Halloween A++

Covid did not just lead to grade inflation… and cost of living inflation… it has also led to holiday hype: we are enthusiastically embracing and extending all the rituals we missed over the last few years, and Halloween, most of all! Our round-up of our Halloween festivities started with catching the latest transfer to St. Conleth’s walking to school: Barney the Dinosaur. (He was at Blackrock, but was put under undo pressure to play in the back row.)

This year, teachers enthusiastically shared in the dress-up fun!

With one teacher particularly giving 110%! (plus a spontaneous, if rusty, warm-up for Christmas by First Years!)

The Junior School Students, as they do every year, stunned us with the creativity of their costumes and the enthusiasm of their wearing them!

And the Senior School Students, hopefully starting a new tradition, ponied up 2€ for GOAL and matched their Junior brethren in Halloween gore and glee!

Hot Off the Presses!

Okay, by this stage it is only luke-warm as we have been a bit slow in getting it up since it was published last week, but here it is: the first issue of the Junior School student-produced St. Conleth’s Times (click!)!

A Comeback for the Ages!

Maybe our regular basketball coaches, Peter Gahan and Sean Ingle, should stick to surfing! While the usually dynamic duo were off rolling in the breakers of Achill Island, Ronan Carvill led our First Year Boys Basketball Team in one of the most exciting victories in St. Conleth’s sporting history! In their very first game, the boys were soon down 14-0… in the first quarter. Ronan called a timeout and took out some of those over-sized yellow Maths gadgets of which he is so fond. A quick lesson in angles, resistance and velocity, and a team prayer to St. Anthony, and the boys were back on the court. They proceeded to make a gradual comeback, chipping steadily away, but were still down three, with mere seconds left. Then, Sean Keane, like a Norse god, struck a three pointer (the first of the game). Then a steal…. and a basket to win at the buzzer! And the boys went crazy! More pics to come!

Junior Round-Up!

We in the Senior School often miss what our Junior brethren are up to simply because they are so small and active that we sluggards can’t keep up with the little, industrious Harfoots! You read below how they have been sporting with both the oblong and the round ball, but, here, we get just a glimpse of other JS happenings: Texaco Art Competition commendees; The JSPA Teachers’ Day generosity and their Uniform Exchange; Principal Nolan doing his thing with parents and the whole school; after-school French with Alliance Francais; break-time shenanigans; the election posters from the friendly but intense Green Schools Committee Elections; and the latest episode of the most heartwarming show on TV: Shay Keenan’s Prepster PE Class!

mmm…What’s That Smell?

Well, it is less likely to be the carbon in our atmosphere, cooking in the hot Irish sun, as our student body have listened to the clarion call of Green Schools Tsarina Ciara Thornton and already begun to make a difference. First up? Third Year Anna Carroll, An Taisce Climate Ambassador, led her classmates in raising over €300 with a cake sale to fund a biodiversity garden as part of climate change action. And all those aromatic goodies were ‘baked’ carbon-free on the bonnets of the many staff-owned Teslas!

“Don’t know much Biology…

… Don’t know much about a science book…” sweetly sang Sam Cooke but he did not have Mr. Carvill The Younger as his teacher. Nor did he benefit from a trip to the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin for a lecture and plenty of hands-on and eyes-on flora fun. Our debonair, bushwhacking Biology teacher cuts quite the heroic figure, poised, as he is always, with nunchaku in hand and on the cusp of some new STEM adventure, and our students flock to him like lemmings to a cliff, or, more appropriately for the day, like flies to a Venus Flytrap. Where to, next, for this intrepid explorer? We can’t do the calculations but we do know that if all teachers were so enthusiastic and devilishly handsome… ‘what a wonderful world this would be!”

Junior Rugby Wild Geese!

Like the brave Gaelic warriors who scattered across Europe, our Junior Rugby teams spread across Dublin this past weekend. Head of Junior Sport Louis Magee had the headache of co-ordinating it all, but all his coaches did their part and showed up bright and early and eager to ruck and roll! Of course, the parents were also on the roads early, escorting their Nos. 1-15, across Forms 3-6, throughout Dublin 4-16 (and a bit of SoCo!). Well done to all invloved, especially the young players, themselves!

Jolly Hockey Sticks… Again!

Once again, Ms. Speller’s hockey minions are off and running and winning and putting pressure on those rugby boys! Third Year Eva Ryan kindly gives us this update on recent jolly hockey goings-on:

In our Junior league match, last Tuesday, we won 9-1. In the first half we had a total of five goals and then racked it up to nine in the second half. Goals were scored by Maude Kinlay, Eva Ryan, Elizabeth Finnegan and Jane Sweeney. The team played extremely well and are very proud of their win. It’s definitely a good way to start the season! In the senior Leinster League match on Wednesday, we won 3-0. The goals were all scored brilliantly in short corners, twice by Juliet Donnelly and once by Maude Kinlay.

That’s A Load of Falafel!

Growing up across the pond, the cheap, simple and carcinogenic ‘baloney’ was our metaphoric food of choice, but it marks how far we have come (or how urbane is the Conlethian cohort) that we recently heard the above expression served up at breaktime by one student to another, in response to some credibility stretching bit of braggadocio. And why not? For ‘falafel’ is on the menu, as well as several other delicacies which did not previously moo, oink, cluck, or bark, such is the vegetarian transformation of our eating habits. Perhaps this is due to Ms. Clarke’s subtle but strident vegan advocacy? This week, the kids get to leave the canines home, as they enjoy cauliflower casserole, roasted celeriac and sweet potato soups and the dearly missed home-made bean burgers! Menu PDF.

Listen to The Commish!

Commissioner (and Guidance Counsellor) Gordon Weldon is still doing the last bits of custom-fitting on the Class of 2022 (you just wait till you see their Final Destinations!) but he is also continuing to shepherd the Class of 2023 and has even started with the youngsters of 2024, at the Higher Options convention at the RDS. Our ‘2022s’ are currently starting degrees in Engineering, Law, Medicine, Nursing and Basket-Weaving at institurions up-and-down Ireland and across Europe. The 2023s have begun to at least think about their anticipated/dreaded CAO listing and the 2024s are still in that benign state of changing their life plans every few minutes based on the quality of the complementaries handed out at the RDS stalls. That’s three groups of 50+ students looking for guidance, but they, and we, have unflappable faith in The Commish!

Transition Years Are Go!

The Transition Year dynamic duo of Gav Maguire and Richie Morris have completely banished the covid error image of TYs sitting around, watching videos and breathing resentfully through cloying, dehumanizing masks. Especially since this current term dawned, full of renewed promise, the TYS have been all action and we can barely keep up with them! Just last week, they learned how to actually do something useful with their phones, thanks to the Smartphone Film-Making Workshop run by Burning House Productions. (We promise to share any forthcoming some moody, morbid, art-house mini-masterpieces taht show up in our In Box.)

The TYs also found time to show off the signing skills which they had learned from Jenny Healy in their regular classes (Sign with Jenny), on International Sign Language Day.

AND….in Religion with Mr. Lonergan, they began the Alpha Course, “an evangelistic course which seeks to introduce the basics of the Christian faith through a series of talks and discussions… providing an opportunity to explore the meaning of life”.

Deep stuff, indeed, but these boys and girls are ready and able! There was also time for less cerebral stuff such as PE and just messing around. Enjoy the pics and video below and stay tuned for more TY news!

Conlethians, Assemble!

The KDK extension was rocking again as the whole Senior School gathered for the first assembly of the year. It was a busy meeting, with a full agenda, so let’s get down to the running order: Mr. ODulaing displayed his customary rhetorical style, easy-going but full of warmth and purpose, as he welcomed everyone back and set the stage for the morning and the year. Then, First Year Anna Sweeney joined a long line of Conlethians by playing music for her classmates and teachers. We will see and hear from her again, for sure! Mr. Gallagher then brought our attention to our enduring ethos, with prayers and a reading, ably assisted by School Captain Caoimhe Moore and Vices James Clancy and Timea Kovacs. Ms. Hopkins had the tough but necessary job of reminding us all of the rules. Now… what was that one about Form Teachers being on time? Fifth Year Ciara Thorton showed that Zoomers are not just spouters of hot air and CO2 when it comes to lecturing Boomers about the environment: she made an impassioned speech about her planned reinvigoration of the Green Schools Committee and inspired dozens of fellow students to sign up to the cause. They started by promising to try to limit their methane emissions (especially when in a closely packed assembly).

Old pro, but first time school performer, Harry Cooper-Reid parked the rhetoric for a few minutes and played beautifully on the piano. He was so good that we may ask him to make all his classroom contributions via the ivories in the future! The Transition Year Co-Ordinator was busy making a run to Offbeat so Mr. Morris lent a hand and presented last year’s TY with their Gaisce Medals, a proud moment for those involved and the school (and Gav Maguire, to be fair.) Then the house band, Pants on Fire, brought the house down (but kept their pants up) with their usual combo of stylish licks, grinding rhythms and profound lyrics. This time, Finn ‘MacCool’ Neilan and Ollie ‘Go’ West were joined by Daragh Sweeney on the drums. Perhaps the immortal JMS’s successor has sallied forth, sticks in hand, already!

Howth Revisited!

The Fifth Years so enjoyed their ‘Lonergan Lark’ to Howth that they went back the very next day! And this time they took along Mr. Coleman, who took the following stunning photos. Mr. Coleman hails from the much less scenic Dundalk but he seemed to know his way around the Howthian coves and crags quite well- something about his border smuggling business occassionally necessitating a sea landing… but, regardless, we appreciate the high resolution pics, taken with the latest, snazziest camera-phone. And, typically, Mr. Coleman got this bit of tech on the cheap- it having ‘fallen off a truck’!

Clear Your Mind!

What are two Tipperary natives to do, come the first days of autumn when the breeze turns cold yet all of the RTE Player’s hurling highlights and All-Star lists seem to feature a certain Munster county, once known mostly for urban strife but now for winning three Liam MacCarthies in a row? Well, thank god it is not Kilkenny and take the Fifth Years on a hike up Howth Head!

Once again, Mr. Lonergan, and perhaps a prayer to the Child of Prague, provided the perfect weather for a school outing, and both teachers and pupils thoroughly enjoyed their perambualting circumnavigation of that lump of land you are usually admiring from afar, on the tip of Dun Laoghaire pier enjoying a Teddy’s ice cream. Well, it turns out the northside has pleasures of its own, and after sampling the flora and fauna and sights and smells of Howth Head, the merry gang returned to St. Conleth’s with sore legs but soaring spirits!

Scrumptious Soups!

Two famous soups, Corn Chowder and Sweet Potato, make their glorious return on this week’s canteen menu (PDF)!

Return of the Chicken Wing!

Yes, you can’t get a broom closet in the original TriBeCa now for less than $10,000 a month (and no doorman!) but at least we can still enjoy the NYC neighbourhood’s most famous export: TriBeCa chicken wings! This week’s canteen menu (PDF):

What’s Cooking?

This week, it’s celeriac and friends!

Menu PDF

Mark, More Melanzane!

One indisputably good thing about coming back to school: lunch by Chef Mark, Emerson, Anna and crew!

Menu 5/9-9/9 (PDF)

First Daze!

Yes, we are back in action at St. Conleth’s! In fact, the Junior School teachers (driven by General Brian Nolan) have been back meeting, planning and gossiping since last week, while we Senior teachers were still dawdling in Bundoran! Well, now we are back, along with First Years and all the Junior School pupils. First Years started last week with a Sport Camp and then took on a rather enjoyable first in situ assignment: pizza and chips in the canteen! We also see, below, the various Junior School classes uo to their usual break time antics… as well as some semi-serious classwork… and a snap of a very Zen way to start the morning of the First Day of School: yoga with Cecilia!

Building His Future (and ours)

Sometimes, nice guys do finish first. TY Cillian Cooke recently secured a place in the prestigious DCU Centre for Talented Youth Engineering Programme. All of a sudden, all the doomy, gloomy forecasts seem a bit overkill… if we have more bright and hard-working youngsters like Cillian to build a better future!

Sweet Dreams!

Yes, it is the eve off the First Day of School, dreaded and dreamed of in equal parts… and that’s just the teachers! But have no fear, great days lie ahead for y’all at St. Conleth’s. Induction for tomorrow for First Years and First Day for all Juniors, except Junior Infants, but soon everyone will be back at No. 28, Clyde Rd. See below for start days and times and get some rest. The fun is about to start!

Junior Sports Day Shenanigans!

The competition was intense, but always in good humour, and though we may have exhausted the local stocks of semiprecious medals in our enthusiasm for prize giving, it was worth it to see so many happy kids and happy parents.

Of course, the presence of enthusiastic boys and girls are the main ingredients for a successful Junior School Sports Day, and we had loads of them, but the parents played their part, too: helping out, cheering on and only occasionally tripping up their junior’s closest competitors. Louis Magee was the man in charge and he ran a fine show, ably assisted by all the teachers, and with the weather co-operating, it was a fine day overall in Irishtown. We now realise what we have missed these last few years. It is good to be back… all the way back!

Another Day in the Life of…

… St. Conleth’s. It is a hectic time of year, with many special events crowding the calendar… and the regular ‘stuff’ also carrying on. Here are just four snippets of our school life on May the 4th: TYs run the Tuck Shoppe (to the delight of some Second Years); Fifth and Sixth Years compete for the John Kelly Award and the Woods Bowl; Juniors fence with Maître David; and staff celebrate St. Conleth’s Feast Day with cakes, courtesy of Mr. Lonergan!

Sailors Float Our Boat!

*Now with more photos! Our sailors can once again take a bow (and a small glass of port) as they did St. Conleth’s proud in the team racing championships. And, once again, we have Mrs. Bolger to thank for the details!

St. Conleth’s took Second Place in the All-Ireland Team Racing Championship at the Royal St. George! On board were Captain Russell Bolger; helms Daniel O’Connor and Louis McGovern; and crews Fergus O’Reilly, Richard Caldwell and dynamic sailing siblings, Senan and Saoirse Cory.


The All-Ireland is the most prestigious team racing regatta for schools. 13 teams competed, coming from all over Ireland. It was the first time the regatta has been held in Leinster after being held in Schull for many years. It was wonderful to have the regatta in the familiar waters off the Royal St. George and the teams loved the semi-formal dinner on the Saturday evening with suits and dresses the order of the day, and crystal and mahogany suitable accompaniment to the salt spray!


It was a great opportunity for the sailors, who have been competing against each other in many cases for years at club level, to have the chance to join together in a team environment and to represent their school. St. Conleths came in Second Place with 80% race wins, a fantastic score indeed, beating some great teams such as Rochestown of Cork who came in third and St. Andrew’s, competing with three teams. Gonzaga were the overall winners and, of course, there was special rivalry between St. Conleth’s and Gonzaga with Russell’s brother Trevor captaining the Gonzaga team.
Many thanks to the Conlethian parents who volunteered at the two day event: Orna Tubridy and Rowena Bolger on the finish boat; Rosemary McGovern, who assisted David Bolger, race officer for the event; Lorraine O’Connor on results; and Richard O’Connor, current Commodore of the RSGYC, who presented prizes and officiated at the dinner on the Saturday. Joanna O’Reilly supported the prizegiving and, overall, St. Conleth’s parents were very involved in the event. A big thank you to Mr. Smith who supported the team all along, including at the training sessions!

Off and Running!

With spring in the air and their step, St. Conleth’s athletes hit the ground running at the East Leinster’s in Santry! TY Luke Timlin won Silver in the 200m, despite running with injury, and classmate James Bourke also impressively made the 200 Final.

And Second Years Daniel and Luke Kirwan, Colman O’Flynn and Hugh Leahy won the 4x100m relay outright! Luke now goes on to the Leinster Finals, where he has previously had great success. More racing today so stay tuned!

Turlough Dineen, Divus.

The Roman emperors were often declared divus by their successors in gratitude for a lifetime of toil and trouble on behalf of the SPQR. Apparently, of all the deified emperors, only Vespasian saw the humour in this designation being generally a posthumous one, declaring “Dear me, I think I’m becoming a god’ on his deathbed. Caligula and Domitian, however, saw the inherent irony in the situation and jumped the gun, claiming godhood for themselves, while still very much enjoying lives of unfettered debauchery and despotism. Things did not end well for them but we believe young Turlough Dineen’s fate will be different, despite us anointing him the divus novus of St. Conleth’s Debating while he is till very much alive… and speaking, scowling, and staring into the distance with substance.

Turlough takes his place in a storied pantheon of Conlethian oratorical immortals. You have read below of White, Gilligan and Roche’s passing on of the Irish Times Debating crown like a house heirloom, and names like Costigan, Coleman, Hastings, O’Dwyer, Quinn et al litter the annals of Irish (and the world’s) schools and collegiate debating. Turlough’s meteoric rise rivals any of those storied greats. After cutting a stylish swathe through Junior Debating, he entered the Leinster Schools Senior Debate as an outright outsider: a mere TY in a competition made up of nearly all Sixth Years in its final stages and as an individual, lacking the one-two punch of being part of a team. Yet when all the various rounds were done, Turlough could lift his head from his hands, where it lay in rhetorical mock agony, and hold it high as he finished second in all of Leinster!

Enjoy Turlough’s full final speech above, and snaps above and below, of our kid Cicero in action, but we must also praise the part played by two other individuals essential to Turlough’s triumph: Auditor of Debates Oisín Power and Debating Coach Rory O’Sullivan. Yes, Oisín is that kid in your class who thought he knew better than the teacher: the problem with Oisín is that he often does… and he always makes his points powerfully and sometimes, politely. Well, when Oisín was prevented from entering the competition on a debating cabal concocted technicality, he did not sulk (for long, anyways) but took all that intelligence, energy and splutter and put it to use exhorting onwards Turlough and a whole stable of young Conlethian debaters. And Rory O’Sullivan was also there, every step of the way, teaching the actual nuts and bolts, points and parries of schools debating. Rory is a brave man, being the first non-Conlethian, and a Corkonian at that, to take up the mantle of Debating Coach at St. Conleth’s but when he showed up at Number 28 with a carpet bag full of Greek epics and dirty French novels, we knew he was our man!

En Garde/En Piste

Fencing has been important to St. Conleth’s since the foundation of the school but skiing is a relatively recent addition to our wide portfolio of sporting stars. Sixth Year Claudio Sosa Smatrala followed up his recent fencing exploits with participation in a special, invite-only International Fencing Federation Camp in Dubai under Olympian Petru Kuki, in preparation for the World Championships.

And though the sun was splitting the stones in most parishes over the Easter break, Third Year Michael Horan managed to find enough snow on the Kilternan slopes to win the Ski Club of Ireland U16 Boys’ Slalom outright and come third in the Grand Slalom. Well done, Michael!

First Before the Mast!

We all knew that there was a bit of the pirate in Third Year Daniel O’Connor: the adventurer, the raconteur, the risk-taker… but we did not realise that he had the actual sailing skills to surpass the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow. Yes, cycling may be a challenge for Daniel, but put a rope in his hands, and a sail overhead, and he flies with the wind! Over Easter, while the rest of us were cutting the grass (or pretending to cut the grass on The Sims), Daniel got off the couch, went to Baltimore and kicked some Cork kister, winning First Prize at the Irish Laser Class Association’s Munster Championships!

And to make it true all-St. Conleth’s yacht party, Daniel was joined by two TYs at the Ireland Youth Nationals, where Mrs. Bolger kindly takes up the story:

Well done to the Conleth’s sailors who competed at the prestigious All-Ireland Youth Nationals in Ballyholme this Easter! It was a gruelling windy four day event but the Conlethians are tough cookies! Daniel O’Connor (Third Year) made the podium with an amazing third place, impressively following up his victory in the Munster’s in Baltimore. Go Daniel and the fab TY duo of Russell Bolger and Louis McGovern who came 7th in the 29er fleet. Not bad at all for their first official event sailing together in that super competitive skiff fleet! Good luck to these three sailors who along with the team  will represent their school at the All Ireland Irish Team racing Championships in the Royal St. George Yacht club next weekend. The St. Conleth’s sailing team will be announced during the week. 

Flash… Ah-ah!

Yes, cue the classic 1980 Queen soundtrack song whenever Mr. Weldon is around because he is definitely our otherworldly superhero! Is there anything which our Guidance Counsellor ‘Flash’ Gordon can’t do? In the midst of CAO meltdowns and UCAS panics, he brought the girls out for some GAA training and Hugo Lennon for some tossing of the ole’ shot-put!

Tennis, Anyone?

Nestled as we are between the shadow-dappled courts of Herbert Park and the power and prestige of the Fitzwilliam Lawn and Tennis Club, it is rather natural that St. Conleth’s would develop a tennis culture.  And, indeed, tennis, like fencing and cricket, has been linked with the school since its very founding.   And organising and inspiring our tennis teams for nearly all those years has been Shay Keenan, Master of All Sports. Shay is now concentrating on running the whole Leinster schools show, so our Mr. Lonergan has stepped up to the net and is proving a dab hand at this courtly sport, despite being disappointed to hear that tennis is a good bit more non-contact than Tipp hurling. Well, Mr. Lonergan has quite a spirited and talented squad of players, perhaps to rival Conlethian tennis legends such as Alex Hamilton, the Brothers English and the whole Kelleher clan.

The girls were up first and our Senior Team thrilled us with a victory over Sandford Park, with Sixth Years Emilie Ogawa Boostrom and Ava O’Mahony dramatically clinching the tie with a final match victory. TYs Sophia Jacobi, Meadbh Joye, Olivia Doyle, Adelaide Donnelly and Christina Corrigan and Fifth Year Timea Kovacs also competed well, and against older, more experienced opponents. Our U16s went down to powerhouse Mt. Anville but Lucy McGoldrick and Sophia won their game and Charlotte O’Donoghue, Ciara Prendergast, Anna Carroll and Maude Kinlay all played well, as did our U-14s who lost out to Mt. Anville and Drogheda Grammar with Lydia O’Connor, Isabella Lombardo, Eva Ryan, Emma Barkin, Aoife Hayden, Inez O’Donoghue, Jane Sweeney and Maggie Matthews all answering the call. Plenty of positives for the future of St. Conleth’s tennis!

Remembering Neil

Neil Quinlan passed away tragically while on a Transition Year hiking trip in April 2013.  Neil was only at St. Conleth’s for Transition Year but in that short time he truly became one of our own: his fellow classmates and his teachers still attest to his infectious enthusiasm and friendliness and a laugh with which you could not help but join.  Earlier this week, Mr. and Mrs. Quinlan visited St. Conleth’s to join us in celebrating Neil’s legacy, with Mr. ODulaing and Mrs. Quinlan both speaking emotionally and eloquently about Neil and the suitable way in which we are commemorating him with the planting of a magnolia tree. Those of us who taught Neil, especially his TY teachers Gav Maguire and Ronan Bolger, will always think of him when we see that tree in bloom and remember the warmth and joy he brought to those around him. And his classmates, many of whom joined us at the commemoration, will also see that tree on their visits to the school, or maybe just passing by, and Neil’s laugh will again be heard on Clyde Road.

In 2014, St. Conleth’s inaugurated an award in Neil’s memory for the Transition Year student who has the ‘best spirit’, as Neil showed in everything he did. Here are some of the past winners of the award. We know that in the years to come many others will be inspired by the spirit and legacy of Neil Quinlan.

The Bells Toll for Pierre

Maurice O’Reilly (Class of 1973) organised for the bells of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to be rung in honour and memory of his fellow Past Pupil, Pierre Zakrzewski, Monday afternoon. Pierre will be remembered explicitly both in the belfry and downstairs on the floor of the cathedral. Pierre’s name has been entered in writing in the belfry records.

School Preparatory

picture of Dolores Kelly in the park
Dolores Kelly in the park