We were just clearing our desks of all the news from last term and we found one roll of undeveloped film and, lo and behold, after a quick trip to the darkroom, we saw images of mountain vistas, smiling teenagers and grimacing teachers take shape. It could only meaning thing: the annual Transition Year Gaisce Hike in Glendalough. Every year in early May, as the TYs trudge onto the coach for the Gaisce hike, the irrepressible Gav Maguire treats them to a virtuoso performance of a medley of various one-hit wonders from his youth in the 80’s. He nimbly cavorts up and down the aisle of the bus, effortlessly reaching the high notes and hi-fiving and back-slapping as he belts out ‘Down Under’ or ‘Karma Chameleon’. Of course it as usually all lies because, despite Gav’s upbeat and sunny disposition, it nearly always rains on the TY Gaisce hike! And not just a ‘soft day’ drizzle…the TYs usually get the kind of downpour which turns the Wicklow mountains into a series of torrents and mudslides. Well this year, the clouds came and went, but it was ‘a bright, bright sun-shiny day’ in the end and the boys and girls, Gav, and his enthusiastic colleagues, Mr. Smyth and Ms. Long, all enjoyed this important right of passage of Transition Year.
Health Week at St. Conleth’s wrapped up with an Aware talk on mental resilience by GAA legend Kevin McManamon (he should know!) and Nutrition Workshops with Helen Reddin. The Fifth Years found Kevin humorous, engaging and helpful, and a lot more gentle than his GAA opponents ever did! Helen Reddin led the Third Years through an eye-popping dissection of their daily diet. The international conglomerate which owns the Tuck Shop is considering legal action. And Ms. Halpin showed that the Arts are a suitable substitution for any sort of prescriptive mental remedy, leading students through some soothing tile-making in the Art Room. So successful was Health Week, we even had our First Years enthusiastic about inoculations, as you can see from the ‘thumbs up’ attitude below!
Parent Robert Smyth mixes two noble professions, fencing and Latin, long associated with St. Conleth’s, in his latest report from the front lines.
Last Sunday marked the last round of this season’s Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series. And a markedly auspicious occasion it most certainly proved to be. Continuing the union forged and tested under the proud Eagle of the XXIII Legion ‘Latvis’ during the recent Classics Quiz campaign, fratres in armis James and Myles not only each took Gold on the day, but also the season trophies for 1st place in Under 12 and Under 16 Boys, respectively. Of the other brothers in arms, Luke, absent due to being in action on the Spanish Front, took the season trophy and 1st place in Under 14 Boys, while Sherlock Minor, Mathew, finished in 5th place on the day. Given the outstanding performance of the Conleth’s cohort this year, perhaps Belfast’s motto “Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus” has never seemed more apt!
As always, our Spring Semester ended on a high note, with our Annual School Concert filling the Performance Hall with sweet sounds. When Peter Galllagher, princeps emeritus, first envisioned an annual school concert, he dreamed big, but started small: his first signed act was a whiskey jug and washboard band from the hillbilly hills above Stepaside. His successors then gradually built up a stable of stars and supporting acts, so now it is a primetime network staple, reliably beating even ‘Ireland’s Got Talent’ in the Nielsen ratings. Now, Ms. Fay and Ms. deBhál sweetly but sternly wield the conductors’ batons together and having just witnessed the latest dazzling edition of this extravaganza, we can now proudly say that the St. Conleth’s Spring School Concert is better (and quicker) than ever! It all began with quite a large and inclusive First Year Music Class group playing ukuleles and singing Riptide and then the piano took over for a while: the ubiquitous and ever effervescent Adam Rafter tinkled the ivories with charm; Matthew Rockett backed Stephen Allen singing a powerful version of the ‘Angel of Small Death’ (no Easter Bunny ditties here!); and Ollie West faithfully recreated the theme from ‘Up!’, bringing a tear to many a middle-aged man’s eye.
Then, Joe Gallagher, a regular of the Conlethian stage, brought us something new: the self-penned- ‘Slipping’, with beguiling lyrics and mesmerising vocals. Judging from what we heard, Messrs. O’Brien and Prime may soon have competition for the biggest Conlethian alumnus on the Irish music scene! And it may also come from the trio that followed: John Kelleher, Brian Keenan and Jacq Herbots delivered a stunning, adapted version of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’. Then it was back to an original: Paris Moran sang and played piano on ‘Perspective’, her own impressive composition. Trevor Bolger then took his accustomed turn at the piano, playing the difficult ‘Nocturne’ and his fellow Third Years wowed us with a group effort: Eva Stylianides and Anna Downey singing, Rory Clarke and Louis Cullen on guitars and James Moriarty-Smyth on drums for ‘Take My Hand’ by Picture This. And it was great seeing Eoghan Fitzmaurice take the stage again, playing guitar and singing ‘Hiroshima Nagasaki Russian Roulette’, despite shouts for ‘Joxer goes to Stuttgart’ from Mr. ODulaing. Rory and James picked up the axe and the sticks again, respectively, to combine with Sam Lynch on a mash-up of Queen, Wham and Chopin, and though dear Frédéric may be rolling in his grave, we are sure Freddie and George were, somewhere, as thrilled as we! And then it was the grand finale: the School Choir and School Band were led by Ms. deBhál through ‘All These Things That I”ve Done’ by the Killers. Enjoy the pics above and video below, and we apologise for the poor quality of the reproductions. Next time, we will match our equipment with the superior talent on stage!
Mr. ODulaing designated this week as ‘St. Conleth’s Health Awareness Week’ and he and the rest of the staff have organised a plethora of feel-good functions and activities. Already our SPHE classes have been on healthy hikes of 5k (or, if it was raining cats and dogs, the mellow mantra of creative colouring); all our classes have had their eye opened and screens shut by the Internet and phone safety seminars given by Zeeko; Ms. Halpin has brought the soothing power of art to bear with her clay tile workshops; Mr. Porzadny has unleashed Mindfulness at special lunchtime sessions; and Mr. Robertson has led the PE classes through Cardiovascular Fitness Tests. Still to come are Aware and Nutrition talks, vaccinations (what fun!), the TY Gaisce hike and something guaranteed to calm the savage beasts on the last day of term: our Annual Student Concert! A healthy mix of healthy happenings!
Last week the Transition years satisfied both their fauna and Fianna cravings by visiting both the Botanical Gardens and Glasnevin Cemetary. They enjoyed professionally led tours of both, learning loads about our history, both natural and political, and even had some time for the local delicacies: ‘a single’, washed down with a Lucozade. Check out the pics below and stay tuned for more TY ramblings!
We are well used to the benefits having our very own guru on the Senior School Staff, but now Mr. Porzadny has begun to spread the love and the wellness to the Junior School! Last week, Fourth Formers completed their Mindfulness course with the Master and earned certification. Mr. Porzadny led the boys and girls through the same breathing and thinking techniques which have proved so successful in the Senior School and even incorporated the ITC Room for further exploration of the world of wellness!
St. Conleth’s hosted another very successful AIJS Athletics Championships last week at Irishtown Stadium and, this time, we even won some medals! Yes, usually we let our impeccable manners get in the way and we act the perfect hosts, slowing down just a bit (like Robert ‘Dash’ Parr) or landing an inch or two short- just so our guest can win medals and go home happy. This time, however, we said, ‘What the heck, let’s win a few for ourselves!’ So, the honour roll: Charlie Kennedy – Gold in the Shot putt; Hugh Leahy – Bronze Fourth Form 150m; and John Engmann – Bronze in the Long Jump. Our guests from around the AIJS still enjoyed themselves and commented on what a smooth show we ran. Well done to Shay, Gav, Mr. Kilcommons, The TY students, all the class teachers and the parents who helped out, and of course the many boys and girls who took part.
You have already read below how a group of Mr. Porzadny’s TYs initiated an innovative project which involved the organisation of a ‘French-style’ football tournament for some Junior Schoolers. Well, more of the TY students’ Francophonic projects are coming to fruition: in particular, French (not Belgian) Waffles; student-created, French-themed board games; and a good, old-fashioned Kahoot tournament! ‘Les Gaufres Fantastiques’ premiered at lunchtime last week and though we are in the middle of Lent, the student punters must have plenty of indulgences saved up, as they kept Nathan, Fergal, Matthew and Hugh very busy serving up those waffles ‘au sucre et au citron’, ‘au sirop’ or ‘au chocolat’.
The student-created board games were also French-themed and the amount of work and preparation that went into them was very impressive, with a French geography-themed game and a francified version of Cluedo particularly fun to play. There was also time for a class-wide game of Kahoot, based on the general culture and history of France: Mr. Porzadny won, ‘but of course’, but our new Spanish student Miguel was the real star of the show!
Ms. Crowley’s Second Years completed their research on the regions of France and then served up some of the local specialties. Luckily, there was such a surplus of cuisine that Mr. Porzadny’s class was invited in to share and some delectable patisserie products even made it to the staffroom at break time. Merci beaucoup!
Mr. Callaghan led a merry band of First and Second Years to SciFest where two teams topped their groups and won first prizes! Second Years Sergei O’Brien and Shane O’Rourke impressed the judges and the spectators with their project Does classroom noise affect learning? (We wonder from where they drew their inspiration…) And First years Olivia Doyle, Evie Lynch and Ciara Thornton did likewise with their project titled Do stress balls really reduce stress? (They certainly do when you bounce them off the foreheads of offending students…) An enjoyable day was had by all and all the groups’ projects earned rave reviews. It is the last year of Kevin St.-TUD and staff were eager to promote the new TUD campus at Grangegorman “the biggest and most modern university in Ireland”. Maybe some of our STEM stars will someday continue their scientific adventures there!
It was a hectic end to the official basketball season as Coaches Gahan and Ingle led both boys and girls teams into the postseason. Our Second Year boys lost very narrowly to Rathcoole in the Semifinal of the Basketball Ireland Dublin Plate and our Second Year Girls team (filled out with several First Years) won a thrilling Quarterfinal match against Choláiste Chillain, but lost a very close game to Lucan Community College in the Semifinal of the Basketball Ireland Dublin League. The fact that their opponents had at least three club players, and were probably playing down at least a league level or two, makes our girls’ accomplishment even more impressive. But if you think that with the leagues finished, the gym will now only be filled with the becalming vibes of Mr. Porzadny’s Wellness workouts, think again, for Gahan and Ingle are readying their 80s mix-tapes and their boomboxes for their famous OG Post-Easter ‘3 on 3’ Tournament. The beat, and the bounce, go on!
With Ms. Halpin at the helm, why would we ever settle for just the ‘a’ in STEAM? No room on our ever-expanding campus is responsible for more invention, imagination and fun than our lovingly lit Art Room and no academic or intellectual pursuit is closer to the Conlethian core mission of self-expression, creativity and the pushing of boundaries. We read earlier how Ms. Mellon is leading the Juniors to ever expanding artistic horizons: now it is time to check in on the Senior School. Below you see some of the work which Ms. Halpin’s charges have been getting up to, from exquisite watercolour paintings in Transition Year through the patterned glories of Second Year ‘wallpaper’ to the functionally fantastic clays of First Year. Remember to check our Art Subject Page, where we plan on showing off all of our recent masterpieces!
Transition Year Paintings
Second Year ‘Wallpapers’
First Year Clay Sculptures
First Year Clay Snowmen
We have to be honest: reporting about our First Year Rugby victories was starting to get a bit repetitive and onerous (they being so many in number!) so we jumped the gun recently in announcing the Naas match as the boys’ last of the season. Well, now it’s really over! The First Years closed out their glorious season with a victory in a Leinster-sanctioned De La Salle Palmerston Football Club Rugby 7s tournament, winning the final against a talented De La Salle- Churchtown team. Well done to all the teams involved and we look forward to meeting again in future battles as these promising youngsters grow and develop.
Whether it is Yom Kippur, Ramadan or good, old-fashioned Lent, fasting is intertwined with religious practice. It is a link with our earliest societal impulses of sacrifice and community, and a manifestation of the belief that there is something bigger than us out there. Well, the modern day CSPE curriculum does not exactly acknowledge a link with such archaic notions, but it was interesting to note that Mr. Gahan’s Third Year classes decided to go this time-honoured route for their action project. And, no, not in some selfish, solipsistic effort to ‘purge’ the body and fit into a ‘size zero’, rather a socially conscious team effort to raise funds for the Fr. Peter McVerry Trust and, perhaps, just to get to know each other better. Ms. Stanley and Ms. Clarke were on hand to help out, as the group entertained each other with quizzes and games until 21:00, completing over twelve hours of fasting, and touching base with a human endeavour much older and more enduring than the Junior Cycle!
Mr. Porzadny and Ms. Crowley are at it again, keeping le français alive and active and fighting a two-teacher war against the ever-encroaching English and Mandarin. The French Transition Year classes are again involved with interactive projects with the Junior School but this year they taking new and varied forms. Below you see some snaps from a Football Français tournament run by the TYs for our Junior School friends. All the teams’ names (Monaco, Lyons, PSG…) were French as were the coaches’ and referees’ instructions (and a few muttered expletives when passes went awry). We even saw some French flair in the play on the field! Stay tuned as more of the projects come to fruition. Monday will see more French football (avec les professeurs!) and a special addition to our canteen menu: ‘French (Definitely Not Belgian) Waffles’!
Yes, the rugby boys had their heavy metal year in 2016, when they added a treble of trophies to that groaning trophy shelf in the foyer, and our basketballers usually clean up each year with shields and SDBL plaques at the very least, but the hockey girls have won a serious amount of ‘shine’ this year, themselves. The Minor Girls won another league last Tuesday – the Dublin South and Central School Girls League Shield. They played two twenty minute matches: the first against Sion Hill – winning 1-0 with an excellent goal from Sydney and the second match against St. Raphaela’s, which the girls also won, 1-0, with a goal from the combined efforts of Sasha and Katya.
Great wins and a fitting close to a fantastic season!
The Senior Girls did not hit the headlines as much as the Minors but they also had a successful season, even though they are extremely young for their age group and were often outnumbered. Below we see some snaps from a recent close loss where the girls once again showed great skill and spirit even though they were quite the underdogs.
Somewhere back in the mists of time, not long after the Norman invasion itself, Mr. Peter Gallagher inaugurated a Castle-building Competition amongst the First Years at St. Conleth’s and over the subsequent centuries it has developed into one of the most prestigious competitive events at the school. The rules are simple: build a castle (by yourself, not with your parents or your architect auntie!) and earn points for historical accuracy and creativity. We always enjoy the influx of inspired and even outlandish concoctions which for a few weeks take up every horizontal surface in the school. Yes, apparently not all Conlethians build their castles merely out of air!
This year, Ms. Speller was in charge and, having been raised in a fortified Norman tower house in the badlands of Rathgar, she certainly had the required experience to draw the best from the boys and girls. We had castles made of Lego, wood, styrofoam, cardboard and something edible (at least we hope it was!). And who is the 2019 ‘King of the Castle’? You will have to wait till the Awards Ceremony at the end of term for the dramatic announcement. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures above and below of all the castles and castle-builders, and if you have a spare farthing, the TYs are running a book on the competition, for purely charitable purposes- of course.
We have made the comparisons before and we stand by them: the 2018-2019 First Year Rugby is so good that it merits being talked about in those hallowed tones usually reserved for past golden years like the SCTs of 2016, 2008, 2000 and a few that Mr. Keenan would have to tell you about. Judging by the way the team is ending its season, we may very well be talking similarly someday about the boys of ’24. Of course, there is a way to go before that happens and we have seen great promise melt away before but but there is something about the spirit and unity which Coaches Magee, Smyth and O’Brien have welded into this group that makes us believe that we are indeed on the cusp of another golden age for St. Conleth’s Rugby.
Coach Magee reports back about the team’s next-to-last match of the season:
The First Years expanded their rugby footprint to Naas Rugby club yesterday where they played Naas Community College in a number of matches. It was also a chance for the school to build new relations with ex-Conleths teacher Mr. Ronan Bolger’s new school. St. Conleths College came away as victors in a fantastic show of energy, fun and sportsmanship from both schools.
Nothing gets the blood up like a local ‘derby’. Just think of the blue versus the red of Manchester or the hoops versus the bigots in Glasgow… well St. Conleth’s also has its fair share of neighbourhood rivalries. Our Senior School Chess teams particularly love taking points from Gonzaga; the rugby and basketball teams get particularly ferocious against Marian and, before they relocated to a higher sphere of being, John Scottus and we used to have epic yogic flying races. Well the recent Junior School Basketball match in our Sports Hall (our first ever ‘official’ home basketball game) took it to a new level as we were facing St. Mary’s of Haddington Road, a school we know well from epic chess battles and the express queues at Tesco. And there was something extra on the line, for St. Mary’s was coached by none other than the brother of St. Conleth’s Head of Basketball Sean Ingle! This showdown had the makings of a Hollywood movie, or at least a Hallmark channel tearjerker.
But there were no tears, only cheers as the two teams competed in a spirited but friendly manner and the nets were snapping at both ends of the court. The final score had St. Conleth’s winning 31-29 and that in itself tells a story: many junior basketball games end with baseball scoreboard totals: 8-6, 12-7 etc… But such was the enthusiasm and skills on display from both sides, that the scoreboard was spinning like it was an NBA All-Star game: a true tribute to the players and the Coaches Ingle!
Pity the Geographer, for he plows a lonely course as he strides through the sands of time and bends to measure the accumulated scree, for he he is caught between two camps: too social and humane for the hard science droids yet too rocky and jocky for the effete artsy crowd… except when he leads the Leaving Certificate Geography class on their mandatory field trip! Mr. Coleman was joined on his mid-morning jaunt along the seaside by Mr. Smyth and the best and brightest students of Sixth Year, as well as Andrew and Kealan. Even James strolled by for a chat a few hours later, en route to catching the Bhoys on the telly in Wetherspoon’s in Dun Laoghaire. Yes, a veritable party by Geography standards, but nothing on the bacchanalian festival that is the ‘Ides of March’ Classics Quiz!
So, our resident rock-stars got down to work and measured their longshore drift, wave frequency, beach profile, cliff height and, yes, even beach fabric size and angularity. This being Killiney, the well-compensated tide rolled in just when it was supposed to, did its business and left quietly out the service exit. Job done, well…almost: now comes the hard part of writing it all up!
Last September, Mr. Trenier started the Junior School After-School Science and Maths Clubs and they have been going like gangbusters ever since, with all sorts of lights and sounds (and smells) emanating from the laboratory after school, attesting to the Frankenstein-like activities going on inside. The Maths Club might be a bit quieter than the Science, but be careful… those algorithms can be just as dangerous. You need to know your limits!
Mr. T. ‘s STEMmy adventures with the youngsters recently culminated in participation in the ESB Science Blast, a programme in which (as the blurb says) ‘projects are whole class-led and collaborative, and participants are encouraged to think, wonder, investigate, create, design, explore the why behind the question – and in doing so they learn invaluable new skills. Participating schools exhibit their work at showcase events in Dublin, Limerick and Belfast, where they receive feedback from the team of expert judges and participate in science themed workshops and shows. ESB Science Blast aims to promote curiosity and critical thinking in children at primary school age to enable them to better respond to the challenges of the future.‘ Or as the kids themselves might say: ‘It is fun with magnets!’ Our participating young scientists cooked up various projects involving magnets, from a magnetic car to a magnetic wind generator to magnetic sugar (!). Here you can read more about the Fifth Formers projects. Above, you can see some action shots of their displays’ s well as some of the judges’ comments (very complimentary!). And below, you can also see some of the Maths Club engaging in some geometric hijinks!
Our Classics Kids do indeed ‘kick as‘, or more precisely, ‘kick argentum‘ because they walked away with the silver, not the bronze, last night! Johnny ‘Julius’ Barry led XXIII loyal legionaries into battle at the ‘Ides of March’ Table Quiz in Mount Anville College where our vanguard team, ‘The Cyclops’, made up of Johnny, Matthew ‘Marius’ O’Farrell, Maggie ‘Messalina’ Tighe and Andrew ‘Lucius’ Latvis finished tied for first after the regulation battle and grudgingly settled for a close second after double-overtime, sudden-death gladiatorial combat. But this elite cohort had plenty of back-up: when the call went out to the provinces the recruits came in droves.
We had six teams for the first time in our long history of involvement with this august competition. Joining ‘The Cyclops’ were: ‘The Harpies‘: Grace ‘Gaia’ Childs and Katya ‘Karyatid’ Lawlor; ‘The Julio-Claudians‘: Oisín ‘Publius’ Power, Nathan ‘Numitor’ Harrington, An ‘Otho’ Other and Joshua ‘Marcus’ McCormack; ‘The Hoplites’: Shane ‘Octavius’ O’Rourke, Leo ‘Nerva’ Nolan, James ‘Hermes’ Hastings-Rafferty and fratres in armis James ‘Justinian’ and Myles ‘Miles’ Moriarty-Smyth; ‘The Lotus-Eaters’: Riccardo ‘Romulus’ Rassini, Adam ‘Flavius’ Fanning, Harry ‘Rufus’ Rooney and James ‘Jacobus’ O’Neill; and ‘The Epighoni’: Vivienne ‘Rufina’ Roberts, Kazim ‘Helios’ Haider, Zakaria ‘Charon’ Chabaane and Loghlann ‘Phoebus’ Flynn.
It was a glorious night with a suspenseful end worthy of the greatest of Colosseum combats, and Classics Captain Johnny can now retire with pride, having earned his salt and rustic retreat to Ranelagh by serving loyally in six straight ‘Ides of March’ campaigns. Judging by the talent and enthusiasm shown by the raw recruits in the younger yeas, his legacy will certainly live on!
Never mind the fake news that has been floating around the place, the following is straight from Ms. Killen, which means it’s gospel. Good luck to all involved!
Anyone with teenagers can attest to the difficulties involved in discussing the ‘big’ issues in life, and the preponderance of social media, if anything, has made it more difficult. The Senior School Parents Association has decided to do their part in helping all our parents (including themselves!) by welcoming Dr. Siobhan O’Higgins to give a seminar on ‘Consent’ on Thursday, March 28th at 7:30. All are welcome and encouraged to attend! The following is the PA’s own promotional information.
Parents Seminar on Consent: March 28th2019 7.30pm
Dr. Siobhan O’Higgins, part of Active Consent Programme team based in the School of Psychology NUI Galway on the 28thMarch at 7.30pm will address some of the issues on consent. (Link to Dr. O’Higgin’s biography.)
Supporting our children to safely navigate the world as teenagers and to emerge as happy and healthy young adults has never been a straightforward task. However in the contemporary world, concern may rise as we learn more about the possible negative effects of social media and how the internet generally may effect expectations and assumptions.
The seminar will include:
- aims of the programme
- experiences to date
- the background to the Active Consent programme (our research data with 3rdlevel students, importance of comprehensive Relationships Sexual Education, and the issue of consent)
Please note also that next day, on March 29th Dr O’Higgins will present a Student’s Talk, which will be complementary to the Parent’s Seminar.
- Students from TY and 5thyear will take part in a Smart Consent workshop that will examine understandings/definitions of consent and the ‘grey areas’ which do tend to confuse real life situations.
This is a very important seminar for parents and students, and we look forward to full attendance.
During Seachtain na Gaeilge even a school which lies at the top of Waterloo and Wellington Roads comes out ‘all Irish’! Not that our Irish Department has ever been shy about celebrating our native language and heritage: for years St. Conleth’s múinteoirí Gaeilge have been providing enough ceol agus craic to fill the whole school year, let alone just a double-seachtaine, but they certainly déan a ndícheall leading up to St. Patrick’s Day!
Fay and Dorman and DeBhal and ODulaing are the MacDonagh and MacBride and Connolly and Pearse of St. Conleth’s (without the bloody end!) and they have crammed i bhfad níos mó into 28 Clyde Road, turning it into the Gaeltacht is galánta this side of Carna!
What was on the green agenda? As you can see above, First and Second Years got off their tóin to boogie in a special céilí, and Mr. ODulaing did not even need his hurl this time to keep them in time and in line! Each year had their very own Tráth Na gCeist, answering (sometimes hilariously) about everything Irish from the Erskine Childers to Eskimo Supreme!
There was also the traditional poc fada at Herbert Park, a noted gathering spot for dangerous Fenians. Below you see Third and Fifth Years in action, but everyone had a go, including our visiting friends from Argentina. You also can see some of our poc fada and Tráth Na gCeist prize-winners.
And a there was the traditional bodhrán worksop for Transition Year. You can catch the rhythm above and the pics below, and remember: these boys and girls had just picked up their instruments mere moments before! Well done to all our múinteoirí Gaeilge, whose hard work done in preparation for the festivities meant plenty of craic for the students who enthusiastically took part.
For One Night Only! Last Thursday night, the Junior School Musical, ‘The Peace Child’, premiered in our stately Performance Hall, and by all accounts it was a smash hit! Yes, Pat Howe/Emer Hartnett Productions have done it again: clever lines and lyrics, spectacular costumes, nifty dance moves and, of course, the show-stealing talent and cuteness of our student performers … all the hallmarks of our dynamic duo of theatrical delight! Broadway surely beckons but we hope to hang onto our talented two!
Mr. Kilcommons and all the class teachers also played their parts through the whole pain-staking but joy-producing process and we must mention the amazing painted backdrop scenery of Ms. Mellon and her student artists. And the night finished with our Parent Association’s rather impressively supplied raffle: someone has to pay for all this, after all! See the Ms. Dillon-produced programme here, some stills above and the full production below!
Our Second Years are often accused of being a bit ‘dramatic’, even ‘histrionic’: something about this age group makes them prone to ‘acting out’… Well, Mr. Gahan, Mr. Cummiskey and Mr. Toal decided to join them instead of beating them (the latter quite difficult anyways, nowadays) and led them on a trip to the Abbey Theatre for a workshop and performance of ‘The Country Girls’.
The trip began an adventurous ride on Dublin Bus and then a backstage tour of the Abbey theatre, which explored the history and significance of the Abbey as the national theatre, and then went to the stage itself, and behind-the-scenes, to discover up-close and in-detail of how a production comes together. This was followed by a theatre workshop which was led by a professional actor and which explored some of the creative and imaginative ways for inventing and performing theatre. After our boys and girls reliably pushed the envelope, they enjoyed a matinee performance of Edna O’ Brien’s ‘The Country Girls’. It was an incredibly unique opportunity which will be particularly relevant as the year begins their study of drama in the coming weeks.
The TY Bank Street Boys enjoyed taking the stage and pushing their concept and products at the Build-A-Bank final, while also exploring the futuristic activities available at the @AIBIreland Future Sparks Festival. With Mr. Robert ‘Baron’ O’Connor off with the SCT, Mark Connor, Zach Carr, Luke Gilleran and Matthew Lynch took the lead presenting their student banking franchise to the judges and they did a fine job, displaying not only matinee idol good looks and T-shirt cool, but also sound marketing and accounting practices. They did not place in a very crowded field, but the experience will certainly stand to them in the years to come. And there was the consolation prize for all of TY of sampling all the other cutting edge technologies and concepts on show at the over-arching Futuresparks Festival.
The 2019 SCT bowed out nobly in the Leinster Schools McMullen Senior Cup Semifinal versus Gormanston College this past week. It was a spirited effort from both the younger members of the team and the graduating Sixth Years. Fifth Year Rian Lawlor and Fourth Year Nicholas Cunningham-Ash both scored impressive tries, while Fifth Years Oscar O’Luain and Michael Cook were making scintillating runs and cuts all over the pitch and Liam Reilly kicked strongly through a howling wind, showing that there is plenty of promise going forward. The Sixth Year players gave it their all in their last competitive match in the green and black: Captain Dylan was immense in defence; Hugh did not ‘touch down’ but was dogged in the scrum; Rory and Kealan were jinking and jiving as is their wont; Tom Finn was sparkling in his return from injury and Johnny Barry was his usual selfless self. Unfortunately, Jonathan Dillon came off injured, but it only emphasised what a passionate and loyal servant of St. Conleth’s Rugby Jonathan has been since his time in the Junior School. Head Coach Gav Maguire is immensely proud of him and of all of this cohort’s accomplishments.
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!
Next time a flash of spandex, go-pro and attitude nearly takes you out as you innocently step from the path… don’t blame a Conlethian! Yes, at times when walking the streets of Dublin, it seems that a two-wheeled contingent of the Golden Horde has invaded our fair city but with initiatives like ‘Cycle Right’, the council and its partners are assuring that the next generation of cyclists learn the proper rules and practices which will ensure their safety… and ours! Our Juniors are currently getting a professionally delivered cycle safety course, right here in the school, the yard and the surrounding streets. The eight hour course includes both class time and practical and that all important road test… after a few turns around the front yard of No. 28 Clyde Road!
Historically, St. Conleth’s is traditionally associated with sports that may be described as particularly ballsbidgy or even ‘mock-ascendancy’: we excel at fencing, hockey and rugby to this day and cricket was once a mainstay of our Sports Days. Dare I say a few games of croquet and tiddlywinks have also been played on sunny afternoons in the garden of 28 Clyde Road over the years… but that does not mean that we do not occasionally ‘go county’!
Our Junior Schoolers have had Gaelic sessions with a local club and several first year girls are on the Dublin panel, and of course, there is that annual trip for our TYs to the Mecca of all things GAA: Croke Park. A mainstay on the schedule of weekly ‘Dublin adventures’, the boys and girls always enjoy a visit to the museum and the skyline tour. And after steeping themselves on their native culture, they may even know what Mr. ODulaing is talking about the next time he complains about the puke peile of the northern counties.
They have done it! It was a happy, historic hockey happening for St. Conleth’s, as the whole school downed tools and headed to the wilds of Rathfarnham to watch as our Minor Girls beat Loreto-Beaufort in a ‘1 vs. 1’ shootout to decide the Leinster Final and bring home the cup! Ms. Speller, Ms. Stanley, Ms. Purcell and Ms. Leary were justifiably proud of the girls as they fought tooth-and-nail in a mighty defensive struggle which lasted the length of regulation time.
Sydney was, as usual, omnipresent in midfield and Caoimhe set our hearts racing with some scintillating runs. And Meabh, Siobhan and Ciara were all making game-saving stops and clearances in a see-saw battle of wills. In the end it went to a ‘one-vs.-one’ shoot-out and the girls were confident stepping up to the mark, having dispatched mighty Mount Anville in a similar showdown. The pressure was on but the Conlethians did not wilt: Vivienne came up huge in goals, stonewalling the opposition by bravely dashing from her line and then Alanna cooly circumnavigated their goalie and scored emphatically. It all came down to Sasha.
She had been there before, and perhaps Beaufort did not know, but she has ice in her veins. Some impressive stick-play, a burst of speed, a confident shot…. and the crowd goes crazy! And what a crowd it was, with the numbers and the enthusiasm recalling glory days of the past in rugby and basketball. Well, those sports have made room on the top shelf for a new trophy: one that says ‘Leinster 2019 Minor Girls Hockey!
Our Minor Hockey Girls are into the Leinster Final! A first in Hockey for St. Conleth’s. They beat Dundalk Grammar in the Semis in a hard-fought defensive match, winning 1-0 on a short corner by Sydney Weir McErlean! A charming footnote to the match is that three players had older Conlethian siblings on the sidelines- granted special release from classes: Sydney, Vivienne and Ciara were cheered on by Georgia, Pierce and Oisín. But for the next match, there will be more than just siblings: the Leinster Final is on Monday against Loreto High School Beaufort- and the whole school is going to witness this great moment in St. Conleth’s sporting history!
Junior School fencer Myles Moriarty-Smyth ventured to Scotland last weekend to fence in the Edinburgh stage of this season’s Leon Paul Junior Foil Series. In a narrative worthy of Rosemary Sutcliffe’s ‘Eagle of the Ninth’, he wrestled 1st place, Gold, and the trophy from the amassed Scottish ranks
of Under 11 Boys. He fenced extremely well, winning all his ‘DEs’ and the
Final by comprehensive margins. What really added to the occasion was
being refereed and subsequently awarded his medal by Britain’s 5-times
Commonwealth Men’s Foil winner, Keith Cook. Big brother James and the other Senior School fencers had better watch out for this rising star!
Our First Year Rugby Team reminded us all that St. Conleth’s is still a rugby school and that they too can, at least momentarily, stop killing each other to pose for a photo! The latest win in a season-long win streak was a tight one over St. Andrews College 49-44. Coaches Magee and Smith are justly proud of their charges, who stepped it up significantly for this match, playing against a team which was pulled from a much larger school and pool of players. Apparently, Andrew’s started their ‘B’ team but quickly learned that St. Conleth’s are no longer pushovers and the substitution of studs bearing ominous nicknames began… not that it did them much good! Two more matches to go! Enjoy the team pick from yesterday below, as well as some action photos from earlier in the year.
Our Minor Hockey Girls Team is through to Leinster Semifinal! This historic hockey happening will take place on Friday vs. Dundalk Grammar at the YMCA grounds in Sandymount. It is simply amazing that in a few short years, St. Conleth’s has become a legitimate power in girls school hockey and it is a credit to Coaches Speller, Leary, Stanley and Purcell. We will also see, below, the First Year team join with the Junior School players for a combo training session and pics from the Junior School team’s recent blitz at Mount Anville. It looks like hockey is here to stay at St. Conleth’s!
Now, that’s a real ‘pick and roll’! TYs enjoyed a day of sporting fun with a social dimension as they took part at Gormanston College in the Irish Wheelchair Association’s fundraising basketball league. It was a great day out and everyone played their part. Of course, our ‘regular’ basketball stars such as Luke Gilleran, Colin Bolger and Keane Acosta were wheelin’ and dealin’ all over the court but it was great to see newcomer Ian Mauer showing off his skills and Vanshika Shukla and Ciara MacNally absolutely dominating the mid-court with their stylish pivots and passes. Check out the (many) pics below!
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!
Actually, just send the lawyers: guns are rendered redundant when truly rockin’ rhetoric is reverberating from the rostrum and the money, well, the bills usually follow the barristers, so just keep an eye on the in-box! TY Co-Ordinator Mr. Trenier, himself a self-taught expert in agricultural law (there was some issue over a prized stock bull a few years back), invited two of the top barristers in the land into St. Conleth’s to present a seminar on the life and work of our legal eagles and then lead the TYers themselves through a ‘mock court’ with the students themselves taking the parts of plaintiff, defendant, prosecutor, defence attorney and various witnesses. Newcomer Ian Maurer played a blinder as a police officer and Dylan Alvez was particularly adept at capturing the mix of deductive reasoning and moral flexibility which are the hallmarks of all great lawyers!
…our Junior School Art Classes have a good time! Ms. Mellon somehow regularly gathers the anarchic energy of our Junior School pupils and channels it into the most creative of avenues. Even when her art class falls immediately after little break and the kids are at their most hyper!
Recently, perhaps inspired by a three week spell of constant freezing rain, Ms. Mellon decided to incorporate practicality (umbrellas) and hope (rainbows) and led her charges through a project where they designed their own ‘rainbow and rain’ background and then posed for an action-shot self-portrait. See the results above and below and stay tuned for more art news!
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!
Our Minors won a thrilling penalty shoot-out over Mount Anville in the Quaterfinals of the Leinster’s. Head Coach Ms. Speller reports:
Today was the tensed match we have played. It was 0-0 at half time after some great defensive play on both sides. Into the second half and a Mount Anville goal in the first few minutes crushed Conleth’s hopes of a semi final win, but with determination they fought on to live another day! A late goal by the combined efforts of Sydney and Sasha meant that Conleth’s spirits soared. As the final whistle blew we stood at 1-1. The refs conversed and decided that ‘1v1s’ (hockey’s version of a penalty shoot-out) was the way forward.
With eight seconds each to score, the girls lined up: Sydney, Sasha, Maebh, Alanna and Caoimhe. Mount Anville had the first shot and scored. Syd stepped in and also scored. Mount Anville missed their next three, while Conleth’ss Sasha scored a secnd: 1-2 to Conleth’s! Alas, Maebh and Alanna missed the next two, leaving the score at 1-2 to us. Mount Anville stepped up for their last shot and scored. 2-2. Tensions were high. Mr ODulaing even looked rattled. All went quiet with nerves. It’s Caoimhe time to shine…. She steps up, goes right and shoots! In it goes and the crowd goes wild! St. Conelth’s live to fight another day and are through to the semi-finals!
Ms Stanley’s brilliant (but unbiased) reffing and Ms Purcell’s coaching definitely had an impact. A great day out!
…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!
Another busy Conlethian international sportsman! TY Luke Gilleran recently travelled with the Irish Basketball U17 Development squad to an international three day tournament in Mulhouse, France and played against top European competition from France, Serbia and Russia. Luke scored 63 points in 6 games including 21 points v KK FMP Belgrade and 19 points v Lokomotiv Kuban. He also ‘cleaned up’ a lot of defensive boards in particular. And it was raining 3s for Luke – he hit 5 3s in one game and 4 3s in another, and was selected to participate for the Irish team in the tournament 3 point contest. Luke’s Irish team played in the 3rd/4th place play-off in the main arena in the Palais de Sport in Mulhouse (7,000 capacity).
It has been an exciting few weeks at St. Conleth’s as our Great Egg-to-Chick Experiment was planned, initiated, brought to fruition, and now, bittersweetly, concluded with our fluffy, feathered friends earning retirement in the bucolic splendour of County Wicklow and our students left tearful at the parting but full of warm memories and some serious learning. Just before the midterm break, Cecilia, our Pre- and Post-School programme director and lead poultry farmer, led a whole-school assembly to wrap up the project. The students themselves played a large part as several detailed their part in the project, making multimedia presentations which were full of information and fun. The biggest cheers, of course, were reserved for the famous chick races, on which Mr. Kilcommons ran a book, financing the chicks’ Wicklow retirement (and a few of his Six Nations pints). Well done to Cecilia, Mr. Kilcommons, the class teachers, the students and the chicks themselves on starting what is sure to be a great, new St. Conleth’s tradition!
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!
Yes, maybe it was just the shine off the trophies, but our little chicks did seem awfully impressed by our returning chess teams. Mr. Kilcommons, himself, give us the details.
All four chess teams competed in the Leinster School League Finals in St. Catherine’s Sports Centre, Marrowbone Lane on Monday 11th. Three parents travelled with the team as well as Mr. Kilcommons, with each assigned a team. Rafa De La Cruz gave a rousing motivational speech to the players on the road. It had the desired effect with all teams performing brilliantly.
Every one of the 32 players notched at least one victory from 5 matches. Patrick Coleman and Alex Dooley won individual prizes for remaining unbeaten throughout the day, a perfect five out of five. Declan De La Cruz Boylan is also worthy of mention with a score of 4.5 in the dizzy heights of Division 1- a great performance. Our “B” side also bagged a team prize, an 8-0 whitewash in their last fixture catapulting them up to 3rd place and a podium finish. We were one of only two schools to enter the maximum amount of teams- 4, so a gold medal for participation. The players will turn their finely tuned chess minds on each other later in the year for the annual in-house chess cup.
Though we do not subscribe to much eastern mysticism, we do admit that the old ‘yin yang‘ theory tends to work out: things do seem to find a balance, on a whole, given time. For example, last week we in the Senior School hosted two lovely (honestly!) inspectors from the Department of Education and Skills but the Junior School hosted a few guests from the Department of Agriculture and Life who were even cuter and cuddlier than the cigiri. Cecilia, the equally cuddly czar of our Pre- and After-School Programme, took the initiative with this ‘Eggs to Chickens’ project and to be honest, over our long association with this school, we have never seen anything bring as much excitement and joy to St. Conleth’s. And that was just in the staffroom!
Cecilia is in charge but she has enlisted the help of all the Junior School staff (especially night nurses, Ms. Kelly and Tom) as well as the eager little hands of the Junior School Pupils, as everyone has watched, charted and documented the progress from warm, little eggs to vibrating balls of fluff to rampaging little T-Rexes! Now we all await the final transformation to Frank’s Hot Wings… just kidding! The science behind the project has been fascinating and you can see some of the many associated student projects above, as well as the many smiles (above and below) that this venture has brought to St. Conleth’s, just when we really needed it!
Fresh off their Cross Country success of a few weeks ago, Mr. Keenan and his ever-growing Athletics Army was on the road again. This time, Mr. Keenan and a gang of First and Second Years stormed the Indoor Athletic Championships, where running and a variety of jumping was on the agenda.
We do pride ourselves on ‘participation’ in sport at St. Conleth’s: everyone gets a go and we never make ‘cuts’. But that does not mean that we do not have quality athletes amongst our student body. You read below how we won two medals at the Cross Country Championships and, this time, we were just off the mark in a quality field. Our First Year girls relay finished fifth in a star-studded final and the First Boys just missed their final by a fraction of a second. It seems like we are getting ‘sportier’ every year, as anyone who has tried to supervise the yard at lunchtime, can attest!
Signs of Spring: St. Brigid’s crosses get made in schools. The daffodils force their way up through the mud. And St. Conleth’s is crowned AIJS Chess Champions! Liam Hunter, Charlie Kennedy, Samson Labintsev and David MacNicholas now turn their attention towards the Leinster Schools Championships. They scored 30 points out of 32, 8 points ahead of Monkstown Park School, who came in second and Rathgar Junior School, who came third. A big thank you goes out to the parents who helped organise all the matches and provided transportation and, in particular, Rafael de la Cruz Arribas, who wrote this hilarious yet inspiring motivational speech for the occasion. Rafael reminds us that the chess (or tennis or anything) may be very competitive but we should not forget that it should also be fun!
Mr. O’Brien and his Second Form certainly put all that new-fangled ‘co-operative learning’ and ‘kinetic intelligence’ into practice, and they do it in a way that makes school seem fun and educational and all that theory actually useful!
From September, they have been at work on various projects and below you will see just a few highlights of the hands-on happenings, from a study of the Culture of China to kite-building to geometric robot-making to a Study of Eating Habits. Of course, they also enjoyed showing them off… and honing those presentation skills!
Don’t tell Gav but the word on the DART, in the queues at D-Brook Fair and at the pilates and spinning classes is that there is a new hockey school on the block and its name is…. St. Conleth’s! The ever-enthusiastic Helen ‘Rah-Rah’ Speller, and her coaching crew of Mses. Leary, Stanley and Purcell, have engineered a quiet revolution in St. Conleth’s sport. Actually, it has not been that quiet at all, as you would know, if you ever hear the hockey girls traipsing through the hallways en route to another amazing upset. The latest was when the Minor girls beat hockey-hallowed Mount Anville to qualify for the Leinster Quarterfinals, another notch in an already impressive list of hockey achievements. Below you see the minors celebrating that accomplishment and the Seniors saluting the sunset after another rambunctious training session.
Student involvement in a school is obviously essential: if no students show up for school, we would soon be re-assigned (despite the union’s best efforts) to someplace like Cloughjordan. That might please some of the country folk, who teach the Sciences and miss the scents of peat and slurry in the air, but we culture vultures in the Liberal Arts would go mad! So, at St. Conleth’s, we keep the kids involved. You have read below about the Student Council’s contributions, but student participation here is not just about hobnobbing with the elites like some bevy of Brussels bureaucrats: all our kids get involved in every aspect of the school, even cooking up cuisine in the canteen. The eagerly awaited annual Porzowley ‘Masterchef Français’ is on the way, but Chefs Mark and Emerson (and Anna) are constantly and good-naturedly engaging with the students, in addition to keeping us all well-fed (and entertained). And a couple of weeks ago they served up generous helpings of First Year Nicolai’s own-recipe Curry. It was so spicy it sparked a spirited reaction in Emerson- not that he needs much encouragement!
… 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!
Fencing has been part of St. Conleth’s since the very beginning and regular readers would know how active and successful is the current crop of Conlethian fencers. Now we have news of another incredible fencing achievement: Third Year Claudio Sosa has been selected to represent Ireland in the Cadet European Championships 2019 in Foggia Italy and Cadet World Championship 2019 in Poland… at the tender age of 14! Claudio is pictured here with six times Olympic Gold medallist Valentina Vezzali, who kindly provided him with her autograph and huge motivation as a role model for the upcoming championships. Claudio qualified at a recent tournament in Rome, where he also found time to take in some Roman ruins, perfect preparation for his Latin Mock Exam!
When you think ‘banker’ perhaps you think of the little moneybag grabbing Monopoly caricature… or, perhaps, some of the individual bankers who have been periodically in the news since 2008 come to mind… or the USC or PRD on your payslip flashes across your mind. One does not usually think of music, especially not the free-to-hear, just-for-the-fun-of-it tradition of busking, but the ubiquitous Robert O’Connor and the rest of the ‘Bank St. Boys’ took their endearing pun-ful name to its logical conclusion and promoted their TY Build-A-Bank by bringing back a modern Conlethian tradition: the lunchtime Buskers’ Corner! Musicians such as Rory Clarke, James Moriarty-Smyth and Sam Lynch were only too happy to respond with signature performances (in return for the promise of a tracker mortgage). Yes, commerce and the arts can work together! *Terms and Conditions do apply.
Magic Boots! Below you see our winners in the Junior School’s aforementioned ‘Johnny Sexton Legendary Drop Goal Boots Competition’. Maybe Johnny should have borrowed them back for Saturday’s match against the auld enemy? Ah well, you can’t win them all… Still, our Juniors were proud to be part of one of the most memorable moments in Irish sports history, as well as to help out with a good cause.
Well, it has not worked to well up north recently, but at St. Conleth’s we are firm believers in ‘power-sharing’. Actually, ‘power’ is a rather dirty word nowadays, so let us just call it ‘voice’. Everyone has a voice at St. Conleth’s, and the chance to use it. Our Parents Associations are extremely active (see the Senior School PA Committee below), organising the Christmas Tree Fair, the Sportsday refreshments, the Scholastic Book fair and various other fundraisers and events during the year, including the very enjoyable PA Social in the Spring, usually held at an obliging yacht club. The Student Council (also, below) don’t get to go to the yacht club for drinks (yet), but they probably do deserve them after working hard all year to represent their peers in partnership with the teachers and management. The School Captain Tomás Clancy and his Vices, Georgia Weir-McErlean and Jack Cosgrave, take the lead but they are helped by all the class captains as they organise the Buddy System, run various charity collections and events and field the concerns of the students and bring them to the attention of the Principal and play leading roles in all our assemblies, masses and other school gatherings. There are great plans in the making for the Spring Term so stay tuned, and play your part when your captain comes calling!
Fencing is cosmopolitan in the truest sense of the word: our band of brothers are racking up huge air miles (and bills for their parents) competing around the continent. As you read below, the Conleth’s Moriarty-Smyths and the Sherlocks recently dominated the Northern Irish Foil Series.
Now it was time for those Parisians to fall to our swashbuckling heroes. Myles Moriarty-Smyth took Silver on Saturday at the Tournoi De Fleuret Des Petits AS, hosted in Paris by CEP. He was the sole Irish entrant, and achieved a superb 2nd place finish out of a field of 46 Under 11 fencers. The competition draws foilists from all over France, and the prestigious host club fielded a very strong selection. Myles narrowly lost the Final 8/6 to their No. 1 seed, having despatched all others on his way. Another trophy for the shelf… and, undoubtedly, more to come!
Where were you when it happened? Yes, when you are old and grey and the memories are starting to fade there will be at least one etched forever in your sporting (and national) pride. Johnny Sexton’s drop goal at the death vs. France in the Six Nations will be played again and again and again until the rising seas short circuit all our screens. And somehow, I think, Johnny just will not let that happen either. Let us do our part:
But the story gets better. Johnny donated the famous footwear for auction to help a very sick girl and a certain St. Conleth’s family ended up with the prized bootikins. And this family loaned the hallowed hoofers to the school! Mr. Kilcommons then organised an interesting competition: one of our sports hall’s basketball hoops was festooned with said stilettos and all the Juniors had the chance to kick a hole-in-on, so to speak. Everyone had go, and the crack was mighty, with one particularly skilled booter being carried off the court by his classmates! Check out the pics below and stay tuned for the individual class winners.
Is Kamran Roseingrave-Salim the Olivier Giroud of Maths competitions? Like the wonderfully whiskered Frenchman, Kamran and his ‘B Team’ cohorts came off the bench to score a moral victory in the latest Irish Maths Teachers Association Competition, finishing ahead of the much vaunted, pretty boy ‘A ‘team. That’s like the League Cup line-up beating the Prem starters! To be fair, both teams did very well in a tough, physical encounter. Who knows where the A Team would have finished if Captain Hugh ‘Touch’ Downes had not been hampered by an ankle injury? Hugh, Jack ‘Cos And Tan’ Cosgrave, Joe ‘Cabo’ Hyland and Ian ‘Integer’ O’Neill did their very best but it was refreshing to see the un-fancied and un-monikered B team (Kamran, Pierce Roberts, Gavin Roche Griffin and Stephen Allen) upset the odds and please the bookies.
And though both teams finished near the middle of the pack, we think they might be better off dwelling in the realm of mere excellence in Maths: the true geniuses often have a hard time in other, less numerical aspects of life. Previous Hopkins-o-lytes have finished further up the motherboard but emboldened by their success, they upgraded their operating systems, majored in Pure Maths or Computer Science and now speak only to each other and themselves, and even then, usually in binary. The 2019 contingent may forget to ‘carry the 1’ sometimes, but as you can see above, they will certainly meet more girls in college!
With essential parts Mark ‘Ronan’ Connor and Johnny ‘Taz’ Barry on the shelf due to injury, the Boys U19 Basketball team was always going to be up against it in the SDBL Semifinal and when we drew perennial nemesis, St. Andrew’s, it was assured to be a dogfight. Only seven brave young men suited up, but they gave the perennial powers a run for the money, and though we lost on the scoreboard we won on the style and the swagger, in a sport where they matter, too. Like Philly last year and Brooklyn this, these kids may not always win, but they always put on a show! Colin Bolger was Iverson-like as he shot the lights out and hounded the St. Andrew’s guards relentlessly. Luke Gilleran was his usual rebounding and shot blocking machine and the quintessential big man dime dispenser. Andrew ‘Casimir’ Latvis, emulating his Eastern European NBA heroes, plied both the paint and the perimeter like a junior Jokić. Josh Bergin and Jack Doyle were doubling their minutes but showed no let-up in effort or skill and Keane Acosta was again a streak of green as he dashed up and down the court, shooting at a whim. And barrel-chested Jack Topliss, like a 1980s Piston, came on for some thumping picks… but somehow found time to also take the amazing pics below! Well done to the boys and Coach Sean on a great season. The future bodes well, with only Andrew and Johnny declaring for the draft.
Well, not quite, but we want you to get a sense of the earth-shaking significance of our First Year Chess team vanquishing Gonzaga 5-0, as they did yesterday in their very first match of the season. Yes, the amazing winning streak achieved by the First Year rugby team has carried over into a sport which is a bit less physical but no less demanding.
Ms. NiAonghusa credits the Lunchtime Chess Club and the chess-specific work-outs in the Fitness Suite for helping this team exceed expectations. And, luckily, there were no significant injuries during the various games, with both sides competing with good humour and perfect sportsmanship. And our Senior Team were moral victors if not actual ones, as they bravely pushed their Gonzaga counterparts to a 2-3 finish. Not impressed? Remember: Gonzaga are like the Brazilians in soccer, the All Blacks in rugby, the Cubans in baseball…
Both our Junior and Leaving Certificate Music students took trips to the National Concert Hall this week to hear their ‘set works’ professionally played and analysed. Ms. Fay and Ms. deBhal reported back that all the students were impeccably behaved and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely. For the Seniors, the internationally praised music educationalist Tom Redmond and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra presented a step-by-step guide to Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture, highlighting key themes and sections, presented with big screen musical illustrations and concluding with a full performance. And the Juniors were treated to a full slate of excerpts: Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro Overture’; Grieg’s ‘Morning Mood’; ‘Anitra’s Dance’ and ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ from Peer Gynt Suite No. 1; Vivaldi’s A movement from ‘Winter’, The Four Seasons; Copland’s ‘Hoe down’ from Rodeo; John Williams’ The Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back; and Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra: Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell. Even the trip home was a delight, as the sun was shining, the air was fresh and Ms. Fay, Ms. DeBhal and Manus were in perfect pitch (of course!) as they serenaded their charges with their own personal favourite arias, all the way home to St. Conleth’s!
Mr. Keenan does not do things by halves: when we say that sport at St. Conleth’s is all about participation, he practises what we preach and issues an open invite to all students to join him on his Track and Field outings. This time, he led his horde of student athletes over the mountains and through the trees to the East Leinster Cross Country Championships at Avondale.
As you can see from the smiles in the photos of our First Year runners above, the boys and girls have a blast and enjoy the day out in the crisp Wicklow air. And we do not just do participation, we also do ‘winning’! There were some quality runners hidden amongst this merry band, with Luke Timlin and Sydney Weir McErlean winning Gold and Bronze in their respective races and many of our runners placing in the top half of finishers. It was a long cold, day out, but the weather was bright and clear and Mr. Keenan kept warm by lining up competitors for the upcoming Leinster Schools Athletic Union Indoor Meet. Interested First and Second years should sign up now with Mr. Keenan.
Is there anything more exciting than a fire engine? Cecilia welcomed the Fire Brigade to visit the After-School Programme and the boys and girls were thrilled to get a chance to board the fire engine, try on the helmets and blast their favourite teachers’ cars with the fire-hose!
And Officer John gave the older kids a talk about fire safety at home and put them in charge with going home and check all smoke detectors and the kids talked at length (!) about their experiences. It was lovely afternoon for all involved!
…is the supposed value of a picture but the frequent visitor to these pages knows that we often throw in the thousand words anyways, for good measure! This time, however, we will let the photographs speak for themselves. Our usual TY ace reporters Edwin and Seoyeon were joined by new recruit, Adam Rafter, and he proved a quick learner as he traipsed around the various sporting venues, snapping away with his usual good humour, despite having just roused himself from his sickbed . The events themselves were a trifecta of moral victories but actual losses: our JCT went down to Blackrock College (yes, that Blackrock College!) but put up a darn good fight; our Senior Hockey girls lost to Louth powerhouse Dundalk Grammar; and our U16 Boys Basketball team was edged out in the SDBL Semifinal by perennial foreign student-enhanced powers, St. Andrew’s. Three losses yes, but all against top-notch competition, and there is more to come in each sport as the JCT face the rugged farm-boys of Ardee (pronounced ‘AR-deeeee’) in the Duff Shield quarters; the Minor Hockey team is steaming into the post-season; and the U19 Boys have a SDBL Semifinal vs. St. Andrew’s later this week. We feel that… oh yes, enough said. Now, the photos!
Never mind the risk of injury which our rugby, basketball, hockey and chess players face with each match and training session, imagine what horrific wounds our brave Dungeons & Dragons players suffer in nearly every game! All this happened before Christmas, but as the warriors involved have just returned from wandering lost in the land of Faerûn, we are just getting the news now. Ms. NiAonghusa shooed away her chess and coding disciples for one day (actually, there was quite a bit of overlap in participants) and transformed Room 3 into a classic D&D den, à la ‘Stranger Things’. The two hour session was overseen by Dungeon Master Evan Power and he was joined by assorted First, Second and Fifth Years, playing as various warlocks, dwarves, elves and halflings. All went well but the last we saw of Oisín Power, he was being carried out the emergency doors over the shoulder of a Kobold!
All that sweat about basketball, hockey and rugby (with more to come!) put us in mind for news of a more cerebral and, dare we say, sophisticated Conlethian pursuit: chess. Ms. NiAonghusa, in addition to being Exam Czar, somehow finds time to run the Senior School Lunchtime Chess Club and organise our chess teams’ games against other schools. On Tuesday afternoons, many of our students seek out the solace of Room Three, fleeing the rough-and-tumble of the yard and instead engaging in a more intellectual competition. And out of those well-mannered clashes, our representative teams are formed. Recently, our top team bravely battled to a 2.5-2.5 score vs. powerhouse Colaiste Éanna, with Ricardo and Utkarsh winning their games in a very physical but fairly fought competition. And it was great to see Charlotte on the team: as we are now fully co-educational, it is only natural that the girls start to infiltrate this former purely male preserve. More games to come!
A New Year, another round of fencing…. The band of brothers headed North on Saturday for Round 3 of the NIJF series, and in time-honoured fashion, they returned with a full complement of medals: James Moriarty-Smyth- Gold in Under 16 Boys; Luke Sherlock- Silver in Under 14 Boys; Myles Moriarty-Smyth- Gold in Under 12 Boys and Mathew Sherlock- Bronze in Under 12 Boys. In addition to fencing, James, as qualified Level One referee, officiated throughout the day, including all of Mathew’s poule matches; needless to say fair play and impartiality prevailed.
Our First Year Rugby team is making history with their season-long unbeaten run and our JCT recently joined the party with an emphatic Shield win, but their elder brethren, the SCT, also have every reason to walk the hallways of St. Conleth’s with heads held high. Coach Gavin Maguire and his coaching staff have the SCT playing with spirit, style and success despite a devastating number of injuries this season. They recently went on a four game winning streak, only ending with a tough loss to Templeogue in the Shield (photos below), quite an accomplishment for a squad that may be small in number but is undoubtedly great in heart.
Mr. Callaghan and his STEM staff sidekicks bravely took on the onerous task of leading three full years of Conlethians down to the BT Young Scientists’ Exhibition. A great afternoon was had by all as the students were able to see and actively participate in various scientific ad mathematical projects… and pick up the all-important freebies!
And, once again, it was noted how the Conlethian contingent were the best behaved group of students in attendance: honestly interested in the exhibition and as polite and mannerly as always… with only the shyest of glances at the other talent on display! See above for some snaps of them enjoying themselves, as well as below, for an innovative montage captured by our ace photographer!
…study more! We all tend to the aspirational rather than the practical when it comes to New Year’s resolutions but here is one which is very appropriate and achievable for our students: supervised study. There are two ‘programmes’: Mr. Maguire’s ‘Night Study’ runs from 6:30-9:00 on selective Mondays and Thursdays. Mr. Latvis’s ‘After-School Study’ runs from 3:30-6:00 on M,T,TH and Fri. and 1:30-4:00 on Wed. There is a discount for those hardy should who wish to do both. All the details are attached here. Payment will be made through Easypayments on this website (but please wait till the new term’s listing is up in a few days). Meanwhile, Night Study starts on the very first day back (Monday, 7/1) and After-School Study starts on Tuesday (8/1) so put away those crackers and start packing those books!
We already know that our U19 boys basketball team have continued their winning ways under Coaches Ingle and Gahan and they have another postseason appointment with glory in the New Year, but let us bring you up to date with a couple of our other teams. The U16 Girls certainly had a successful season, narrowly losing their league semifinal in a toughly contested match but having a season full of wins to look back upon proudly. There was a one-point loss to start the season but then the girls reeled off victories against Sandford Park, Presentation-Terenure, Larkin CC and Mt. Anville, and mostly by comfortable margins! Well done to the girls and we look forward to one even stronger team next year.
And our First Years have picked up in basketball where they have been all year in rugby: winning! Coaches Ingle and Gahan lead them to the final of their first blitz of the year. Stay tuned as their season gets into gear in the new year!
After the extraordinary drama of the Junior School’s first ever professionally produced single (see below), it was back to basics with the Preparatory School’s version of the Nativity story, but the simple elegance of the production proved that Drama Teacher Pat Howe et al are just adept at staging the timeless classics as the avant garde!
Ms. Kelly’s, Ms. Leary’s and Ms. Purcell’s charges were all suited up in exquisite costumes (thanks, parents!) and the assorted kings, angels, shepherds and the members of the Holy Family all performed with spirit and grace, bringing smiles and laughter to those assembled in our beautifully decorated performance hall: a perfectly pitched close to the term and our Christmas celebrations. See and hear for yourself, below!
Everyone knows that Conlethians are the coolest of cats and that 28 Clyde Road is hipster heaven but last Friday we reached new heights of hipness as Piano Teacher So-Young invited some of her musical friends by to help out with the accompaniment: there was Dave Mooney plucking the Double Bass, Conor Murray keeping the beat on the drums and So-Young herself organising the whole affair.
And who was the fourth member of the quartet? Why, a whole slew of Conlethian ivory-ticklers, students of So-Young from First Class to Fifth Year took their turn at the piano stool and under the spotlight. It was a stylishly sonorous affair and, except for the brightness and cleanliness of our Performance Hall, you might have thought you had wandered into some Jazz bar in the depths of Manhattan or Chicago, such was the quality and coolness of the music. S0-Young was justifiably proud of her students and friends, and the parents and guests were very impressed, indeed, with this tasteful and pitch perfect use of our musical space. See and hear the action, above and below!
The Senior School Choir is at the heart of everything that we do musically at St. Conleth’s- in fact, it is at the heart of the school community itself, playing an essential role in our annual school masses and various seasonal celebrations. But we have plenty of individual talent, too, and sometimes those talents band together in small groupings to delightful effect- as can be seen (and heard) below.
Judging by the number of First and Second Year performers at this year’s Christmas Concert, there is clearly a new generation of musical talent ready to take the stage and Ms. deBhal and Ms. Fay’s toughest job is to narrow down the playlist (click)- who knows which of the names below is destined to join Alex Sheehan, Conor O’Brien and Cassia O’Reilly on the professional stage? In the meantime we will just enjoy the beautiful sounds and, even more importantly, the heartwarming sight of young talent working together.
At this time of year, much is bandied about about ‘The True Meaning of Christmas’. We certainly do not claim we have the the definitive answer to this old chestnut, but if you happened to be around the corner at St. Mary’s Home last week when Ms. Fay and a select group of student carolers made their annual visit, you just might be closer to the truth than most.
As usual, the Conlethian contingent brought, and were greeted with, great cheer and the music and singing were enjoyed and appreciated by both visitors and residents, with the line between them blurring as several of the retired folk joined in and sang along. And as usual, the students left with a new spring in their step, feeling just that bit more authentically Christmasy!
Cecilia Franken, St. Conleth’s After-School Programme Co-Ordinator, knows how to throw a party! DJ, dancing, disco lights, limbo bar and (of course) sweets were on offer as Cecilia’s kids (and some of their parents) really got into the holiday mood!
Of course, fun and games are always part of the After-School Programme, that is, after you get your homework done! Cecilia runs a tight ship, but a fun-filled one, and arts and crafts, snacks, sport and all sorts of indoor and outdoor games are on the agenda. When the weather, and light permit, there are even trips down to Herbert Park where the kids enjoy the greenery and the fabulous playgrounds.
Cecilia also runs our Early Morning Drop-Off Supervision, where her charges benefit from a similar diet of learning and fun!
The first miracle of this Christmas season was Music Teacher Emer Hartnett’s almost unbelievable accomplishment of organising and executing the Junior School Choir’s grand plans for this Christmas: the practising, recording and promotion of a charity single, ‘Would You Believe?’, to benefit St. Conleth’s partnership with a community in Uganda. The hours that went into the project were countless and the stress, on both mind and ear considerable, but Ms. Hartnett and her army of sweetly-singing girls and boys pulled it off. Please support this impressive accomplishment and noble cause by purchasing a copy of the single from the school. In the meantime, feast your eyes on these videos. I think you will agree, that miracles do happen, but they are often preceded by talent, hard work and enthusiasm!
First up, a rather rough mash-up of the choir singing in different settings around the school, with a real, live soundtrack!
Now, the same video but backed by the studio recored vocal track.
And, now, the choir in studio, on one of their many ‘takes’:
And lastly, a special note, or is that an arpeggio? Notice one particular boy’s ‘shush’ attempt at the end!
Yes, the band of brothers (and Claudio) have been busy leading into the holidays, building up their supply of precious metals… perhaps for re-gifting at Christmas? There simply is no more room on the trophy shelf! Pembroke Fencing Coach Olga Volga and Conlethian fencing parent Kathrin Chambers provide a round-up of our recent fencing exploits:
At the National Fencing Seniors Championship, Claudio Sosa won a gold with his team, the mysteriously-dubbed ‘Pound of Fleche Reloaded’, made up mostly of fencers from The Queen’s University of Belfast (which our young Claudio was welcomed to join!). They were crowned as the National Champions for 2018 in the modern pentathlon premises in Blanchardstown.
Then Claudio and Luke travelled to Marburg in Germany for the 18th Marburg International Open City Championships. The standard was high as every at the competition and both boys competed on both Saturday and Sunday. Their efforts were rewarded as Luke brought home Bronze in both the U14 Epee and U14 Foil competitions. Claudio brought home Silver in the U17 Foil and Bronze in Senior Foil.
And, finally (for now!), the merry fencers travelled to Belfast last Sunday for the 2nd of the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series and they returned with their now customary haul of medals, with Claudio securing gold once again in the U17 category, Luke Sherlock gold in the U14 and Matthew Sherlock taking home a hard fought silver in the U12s. Alas, it was a slightly depleted group as they were missing the Moriarty-Smyth brothers. James suffered an injury playing a more modern (and less sophisticated) sport t break-time. However, he is on the mend and will soon be back in action, leading the charge onto new fields of fencing glory!
A TYer reports on their super-successful Christmas Fair (in partnership with Parents Association):
The TY Christmas tree fair all started in the TY Room, late October. Each student chose a role and a group to participate in the fair. Last week, the preparations began to heat up. Christmas trees were bought in bulk, ranging from 3ft to even 14ft, and were brought into the hall the Friday before the fair. Many TY groups made their own products, such as baked goods and Christmas decor, like logs and wreaths, which sold completely throughout the day. Other groups sold waffles, sausage rolls and Christmas cards. Saturday, the 8th of Dec., at 9:30 marked the beginning of our annual fair. By quarter past the school hall was bustling with parents and students alike, many of whom bought Christmas trees right away. The trees were selected, netted by the students and then carried outside where they were drilled. One of the TY parents even organised all the payments and receipts. Ms. Fay came in with the hand-picked best members of the Senior School Choir so that Christmas carols could greet our shoppers at the door.
Most stalls immediately began making some profit, the Christmas logs and wreaths likely made the most cash on the day, with the confectionary not far behind. There were also several Third Years taking part, raising money for their East Africa 2020 Expedition development work. By 12pm the Christmas trees were clearing out and many were sent out by delivery, in which two of the TY boys would carry a tree anywhere around Donnybrook and Ballsbridge, and then they set it up in the buyer’s house. Most of us made some money out of tips! Many of the students carried trees all over the local area and even a little further. By 2pm the fair was still going strong, the balloons had sold out and trees were still being delivered. Free tea and coffee were available on the day and some stalls were filled with books and small toys. At 3pm the were still selling strong and some stands, like the Christmas logs and wreaths had sold out and made maximum profit. The pastries and sausage rolls stocks had also almost depleted… everything was a hit!
The TY students all wore Christmas jumpers and Santa hats, this all added the Christmas cheer and even the parents dressed festively. By 4:30 pm, the fair had almost ended, and everything was pretty much sold out. Many students and parents volunteered to stay behind and clean up. I would hope we raised a great profit as 100% goes to the East Africa fund. We’d like to thank everyone involved, especially the Parent’s Association who worked very hard to help set up everything, and all who helped out on the day. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Drift back, if you will, to this time of year in, say, 2005… You are working in mortgages at the AIB and the future is rosy: share prices are rocketing, interest rates are minuscule, bonuses are bulging and the first of your three fully comped Christmas parties is about to roll in. Your only complaint is a bit of the old carpal tunnel syndrome from scribbling ‘yes’ so many times… Yes, those were the days, but judging from the extravaganza put on by the Transition Year Build-A-Bank Team, those heady days are here again! The professionals from the AIB were around to provide shrewd advice and to assure due diligence but the show was all the boys’ alone, as Robert O’Connor, Luke Gilleran, Colin Bolger, Zach Carr, Mark Connor and Matthew Lynch implemented their innovative marketing concept with consummate skill and a good bit of panache. Combining matinée idol looks with advantageous interest rates, the latest TY Build-A-Bank team are definitely destined for big things in the financial world! The competitions and freebies drew the youngsters in and, like with many a mortgage-taker in days gone by, when the smoke had cleared and the confetti had settled, the signatures were somehow on the bottom line! Seriously, a generous bonus was provided by the AIB for openers of student accounts and it was a win-win situation: the TY boys gained valuable business experience and the general student body got a whiff of the financial sector’s profits, while still learning the value of saving for a rainy day.
Long ago, Mrs. Patricia Kelleher initiated what has become a beloved Conlethian tradition: the Sheppard-Kelleher family invites Sixth Years out to the opera and all the young men and ladies (and a few select teachers!) get all dickied up and they enjoy a night of civilised, cultural entertainment. This year it was ‘Aida’ at the National Concert Hall and, by all accounts, it was an amazing production, even rendering principal emeritus, and noted opera aficionado, Peter Gallagher, momentarily stunned into silence. Mr. Carvill was also there, and we thank him for the following pictures of the swish style on display!
St. Conleth’s is all about inclusion and participation, and though our top chess teams compete with the best in Leinster and Ireland (and, indeed, winning both those championships in recent years), we also have a very high participation rate in chess, covering a range of ages, abilities and experiences. Earlier this week, our Junior School Chess D Team were tough competitors but perfect gentlemen as they hosted a Leinster Schools ‘cluster’ competition. Everyone played three matches with Harrison Noble winning two of his! Well done to our whole team and our visitors, too. Everyone enjoyed themselves with an afternoon of challenging but friendly chess. Team members: Conor Daly, Sam MacKenzie, Harry Noble, Michael Davitt, Luke Gilligan, Harry Collins, Paddy Cosgrove and Rowan Flynn.
The Annual St. Conleth’s Traditional Christmas Fair is being held this year on Saturday, December 8th from 9.30-4pm. As well as trees (€30-€120), beautifully hand decorated wreaths (€20-€80), poinsettias, lucky dip, raffle, hot refreshments, live music, carol singers and lots of Christmas cheer, the students will have lots of wonderful stands selling cakes, crafts, treats and much more (please remember to bring old-fashioned cash on the day!). This is a wonderful opportunity to do some essential Christmas shopping whilst helping a good cause and adding to the Traditional St. Conleth’s Christmas Fair Cheer! Proceeds as always will go towards the Africa Project. The schools past fundraising efforts have borne fruit and the latest development is that the villagers now have their own borehole to collect water – a huge step and a massive help to the community. Check here for our price-list and see our TY students’ artful promotions below, as well as a photo of the good which comes from it all. See you Saturday! Mr. Alan Trenier, TY Co-Ordinator.
Pardon if we sound a bit like Ross O’Carroll Kelly, but as it is with rugby, hockey and sports and culture in general, to be the best in Leinster in chess is to be the best in Ireland! Our Junior School A Team recently had their Leinster Division 1 Play-Off and, once again, competed with the best chess teams in the country. St. Conleth’s mother and chess guru Gillian O’Leary reports:
The Division One Chess Play Offs went very well today, with 10 teams of 8 players each competing. The standard was very high with St. Marys Haddington Road coming out on top. The top 4 teams will progress to the Division One finals, while the other 6 teams will participate in the Leinster Shield in February 2019. The St. Conleths team played 3 matches winning one in style (7-1) but losing two matches to strong opposition (1.5, 2.5). All team members played really well, and represented the school in an excellent manner. Special congratulations to John Byrne and Samson Labintcev who both scored 3 out of 4 and each won a team board prize. Having consulted with Alex Baburin, we selected the board order based on current strength (rather than the standings earlier in the year). Well done to all involved! Team members: Charlie Kennedy, Liam Hunter, David MacNicholas, Matthew Sherlock, Declan de la Cruz Boylan, John Byrne, James Maher and Samson Labintcev.
Masters of an almost lost Art! Two of our Juniors have won ‘Highly Commended’ awards in the AIJS Handwriting Competition. Well done to Elí Strahan and Eli-John Kiernan and their teachers. Below you can see our two honourees, as well as a sample of their fine cursive writing. Now, if only the two Elis could influence some of the scrawlers and scribblers we have elsewhere in the school. Good penmanship goes a long way!
With Black Thursdays, Cyber Mondays and various other promotions and mercantile devotions, it is easy to get all ‘wrapped up’ in the more commercial aspects of Christmas. One way to remain grounded and stay closer to the holy day’s original significance is to support the Junior School’s annual charity appeal in aid of Brother Kevin Crowley’s Homeless Day Centre. Below you can access all the details and see a couple of photos from last year’s impressive collection.
The Junior School Parents Association will once again be organising a charity collection for Brother Kevin Crowley’s Homeless Day Centre in the inner city. This is a very practical and visible annual event for our pupils and parents which brings home the realities of life for many families less fortunate than ourselves. Attached is the information flyer and an article on the Day Centre in yesterday’s Irish Times newspaper.
For too long we have let the fencers, the debaters and the hockey and rugby players dominate the headlines: we all know St. Conleth’s is really a chess school! Well, opening gambits have been played, and we have the first news of the season. First a general run-down on the season ahead from Principal Kilcommons and then a helpful Conlethian mother, June Fanning-Kieran gives her report:
The format of the chess leagues is different this year with each team doing a “cluster day” of matches against all the schools in their group rather than single school fixtures spaced over a long period of time. We will be hosting the “B” and “D” cluster days here in the school in the coming weeks. The “A” team are playing in the Talbot Hotel this Thursday. We have four teams with eight players on each team. There are some very young players on a couple of the teams but they will gain valuable experience and we are sure the proud Conlethian tradition of chess success will continue. T.K.
Somewhere Squanto must be smiling… as he sees the celebration of the anniversary of his extraordinary act of goodwill and friendship spread to new shores. Of course, if the Mayflower had brought along a galley staff like Mark, Emerson and Anna, the colonists would not even have needed the largesse of the native population! Be that as it may, the turkey, the pumpkin pie, the sage stuffing, the creamed corn and the cranberry sauce were served on that first Thanksgiving day over 400 years ago, and we have been recreating that harvest feast ever since. We personally have enjoyed Thanksgivings in many parts of the USA, and the local variations never ceased to amaze: galumpkis on the side in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; hominy grits in the backwoods of the Carolinas; stuffed chipotle on the edges of the Arizona desert; and cod cakes on the furthest toe of Cape Cod…. Well, Chef Mark’s ‘last-Thursday-of-November-unless-it-is-not-followed-by-a-Saturday-within-the-month-then-it-is-the-third’ extravaganza beats them all! Both Juniors and Seniors and the ghost of Elvis Presley (he had seconds) joined us for a musket-bustin’ Thanksgiving feast for the ages. See the pics below to get a taste. At St. Conleth’s, Thanksgiving is not just the day before Black Friday!
Our Annual School Mass is always an affair in which we engage with mixed emotions. In this liturgical time of remembrance, we rightly look back and remember the Conlethians who are no longer with us, a list which grows longer each year. But we also take great joy and hope in seeing the ever-renewing community of St. Conleth’s, gathered as one in celebration of our Christian ethos. Our Chaplain, Father Michael, as always, had the right words for the occasion, reminding us of the hundredth anniversary of Armistice Day, and also the universality at the heart of our ethos.
The many names of St. Mary’s Catholic parishioners on the World War Remembrance plaque poignantly drove home the message. We are more must-cultural and multi-faith as a community than we were in 1918 or 1939, but the essentials of our Catholicism are such that they find much resonance in many other faiths and beliefs, and though the rites may be different, there is much more in common to keep us together. Together also were the Junior and Senior Schools which is always a delight to see- and hear. Ms. Hartnett and Ms. Fay and Ms. DeBhal had their respective choirs in top voice, as you can hear and see below!
We recently broke the bank with the purchase of a new camera which is capable of catching those split second moments of pivotal action during basketball games, debating meets, musical concerts, chess showdowns… and, yes, hockey matches! So, our first assignment with our new toy was for intrepid TY reporter Edwin Chang to follow the Senior Hockey Girls to their match versus Wilson’s Hospital at the nearby Pembroke Hockey Club. The girls maintained their incredible unbeaten record, drawing 1-1 with the team from this long-time hockey school, with Eve Harvey Graham scoring in a tough, defensive match. The girls were understandably pooped after their exhaustive efforts but joining them at the oxygen tanks was Edwin, who spent the whole game running up and down the sidelines! Coach Speller said she was so impressed she might sneak in a new player on the wing into the next match: exchange student Edwina Chang!
With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings
With your feet on the ground
You’re a bird in a flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite
Oh, oh, oh!
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!
Mr. Kilcommons does not at first strike you as the musical aficionado type but he surely must have been inspired by Mary Poppins when he concocted the idea to invite a professional kite building and flying company in to the Junior School. Or perhaps he had just, in a rare moment of pique, use the idiom when the Sixth Formers were getting on his nerves, and now he was just covering his tracks! It might also have had something to do with Science Week. In any event, it worked out well for all involved as the Junior School boys and girls enjoyed a day of kite-building workshops in the gym and then strolled down to Herbert Park to launch their aerodynamic creations. That is, if ‘aerodynamic’ also mean to catch and not just dodge the wind! They certainly did that, and now you can see some of these kites festooning the sycamores and chestnuts of Herbert Park. Think of it as early Christmas decorations! And yes, despite Ms. Poppins’s claim of this eternal delight costing just a ‘tuppence’, the bill was slightly larger. Thankfully, the JSPA have offered to pick it up. That is, unless they now tell us to just go fly…
Actually, it is quite a rare occurrence that a St. Conleth’s teacher needs to ask students to ‘speak up’: it is Conlethian tradition to speak one’s mind, at length and repeatedly about topics known and unknown. Perhaps it is our strong debating tradition… perhaps it is from being prompted for party pieces at numerous dinner parties… but it definitely has something to do with Speech and Drama Czar Pat Howe’s long association with the school. We all know about his year-end, West End-ready productions such as The Lemonade Kid but valuable work is done week by Pat week-in and week-out as he visits each class and leads the boys and girls in various public speaking and acting activities. The kids are given free rein and full voice. Seen and not heard, indeed! A highlight is always the Speech and Drama Exams, whereby external examiners come in to test and officially recognise our students’ prepared performances. They always leave with a smile on their faces if with somewhat weary ears!
The Junior School Parent Association has once again enabled us to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Nevermind those flashy Chromebooks (take ages to polish), audiobooks, interactive whiteboards and language-learning apps. The JSPA just completed their annual sale of the absolute must-have item this Christmas, and our students who availed of the opportunity to purchase said technological marvels may well be the ‘first on the block’ (or cul-de-sac) to have them. Yes, Paperbooks have arrived! Their advantages over old-fashioned, traditional screen-based and app-accessed books are many: they are quite portable; they are backwards and forwards compatible with any reading program you have installed; they have infinite battery life; they have a pleasant aroma and realistic ‘touch-surface’ which you may well mistake for a real screen; and they fulfil all GDPR regulations (that is, unless you are prone to writing ‘JK luvs TC’ inside the back cover). Well done to all the parents who took part in this worthy but weighty enterprise and raised significant funds for school development. We may well now buy some of these ‘books’ ourselves!
Actually, we are not exactly sure where on our body we are suffering from said condition, but the winning contestants in the First Year Science Week Table Quiz certainly do- as well as how many toes has a dog, what a light-year measures, how many sides are on a heptagon and lots of other essential and perhaps not-so-essential nuggets of knowledge. Mr. Callaghan and Ms. Phelan were like younger, hipper and better looking versions of Stephen Fry and Sandy Toksvig as they sashayed around the Performance Hall, asking questions, checking answers and applying occasional behavioural therapy. You can see the two winning teams below but everyone was as happy as Pavlov’s dog (in the early stages of the experiment) and a great Science Week tradition was born! Click here and here for some more questions.
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’!
Louis Magee, St. Conleth’s Head of Junior Rugby, had his troops well prepared for this derby-like Cup clash with near neighbours Sandford Park and the boys brought all that training and skills development to bear during the match and left nothing on the pitch. Led by Captain Conor Hyland and with significant contributions from Morton Ainscough (19 points), the all-around excellence of Darrach Smyth and strong scrum-half play of newcomer William Norse, St. Conleth’s battling all over the field. In the end, however, and by the tightest of margins (27-24), our JCT had to leave the field and exit the competition, though with heads held high.
The next day the ball bounces differently, or the knock-on call goes the other way, and St. Conleth’s enjoys the victory: yesterday was just not that day, and Sandford Park moves on. Judging by the spirit and comaraderie evident on the day, St. Conleth’s has plenty left in the tank and whether it is League, Shield or friendlies, no-one is going to enjoy coming up against this fierce band of brothers. Louis has reinvigorated the Junior Rugby ranks at St. Conleth’s, and with an immensely talented gang of First Years growing in size and skill week-by-week, we see great things ahead for this JCT in the months and years to come. Just think: one of Louis’s toughest jobs each week is making up the team sheet as there are so many eager and deserving players. Yes, tough decisions have to be made and no-one is happy riding the bench, but the numbers and the enthusiasm bode well for the future of St. Conleth’s rugby.
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!
Galadriel did, but can you pass the test? At St. Conleth’s College, we do not believe in ‘last minute shopping’ when it comes to providing our students with their Christmas ‘presents’: in fact, all our academic gift-giving should be wrapped up by the first of December! And Ms. NiAonghusa, our exam czar, will hand the schedules out to each year personally, but she has also kindly provided us with them. Get them below or under the Senior School Calendar on our ‘Information’ page. We will also enter each day’s exams under ‘Events’ so there will be no surprises… at least until you open your exam booklet! So, Happy Thanksgiving and good luck!
Click on each year to see a PDF of their respective Exam Schedule:
Well, technically they do not actually compete on horses (yet), but our young fencing heroes do display all the necessary knightly virtues: fighting skill, courage, impeccable manners, an eye for the young fencing ladies… and the willingness to spend their weekends dressed up like medieval warriors! And the most ‘ye olde worlde-ly’ of all the fencing competitions must be the Lord Killanin Trophy: the title alone fairly reeks of the antiquarian aspect of the noble sport. But we fear that they may change that title soon to the ‘St. Conleth’s In-House Trophy’ if we continue to dominate the competition!
Last weekend, at Loretto-Dalkey, the band of brothers (Moriarty-Smyth-Smyth and Sherlock) and Claudio ‘Zorro’ Sosa once again bagged most of the shine available. In Cadets (Under 16s) Foil, Claudio won Gold and James finished 5th. In the Under 14 Foil, Luke won Gold! In the Under 12 Foil, Myles won Gold and Mathew placed 5th, and in the Under 15 Epee, Luke won Silver. That was just on Saturday. On Sunday (after completing several pages of their Study-Books), the merry band headed north to Belfast, where they competed in the Northern Ireland Junior Foil Series Round 1. And our boys did not do the Brexit negotiations any favours! In Cadets (Under 16s) Foil, Claudio won Gold and James took Silver (another all-Conlethian final!) In the Under 14 Foil, Luke won Gold and in the Under 12 Foil, Myles copped Gold and Mathew finished 5th. Whew. And, yes, there are rumours of a jousting court being included in our next extension!
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!
Our report is a bit belated but the event in question was so important that we are still going to give you the run-down… Every school brags about their academic achievements (as we just did, regarding Maths!) and it place in the annual ‘league tables’ and so they should: academics are what schools do, and they are important to students, parents and teachers. But we like to think that at St. Conleth’s, we certainly excellent at academics but we also cater to ‘the whole child’. We provide a plethora of sports and activities to stimulate and satisfy growing bodies and minds and do our best to encourage a lifestyle which is physically, spiritually and mentally healthy. The last came to the fore a few weeks ago when School Guidance Counsellor Anne Ryan organised a visit to St. Conleth’s by up-and-coming Irish pop star and social commentator, Simon James, who gave a presentation (or performance) on ‘Mental Health, Online Safety and Cyber Bullying. We have run many ‘mental health’ events over the years, but this one was different, as Simon was able to connect with his young audience, through both his music and his chat, in a way that older, more traditional presenters just could not do.
And wearing her other hat, the one for Career Guidance, Ms. Ryan continues to arrange for visits and presentations regarding third level opportunities both here and abroad. She keeps the students up-to-date with info about any Irish university Open Days, and welcomes the representatives from institutions from all over Europe. Recently we had a Dutch delegation which made presentations on all the leading universities in Holland and the opportunities there for Irish students. ‘Well-Being’ and a career path: what more could you ask?
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!
A few years ago, a research report commissioned by UNESCO/UNICEF/The Illuminati found that Ireland’s schools were lagging behind the international competition in their Maths scores. In response, the rusty gears at the Department of Education and Skills slowly began turning and soon were churning out an endless series of STEM-promotions. Expensive and of dubious effectiveness, the mandarins of Marlborough Street would have been better off just paying a visit to 28 Clyde Road to see how Maths teaching is properly done! We recently celebrated another whirlwind Maths Week with daily puzzles, sudoku competitions, Maths Magic Shows and visits to special lectures at Engineers Ireland. And the winners of the competitions were honoured at our October assembly (and can be seen sporting their ‘Maths Mugs’ below). But the funny things is: every week is ‘Maths Week’ at St. Conleth’s! And our Maths teachers not only do the fun, happy-clappy, ‘up with people’ bits well, they also deliver the curriculum better than anyone in the country. The results, both Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate, speak for themselves and can be seen on the slide below. Even more impressive is the high praise earned during an official inspection a few years ago. Click here to see the full inspection report or just take a quick look at their main findings, verbatim:
Notice the use of the word ‘excellent’? Inspectors avoid such words of enthusiastic endorsement like the plague, but they felt compelled to bestow them on our Maths teachers liberally. And our inspector personally vouchsafed that she had never before seen such enthusiasm and sheer Mathematical knowledge amongst students at any other school. And since that inspection, our Maths results have only gotten better. George Soros, and whoever else is really in charge, better take notice!
But have no fear: it is not the lumpenproletariat looking for the redistribution of wealth, it is a fun-loving gang of scary but innocent Junior Schoolers, led by the commander-in-chief of puerility! Every year we have an October assembly which marks the ever-more-important holiday of Halloween but also serves to recall the past and look to the future at this poignant point in the waning of the year.
Mr. ODulaing, once again, led our assembly, eloquently looking back with fondness and forward with enthusiasm, and Mr. Gallagher provided the multi-cultural background to this ancient feast day. And, this being St. Conleth’s/Fame Academy, Russell, Amy, Mark, Colin and Stephen musically accompanied the dignified affair. Everything was going swimmingly until a loud, obnoxious knock was heard at the door and in barged the Chief Executive of prolonged toddlerhood and his minions and an enjoyable chaos ensued. Check out the photos above, which include some of each Junior classs, captured in their own lairs before the attack on their rather delighted victims. And below we see and hear Stephen Allen, who has adorned our assemblies with his superb singing many times over the years.
Winning is obviously infectious. Our First Year Rugby Team continued its record-setting start to the season with a blitz win at the High School and then a comprehensive whomping of Marian College 59-15, in the salubrious setting of the Aviva Stadium, no less! But this victory virus has also spread to our other teams: the SCT enjoyed a solid Leinster League victory last week, led by our very large Rugby Captain, Dylan Browne, and the gory old-school heroics of Johnny ‘Rambo’ Barry. Then the Sixth Form team joined the fun with a 13-1 win over St. Michael’s over the weekend. So, yes we applaud the successes of our hockey players, debaters and fencers, but let us not forget: St. Conleth’s ‘bread and butter’ is still rugby. Of course, that would be a sourdough loaf from Marco Pierre White’s, topped by butter which is hand-churned and organic!
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.
Just in case you have yet to acquire the ‘postmodern patter’ dialect common amongst our youngsters and used below in the players’ match report, let us just give you the facts: yes, the Minor Hockey Girls won again, 1-0 over Dominican- Wicklow, scratching out a tough victory over worthy opposition. Or, as the gurlz put it:
The brave Conlethians girliepops set off down the N11 motorway to go over yonder in Wicklow Town they arrived only to be greeted with a pitch that was, like, we had only heard horror story’s about… a grit pitch…omg! Although the pitch was… like…different… it still didn’t stop the brave Conlethian girliepops from competing in a game that didn’t lower their standards (but did their speed). The game took a slow start but after a lot of grit in eyes, socks, shoes and everywhere you could think, yes you guessed it: our very own girliepops from our very own St. Conleth’s managed to put a breathtaking and unstoppable ball between the two goal posts of the D.C.W goal. 25 mins of hard hockey later our girliepops regrouped on the sideline and after a spontaneous photo shoot came back with a 1-0 victory over D.C.W. By 2nd year girliepops Alanna, Sydney, Caoimhe and Sasha
Squash has a proud tradition at St. Conleth’s with both Ms. Sheppard and Mr. McGrath having competed at the highest levels and our student teams, under Mr. McGrath’s guidance, often topping the Leinster Schools table. Now, TY Omar Abdelwahed has joined that winning tradition, having achieved 3rd place in n the Ulster Squash Junior Open 2018 in his first season in the Boys U-17 category. Omar played some amazing squash to come back from two games down to win the game 3-2. Well done, Omar!
In the dark times of Spanish Colonial administration of California, a masked hero emerged from the shadows of the Los Angelean pueblo: a champion of the people who used his mastery of the sword and his quick-fire wit to fight injustice and puncture the pretensions of the arrogant and bloated overclass. Well, Claudio Sosa is obviously the Conlethian Zorro! Anyone who has him in class knows well about his undisputed rhetorical ability and the senior fencers of Ireland are quickly learning about his skill with the blade. Claudio (and classmate James Moriarty-Smyth) are competing now as adults, and Claudio has already racked up two bronzes and a gold on the senior circuit. Recently, he finished third in the West of Ireland completion (notice the facial hair on his competitors!) and now he has been crowned Intermediate Champion. Claudio is ranked 8th amongst Senior Fencers in Ireland and he is only 14! In other St. Conleth’s fencing news, we proudly announce the passing of the torch (or saber?) from Michael ‘Mr. St. Conleth’s Fencing’ Li to new Fencing Captain Stephen Rockett and Vice-Captain James Moriarty-Smyth-Smyth. Also making moves is James’s younger brother, Myles, who we see below, accepting a bronze medal at a Newcastle competition. With swordsmen like these, we are obviously in good hands despite that impending zombie apocalypse!
The St. Conleth’s Hockey Machine keeps rolling! You have already read about our Minor team’s stunning early season success. Now the Senior team are demanding their share of the headline, with a stylish win over Sandford Park. Below you see the pre-match team talk huddle, led by Georgia Weir McErlean (Captain) and Emily Mansfield (Vice) and the post-game celebrations with Georgia again leading the festivities. In-between these moments, was a great game with some lovely team work displayed by all involved. Georgia and little sister Sydney both scored, with Georgia’s coming from a strike from a short corner and Sydney’s from a lovely reverse sweep at the top of the D. Ava’s two goals both resulted from some impressive attacking ‘in the D’. Georgia and Emily’s instructions could be heard throughout, showing their great leadership and passion for the game. And, just like in class, adding a few comical moments to the game too!
This follows a blitz vs. Sanford Park, where our Minors teamed up with the Junior School’s Sixth Class, for an afternoon of good-natured but competitive hockey. We were on the winning side in all the matches, and though our goal-keeper got a bit bored, it was great to see the different age groups working together.
Well, we cannot promise that traditional, dubious American ‘treat’, but we are sure Chef Mark will pull some Halloweeny surprise out of the pot before the midterm break. The already planned delectables are below on our special holiday menu. Mark’s menus can be found each week (from the previous Friday evening) under Information on this website and the meals on offer for each particular day are in the Events calendar. It would be great if parents looked over the menu with their children before the start of the week. This will speed those canteen queues and lead to healthier eating. Now, anyone for some succotash?
St. Conleth’s Maths teachers, both Junior and Senior, do not let traditional boundaries limit their enthusiasm for the world’s favourite subject! They have already earned 125% of the regular Leaving Certificate points and now they are giving 110% in promotion of all things ‘STEMmy’ during Maths Week 2018. Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Nigel Tunnel would be proud! You have already heard below how our teachers are turning St. Conleth’s into a veritable ‘Manga High’. And now, with Maths Week upon us, they and their students are buzzing around like free electrons! There will be the usual, maddening Maths puzzles each day, a special Sudoko Challenge on Thursday, an extra special ‘Maths Magic Show’ by Mr. Toal on Friday and a session of ‘Dating Tips for Mathematicians’ somewhere along the way. And Ms. NiAonghusa is going to take her First Years to a special Maths Week Event, ‘Can You Engineer the Code?’, down the block at Engineers Ireland. Watch out, Singapore!
Mr. Keenan does not do things by halves: when we say that sport at St. Conleth’s is all about participation, he practises what we preach and issues an open invite to all students, both Junior and Senior School to join him on his Track and Field outings. As you can see from the photo below, this year’s call for Cross Country runners did not fall on many deaf years. And we do not just do quantity: there were some quality runners hidden amongst this horde of student athletes which Mr. Keenan led over the mountains and through the trees to the ‘Brother at Your Side’ Cross Country Meet in Santry. And our boys and girls showed great sportsmanship and camaraderie, too: the Juniors, in particular, as they decided to race as one block at the back, biding their time to make their move towards the front. Unfortunately the race ended, just as they were about to shift a gear upwards. Regardless, it was a beautiful day and everyone involved enjoyed the run and the craic. Stay tuned for more Track and Field adventures with Mr. Keenan!
We always knew that the Donegalese were the most civilised of the Irish, and that Bundoran is up there with San Francisco and Milan as far as cosmopolitan capitals of the world, but the fact that there is a top-notch French Language/Adventure Centre there, is still a pleasant surprise to some. Mr. Porzadny and Ms. Crowley, of course, are not surprised, as they have been running the Annual Third Year Trip for years now, having taken on that mantle from Ms. Sheppard and Ms. Brotelande. And once again, this year, the trip was the perfect mixture of language lessons, indoor and outdoor adventure fun and good, old-fashioned bonhomie and camaraderie. And during the archery, surfing, climbing, rappelling, French lessons, obstacle course, tasty meals and sneaky midnight rendezvous, there were plenty of interesting, un-planned events happening on the sidelines, but alas you will have to be satisfied with the rumours and the gossip, for, as we all know: What goes on in Bundoran, stays in Bundoran!
Will the Class of 2024 SCT rival the of the legendary, record-setting team of 2016? Well, the First Year rugby teams are off to a good start: winning again, beating Sandford Park with strong performances from numbers 1-15, as well as off the bench. Well done to coaches Ciarán Smith, John O’Brien and David Pogatchnik and Head of Junior Rugby, Louis Magee. Below you see a team photo, as well as the boys warming up, and some pics of the behind-the-scenes work which is essential for a successful rugby system: all-years training and bonding sessions, classroom talks and tactics and our coaches completing a ‘safe rugby’ certification. HOS Gavin Maguire is justly proud of his coaches and players.
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.
Do you remember when retreats involved a lot of hushed voices, hastily drawn symbolic etchings and vague expressions of well-being? Well how about zip-lines, fire-starting, fish-gutting and sing-alongs? Yes, we believe that the Sixth Year Retreat to Ovoca House in Avoca has been a change for the better.
Never before have we heard a 100% approval rating from the students involved and it was not just because the hosts kept them moving with fun-filled and challenging activities: the boys and girls did do proper, traditional retreat stiff too, such as team-building, goal-setting and reflection. It was just that the whole overnight (x2!) trip was so well-planned and well implemented, it satisfied both the needs and the wants of those involved. A big thank-you to Ms. deBhal and Mr. Carvill for taking part so enthusiastically.
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!
Think of any of your favourite Power Rangers’ tagline and they all seem to apply here: Together, We Are More!; Back to action!; Go go!; The good guys are here!; It’s Mighty Morphin time- Okay, maybe not the last one, but certainly Mr. Porzadny and his select team of Conlethians are our super-heroes! They completed the Dublin Simon Community HomeRun charity five mile race in Phoenix Park on Saturday, raising important funds to battle homelessness. Students from all years took part, including a few Sixth Years, just back from a gruelling three day retreat. Everyone was in high spirits and several were in tights: and they looked great, as you can see below.
Conlethians are rather used to ‘All-Ireland’ titles: chess and basketball immediately come to mind… but to be the ‘Best in the British Isles’ is clearly another step up! With a slight sympathetic nod to republicans, we nevertheless will enjoy this new ranking for all it is worth! Apparently, our students have been digitally attending Mangahigh in droves and getting most of their challenging Maths problems correct. So much so, that we are now the top-ranked school in all the British Isles… and apparently that includes both Sark and Inisheer! Some of this success must be credited to our ICT Department: Mr. Travers and Mr. Porzadny are like Sheldon, BB-9E and Santa Claus wrapped up into one great big huggable user interface! The Google Chromebooks are particularly popular, as you can see Ms. Dillon’s class enjoying the portable digital experience, but so is our ICT room, where you see Ms. Leary’s class opting for the wired version of digitally interactive education. And the algorithms say that our Maths teachers, both junior and Senior, also have much to do with this success. Probably. But let us not forget an earlier technological invention: the Paperbook. Its death has been greatly exaggerated, and below you also see Third Forms reading ‘old school’ books such as ‘Tom Sawyer’ and the like. Another valuable wireless experience!
The members of the PE Department at St. Conleth’s are actually rather open-minded and experimental for a bunch of jocks. In between hitting the free weights (only the massive ones) and buying the latest protein bars and tight T-shirts, we try to introduce the students to a variety of sports and activities. Our latest venture was down at Herbert Park, where the rugby and cricket loving locals were rather shocked to hear bellowed cries of ‘Batter Up!’ and ‘He’s no pitcher: he’s a belly-itcher!’ The Third Years, after a brief period of confusion with the rather arcane rules, seemed to enjoy ‘the Great American Past-Time’, especially the gear and the jargon. Franco proved a natural at catching; Andre hammered a ‘grand-slam’; Evan, the two Oisins and Daniel were ‘painting the corners’ and Ignacio cleared the ‘ducks from the pond’. Stay tuned for curling and flagpole-sitting!
Our Minor Hockey Girls are on a roll! Now 2-0, after beating Our Lady’s- Terenure 5-0. They have scored 10 goals in League play and allowed none. Well done to the girls and coaches Ms. Leary, Ms. Speller and Ms. Stanley. Here are match reports from some of the players, themselves.
St. Conleth’s vs. Our Lady’s Grove
It started off with a very unusually quiet bus ride to the scarily big grounds of UCD. With the aid of Ms. Stanley, we finally conquered the grounds and made it to the pitch. We started our warm-up: a treacherous two laps of the pitch, followed by stretches. Finally, the very late Our Lady’s Grove showed up to face their fears. Then it began: Sasha took tip and we were off. After many unsuccessful trips to the D, we finally got a goal an amazing full power shot by Sasha, followed closely after by another. Then it was half time and our amazing team talk followed by our cheer that could be heard everywhere on the campus. Within no time at all, we were already up 3-0, all goals thanks to our amazing striker Sasha.
Then the magic happened…. Our Lady’s hit the ball over their own end line and it was a long corner to us. Caoimhe raced and got the ball and with an amazingly powerful shot (for such a small human being) she hit the ball into the back of the goal scoring a tremendous fourth goal.The match finished with an amazing score of 5-0 to us and all of us went home with smiles on our faces until it started to rain. Simply amazing! By Caoimhe & Alanna
St. Conleth’s vs. Our Lady’s- Terenure
It started off with a not so quiet bus ride which was thanks to the return of Sydney, after she had been previously injured and not been able to play with us. We bopped along to some classic pop while the First Years looked on in confusion. We arrived at Our Lady’s- Terenure with Caoimhe and Sydney battling it out to lead stretches. Then it was quickly onto the pitch and we got Tímea all kitted out in her amazingly marshmallow-like goalie gear. The captain for our first league match was Caoimhe, with Alanna as vice-captain. We lost the toss-up but still started strong. There wasn’t much activity in the backs as the forwards battled for their first goal. After slight toing and froing Jennifer got our first goal after being set up very nicely for the deflection from Sasha’s powerful shot. She managed to get the ball into the bottom left corner. After our first goal, Caoimhe and Sydney both got a goal each, making the score 3-0 at half time. A few substitutions later, the three first years, Ciara, Olivia and Sophie, joined us on our battle towards victory. With some amazing passes, outstanding blocks and great teamwork we managed to make the final score 5-0. By Alanna & Caoimhe
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.)
In his many years at St. Conleth’s, Mr. Callaghan has often drawn the attention of the wider school (and the smoke alarms) while cooking up some science in the school laboratory. Comparing him to the mythical Dr. Frankenstein is a bit rash, but let us just say that one day last year, after Science class, there was suddenly a new, slightly odd-looking member of 2A who sat in the back row for a couple of weeks, said little to nothing (therefore, standing out!), and eventually dissolved into a bubbling puddle of protoplasm in the corner of Room 2 (the stain is still there!). This year, Mr. Callaghan has scaled things back a bit, but he is still creating exciting science! Recently, he had First Years in the lab to make ‘fake cells’, a simple but still fascinating experiment. Even more fascinating, was the way Mr. Callaghan got a group of First Years to concentrate for over an hour on a task which did not involve blowing something up, though Mr. Callaghan promises that explosions are definitely on the agenda!
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!
Principal Donal ODulaing and School Captain Tomas Clancy led the first Senior School assembly of the year, but there was plenty of support, especially regarding musical accompaniment. We always have an assembly at the end of September: a sort of ‘taking stock’ and ‘looking forward’ moment. Mr. ODulaing once again combined timely tidbits of wisdom from Irish popular culture and the sporting world to inspire us all to even greater things this year. Leading the way to these ‘great things’ will be School Captain Tomas Clancy and the other officers and captains who make up the Student Council. The rhetoric was skilful and significant but so were the musical interludes: First Year Giacomo Donlon and Sixth Year Matthew Rockett delighted the crowd with their piano pieces and Eva Stylianides sang a memorable version of ‘A Thousand Years’ (see and hear below!), backed by Rory Clarke and Sam Lynch. And Joe Gallagher, our resident crooner, smoothly delivered ‘Streetcar’, accompanied by Matthew on piano.
Some of the promised great things are already happening! Our golf team was saluted for their recent efforts in the Leinster tournament and we heard the news that Oisin McGinley has joined the European elites! Oisín has been selected to represent Ireland at the European Youth Parliament this year. His selection was based on his performance at the National event, in Cork, when he was in Transition Year. The event takes place in Rotterdam, from Oct 13th to 21st. Oisin is one of only six students from Ireland!
As fans of ‘Friday Night Lights’ would know, in most of America (the red bits, that is), the biggest night of the year is the first high-school football game of the season. Bright lights, parades, homecoming queen, an impressive range of pulled pork delicacies… the whole shebang. At St. Conleth’s, the equivalent is the start of the Debating Season. And though we may not believe in all that razzmatazz, Chef Mark does cut a pretty smokin’ pulled pork sandwich, and it is very clear that debating is as essential to St. Conleth’s as the School Concert, ‘Colts vs. Crocs’, Ann Cramp and the Tuck Shop! Well, the Junior Leinster’s started last Thursday and from the opening kick-off, we knew that the Conlethian Debating Dynasty is here to stay. With Head Coach Conor ‘Belichick’ White in charge, there really was never any doubt. The Power Twins (Evan and Oisin) topped the tab, opposing the motion “That this house would abolish advertising aimed at children”, vanquishing such storied opponents as Loretos Dalkey and On the Green (the Dallas Cowboys of schools debating) and Belvedere College. And the other members of the team did very well indeed, and, again, against some stiff competition: Joymarita Ratinikanth, Trevor Bolger, Coleman Hegarty and Daragh Sweeney. Their motion was “THW: Remove the voting age in exchange with a voting test’. Stay tuned for news of the Juniors’ second round and debut of our Senior Team. This just in: The Twin Powers (Evan and Oisin) debated again over the weekend, placing in the top 10 (of 64 teams) in the first round of the National Junior Mace competition!
The dearly departed, and sorely missed, Mr. Bolger was known for his collection of shoes. (Have no fear: he has only departed to Naas, which is a strange place, indeed, but not quite the great beyond!) Anyways, Mr. Bolger’s footwear collection included an incredible array of runners, trainers and outright sneakers, and many a rainy day on the sporting pitches of St. Conleth’s did we gnash our teeth in jealousy of Mr. Bolger’s Gore-Tex wrapped little hoofs. And though Mr. Bolger is now prancing around the Curragh, another member of staff has ‘stepped up’ to take the ‘Imelda Marcos’ crown. She shall remain nameless, but clearly Ms. Halpin’s latest artistic tour-de-force was inspired by her colleague! First, the students ‘borrowed’ an incredible range of footwear from their homes, from sturdy Clark’s to confectionery Jimmy Choo’s. Then, the haul was assembled into a stately pile in the middle of the art room. Finally, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Year art students were encouraged to create some interpretive drawings of this idol of mammon. And the results speak for themselves! But just in case you have your sound turned off, ‘creative, original, endearing and stunning’ immediately come to mind!