Past Pupil Philip Lee (Class of 1975) has become Ireland’s first ever European Champion in fencing! He won the European Veterans Championships in Cognac in France in early June, in the ‘Over 60’ age category in men’s foil. Yes, just a few years shy of getting his free travel pass (not that he needs it), Philip is still travelling the world, still fencing and still winning trophies! And judging from the effervesecent energy levels evident in his winning hit (and cavorting celebration and gentlemanly condolence for his opponent) and his acceptance of his medal, fencing must be the sport that keeps the spirit as well as the body young. Well done to Philip, an inspiration to our young and up-and-coming student fencers.
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!
Yes, we officially ended the seemingly endless flow of fencing news some weeks ago but a operantly we were foiled again… we had forgotten about the in-house St. Conleth’s Fencing League/Tournament! Started a few years ago by Fencing Captain emeritus Michael Li, it is a great way to end the season and the school year: a friendly but competitive series of bouts between Conlethians of all ages and sizes.
Claudio Sosa instigated this year’s tournament but he needed help so Michael Li came back to both help organise (and compete) and Conlethian mom and alumna Kathrin Chambers kindly served as referee. The main combatants know each other well but still the competition was fierce, and even more exciting as it was conducted old school- sans electronic scoring! In the end the podium finishers were: First- Claudio Sosa, Second- Luke Sherlock and Third- Michael Li. See snaps of the action above and below!
Yes, there were three great games of soccer these past few days, but though the last displayed similar levels of skill and entertainment, we really cannot claim that the Staff Soccer Team’s victory was as surprising as the other two. Yes, Kane was in the stands and Bolger was making soup in Naas, but there the similarity in expectation ends. After all, the last time the Sixth Years beat the Staff there was a weedy forward causing havoc for them upfront (and a classy Canavan patrolling midfield): that stringy striker was none other than Shane Robertson, who is now a middle-aged goal machine for the teachers. His four goals in this year’s 6-3 Staff victory were as stylish s they were emphatic and his ‘goals per minute ratio’ of 0.08 trails only Mr. Latvis’s 0.10 in the official statistics.
Of course, the usual stalwarts of Mr. Kilcommons, Mr. Trenier, Mr. Sheridan, ‘Gaelic’ Gahan and the impish delight of Mr. O’Brien were there to seal the deal and recent Barcelona transfers Mr. Coleman and Mr. Smith played important parts, the latter taking Messi-like liberties (and passes and shots) as he roamed the pitch with abandon. The adjunct faculty also played an important part with debating coaches Conor Power and Oisin Dowling making some serious points and Gavin Nugent backing up his lunchtime soccer legend. Sean Ingle brought some blacktop swag from his native basketball (and Northside) and office staff Gavin Sheridan and Jack were obvious talents at the back and top of the pitch.
The Sixth Years, in fairness, did their best, playing like a hustling Huddersfield against Man City. Joe ‘Cabo’ Hyland was on the injured list but his teammates, particularly Rory, Jack, Mark, Aviral, Andrew, Kealan, Dylan, James, Mark, Hannah (!) and Hugh did their best but, as they say, ‘class will out’. Current Fifth Years are already talking up their chances, and they do have some Ringsend/East D4/Raglan Road grit, but we are not really worried. A dozen years with the Goblet of Fire in our grasp…. see you next May!
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!
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!
Actually, that was just to get your attention: most of the debaters, even those supporting the Bouchier Hayes Plate Debate motion ‘THBT the current American president has made America great again’ quickly disavowed themselves personally from such a position, most hilariously by the impish Sammy Butler. Adam did bravely attest that the motion was irrelevant because America actually never lost its greatness and James H.R. as always, brought a rational evaluation to bear in his evaluation of ‘He Who Shall Not Be Named’- noble efforts, indeed; but hardly ones to find traction in this local outpost of the intifada.
This being St. Conleth’s, there was quality up and down the Pro and Con benches with Manus channelling Peter Gallagher; Grace Childs doing the same with both Hillary Clinton and Blanche DuBois; Harry being Harry; Saul, Joe and Robert stylishly making important points; and Frank’s rapier wit and logic winning the ephemeral ‘best individual speaker’ award. John Kelleher made some spot-on comments in his own speech and then prompted Tomás Clancy’s debating-clinching rant with his rather pointed and personal Point of Information. Tomás and his partner, impressive newcomer Oscar, had earlier laid a solid foundation for the win, but it was this spirited, impromptu defence of his own administration, Barack Obama and Western Democracy that sealed it. Or was it truly impromptu? John is good friends with Tomas, and the latter was recently caught reading ‘The Prince’ in History class. Machiavellian, indeed…
The McCarthy and O’Connor Cups followed on this Day of Great Debate, with Past Pupil debating coaches Conor Power and Oisín Dowling clearly earning their break-time sausages, adjudicating three debates in a row. They best adjust their work-rate if they ever want a career in academia or the Civil Service. First Year Turlough Dineen won the McCarthy over some tough competition with a spirited speech on the motion ‘TH would make Irish optional in schools’ and Second Year Coleman ‘InfoWars’ Hegarty took home the O’Connor after debating ‘TH Regrets Acts of Civil Disobedience’ with a lively bunch of Second and Third Years. Messrs. Power and Dowling stumbled out the door at 3:20, exhausted but with a shared, renewed belief that the quality of Conlethian debating remains undiminished.
To be honest, for all the lawyers, doctors and engineers we churn out of this place, it is not like many of these past pupils often drop any complementaries into the staffroom for their old teachers, like a coupon for colenoscopy or a voucher for a discount on divorce proceedings. Now, the culinary arts boys, they look after you! Michael Li graced the school with his presence for six years and now he graces us with delectable confectionaries: the latest being an absolute divine cheesecake!
It was all arranged after Careers Guidance Counsellor Ann Ryan welcomed in the Technological University’s Mike J O’ Connor. He told the Fifth Years all about the re-christened DIT’s Culinary Arts courses and presented Jimmy Crowe with the college’s anniversary book. Past Pupils Tony Barry and Jack Andrews, as well as Michael, are currently thriving at TU. And the following week, the lovely cake arrived, courtesy of Mike and Michael! Now, lawyers, doctors and whiskey distillers, it is your turn!
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!
So, this is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause. Yes, the count has receded into the shadows and the chancellor has seized the reins of power… John Carvill has taken the position long prepared for him, with kingmaker Ronan O’Kelly smiling from the shadows and the outgoing Donal Milmo-Penny in gracious acquiescence. The new Past Pupils’ Union President presided over a riotous and raucous but ultimately redeeming Annual Dinner as we packed them in up to the rafters and the laughter and the reminiscences flowed as easily as the wine.
In their speeches, both Ronan and John managed to walk that fine line between harnessing the energy of the mob and letting loose an anarchic frenzy. Ronan evoked Homer’s ‘catalogue of ships’ with his salutation to each year’s captain and John managed to be both heartfelt and tolerant in his very personal testament to the legacy he was inheriting.
And our guest speaker, Kevin Roche of the Class of 2014, had everyone rolling in the aisles with his masterclass in how to handle an audience that was increasingly resembling the assembled extras from The Vikings and The Walking Dead. His tributes to Ronan Bolger and our dear Jesuitical rivals, Gonzaga, were particularly touching. We retreated down Clyde Road earlier than most and hear that the party went on into the wee hours. At some point, however, not Elvis but Eskimo Prime did apparently leave the building!
Let Blackrock prance and preen in the reflections off their 69 Leinster Senior Cups… let Michael’s attempt the same with their two… let Gonzaga brag about their chess dominion and accompanying groupies… and let Scotus win the yogic flying championships… but there is one thing these big boy schools cannot come close in comparison with dear old St. Conleth’s: the loyalty of our past pupils… and their propensity to party! Yes, the burghers of Ballsbridge and the dowagers of Donnybrook enjoyed one year of respite in 2018 thanks to the conspiring elements but nothing will keep the avalanche of alumni away from 28 Clyde Road this Friday night. And though we pride ourselves on simply having the biggest and best Past Pupils’ Union in the land, there are plenty of specific Conlethian accomplishments to celebrate, too. Kevin Roche (2013) will regale us with a first person account of how St. Conleth’s made the Irish Times Debate its own and there will be the shocking details of how we are now a hockey school! Come early and stay late but behave yourself reasonably well as you know well that Ronan O’Kelly, as always, will be watching!
…and the motion has been carried: “That this House declares St. Conleth’s to be the greatest debating school in the land!” We should have taken our own advice (given below), and laid a few quid down at Paddy Powers as the Conlethian contingent at the Irish Times Debate Final 2019 came up trumps. Conlethians took both top prizes: Daniel Gilligan (2016) won the team prize with his Trinity Hist colleague, Ronan Daly, and Kevin Roche (2013) won the individual competition, representing The King’s Inns. Ninety-eight teams and more than three hundred contestants entered the debate this year, and when all the point-making, theatrical grimacing, barracking, and petulant posturing was over, it was Daniel and Kevin at the rostrum accepting the laurels. And not far off the pace was a third Conlethian, Conor White (2015). Rumours that the Irish Times debate is to be renamed ‘The Irish Times/St. Conleth’s Alumni Debate’ are yet to be confirmed but we look forward to more Conlethians on this grandest stage of Irish debating in the years to come!
As the gentleman involved here know well, there have only been two notable triumvirates in all of European history: those of late Republican and early Imperial Rome. Now, there are whispers and rumblings in the back-corridors of power that a third may soon appear to lead us through these troubling times… Daniel Gilligan (Class of 2016), the ‘Baby-Face Killah’ of The Hist, is once again in the Finals of the Irish Times Debate, the pre-eminent third level debating championship in Ireland (won previously by PP Liam Brophy (2010). And this time he leads a Conlethian troika, as he is joined by Conor White (2015) and Kevin Roche (2013).
Kevin is currently using his bibulous barroom bluster to build quite a following amongst the brown-nosing barristers of King’s Inns while Conor has almost completed the process of gathering all the rings of power to himself in his hideout in UCD/Montrose/Mordor. Of course, the debating skills of all three were honed in the hothouse of roiling rhetoric that is the St. Conleth’s debating scene, and you will soon read how the current crop of debaters are living up to the lofty examples of these predecessors, in good part due to the fact that St. Conleth’s debating alumni, including this trifecta, always return to their alma mater to assure another bumper crop. So stay tuned, the Irish Times Debate Final is Friday, February 22nd and we have at least a three in eight chance of winning… and the bookies say that, really, it is odds-on!
… to Tipperary, indeed, but the likely lads (and lady) seen below, who accompanied Ms. Sheppard and Mr. Carvill on a trip down to the heart of the country passed the time by singing old rebel songs. Yes, for a neighbourhood which proudly returned a Unionist to the 1918 Dáil, there are now a surprising number of nationalist ‘green shoots’ arising from D4’s nutrient-rich soil! The sun was, indeed, setting over Slievenamon, as the plushly lined coach sped by, with rebel songs being belted out by those aboard, with that old rabble-rouser Mr. Carvill and James ‘The Bhoy’ Tempany taking the lead. Luckily, by the time the merry band reached their destination, the MacDonagh Heritage Centre in Cloughjordan, a more sober mindset had taken hold. For Ms. Sheppard and company were the honoured guests for the evening at the museum, as local historian and retired journalist Liam Doran was giving a talk on the legacy of none other than one Bernard Sheppard, who famously left the Tipperary town for Dublin and founded that great educational institution on Clyde Road of which we are all part. The talk was informative and entertaining and Mr. Doran and the locals were thrilled to have a contingent from ‘the big smoke’ in attendance.
With the belated arrival of the polar vortex and the permanent problem of dampness, this year in particular we needed Mr. O’Dulaing’s warming words about the coming of Spring on St. Brigid’s Day. And with help from words of wisdom and delight in Irish, as well as a bit of Gerald Manley Hopkins (early GMH, thankfully), our annual Catholic Schools Week Assembly was off and running, and the patter of sleet drops on our Performance Hall roof was rendered pleasant accompaniment. Of course, there were student musicians to join the ensemble: Gavin Roche Griffin, Caoimhe Moore and Rory Clarke captured the mood perfectly.
There was also serious work to be done: the presentation of our State Examination awards for 2018. Zachary Carr scooped the Murph Cup for highest Junior Certificate results (named in honour of longtime St. Conleth’s teacher) and a trifecta of genii ( Simon Pettitt, David Loftus and Conor Power) won the coveted Bernard Sheppard Medals for highest Leaving Certificate Points (all three earning 589). Bernard Sheppard founded St. Conleth’s in 1939 and though that seems a long time ago, he was not actually a contemporary of St. Brigid. The story is though, that St. Conleth, himself, got along famously with St. Brigid, and we like to think of the two Celtic saints watching over our endeavours to this day.
Winners of the Bernard Sheppard have a tendency to go on and do memorable things, and we have no doubt that the three fine young men named above will follow suit. Ann Sheppard, St. Conleth’s CEO, recently had a first-hand experience of the persistence and vitality of her father’s legacy: a friendly chat with an acquaintance recently revealed that the woman’s son was none other than Desmond Maurer of the Class of 1987 and the winner of that year’s Bernard Sheppard Medal. He was the first Conlethian to sit Ancient Greek in the Leaving Certificate and, having been inspired by the legendary John Rooney, Desmond went on to study Classics at the University of Edinborough, winning academic acclaim each year and graduating with a first. Desmond then worked with the United Nations in Bosnia, met his wife, settled down and retreated into blessed academia in Sarajevo. And now, Desmond’s own son Ian is due to join our Transition Year class in September. Desmond is also notable for having tempted absolute damnation (and social exclusion) by daring to leave the deified Peter Gallagher’s History class for Physics in Fifth Year. Let him try to get a good table in any swish restaurant around this town if word of that gets out!
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!
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!
Yes, Conor Power of the Class of 2018 now moves in rarified company, joining the bishops, the parliamentarians, the lord chancellors and the Daniel Gilligans as Exhibition Scholars at Trinity College. Conor’s achievement is even more impressive than the that of all the Anglo-Irish magnates who came before him: this is the first year that Trinity has limited the award to one honouree per secondary school. 589 LC points did the trick and now Conor has some spending money for books as he continues his study of Philosophy, Politics, Economics and Sociology. (Afterwards, he immediately ran down to Hodges Figgis for a hardback copy of ‘The Art of the Deal’). The ceremony itself was dignified and ye-olde-worlde-ly in a way that only Trinity can do properly. We half expected Professor Dumbledore to take the rostrum and Nearly Headless Nick to come crashing through the portraits but Provost Pendergrast and Dean Mitchell filled in admirably, if less dramtically. Of course, there was wine and hors d’oeuvres and plenty of pleasant conversation. Conor felt very much at home, despite his hurley-playing, mass-attending and republican-sympathising past. Seriously, we should be very proud of Conor and not just because he earned the points to win the award. He was also one of the most well-rounded, honestly enthusiastic and just plain gentlemanly young men to ever grace the halls of St. Conleth’s.
We know we punch above our weight in rugby and hockey and the recent run by our basketball teams is certainly pleasing the bookies, but where we really annoy the actuaries (some of them our own alumni) is with our academic results. You have recently seen our Maths results charts with all the numbers and percentages but earlier this week there was even more tangible evidence of St. Conleth’s academic prowess: Mr. ODulaing had the pleasure of enjoying a few hors d’oeuvres with Simon Pettitt (Engineering), Oisín Gilligan (Science) and David Loftus (Computer Science) at UCD, where they were awarded Entrance Scholarships for their stellar LC results. Stay tuned, as next week we find out who of the Class of 2018 are the ‘winners at Trinners’!
With our JCT campaign kicking off today, it is good time to recall the essential role St. Conleth’s has played in the development of Leinster Schools Rugby… and to make one significant addition to our Leinster roll of honour. The latter, first: Nicholas Cunningham-Ash has been the starting No. 8 for the Leinster ‘Metros’ throughout the different rounds of the Bank of Ireland Shane Horgan Cup; the most recent match taking place on Halloween. It is a great honour for the immensely talented (and the impeccably mannered) Nicholas and he follows in a proud Conlethian tradition of sending our best players to play for their province or other selective teams. Nicholas now takes his place in a pantheon of Conlethian legends such as Ronan Cullen, Peter McAvock, Karl Finnegan, Kevin Dolan and Conor Gaul.
Of course, St. Conleth’s contributions to Leinster Rugby goes beyond providing stand-out players. A recent Leinster Match Programme detailed the pivotal role played by Paul Mullins in setting up the inter provisional dimension of the Schools ‘Section A’ and the contributions of many Conlethian coaches over the years. That would include Shay Keenan and Gavin Maguire, whose heroic holding high of the Section A Shield while being carted off the pitch on a stretcher remains burned on the retinas of all who were privileged to be there. And need we even mention the absolutely central role Mr. Kevin Kelleher played in Leinster Schools Rugby over the years? The Inter-Provincial Trophy now proudly bears his name, but references to Mr. K.’s influence and legend are made weekly on touchlines and in locker-rooms up and down the province. Ms. Sheppard was recently called on to present the trophy in his honour, with one of the recipients being a Junior School past pupil, no less!
We all know (because the Corkonians keep telling us) that Cork is the best city (or very large town) in Ireland, if not the world… d’ya know like. And since they are used to living with such a high level of native excellence, Corkonians are notoriously parsimonious in bestowing laurels on anyone not borne within spitting distance of the Lee. So, for Conlethian Past Pupil Chris Luke (School Captain 1976) to be named winner of the Cork Lifetime Achievement Award 2018 (for “outstanding service to the people of Cork”) it is great honour, indeed.
Chris has been head of Emergency Medicine in Cork University Hospital for many years and, after supervising the repairs to many a stocious Corkman who had received a dawk from some langer for so long, news of his imminent retirement inspired this rare honour. Chris was back at his alma mater recently, having delivered the keynote speech at our Parent Associations’ AGM. It was entitled ‘A Little Nightclub Medicine: Keeping “Party Animals” Safe in the 21st Century’ and was as entertaining as it was informative. We saw firsthand the rhetorical skills which have earned Chris the honour of being one of RTE’s regular experts when it comes to matters medical. Stay tuned, as Chris plans a working retirement, and we are sure to hear more from him over the airwaves and podcasts. Da Berries, indeed!
Ms. Halpin has been busy. You have already seen, in other news items, snaps of the new Art Room in all its glory. Well it certainly did not come ‘out of the box’ looking like that! Ms. Halpin was here in the waning days of summer, getting the new digs ready, moving the enormous variety of materials, tools and supplies which art demands and making the tough decisions about which student masterpieces get hung on the walls, which get returned to their creators and which become the fodder for future art, via the green bin!
Not an easy job, as you can see yourself above and below, where we have assembled photos of much of last year’s Junior and Leaving Certificate art students’ best portfolio pieces. Enjoy them and take a good look, because the current year’s art students are beavering away and soon their own creations will be demanding and deserving some attention of their own!
As proved just last Wednesday, Conlethians are famously tough on the rugby pitch, but off the field we are notoriously reluctant to engage in juvenile fisticuffs when local toughs accost us at the DART station or ambush us in the darker recesses of Herbert Park. Many a time, primary schoolers from the other side of the tracks have been able to bully even our hulking back rows from the preferred perches along the duckpond. We are just too well bred to sink to that level of carry-on! Now, draw your epee and let us settle us this like gentlemen. Or, even better, wield your mace… I am sorry, you do not have one? No wonder, as nearly every debating mace awarded these last few years in Ireland is lying in our trophy case, which now resembles a veritable medieval armoury!
In medieval times, the mace was a fearsome weapon and a symbol of power and prerogative: now it is form of debate where the contestants have limited and un-coached preparation time. The student debaters have twenty minutes to prepare their proposition or opposition of the motion and then they get up and speak for four minutes about something they may know very little about. It is a skill that seems to come naturally to Conlethians. A few years back, Michael O’Dwyer (Class of 2010) memorably wielded the Mace of the English Speaking Union, awarded to the best university debater in the ‘British’ Isles. The latest mace wielders are Third Years Oisín and Evan Power, who recently won outright the Loret0 on the Green stage of the National Junior Mace, speaking with authority (assumed or actual) about such topics from the MMA to the election of judges, from bribing kids into Leaving Cert success to boycotting sports events in countries which have poor human rights records, such as Cuba, and defeating such debating powerhouses as Coláiste na hInse and Belvedere College. The Twin Powers (related only rhetorically) also recently won a round of the UCD L&H Leinster Junior Debating championships, as did fellow Third Years Joymarita Ratinikanth and Trevor Bolger just last week, and Second Years Colman Hegarty and Daragh Sweeney also finishing near the ‘top of the tape’. And on the Senior side of the competition we are doing just as well, with Fifth Years Frank Knowles, Joe Downey, James Hastings-Rafferty and Robert O’Connor all marching through the early rounds of the Leinster’s in style. Why do we, year-after-year, dominate Irish Schools Debating? Partly because of Moderator Mr. Carvill’s deal with the devil, but primarily because he brings back alumni debating coaches: currently, Conor White orchestrates a team of Daniel Gilligan, Conor Power, Simon Pettitt and Oisín Dowling… all of whom have a mace or two in the closet.
Are you sure that is safe? Yes, we know we have molly-coddled our kids to the point where they risk and fun intolerant, but throwing them off Dun Laoghaire Pier with only wetsuits, helmets, flotation devices and security drones to protect them? Well, Past Pupil Sean Greif (Class of 2005) reassured us, we relaxed and the First Years had a ball.
Sean is taoiseach of Moontour, an innovative language adventure centre and for the past few years we have been sending various year groups down to him on Dun Laoighaire Pier for some cúpla focal and a whole lot of fun and the kids always come back happy, tired and satisfied. Ms. deBhal and Mr. Gahan were the lucky teacher escorts this time, and they brought back the action shots you see above and below.
We have a slew of alumni news to tell you, and that is coming soon in a special omnibus, but if anyone deserves special mention and an article all of his own, it is Aongus Hegarty of the Class of 2017. Aongus was renowned at St. Conleth’s not only for his sporting acumen and academic excellence, but also for his sunny disposition, ready sense of humour and impeccable manners.
Well, lacrosse can be a challenging, rough and tough sport, and though we are sure Aongus has the talent and mettle for any sport to which he turns he his hand, we are also sure that he is now probably the politest lacrosse player on earth! Recently his UCD Lacrosse Team represented Ireland at the Lacrosse European Championships at the University of Ghent in Belgium. And while the UCD team was not the overall winner they played five exciting games against England, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Belgium, and Aongus was the star between the sticks. Quite impressive, considering Aongus just took up lacrosse in first year in UCD and is now the starting team goalkeeper. St. Conleth’s alumni once again flying the flag in the sporting arena!
Another term, another fencing season…. This year the blade bar has been upped: James Moriarty-Smyth and Claudio Sosa, having been selected by Irish Fencing, are now fencing at Under 17 level on the European Cadet Circuit. Last weekend the Conlethian pair, along with 10 other selected foilists, represented Ireland at the inaugural leg of the 2018/19 circuit amid the impressive surroundings of Bolton Arena, Manchester. Despite both of them being two of the youngest competitors, they gave it their all. James very narrowly missed the DE tableau of 128 fencers, ending the day ranked 135 out of a field of 170. Claudio ended ranked 143. The numbers may not seem that impressive at first, but remember, both boys are fencing above their age level and that the competitors are the best in Europe. And the is just in: The European Fencing Federation website now lists both James and Claudio with European rankings, courtesy of last weekend’s competition in Manchester. James is ranked 400th out of 538, while Claudio is 417th out of 538. Not bad for two kids who can barely get into a 15s movie on their own! See some of the action below, as well as one last shot of Fencing Captain emeritus, Michael Lee, as he hands his foil to new Captain Stephen Rockett and Vice James. (Thanks to Robert Smyth for news and pics.)
We expected nattily dressed gentlemen and girls in gorgeous gowns and we were certainly knocked out with the style, but we also knew there would be a more important aspect of the Class of 2018 Debs’ reception at St. Conleth’s: a spirit of honest affection and appreciation, tinged with the tiniest bit of regret that we will no longer have these charming young men and ladies all to ourselves.
College degrees and career destinations were not the only topics of conversation on the evening: there was plenty of looking back as well as looking forward, with plenty of smiles and laughs about the years, whether two or twelve, these young adults spent growing up with us. After a very pleasant reception in the Performance Hall, the Conlethians headed off with their dates to Marco Pierre White’s for a meal to match their stylish attire. Well done to Mrs. Ivers and the other organising parents and to Past Pupil Michael Dunne for taking these amazing photos!
TYs enjoy a day of water-sports and Irish at Moontour, an innovative language adventure centre run by Past Pupil Sean Greif (Class of 2005). More details from Ms. Dorman, as Gaeilge:
Chuaigh lucht na hIdirbliana (TY) go dtí Dun Laoghaire an Mhairt seo caite chun lá a chaitheamh ag déanamh sport uisce as Gaeilge le hiar- dhalta St Conleth, Sean Greif. Bhí an-lá againn. Rinne siad ‘kayakadoireacht’ agus léimt on gcé (pier jumping!) Bhí an aimsir go hiontach, bhí an t-uisce ina chlár agus bhi an craic go maith! Thapaigh Jack Buckley an deis foto a fháil le Brendan Gleeson ar fheiceáil dó é ag siúl sios an cé, rud a chur an-áthas air!
Even School Captain emeritus Harry Mansfield, who very soon will be handling real ammunition as a Defence Forces Officer Cadet, had to admit: there is no magic bullet for doing well on the Leaving Certificate. Yes, consistent hard work seems to be the only key to success, but there are plenty of little tips and nuances which were teased out by Harry and fellow hi-fliers from the Class of 2018: Emer Healy-O’Reilly (Medicine-TCD), Oisin Gilligan (Science-UCD) and Gavin Nugent (BESS-TCD). The audience, the Class of 2019, hung on every word, seemingly paying more attention to these young veterans returning from the front lines than we old, armchair generals who are always banging on about the same things! Mr. Carvill once again organised the affair and once again it was an undoubted success: you could just feel the steely sense of determination in the room as the recent alumni wrapped up their comments and the current Sixth Years immediately got down to work!
We have decided that last Wednesday’s stunning start to the St. Conleth’s rugby season, with First Years winning all three matches, deserves a bit more attention! Head of Junior Rugby Louis Magee (and Celestial King of All Sport Gavin Maguire) must be very proud of their First Year players and coaches (Messrs. O’Brien, Smith and Pogatchnick), indeed. In the annals of St. Conleth’s Rugby History, rarely have we seen a rugby team begin with such chutzpah and bravado in the locker-room… and then actually back it up on the pitch! The participation rate, particularly in First Year, was almost 100% and we encourage the boys to keep turning out. Everyone played their part, but below we see some of the leading try-scorers (mind you, only some of them): Russell Bolger, Harry Cooper-Reid, Matthew O’Leary, Luke O’Keefe, Luke Timlin and Daniel Fagan. Alumni might recognise some of the names: Matthew is the little brother of Ryan (the famous scholar athlete of the Class of 2015) and Harry is the cousin of Myles (the famous entrepreneur of the Class of 2011 ), proving that there is something special in that Conlethian blood! The coaches were also thrilled to see so many parents on the touch-lines. If we keep up the support and the training attendance, these boys can go places!
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!
For a relatively small school, St. Conleth’s punches far above its weight in many areas, including alumni accomplishment. You have read all about our scientific, business and artistic alumni hi-fliers below, but now we have news of a Conlethian past pupil making waves in a very different talent pool. There we were minding our business en route to the Jordan Peterson rap gig when we were suddenly addressed with a mighty ‘Yo!’ from across a crowded Starbucks. Lo and behold, Eskimo Supreme himself approached with hearty greetings and warm reminiscence. See, once upon a time, Mr. Supreme was known as Alex Sheehan (Class of 2014) and we had the pleasure of his company in Latin class. Alex showed his verbal dexterity (and, yes, his ‘verse-atility’) even then, often handing in his own lyrics, or those of noted American rapper Maximus Minimus, instead of the the requested lines of Catullus.
Whatever his homework assignment accuracy, Alex was always friendly, witty and energetic and these qualities have come to the fore as he has forged a now international career as half of Ireland’s foremost rap duo, Versatile. With millions of views on YouTube, feverish media attention (including the venerable New York Times), a contract to be the ‘face’ of Lifestyle Sports trainers ads, and an upcoming, headlining gig at the Olympia, Versatile are already big, and getting bigger. And the Conlethian connection runs even deeper. For who is the ‘third Verasatiler’, the shadowy figure behind the decks, laying the beats and tinkering with the tracks for Eskimo and his performing partner Casper, and approaching George Martin- status in the rumours and whisper of the Irish music scene? None other than Evan Kennedy, also of the Class of 2014, and the dominant musical performer, producer, guru and roadie of the St. Conleth’s music scene during his six years at the school. Due to some rather mature (but usually ironic) lyrics, you will have to search up their music on YouTube yourself, but hurry up: Eskimo Supreme and Co. are going places!
Yes, we ourselves were guilty of occasionally shouting that at Jack Siggins (Class of 2009) back when he was in LC Classics and instead of listening to our repetitious yet sonorous description of Alexander the Great’s precise cavalry movements, he was carefully putting the last deft pencil marks to a masterful portrait of the legendary Indian King Porus, sitting astride his war elephant. If corrected, Jack would then launch into a full-throated defence, in the posture and accent of said Porus, and in Broadway musical style, with eager accompaniment by Maurice and Laurence Wright, Gavin Duffy… Yes, there was no denying Jack’s artistic talent (or his wicked wit): it was just the question of finding the proper time and place for its application. Well, we are happy to report that Jack has found his niche and it is at the exiting nexus of art and technology as he has combined his undoubted creativity with digital know-how. Check out his work below (and on Instagram and here) and drop him a line if you are in the business. With all our previous (mostly imaginary) malarkey about a STEM vs. The Arts alumni competition, it is great to see someone who has talent and a promising future in both traditions!
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!
Things did not look good for the Staff Team in the moments leading up to kick-off. Yes, we had retained the legendary ‘Goblet of Fire’ for over ten years. Yes, we always play a stylish sort of football, which leaves the students and the various Irish national teams which frequent the Irishtown facility gnashing their teeth in jealousy on the sidelines. And yes, the current 6th Year soccer-heads did not look remotely capable of organising the proverbial beverage imbibery in a brewery (or even at Wetherspoon’s in Dun Laoghaire). And yet, doubts had sneaked in and multiplied as the team news leaked onto Twitter: Mr. ODulaing, our Paul McGrath, and Mr. Kilcommons, our Tony Adams, were unavailable. Mr. Bolger was pre-occupied with domestic duties and, our talisman, Mr. Ahern, he who had somehow scored three times without using his feet or head, had moved on to a different team. And everyone, especially Mr. Trenier, was a year older. And the Sixth Years had Marlon.
But Pat McGrath, our Director of Football, showed up with a bag full of tactics, having recently returned from the Soccer Academies of the Basque country. And he and Mr. Latvis managed to field the perefct mix of veteran guile and youthful (relative) energy. Answering the call were ‘T-Dawg’ Trenier and ‘Show -Me’ Sheridan, the well-seasoned anchors of our defence; Mr. ‘Hightower’ Magee, an agile giant in the leftback position; Mr. ‘Ace’ O’Brien, who brought his skater-punk ethic and fashion sense to the right wing; youngsters ‘Dig it, Dag it’ Doggett, ‘Pretty Boy’ Murphy, Shane ‘Robertson’ Robinson and the crossover duo of Mr. Gahan and Sean Ingle. There were some ‘adjunct’ staff, too: another Mr. Latvis, who teaches Applied Latin on Saturdays; Gavin Sheridan, our night watchman; and Dr. Jack Nolan, who once moved some chairs for an Alumni Dinner a few years ago. Tirelessly pursuing Marlon all over the pitch, and partially disrobing him, was our resident, hard-nosed ginger midfielder: ‘Wolverine’ Lonergan. And contrasting in style, but just as efficient, were Mr. Conroy, who played wing with modern language flair, and our Wellness Guru, Mr. Porzadny, who played right back while in a permanent state of ethereal bliss.
To be fair the students gave us a great match, and the football was surprisingly flowing. Except for one titanic, manly mid-air collision between Trenier and McKay, which seemed to rip a hole in the space-time continuum, most of the play was stylish and pleasing. There was a bit of whinging on the students’ side about some good, old-fashioned tackling, but the youngsters did also manage to play a bit: Alex Murphy was strong in goals; Ronan Connor combined some American-style athletic play with attempted continental skulduggery; Gavin Nugent brought the strength and Pedro brought the style (and one dirty tackle); Tim Leary never stopped running; Conor Power was as solid and noble as ever and Rory was avant-garde in his moves as he is with his movies. There was a strong supporting cast, and, of course, Marlon. That old football commentary of ‘A different class! A different class!’ was ringing in our ears every time he took the ball and floated through midfield. But we had some style, too. A Mr. Latvis scored a stunner of a free-kick; Shane’s tireless efforts chasing everything down yielded a hard-won goal, and our part-time, night watchman Gavin Sheridan launched an unstoppable blast from another dead ball. Okay, there was a bit of Stoke in our Barcelona, but… job done, Goblet of Fire retained!
The deck was stacked against the Staff basketball team from the start. The Sixth Years (the Man City of schools basketball) had a veritable All-Star team ready to roll, having recently bought up most of the available free agents at the trading deadline, including the expensive foreign imports, Marlon ‘Air’ Marishta and Michael ‘Lethal’ Lee. What could the Staff team do but resort to the time-honoured Irish method of trying to nip a victory with heart and grit (and a bit of hold and trip) or, at least, making the loss as difficult and as bloody as possible! There was also some native talent on the student team: Conor ‘Tower’ Power performed his usual, thankless task of impersonating a Wisconsin farmboy and methodically pulling down rebound after rebound; Oisín ‘Puck’ Gilligan floated around the 3-point arc all day like his Shakespearean hero, flitting from side to side and occasionally inflicting dagger treys; Alex Murphy, despite feeling a bit queasy as it was all a bit cosier and sweatier than a lawn tennis match at the Fitz, still managed to make some spirited drives; Luke ‘McHey’ McKay’s quickness, dexterity and cockiness transferred well from rugby as did Gavin Nugent’s heart and hustle; and Captain Harry launched shots from every possible position and angle, even making a couple. Coupled with Marlon’s F-15 assaults on the rim and Michael’s lethal defence, it is no wonder the Staff team felt the pressure!
Coach Sean Ingle’s dramatic, just-in-time, tip-off arrival harkened back to 1970 when Willis Reed stumbled out of the locker-room at half-time and spurred the Knicks to championship glory. And the support of the many watching student fans 9both Junior and Senior), decidedly Staff supporters, gave us extra impetus. Our own ‘High-Tower’, Mr. Magee, battled nobly with the student giants; relative youngsters Gahan and Robinson ran and jumped with abandon; and Mr. Lonergan brought his usual Wolverine effort to loose ball pursuit and Mr. Sheridan showed a bit of French flair with his passing, all complementing true pro Ingle’s masterclass in floor generalship, but in the end, alas, it was not to be, as the study march of time and Mr. Keenan’s quick whistle eventually did us in. It is a good thing we not have long to wait for revenge: the Staff are looking to extend their ten-year unbeaten streak vs. Sixth years on Tuesday in the annual soccer match in Irishtown!
All this recent falafel about art, music and cooking has annoyed the STEM lords and stirred them to action! You previously read here how the Sixth Years did so well in the IMTA competition. Now, Ms. NiAonghusa sends us a wrap-up of the other goings-on in Maths this year, and to be fair, they have been busy!
Michael Donnelly and Coleman Hegarty qualified for the Junior Maths Competition, hosted by Oatlands College. Qualification is through a open but rigorous examination, and to have two students from first year get selected is quite an achievement.
Sixth Years enjoyed trigonometry al fresco in Herbert Park, where students mimicked Hipparchus of Nicaea, using their theorems (and calculators) to measure real-life geometric shapes.
Second Years explored the exciting realm of three-dimensional figures, by making ‘nets*’ (and decorating them with interesting ads). *A “Geometry Net” is a flattened out three dimensional solid (a three dimensional shape) — like a cube, a prism or a pyramid. When you cut out the “net”, fold it and glue it together you can see what the three dimensional shape looks like.
Of course, there is always lunch-time sudoku to pass the time.
And, far below, you see a panoramic shot of all of 1B exploring their ‘median’ height. It will be interesting to see how this line-up changes over the years: sometimes the late-bloomers pass out the early birds. Watch out, Lucas! Come on, Shane!
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!
Saturday saw a sizeable number of Conlethians, both past and present, fence Senior Men’s Foil at the Irish National, hosted by Irish Fencing and held at Loretto Abbey, Dalkey. The two day event is the high water mark of the calendar as it is the last opportunity for Senior points and therefore the decider for final ranking and international selection.
Conlethians: Philip Cripwell – Silver (in a gripping final, losing 14-15 in the extra minute!); Philip Lee – 7th (Best Veteran); Claudio Sosa – 10th; James Moriarty-Smyth – 18th; Adrian Lee – 24th. And Kathrin Chambers (both alumna and fencing mom!) placed 10th in the women’s foil and also gained the title of Best Veteran!
For the current crop of St. Conleth’s foilists, the day’s results give final Senior rankings of Claudio 29th and James 39th out of a season’s field of 88 fencers. Not bad for a couple of school-kids, fencing against adults!
Last weekend, Fencing Ireland invited a senior coach from the internationally acclaimed Club Jesi in Italy to Dublin. The St Conleth’s College gym was packed to the gills with 26 up-and-coming fencers from all over Ireland.
Coach Filippo Triccoli put James Moriarty-Smyth and Claudio Sosa Smatrala through their paces during two grueling days and each received two private lessons with the Sensei Filippo Triccoli. Luke Sherlock joined them on day two, following a Saturday spent sailing with other Conlethians at the INSS, and he also benefitted from a one-on-one session with the international master. The noble art of Fencing may be relatively new to Ireland, however, its traditions here are firmly rooted in St Conleths’ College!
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!
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!
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!
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.
Yes, we entertained you with those live-action shots of the Class of 2017 Debutants Ball, but even the iPhone 8+, de riguer at St. Conleth’s, cannot match the skill and touch of a pro. Here you see a sampling of the portraits taken on the night by professional photographer Seamus Travers. If you would like more, in hi-res originals and/or prints, contact him at email@example.com. Again, well done to PA Chairman Mr. Mansfield, the Organising Committee and in particular, Alan Collins, Treasurer of the SSPA, on organising such a successful night… and such a talented photographer!
As Deadalus once told his son Icarus, steering the middle way is the way to succeed in most enterprises, including getting enough Leaving Cert points for your desired CAO course. That was the advice, anyway, from some of the high-flyers of the Class of 2017 who, at the behest of Mr. Carvill, came back to their alma mater to inspire the current Fifth Years and Sixth Years. Each of the current university First Years had their own take on study strategies but all agreed that a sensible balance of schoolwork and a healthy, active lifestyle is the way to go . And with the point totals and university courses such as these, the youngsters were all ears. Just don’t tell them where Icarus ended up! Sean Keane- Points: 613, College Course: Biomedical Science (UCD); Jamie Lawless- 566, Law and History (UCD); Isobel Nugent- 521, Business & Law (UCD); Annalisa Sorensen-554, BESS ( TCD); Ross Murphy- 543, Business & Law (UCD).
Forgive the delay in reporting on the St. Conleth’s Class of 2017 Debutante Ball. First there was the little issue with Fireman Sam and then we had the darndest time finding some suitable photos! PA Chairman Michael Mansfield did his part, sending us a report before the slow set had even started, but then we waited in vain for the avalanche of images to arrive! So we resorted to trolling (in the old-fashioned sense) Bebo, MySpace, Orkut and various other hip internet chatrooms but all to no avail. Finally, Sixth Year Enya O’Brien hooked us up with some stylish snaps of stylish date Luke Nestor and friends and then we hit the goldmine by raiding Aonghus Hegarty’s Facebook page. This explains the presence of Aonhgus’s beaming visage in nearly everyone of our photos, but to be honest, one could do worse: Aonghus is one of the most handsome, friendliest and most-missed members of the Class of 2017!
And the evening itself? A smashing success. A huge congratulations is due to Mr. Mansfield, the Organising Committee and in particular, Alan Collins, Treasurer of the SSPA who did trojan work behind the scenes to make this happen for the graduates after cancellation of other venue only two weeks ago. We have been promised more photos (please send to firstname.lastname@example.org!), including some formal shots, so stay tuned!
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:
It was with a sense of disbelief and then heavy hearts that we heard the news that Ishan Prasai, a member of the Class of 2017, had passed away in his native Nepal after a short illness. Ishan was a quiet but vibrant member of the St. Conleth’s community for three years, and we have nothing but the fondest memories of his time with us. Friendly, good-humoured and talented, Ishan was one of those rare people who could light up a room without raising his voice, but when he did, everyone listened. Ishan was a good friend to those in his inner circle but he was also a good friend to those in the wider circle of St. Conleth’s. Schools, like any other group of people, tend to split into cliques of people who share similar interests. Ishan moved between these groups with consummate ease and impeccable manners. Just one demonstration of the extent and depth of Ishan’s influence is that when the news filtered through of his passing, several of the younger Conlethians were visibly upset when they connected the name with the Transition Year boy who had so gently and kindly tutored them during their Junior School days.
This active kindness was also on display when Ishan, inspired by the suffering in Nepal after a devastating earthquake, organised and managed the single most successful charitable fundraiser in the history of St. Conleth’s. He spurred his fellow Transition Years to raise over €4,000, showing that, yes, there is something that can be done in the face of tragedy and that you do not need to be loud to be a leader. Of course, it is also with music which we associate Ishan. From his stunning solo performance at Transition Year Night through his starring role during the Graduation Ceremony, Ishan was at the musical heart of St. Conleth’s. He was a member of the school choir which performed at nearly all our events and went out into the community, especially to sing yuletide carols at the local nursing home. For someone from a non-Christian background, Ishan was particularly good at spreading Christmas cheer! One of Ishan’s standout performances at our school concerts was his solo rendition of Hozier’s ‘Take me to Church’, during which he radiated passion and humility. Ishan’s vocal and musical performances matched the way he lived among us: with sincerity and grace.
“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind.”
Alumni (and alumnae) are constantly dropping in at 28 Clyde Road, and the door is always open to those past pupils who would like to stop in for a visit or a chat or a character reference for the gardai… Sadly, Mr. Kelleher, a mainstay of these reunions for so many years, is no longer with us, and though we could never match Mr. K’s uncanny ability to remember the faces and names which go with them from the past 70 years, we do our best. When Michael O’Dwyer (2010) recently dropped in, no arduous memory-trawl was necessary, such was the impact he made on St. Conleth’s. Captain of that memorable Class of 2010, winner (with Cathy McShane) of the All-Ireland Debating Championship and all-around smart (but nice) guy, Michael made an indelible impression on his classmates and teachers while he graced these halls. And he continued to impress when he left for Law and Economics at UCD, the European University Debating Finals and the illustrious start of a legal career with the prestigious law firm of Slaughter and May in London (and Singapore!). The teachers were thrilled to see one of our best return but the current Sixth Years also benefitted: Michael was dropped into an impromptu lecturer/guidance counsellor position, from where he offered our nervous young men and women some warm words of wisdom about the year ahead and the looming, two-headed behemoth of the CAO/Leaving Certificate, somehow managing to be both reassuring and inspiring. It was great to see a Conlethian who had done so well come back and help nudge others along the same road to success.
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!
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.
…and there is no need to call your lawyer! Yes, we know how you usually spend the morning after the Past Pupils Union Dinner in a cringing state of apprehension of some social media outlet’s pictorial display of you nocturnal misadventures, but you can relax and go ahead and get that modem boinging because all the photos that we have seen merely capture the good, old-fashioned fun of the festivities! Joe Barnes and Paul Allen were our photographers of choice on the evening and both showed the good taste of forwarding only the ones which portray ourselves as we truly are: upstanding (or at least standing), relatively sober and with both eyes (mostly) open. Enjoy them and sign up with the PPU on Facebook too see even more. Oh yes, there is also the little issue of the negatives from the Photo-Booth. Those are a bit more interesting and may be obtained with a small donation payable to your alma mater. That extension is not going to build itself!
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:
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…
With the St. Conleth’s Past Pupil’s Dinner just around the corner (March 3rd: tickets), we thought this might be the appropriate time to catch up with two particular alumni, or alumnae if you will, who reached new heights in their respective careers in 2016. And with St. Conleth’s quickly becoming fully co-educational, what better role models for the school’s current girls than two women who walked the same hallways, learned in the same classrooms and laughed at the similar buffoonery of their male peers? They come from two very different disciplines, Classics and Engineering, but perhaps that too is a credit to their alma mater, where both sides of the brain are nourished and the only truly required course is having an open mind.
Diana Spencer, St. Conleth’s Class of 1987 and Professor of Classics & Dean of Liberal Arts at the University of Birmingham, delivered her Inaugural lecture “What I found there: Reading Classical Landscapes” (video). This is just the latest academic honour for Diana, who studied at Trinity College, the University of London and Cambridge University after leaving St. Conleth’s and has already forged a spectacular career in the Classics (bio). On hand in Birmingham to hear Diana’s lecture and celebrate with her was none other than Peter Gallagher, St. Conleth’s principal emeritus. Peter is busy himself these days as a practicing barrister but it may well have been one of those riveting History or Latin classes of his that helped first send Diana down the Appian Way.
Dervilla Mitchell CBE, Class of 1976 and a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of Engineers Ireland, was awarded an honorary Degree of Doctor of Science by UCD (link). Dervilla has been committed to addressing the gender balance in science, engineering and technology throughout her career. It would be a topic she knows something about: when she graduated from UCD with a BSc Engineering in 1980, she was one of only four women in a graduating year of 200! In 2014, Engineers Ireland awarded Dervilla with the ESB Outstanding Contribution to Engineering Award. In 2011, she received the Women of Outstanding Achievement Award for Inspiration and Leadership in Business and Industry. Dervilla was also her company’s design management lead for Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 project, the largest construction project in Europe at the time, and is currently the company’s project director on the £2 billion Abu Dhabi Midfield terminal development.
So, whether it is in the landscapes of ancient Rome or on the infrastructure of the contemporary Middle East, you will find Conlethian women at work!
It might not be the first place you would expect a gathering of St. Conleth’s alumni, but this past weekend Tallaght was the site of an impromptu reunion, as four of the UCD-Marian basketball team playing in the NICC Cup Final also used to ply their trade in the gymnasium of 28 Clyde Road. They were joined by many fellow Conlethian alumni in the stands but as their behaviour as supporters was so raucous that CCTV footage is currently being reviewed, we will only mention Scott, Lorcan and Ross who, as they say, are already ‘known by the authorities’. Former Ireland player Mark Ryan (Class of 2014) was clearly the class athlete on the court, soaring above his earth-bound opponents, and Jack ‘Mahoraj’ Nolan (2011) once again displayed the hands and uncanny court sense that made him a schools basketball legend, grinding his way to a ‘double-double’. Liam Purcell (2010) showed that the acquisition of a full beard has not slowed him down aerodynamically at all, and it was a pleasant surprise to see that he has now added passing to his game- his shooting prowess already well-established. And waiting in the wings was none other than Eoin Noctor (2011), our current Head Basketball Coach and strategist supremo. UCD-Marian lost the game, 78-72, but this national cup final appearance for four alumni is still a proud accomplishment for St. Conleth’s basketball.
We know we punch above our weight in rugby and the recent run by our basketball teams is certainly pleasing the bookies, but where we really annoy the actuaries (some of them our own alumni) is with our academic results. You have already seen our PPU-produced chart with all the percentages but just recently there was even more tangible evidence of St. Conleth’s academic prowess: Last week, Mr. ODulaing sat down for lunch with Paddy Cahill (Economics and Finance), Sean Frison-Roche (Medicine) and Harvey Gleeson (Science) at UCD, where they were awarded Entrance Scholarships for their excellent LC results. This week, Mr. ODulaing sampled the wine and hors d’oeuvres at Trinity College where he joined Exhibition Award winners Phillip O’Hanrahan (History and Politics) and Simon Ghose (Computer Science). Our other Entrance Award winners, Daniel Gilligan (Law and Politics) and Paul Mooney (Science) were unfortunately off debating the Trumpian political landscape and studying recombinant DNA, respectively. So, that’s 7 entrance scholars from 52 graduates… ‘Small enough to care, large enough to challenge’…indeed!
We expected nattily dressed gentlemen and girls in gorgeous gowns and we were certainly knocked out with the style, but we also knew there would be a more important aspect of the Class of 2016 Debs’ reception at St. Conleth’s: a spirit of honest affection and appreciation, tinged with the tiniest bit of regret that we will no longer have these charming young men and ladies all to ourselves. College degrees and career destinations were not the only topics of conversation on the evening: there was plenty of looking back as well as looking forward, with plenty of smiles and laughs about the years, whether two or twelve, these young adults spent growing up with us.
Of course, the parents were there as well, proud as punch to see how well their sons and daughters turned out, on both the outside and the in. Whatever points were achieved in August, the more important personal gains made while at St. Conleth’s were fully in evidence on the evening: boys who short years (or months) ago were locking each other in cupboards were now smoothly introducing their dates, and girls who perhaps apprehensively approached these doors not long ago were now swishing across the floor with confidence and grace.
Last year’s SCT golden boys are continuing to find rugby success on fields near and far. Former Captain Kevin Dolan, who is now playing that familiar, majestic style of rugby for Old Belvedere, was named to Leinster’s U-19 Provincial 30 man panel and David Pogatchnik, whose rambunctious runs and tackles we so enjoyed witnessing these last few years, has been training with the Ulster U19s and more recently was named to the Irish U18 7s Team. With David aboard, the Irish squad promptly travelled to Romania and claimed a significant European trophy, vanquishing a quality French side in the final. Great to see these lads, who brought St. Conleth’s rugby to new heights, reap the rewards they so richly deserve.
Turns out that this was one of the best behaved PPU Dinners on record. No-one was going to ruin a night whih was dedicated to marking 50 years of service by Shay Keenan and the historic victory by Gav Maguire’ SCT. Shay’s immense contribution to the school (and Leinster sports in general) was recounted with references to his playing, coaching and organising of tennis, basketball and, of course, rugby. It seemed fitting that on a night that marked his 50 years, there was also a celebration of the 2016 Cup victory by Gav Maguire and SCT: Gav, Captain Kevin Dolan and the boys have benefitted from the foundation laid by Shay many years ago. (Don’t forget this Tuesday: The SCT aiming to make more history with a win over Templeogue in the Vinnie Murray Plate Final!). The night itself was immensely enjoyable: it started for many with individual class reunions at various waterholes in the vicinity. The Hamiltons of Wellington Lane hosted their son Alex and the rest of the class of 2006 for some dignified cocktails and banter and those staff who attended left, having their memory of that year as one of the best vintages of Conlethians, well confirmed. Of course, the craic in the hall itself was mighty and PPU President Donal Milmo-Penny should be proud of the first party on his watch. See the photos below, graciously provided by PA President Paul Allen. Remember both the PPU and the PA are very active on Facebook.
Actually, the bad, old days when the looming Annual Dinner of the Past Pupils Union was viewed by Mr. Kelleher and the other respectable residents of Ballsbridge like a Viking warship somehow navigating up the Dodder are far behind us. Now, under the steady guidance of President Donal Milmo-Penny and the omnipotent and omnipresent PPU High Priest Ronan O’Kelly, they are rather proper, staid… even ‘quaint’ affairs: Keynote speakers get to finish their speeches. Female alumnae actually stay past dessert. We only employ one bouncer (but don’t dare mess with Groundskeeper Willie!). And the nuns next door have stopped reciting the living rosary for the duration of the festivities. Sure, we got a close-up view of the respectable face of St. Conleth’s Alumni at the recent Cup Final:
Look like lawyers, vets and solid burghers, don’t they? Eminently responsible and trustworthy. Then again, we also saw (and heard) this lot up in the cheap seats of Donnybrook Stadium:
We might just switch on the security doors after all. Whatever happens, one thing is for sure: when the smoke clears and the bodies have been taxied home and Mr. Kelleher has added considerably to his collection of unclaimed bow-ties… The St. Conleth’s Past Pupils Union will remain the biggest, loyalest and wildest in the land!
To be fair to Alastair Daly, one of the most dedicated and honest intellectuals ever to grace these halls, he is also studying English at Trinity, which does make that position of venture capitalist/vampire a bit more attainable. So, why was Alastair willing to answer such tough, probing questions? Because he was invited back by Captain Hannah Collins to speak to current Fifth and Sixth Years as part of the Alumni Redux Programme in which recent graduates return to spill the beans on their university courses, helping to guide the current Conlethians with their CAO decisions. The questions ranged from the practical to the esoteric: What is the Maths like in Engineering? Are Nursing students really like that? How practical are the BESS classes? Is it true that you undergo a procedure to remove your soul in First Year Law? …. Vice Captains Noah Brabazon and Josh Harvey-Graham were on hand for security, just in case the girls went crazy when they heard legendary heart-throb alumnus Ross McHugh was dropping in to speak about his Business Degree and his newly started career at LinkedIn. The more binary-oriented students flocked to Computer Scientists Owen Mooney and Matt Donnelly who gave the low-down on the high-tech and are living proof that a dedication to the Jedi Code does not preclude gainful employment. Conan Quinn denied the Sith rumours but did admit that Law at Trinity is a challenging but ultimately rewarding arena. James Lardner used a hypothetical model to finally put to bed the ‘Engineering at Trinity is not applied enough’ argument. Holly Davage stressed the opportunities available in General Science and Matthew Collins, for once, let the oligarchy, patriarchy and other -archies rest, instead giving sound, practical advice about pursuing a degree in Politics. It was an enjoyable and useful evening for all involved and plans are afoot to run something similar for Transition Years.
As you can see in this photo, some of our 2015 graduates recently dropped by to pay Headmaster Kevin Kelleher a visit and relay the secrets to their success. But despite Daniel Barry’s stylish timepiece, it turns out wizardry and alchemy are quite unnecessary and the answer to every eager and ambitious Fifth and Sixth Years’ question about garnering maximum points is…..hard work! There is no quick fix or magical amulet, though that pocket-watch may be symbolically significant as time is a necessary ingredient for success. Pierce Cambay (Medicine, Trinity), Daniel Barry (Engineering, Trinity), Paul Mooney (Veterinary, UCD), Sean Allen (Medicine, UCD) and Conor White (Law and Economics, UCD) all agreed that you must put in the time to earn the points, and St. Conleth’s is the right place to make the most effective use of that precious resource.