trinity of awesomeness, especially from a Conlethian perspective, it is Conor White… and in this case, drop the irony. Conor White can actually unscramble eggs. And, yes, Conor White did count to infinity… twice. When he was serving as School Captain in 2014-2015, the administration basically turned the keys over to him and he ran the school. Apparently, UCD has now done the same: he was recently spotted showing the infamous Jean-Claude Trichet around UCD… and giving him tips about post-Brexit fiscal policy. Somehow, perhaps through the saintly power of bi-location, Conor also found time to run our Debating Seminar for incoming Senior School students and coach Fifth Year duo Harry Mansfield and Tomás Clancy into the Oxford Schools Debating Finals. Oh yes, he also picked up his Ad Astra award, the prestigious scholarship for academic excellence, university involvement and leadership. Just another week for Conor White, the only man on earth who can speak Braille…and make onions cry…and make a snowman out of rain…
At St. Conleth’s, students, teachers and parents often share in the enjoyment of a school event but rarely have we seen a ‘feel-good factor’ to the extent of that which was generated over the weekend by the Junior School Choir’s participation in the Peace Proms at the RDS. Primary kudos must go to Ms. Eimar Hartnett, who worked tirelessly in the weeks leading up to the event, getting the boys and girls pitch perfect. The class teachers and parents also pitched in, making sure all the young choristers got to their many practice sessions. And of course, the students themselves: they put in the ‘overtime’ to get there, and on the day they pulled a ‘Tom Brady’ and nailed it. Granted, there was a mood that could best be described as ‘pleasantly somnambulant’ in the Junior School on Monday morning, but it was certainly well-earned and well-deserved! Proud Parent Michael Sheahan describes what it was like to be there on Sunday night:
A memorable nigh! 2000 children singing together on stage, from 52 school choirs, including St. Conleths JS Choir, an orchestra, pipers, drummers, dancers and a capacity crowd of 4000 in the RDS on Sunday night. A 2 hour avalanche of sound, excitement and sheer joy. I dont think those present will ever forget the experience. Well done to Noelle for suggesting Conleth’s involvement, to Mr K, Ms Kelly, and Kathrin for looking after our boys on the night, but especially to Eimar Hartnett who has done wonders with this choir in such a short time…PS I was not crying all through “Heal the World” and “Ireland’s call”..it was just some dust in my eye or something..
Check out Michael’s video on the PA’s Facebook page!
Chances are that if you are a Fifth or Sixth Class student, you are a bit nervous about making that transition into secondary school, and if you are not, your parents certainly are! You have already seen our Guide to First Year. Now we are running two seminars on Senior School activities for 5th and 6th Class Conlethians who plan on attending our Senior School and those from other primary schools who are interested. And we have chosen two activities which have become synonymous with St. Conleth’s: Debating and Chess.
First up, this Saturday, February 4th, 12:00-14:00, is our ‘Introduction to Debating and Public Speaking’. If you know St. Conleth’s at all, you know that we have dominated Irish school debating for the last decade decade and a half, winning multiple Leinster and All-Ireland titles and basically serving as a feeder school for the Irish Student Debating Team. Read all about our recent rhetorical exploits here but register for Saturday’s workshop to get hands-on instruction from two of our most decorated debating alumni.
Then, on Saturday, February 11th, 12:00 to 2:00, Grandmaster Alex Baburin will lead the St. Conleth’s College Secondary School Chess Workshop. Alex has been representing Ireland as its No. 1 ranked chess player for years, and he has also been passing on those skills to our Juniors as an after-school Chess teacher. The fact that St. Conleth’s Junior School are current Leinster and All-Ireland Chess Champions attests to his talent and teaching ability. Now, in this seminar, Alex will demonstrate how moving to secondary school affects your chess game (and vice versa!).
St. Conleth’s Senior School is a greta place to be and debating and chess play big parts in the fun and the learning experience!
St. Conleth’s parents are tireless in their support of the school, from concerts to fundraisers to chaperoning excursions to classroom presentations, and they deserve a night of their own, where they can just enjoy each other’s company and perhaps do a wee bit of networking. Our intrepid PA Chairmen, Peter O’Neill and Michael Mansfield, have arranged a Social Event on March 24th for both Junior and Senior School Parents in the salubrious setting of the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Judging by the mouth-watering details below, it seems sure to be a hit and places are limited, so buy your tickets early (through Easypayments) to assure your place.
And here are some pics from last year’s event. Don’t miss out on the fun!
You have to admit: the fencing crowd comes up with some pretty wicked names for their competitions and trophies. This past weekend, for example, the Conlethian contingent of young fencers were competing in the ‘Excalibur Cup’. How cool is that? You surely feel more Harry Pottery or Tolkienesque competing for the Excalibur Cup, rather than the Johnstone Paint Trophy, for instance, or dare I say, the Vinnie Murray Cup. And as is becoming quite the norm, the St. Conleth’s cohort of fencers left the Excalibur Cup with a considerable collection of trophies and medals (and a good bit of swag):
Under 10 Mixed Foil: Myles Moriarty-Smyth- Bronze Medal, Mathew Sherlock- 7th Place
Under 12 Mixed Foil: Luke Sherlock-Gold Medal
Under 14 Mixed Foil: Claudio Sosa-Gold Medal, James Moriarty-Smyth-Bronze Medal