How do you match the dizzying heights (and widths and perimeters) of Maths Week? Well, follow it up with mathematics’ more exciting, slightly mad half-brother (oops…sister!): Science! Drop those protractors and compasses (but not on your toes), grab some radium and safety glasses and let’s have some fun in Chemistry, Physics, Biology and Reanimation! Yes, once again, St. Conleth’s went ‘full Frankenstein’ (pronounced ‘Frankensteen’) for Science Week! After a week of Science Quizzes, Rocket Science at the Herbo,’TY Brain Syndrome’-testing (results mostly… negative) and Bio-meddling at UCD, First Years absolutely squeezed all the fun and learning that could be found out at W5 in Belfast and all the residual energy out of our Science teachers Mr. Callaghan, Ms. Phelan, and Mr. Carvill, as well as artsy interloper, Mr. O’Sullivan. The science on show at W5 was quite technical, and you will have to ask one of the whiz kids for the details, but we do know the compound of one universal reaction: F-U-N! Understandably tired were all the teachers after such hi-jinks, but these grizzled, old veterans have juiced up again on laboratory gas and there is talk that they are ready to go again… but that hypothesis has yet to be peer-reviewed!
Conlethian alumna Maggie Tighe (Class of 2019) was recently presented with one of the most selective and competitive international academic prizes. Maggie’s research combined her two loves of Classics and Music and it earned her a Global Undergraduate Awards, one of only 25 given… in the whole world! Each year thousands of students from around the world submit their undergraduate research projects to The Global Undergraduate Awards (GUA), the world’s leading pan-discipline, undergraduate research awards programme. More than 600 academics volunteer as judges for the programme, assessing entries for their academic originality and rigour, and must pick the single best entry from each of the 25 categories. Maggie was named Global Winner of the Classical Studies & Archaeology category for her work titled “Ovidian New Pastoral: The Transformation of the Pastoral Genre through Music in the Metamorphoses”. With that honour, she presented her research to the 150 academics and other winners in attendance at the Global Summit and received the Thomas Clarkson gold medal at the black-tie Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony on 8 November.
Below you see Maggie at the summit and the ceremony, but you also see evidence of a different side to Maggie: less worldly perhaps but still important. Earlier in the term, and before all the high-brow hoopla, Maggie dropped by No. 28 to visit her old Classics teacher, just to say hello and deliver some inspiring words to a class full of eager, noisy Classics I students. Maggie may be now bumping elbows with elite scholars in the Long Room but she remembers her roots and has kept a warmth and openness as deep as her intellect. And the good news is that Maggie is now just down the road, at Trinity working on a Master’s in Classics… a resource her old teacher may well call upon ion the months to come!
You get the occasional teacher complaining about missing classes (we, the notable and enthusiastic exception!), but there is plenty of evidence that our many guest speakers and class outings have positive effects on our students’ lives, academic and otherwise. Our Commissioner of Guidance, Gordon Weldon, naturally leads the way in organising these events, but our Religion teacher, Mr. Lonergan, is a close second. Just recently, their time-consuming efforts at organisation paid big dividends in terms of the students’ careers and wellbeing.
Above, you see highlights from SuperGeneration’s excellent Study Skills Seminars with our 5th and 6th Years and our TYs outing to a special Careers Fair, just a couple examples of Mr. Weldon’s never-ending push to get our students on that career path that will enable them to take care of you in your golden years! But it is not all about points and PAYE: we really do emphasise the ‘whole child’ at St. Conleth’s, with Mr. Weldon also leading our Wellbeing Department and Mr. Lonergan leading initiatives from the Religion side. His latest coup was inviting in Elevate Industries’ Jason Maupin, who humoured, inspired, uplifted, and even hugged, our Fifth Years at a special assembly, themed ‘Take Off Your Mask’. The stories he told of the changes in his life may very well prove to be life-changing for those fortunate enough to be present!
Only Lidl gets rolling with the Christmas season earlier than us, thanks to Ms. Killen and Ms. Hopkins! Here are the Senior School Christmas Exam schedules, by year. We will carefully go over exam rules and regulations in class with the students, but the biggest change to the normal day is that if a student is not sitting the scheduled exam, they do not need to be in school for that period; however, if they wish (or their parents do!) they may attend and study quietly in their Exam Centre/Room seat. Otherwise, all normal school rules apply, Including uniform. Good luck!
Click on each year to see a PDF of their respective Exam Schedule:
First Year Art Students enjoyed the ‘Zombie Doubles’ so much, they asked for the rest. Enjoy them and get ready for the Christmastime avalanche of art!
The scariest sound effect this Halloween for the St. Conleth’s Student Socialist Society/Debating Club was the clarion call of capitalism… as TYs kept ringing up the profits at their Halloween Mini-Company Fair! The timing was perfect as everyone filled up on the home-made, baked delicacies and, even after burning some off playing classic arcade video games, still had enough sucrose and e-numbers left to power them through the rest of the hectic day. Aside from the consumables, there were also some impressive handicrafts and art work for sale. And, in addition to teaching sound business principles, various charities also get their cut… or so we are told by TY Co-Ordinator, Gav ‘Three Macchiatos A Day’ Maguire!
How do STEM devotees celebrate an illogical, incalcuable and inflammable holiday? Well, Ms. Phelan and her Sixth Year Biology students put on mad scientist costumes and visited the National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training in UCD… for great hands-on bio-fun!
Our students learned all about the career and educational opportunities in the biotechnology industry in Ireland, including the lucrative reanimation of stolen corpses from the nearby Merrion Cemetery. They also got a tour around the training facility which is used by companies such as Pfizer, Amgen, Abvie, and Sanofi for training and education. We extend a big thank-you to Dr. John Milne, Training Director and Dr. Hannah Jones, for their time and enthusiasm. Their love for their work was infectious (relax, everyone wore masks!) and they, in turn, were impressed by our gang, even saying that there were some students on the trip whose scientific acumen was so evident, that NIBRT would happily have cloned them on the spot! Leo then explained that he had already been cloned during a recent ‘close encounter’ but that he was willing to go again. On the other hand, some of our other kids blended right in with the reanimated cadavers, the less twitchy ones in particular. Well, it takes all types in a bio-diverse world… and school!
Ms. Halpin and her Art students have transferred St. Conleth’s Senior School into a cool ghoul school! Below we see TYs enjoying the festooning of the hallways with skulls, spiders, pumpkins, screams and laughs. There are also close-ups of their work, including all the above plus skulls and the scariest creatures of them all: clowns! First Years were a bit more introspective, calling forth their inner zombie. Now they know what they will look like at the end of Second Year!
The short course ‘Artistic Performance’ is quickly becoming a favourite of the Senior School. Ms. Orla Mellon takes her creative talents and boundless energy to each class and the students respond with gust… or guts-oh in this case! In honour of the approaching holiday, Ms. Mellon led the boys and girls in learning techniques of making their own ‘waxing scars’, using Vaseline, flour and foundation makeup. They really enjoyed themselves, some refusing to wash them off after class and establishing ‘zombie chic’ a the new to-die-for look in the school. Some teachers joined in on the act… or we think they did!
Artistic Performance also involves performance so earlier in the term, Ms.Mellon led the students in ‘Story, Story… Die!” in which participants have to improvise a line of a story, then the next person carries it onwards and so-on…. If anyone hesitates in anyway, the pupils shot ‘DIE!’ and the guilty party has to go into simulated death throes. Our budding thespians also did an exercise where they picked a scenario from ‘real life’ and act out what was going on. After a minute they had to freeze & roll a dice. The number rolled corresponded with an object. They had to add this object into their scene for another minute… improv at its best!
Do you remember when retreats involved a lot of hushed voices, hastily drawn symbolic etchings, vague expressions of well-being and the occasional chorus of ‘Kumbaya’? Well how about climbing, fire-starting, faith-leaping, archery, hockey and sing-alongs? Yes, we believe that the Sixth Year Retreat to Ovoca House in Avoca has been a change for the better.
Never before have we heard a 100% approval rating from the students involved and it was not just because our excellent hosts at Irish Scripture Union kept them moving with fun-filled and challenging activities: the boys and girls did do proper, traditional retreat stiff too, such as goal-setting, reflection, scripture reading and bouts of outrageous silence. It was just that the whole overnight trip was so well-planned and well implemented, it satisfied both the needs and the wants of those involved. A big thank-you to Mr. Gallagher for organising, Ms. Killen and Mr. Lonergan for taking part so enthusiastically, and Mr. Latvis for teaching the hockey girls the proper method of body-checking!
The Video Highlights (Edited, Hopefully Thoroughly Enough, for a General Audience)
Fire and Fun
After enduring the zealotry of the covid cartel for all things scientific, or those things apparently so, it was a relief to have a guest speaker who could reasonably and engagingly discuss these matters without invective or condescension. Fr. Conor, a Dominican Friar, led our Fifth and Sixth Years in discussions regarding the misunderstood, and misrepresented, nexus of Science and Faith. Fr. Conor impressed us with his knowledge, open-mindedness and manners, and our boys and girls returned the favour. The perfect precursor to the Sixth Year Retreat!
Fr. Conor shared the image below with the students before his talk. It is a tiny piece of parchment from the 7th century that can be seen in St. Maurice in Switzerland. St. Brigid is on top and our very own St. Conleth on the bottom!
And don’t even mention An Triail… Yes, this actually happened a couple of weeks ago, but ‘Is fearr mall ná rómhall‘ and we thought we must spread the news that, finally, there is a more heart-warming work to discuss in Irish class: the all-Irish film The Quiet Girl based on the leabhar beag ‘Foster’ by Claire Keegan. The whole senior, Senior school went to see it at the Stella Cinemas and quite a few tears were shed… but this time, bittersweetly, and as gaeilge, of course!
… 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!”
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!
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!
Like the fluid, flowing shapes in John Kelleher’s paintings, art flows ever onward at St. Conleth’s. Below you see Mr. ODulaing suitably impressed (and strangely dwarfed) by Second Year embroideries and Ms. Halpin already prepping a new class for the creation of the next set of masterpieces.
Regarding masterpieces, current art students need look no further than St. Conleth’s alumnus, the aforementioned John Kelleher (2019) who graduated from Fine Arts- Painting at NCAD and now is undertaking a prestigious MFA at the Royal College Of Art in London. Enjoy snaps from last spring of John’s exhibition and studio and his own explanatory notes. The torch has been passed!
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!
We, the skeleton crew of the good ship St. Conleth’s, just welcomed the State Examiners Commission’s Junior Cycle Art Examiner aboard so that she could assess our Third Year’s officially entered pieces. Though we are certainly not privy to any results or grades, we did listen at the judiciously-left-ajar door of the Art Room and heard gasps of delight as the examiner systematically uncovered each creation. Then again, our hearing is not what it used to be, and they could well have been mixed with shrieks of horror and/or laughter… To be fair, judging by the work below from other classes of our Art Teacher, Ms. Halpin, the JCers will do just fine!
First Year Portrait Project
Second Year “Good Food’ Embroidery
First Year Imaginative Compositions
…but at St. Conleth’s, the music is never over! Okay, we planned on providing you with a full 4K Super HD video version of the graduation ceremony but our ‘video guy’ dropped the ball, and memory card, and he has justly been put on fully paid suspension, pending review. Thank goodness our ‘sound guy’, the multi-talented Micheal Horan, came up trumps and we have a lovingly mixed soundtrack of the performance pieces from graduation night. So, hit play, close your eyes and revel in teh voices and sounds of the Class of 2022!
On Monday, June 27th, at about 17:03, upon the completion of the Leaving Certificate Latin Exam, a quiet will descend upon St. Conleth’s College which has not been ‘heard’ for about five years and ten months: for Oisín Power will have left the building. (And, no, we don’t whip out the future perfect tense just for anybody!). Yes, it has been a long, garrulous reign for the uncrowned king of diatribe, insinuation, invective, contradiction, conspiracy, sedition and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Each Thursday, we personally endured no less than six class periods with Oberstleutnant Power and though we shortened our life span considerably, due to the pressure applied to our brain, heart and spleen, we also learned a lot and enjoyed the barracking barrage of biblio-babble immensely. Do we need to know the religions of every US President’s Vice President’s wife? Or that a Bulgarian vagabond princeling has a legitimate claim to the title of Roman Emperor? (Or is he Finnish?) Maybe not. But maybe the plight of the Auslandsdeutsche after WWII is worth the occasional tangential discussion, or, perhaps, the underreported flouting of Geneva on the Ukrainian side in the current conflict or, god forbid, a reappraisal of Reagan’s blue collar Democrat mass conversion.
These were the kind of conversations intitiated in class and the hallways and in hyperspace by Oisín over the years; often aided, abetted, moderated or contradicted by step soul-brother Evan. Perhaps not many LC points were secured for them en route, but certainly our knowledge was deepened and persepctive altered, and perhaps theirs, too … and it was fun! Well, Oisín’s talent for edgy cultural commentary has also been recognised and lauded outside the walls of No. 28, too, as his alternate history story Failure of the Falklands has been featured on the popular and respected Talkernate History Youtube channel. Hear the hosts’ enthusiastic reception of Oisín’s story above and read it in full here. Oisín will soon be gone from these hallowed halls but we will long savour the lingering echoes of his beneficial bombast, and eagerly await news of his further rhetorical adventures in halls and chatrooms and on street-corners further afield.
We foretold the impending godhood of one Turlough Dineen below, and, it turns out, that we were as prophetic as the Delphian oracle, herself! For Turlough has won the Gold Prize in the Classical Languages category of the Young Classicists Symposium competition. Turlough’s prize is appropriately titled the Palma Lingua Antiqua and he won it in the national competition as the judges were ‘particularly impressed with the spoken Latin and the creativeness of his project; bringing Latin to life again!’ Even more importantly, Turlough pushed Gonzaga into second place! Enjoy his full project Ambulatio in Paradisio below (a brilliant walking and Latin talking tour of flowers and their mythological significance) as well as an earlier work on aqueducts which Turlough created on a whim, while touring Gaul, with the help of soror, Dineena.
Our other classics kids also had a ‘cool’ end-of-term. Below we see our Classics I class on a very localised tour of neoclassical Georgian architecture (pointing out a volute on Wellington Road); those same First Years enjoying a lecture and presentation by Maia Nolan, an American university student (and cousin of Peter Murphy) who kindly and passionately detailed her classical archaeology adventures in Greece; our LC Latin Class in various settings: the Classics Room, the Art Room (suitably edgy, cum manes, that day), the Herbo and on one last Zoom, for nostalgia; our Classics VI duo of Eliza and Julia constructing a Doric temple, literally (and we mean, literally!) on the board; and our small but mighty Classics V class absorbing the sun along with Medea’s parenting tips. Two of these Fifth Years, Finn and Ollie (aka: ‘The Husbands of Helen’; aka: ‘Pants on Fire’) actually won a Bronze medal in the Classics category of the same Young Classicists competition and you can hear their original song, Classic Mortal, here. We had hoped to have a matching video, but Finn and Ollie were last seen, on the last day of school, jumping into a Surfer Boy Pizza van with guitars and amps and a roadie or two, and have not been seen since!
They’re here! JC & LC start tomorrow. Leave your bags in Room 3. Study Rooms are 4 (LC) & 5 (JC). At 8:30, there is a Mass in the canteen. JC Exam Centre is Sports Hall. LC Centre is Performance Hall. English Exams start at 9:30 but report to exam halls at 9:00 as it is the first day. Good luck!
Yes, the zombies are coming tonight (Wednesday) at 7:00 as the Transition Years wrap up a lively year with a deadly show, The Zombie Apocalypse, courtesy of Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Toal (who has been method acting for this play for years). TY Co-ordinator Gav Maguire and his trusty (but always plotting) sidekick, Mr. Morris, will also be there, celebrating the best moments of the year and presenting awards, but the real work will all be done by the TY boys and girls, themselves. We don’t want to spoil anything (brains do ‘go off’ quickly) so, instead, we will just show you a sneak peak of some of just the most recent activities and adventures these kids have been up to: the Gaisce Hike, the visit of the Reptile Zoo and the TY’s most important business venture and a welcome sign of the return of normality and hyperactivity: the reopening of the Ye Olde Tuck Shoppe!
The Gaisce Hike
The Parseltongue Seminar
E Number Distributors!
Our new, and very slightly improved, Summer Exam and Block Classes Schedule…. enjoy!
Art Class Cake and Afterschool Study parties… the Jameses starting early on the debs date hunt… graduation mortar boards… one last classic Classics picnic.. and some artsy filters: all part of the Class of 2022’s rather clingy (but reciprocated) good-bye hug to St. Conleth’s!
The last few weeks have been a flurry of activities which have… in living colour, in full surround sound and 4D (that last D would be the smell of the magnolias, as well as the Dodder at low tide)… put paid to any idea that we are not back in full, for real and for good. The academics stayed through zoom and mask but the fun and the true spirit of being a Conlethian took a battering but now, with the canteen in full swing, concerts and debates in full voice and graduations (in the flesh) in the full planning stage, we can sigh, maybe wash our hands, and enjoy life. And the coup-de-grace has to be the return of a real, full-blooded Sportsday.
The exodus from one side of Dublin 4 to the other began at break-time, and though we lost a few stragglers in the meandering back allies and cowpaths of the ‘Ringer’ and Irishtown, most of the students eventually arrived at he splendid sporting facilities of Irishtown Stadium, ready to enthusiastically take part in this most eagerly anticipated (and missed) of yearly rituals: St. Conleth’s Senior School Sportsday. All the usual suspects were there: Mr. Smith, Head of All Sport and Master of Ceremonies; various teachers, Mr. Keenan, veteran of a half century of Sportsdays, the rightly selective Bestower of Medals; some rookies and some old hands at their various athletic stations; and, of course, hordes of fuelled adolescents, bouncing up-and-down with sugar, adrenalin and competitive zeal. This last group spent the day, or at least the morning, running, jumping, tugging, stumbling, staggering, bumbling and either winning or cheering (and laughing) or just having fun, as others took their turns.
Yes, we said running…
and having fun!
In slo -mo…
and fast forward!
Mr. Lonergan was at it again: galvanising his students to get out of their screens and off their butts to raise money for a worthy cause… and giving them a chance for some unjustified (but understandable) payback!
Yes, the Charity Sponge-Throw, after a hiatus of a few years, returned with gusto to St. Conleth’s. Form Class 3B joined their Religion teacher in planning, organising and running this fun-and-revenge-filled affair, raising over €300 for Trocaire. We praise and thank all the participants, in particular the willing targets: Mr. Carvill, Mr. Morris, Mr. Gahan, Mr. Smith, Ms. Halpin and the main man, himself!
Like Captain Oveur in the movie Airplane, Sean Ingle is a huge fan of gladiator films, so when the St. Conleth’s Classics Department was looking for volunteers to help escort our massive phalanx of students to the UCD Classics Museum, Sean jumped at the chance… and he even stayed onboard after finding out that the notoriously severe imperator, Helena Spella Maxima, was in charge.
And Sean was glad he did, for along with the 60+ students in First and Second Year, he enjoyed the UCD professors’ impeccable xenia and impressive epistêmê as they broadened and deepened our view of the classical world with a carefully connected tour of a museum chock full of amazing artefacts and led us through interactive classes in Ancient Greek and the iconography of the gods. A great, learning day was had by all!
At home, St. Conleth’s kids may be used to the safer, more curatable forms of art: the tasteful minimalist collage from Malmo hanging over the equally tasteful and minimalist glass coffee slab or the abstract-but-not-too-abstract muted landscape faintly catching the light from the Velux in the extension… but Senior School Art Teacher Ms. Halpin is doing her best to shake up the culture bourgeoise! She regularly brings her charges out on adventures which push their artistic, social and geographical boundaries. There have been trips to various galleries and museums and sculpture gardens and that one memorable Depeche Mode reunion concert and, most recently, a brave foray onto the North Side! See below for pics and Ms. Halpin’s own account of this latest art class al fresco: an exploration of Dublin street art in the medieval meanderings which line both sides of the Liffey.
Alternative Dublin put together a great tour of the alley ways north and south of the Liffey, giving us a very informative survey of street art, how it developed and information and examples of leading Dublin street artists including Maser, Conor Harrington, subset, James Earley, Brutto and Kin Drix… just to name a few. The tour detailed how street art has transformed derelict Temple Bar laneways into innovative hubs of creativity, such as the Icon Walk of Bedford Lane and Love Lane, both in Temple Bar. Some of the students said it was the best tour they had ever done!
When Eric Borguet (Captain, 1981) returned to St. Conleth’s, in the company of Principal Emeritus Peter Gallagher, he was impressed with attitude and aptitude of our students and, after a tour with Deputy Principal Angelina Hopkins, the improvements in the school campus since his time at No. 28 Clyde Road. As a Professor of Chemistry at Temple University, he was particularly supportive of our Coach House/STEM development plans. Eric’s career has taken him down the path of periodic tables and laboratory research but he was keen to convey to our Class of 2022 his appreciation of the well-rounded nature of the education he received at St. Conleth’s, and the evidence was standing next to him: the esteem with which Eric held Mr. Gallagher, his former History teacher, was obvious. We hope our graduating students aspire to the career success of Eric Borguet but also his life-long open-mindedness and enthusiasm for all learning, first nurtured here at St. Conleth’s.
And with one poignant note of reverb from the guitars of Ollie and Finn, we finally banished the ghost of Covid and returned to our full school life. Covid never halted the learning: the perseverance of our ‘class’ class teachers and the co-operation of parents saw to the continuity of the ‘three Rs’ and more. But that which No. 19 did muffle was the just-as-important communal life of the school at No. 28. Now, with spring in the air, the once trickling thaw has become a torrent, with the biggest and best blast of all bursting on the scene last Friday afternoon: the return of the School Spring Concert!
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. He then gradually built up his stable of stars and supporting acts, handing over an established annual network staple to Ms. Fay and Mr. MacMullen. Cable deals and pay-per-view soon followed under those maestros, and when show business called those two away, Mr. Sheridan and Ms. deBhal kept the business growing under their short but sparkling tenure. Then, Ms. Fay and Ms. deBhal sweetly but sternly wielded the conductors’ batons together before Ms. McGuinness took over, and having just witnessed the first post-Covid edition of this extravaganza, we can now proudly say that the St. Conleth’s School Concert is back… and better (and quicker) than ever!
Yes, our Spring Semester ended on a high note, as Ms. McGuinness, with the patient, professional assistance of Mr. O’Neill, coached, coaxed and coddled a varied and star-studded line-up. It all began with Mr. ODulaing and Mr. Seamus Gallagher eloquently celebrating the day’s, and the season’s, significance; speeches two years in the making! Then, Second Year Lochlainn Hannon once again charmed us with his consummate play on the piano. Next up was the already well-established Second Year band of Jamie Effie and John Byrne on guitar; Paul Jackson on drums; Myles Moriarty-Smyth on bass; and Hannah Murphy and Ben Nolan singing Oasis’s ‘She’s Electric’. Hannah returned to the stage, solo, playing piano and singing ‘Wondering’ but only after fellow Second Year Michael Moore wowed us on the piano and Third Year Michael Horan further established himself as our chief resident diner/songwriter (and techno wiz responsible for our recording above!). Sixth Year Rory Clarke then played guitar as Eva Stylianides sang a show-stopper version of ‘Thousand Years’ (audio with some video, separately below).
Sixth Year Rita Kelleher masterfully tinkled ‘Claire de Lune’ and then it was our resident rock & roll bad boys’ time: Fifth Years Finn Neilan and Ollie West eased their way on stage with all the casual cool, and just a healthy bit of the chaos, of the Replacements, and they treated us to a few of their award-winning self-penned tunes, with the consummate and ubiquitous James Moriarty-Smyth on drums. James stayed on stage (is he ever off?) as the rest of the Sixth Year Band joined him: Anna Downey, singing; Rory Clarke and Anthony Steyn on guitar; Igancio Sadofschi on bass. It was stunning and fitting finish to a fantastic way to end the term… and officially mark the return to life!
For it is not every day of the week that a Conlethian alumna has a book launch! We joined Catherine Prasifka (2014), brother John (2011), Mr. Seamus Gallagher, parents (Sunniva and Bill) and friends (such as Michael Coleman (2011) at Hodges Figgis to celebrate the publication of None of this is Serious, Catherine’s debut novel which is currently garnering rave reviews and rocketing up the charts. Catherine was back with us just a couple of years ago, teaching creative writing to our Juniors and gathering inspiration in the staffroom for some of the odder side characters in her novel. And last night, Catherine was as polite and charming as ever. The sudden fame and fortune have yet to turn her head… but do check back with us soon, as rumour has it Hollywood may come calling!
Apologies for the delay in this report but our Special Sixth Year Photographer, Anna Downey, is as open-minded with shot selection as she is in conversation, and she returned from the wilds of Wicklow with many, many shot rolls of film. We have spent the last two weeks in the school darkroom and now, belatedly bring you, selectively, the story and some of those photos…
What… are the French involved in military action, again? Or do our shaggy-haired kids need another dose of nit treatment? No, silly, it’s time to get that tricky refrain of ‘Kumbaya’ down pat for the Sixth Years are going on retreat!
Actually, we got that quite wrong. The Sixth Years have retreated, and returned, and apparently there was hardly any cringe-inducing platitudes at all! Yes, we 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 trip was so well-planned and well implemented, it satisfied both the needs and the wants of those involved. A big thank-you to Form Teachers Ms. NiAonghusa and Mr. Coleman for taking part so enthusiastically. Before you go we have one last bit of media from Anna: a rather artfully shot bit of cinéma vérité, complete with a Truffaut-like ‘grass sequence’!
Our Religion Team of Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Lonergan united to bring Pope Francis’s powerful and unprecedented prayer for peace in Ukraine closer to home with moments of prayer and silence in the garden of St. Mary’s Church. Below we see Second, Fifth and Sixth Years taking just a bit of time out of their day to reflect on the situation in Ukraine, pray for a peaceful solution and reflect on our relative security and prosperity. Mr. Lonergan and Mr. Gallagher were inspired by Pope Francis’s historic invocation of Our Lady of Fatima. Pope Francis prayed for peace in Ukraine in a ceremony Friday that hearkened back to a century-old prophecy about peace and Russia that was sparked by the appearance of the Virgin Mary to three peasant children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917.
Francis invited bishops, priests and ordinary faithful around the world to join him in the consecration prayer, which opened with Francis entering St. Peter’s Basilica before an estimated 3,500 people and concluded with Francis sitting alone before a statue of the Madonna. There, he solemnly asked forgiveness that humanity had “forgotten the lessons learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two World Wars.” Here are texts of The Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Pope Francis’s homily.
During Seachtain na Gaeilge even a school which lies at the top of Waterloo and Wellington Roads comes out ‘all Irish’… especially after two years of muted celebrations and sobbing in our shamrock shakes! 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 Handley 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 with TY and Second Years, each year had their very own Tráth Na gCeist, answering (sometimes hilariously) about everything Irish from McDonald’s to The Donald and while we were dismayed by Versify replacing U2 as the most commonly proffered incorrect answer, alas, leanann an saol ar aghaidh! There was also the traditional poc fada at Herbert Park, a noted gathering spot for dangerous Fenians. Below you see winners Morton Ainscough and Rita Kelleher of Sixth Year, but everyone had a go, including our visiting friends from Spain and China.
And relatively new Seachtain na Gaeilge craze continued to grow in popularity this year: the Tóraíocht Taiscea, pictured below. The weather was fine and St. Patrick’s Day was on the horizon: no wonder everyone got a little silly, acting the amadán… and maybe even the gombeen, but all in good humour. 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.
Apparently, music does indeed ‘soothe the savage breast’ and calm the savage beast. You may think that referring to our saintly, adorable Prep Schoolers as ‘beasts’ a bit much, but you probably have not tried to cross a courtyard full of them, especially during a sugar rush from an elevenses snack! Well, Mr. Fergus O’Neill, our Senior School SEN Teacher, bravely took on the twin task of kicking off St. Conleth’s Seachtain na Gaeilge 2022 and entertaining the little darlings with some break-time plucking on the ole’ banseó. Enjoy a snippet below but also check out Mr. O’Neill, aka Ferg, on Spotify and Soundcloud, as he leads a double life as an up and coming Irish singer-songwriter. His style defies easy categorisation but the quality is undeniable, as a reviewer recently said about his third single: Raw and rhythmic, ‘In A Dream’ moves with the listener through a story of intimate honesty. A vivid take on human emotion with subtly crafted melodies backed by soft harmonic layers, this track transports the listener into the realms of the emotive experience. So, have a listen to Ferg and stay tuned for more Seachtain na Gaeilge hi-jinks!
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. Newly crowned CEO Tony Kilcommons proudly continued this tradition this year, delighted that his personal favourite, ‘Carmen’, was serendipitously appearing at the Bord Gais Theatre. Tony relates how he and the other forwards of the Athlone Rugby Football Club would often serenade (and console) each other in the showers after particularly tough matches with arias from the risqué Bizet, and, by all accounts, it was an amazing production, even rendering Oisín Power, noted opera aficionado, into a blubbering mass of tears at the most poignant moments… but that could have been the thimble of Jameson quaffed beforehand at The Palace. Ms. Fay and Ms. McGuinness, our dynamic duo of music, were also duly impressed, as were Form Teachers, Ms. NiAonghusa and Mr. Coleman, who worked wonders organising the outing on short notice. Good to see that the culture vultures, a migratory bird banished by the Covid reaction, have returned!
Springtime always brings a natural and impulsive sense of de vivre and the lambs gamboling in the fields and the students gambling in the yard are just testaments to the irrepressible urge we all have for living life to the fullest. This year, with the Covid thaw finally taking place and yet with darker tidings filling our news-screens, the preciousness of life is even more apparent. It is the perfect time for Mr. Lonergan to drum up interest in the Life Advocate Awards, an essay competition which celebrates the protection of all life, and one in which our very own Caoimhe Moore won a prize last year! The details are on the posters pictured and linked below (along with some related videos) and Mr. Lonergan will give further guidance, but we will give the last word to St. Conleth’s Past Pupil, and Former Commissioner with the Irish Human Rights Commission, William Binchy:
A constant discourse on human rights – particularly in respect of protecting the rights of the most vulnerable in society – is something that should be encouraged at every level of education.
We told you previously about all the tongues with which we speak and the resultant cornucopia of LC language mocks… well here is the next crop getting ready: Ms. Crowley’s and Mr. Baneham’s Fifth Years are chatting up a storm en français in preparation for their oral exams!
Certamen? Esame? Prüfung? 考试 ? Don’t worry… in any language, the recently completed exams were just Mocks, but as Exam Secretary Ms. niAonghusa pointed out, having eight languages examined at the LC level is a testament to our diversity… despite our still-cozy size!
St. Conleth’s Chaplain Fr. Michael Collins makes the rounds, and delivers an Ash Wednesday blessing to the students. He also included some relevant anecodotes, delivered in a friendly and humourous manner, but packing a punch!
Junior School Principal Brian Nolan reports on one of the many bridges between St. Conleth’s Junior and Senior Schools.
This week our Sixth Form Transition Action Plan saw Phase 1 of our ‘Making Informed Choices’ session take place. Students heard from our resident experts Ms. Killen, Ms. Crowley and Mr. Latvis about all things Modern (and Ancient) Languages. The enthralled crowd peppered the teachers with questions related to French, Spanish, Latin and Classics and were left with a lot to consider before making their choices next month. A follow up session in March will focus on STEAM subjects. The Senior School teachers were very impressed with the maturity of the Sixth Formers and the quality of the questions: seems like we have more true scholars on the way!
Yes, TY Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire does spend most of his time at L&C’s in the Herbo… actually, that is not fair to Gav: he is also known to frequent ‘Happy Out!’ and ‘The Butler’s Pantry’ in Donnybrook, and he is a regular at Tolteca on Baggott St. (So much so, that he merely mutters ‘The usual.’ when ordering and is greeted with rapturous cries of ‘El Gran Gringo!’… due to the size of his tips.) Well, you would think all those coffees, donuts and burritos would leave little time for actually co-ordinating of the TYs… but you would be wrong! The TYs are bigger ‘go-ers’ than the Thunderbirds! How does Gav do it ? Like all great armchair generals: delegation. Below, you see some of Gav’s minions in action: Tom O’Connor leads a photographic adventure in Herbert Park; Mr. Carvill (The Younger) ignites a heated chess tournament; Nutritionist Hannah O’Neill inspires healthy eating; Mr. Latvis leads a flying (Ionic) column to peruse the neoclassical splendour of Georgian Dublin; and Ms. Halpin does double duty: she escorts the TYs to Glasnevin cemetery for a history tour and somehow teaches the TYs how to use a Stop/Motion Application… in forty minutes!
TY Action: Landscape
TY Action: Portrait
At the heart of every good history lesson, or any good lesson, for that matter, is a good story. The new Junior Cycle versions of the subjects does not change that: in fact, the CBA component enhances the use of stories in teaching about the past. Yes, the term ‘CBA’ does strike terror in many a young First Year’s heart: it is right up there with the IRS, the IRA, the UDA, the CIA and the DGI as far as three-letter abbreviations which can induce anxiety. But once the students actually complete a ‘Classroom Based Assessment’ they realise how fun and honestly educational they can be. In History, the CBA takes the form of a personalised research project: one specific topic, researched in detail and presented to the class. And, with encouragement, many of the students decide to take on subjects which somehow relate to their families, their heritage, their own stories. Below we see war heroes, political leaders, rebels, and everyday lives, all with interesting links to ‘big history’ and the students themselves. Reserve your fear for the CCP!
Conlethians tend to come naturally to ‘performing’… sometimes we resemble Fame Academy in the students’ aptitude and enthusiasm for performing their ‘party pieces’. But we also have Ms. McGuinness honing that inherent talent in Artistic Performance. Here we see performance combined with artistic creativity: the making (and playing with) of puppets!
With the announcement of the return of the good, old regular Leaving Certificate (albeit, considerably truncated in content) has at least brought a sense of certainty back into the lives of our Sixth Years. And Third Years get to take the first Junior Cycle Exam administered in this jurisdiction in three years! What an honour! Well, the next step in preparing for these time-honoured rites-of-passage is The Mock Exams. Here is the Mock Timetable (pdf) again, with the ‘minority’ languages added in. Good luck!
In a fitting conclusion to Catholic Schools Week, Mr. Lonergan led 28 First Yeasr student volunteers on ‘A Pilgrim Path’ around Dublin city, visiting churches and significant Catholic sites. Sites and shrines visited included St. Theresa’s of Clarendon Street and the pro Cathedral, with its crypt fileld with over one thousand happily reposing residents! A special stop, considering recent restrictions on worship, was the Church of Immaculate Conception, otherwise known as the Adam and Eve’s Church, in Merchant’s Quay which was built on the grounds of an old tavern where secret Masses were held during the Penal Times. By all reports, the day out was an informative, uplifting and spiritually enriching experience. Also pictured are those who chose to stay behind, and who, instead, were brought to see the first blooms of Spring in Herbert Park. And with Lent just around the corner, Mr. Lonergan is not letting up! He has organised a Project Presentation Competition for Transition Year Religion Class with real cash money (€25, €10 and €5) for the prizes! Render unto Caesar… indeed!
How are we doing in Díospóireacht? Unfortunately, our Irish debating team of Evan Power, Cariosa O’Farrell and Coleman Hegarty were knocked out of the Irish debating competition last week by two very polished teams from Loreto-Dalkey and St Leo’s-Carlow. But it was a glorious run for Gang Gaeilge and those involved picked up much more than just cupla focail. An-mhaith!
The routine is returning and isn’t it glorious? No, not the fear, suspicion and condescension of the plague days, but the more normal routines of everyday life. And, as with many things, the kids are way ahead of us! Now, the actual relaxation of rules is dependent upon the glacial movements of the Department… but our students (and staff) have already shown some spring in their step, and not just because of the addition of another bank holiday. Below, we see the students work in Afterschool Study (sign up on Easypayments!), eat together in the canteen like truly evolved social animals (order through the Cashless Canteen Account!), listen to a DCU presentation (get that CAO sorted!) and take constitutionals in the Herbo (clean up after your Coton de Tulear!)- one covid contingency we will gladly continue!
There have been various attempts over the years to separate the Irish people from their ancestral faith, but such measures as the Penal Laws and Covid restrictions only served to further strengthen their resolve.
Of course, we at St. Conleth’s welcome all faiths in our student and staff body, and our Mission Statement reflects that diversity, but our ethos is firmly, and proudly, founded in the Catholic tradition. This coming week is Catholic Schools week and Mr. Lonergan has provided us with all the resources necessary to make it a special week for St. Conleth’s. Each day has its own theme and we will tweet ‘thoughts of the day’ for both Senior School and Junior School. (Below is an early glimpse of Monday’s!). Here are the official flyers for the Junior and Senior Schools, and this link has plenty of age-appropriate resources attached for both parents and teachers which will enable them to make this week spiritually significant.
Every great work needs its prequel! Just see (or click) below for the full timetable for this year’s Junior and Leaving Certificate Mock Exams, which begin on Tuesday, the 8th of February, for Sixth Years and on Friday, the 11th, for Third Years. Students should certainly familiarise themselves with the Exam Guidelines, which are based on the real State Examination Rules, and will soon be emphasised by Exam Secretary, Ms. NíAonghusa. Good luck!
Just what were the Transition Years up to in recent weeks as the rest of the students took their exams and then stumbled toward the finishing line of the Christmas break? Well, plenty! There were more trips around the hinterland of Dublin (Covid be darned!), Yuletide-specific mini-companies, the continuation of such courses as Sign Language and a host of other academic and ‘real-life’ activities, some of which you can see below!
Life Skills with Ms. McGuinness!
BioProjects with Mr. Carvill (the Younger)!
LIFT (Leading Ireland’s Future Together) with Guru Gav!
Yes, Jesus’s arrival was the game-changer, and Christmas and Easter are holy days of a different class, but in the years B.C., the Romans already had a calendar as full of holidays as an Educate Together Sports Day is full of medals. And our Classics classes dutifully and enjoyably mark as many of them as they can! Saturnalia is the festa most linked with Christmas and was infamous for its bacchanalian excess and its subversion of the usual social order: slaves would even be served their dinner by their masters on this one day when the world turned upside down. We settled for the magister serving his discipuli the symbolically, mythically rich pomegranate and demonstrating the wonders of the Pythagorean Cup: an ingenious vessel that rewards moderation but punishes excess by emptying completely of wine (or cranberry juice, in this case) if filled too high. See some snaps from our Saturnalian parties below as well as some from Classics hijinks earlier in the term and our Young Classicist Symposium Award winners from last year. There is a new competition in the new year so stay tuned!
Young Classicists Symposium Winners
No, it was not the usual wholesome, whole-school Christmas Concert experience but Mr. ODulaing, Mr. Seamus Gallagher and Music Maestro Ms. McGuinness managed to organise FIVE (!) separate Christmas assemblies and concerts, one for each remaining year of students. The readings were perfectly picked by Mr. Gallagher and sincerely delivered by select students in each year and Mr. O’Dulaing’s talk on the various (and, some, long-lost) traditions of Christmas in Ireland was eye-opening for both the audience and The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Wrens. Mr. O’Dulaing delivered his messages with friendly emphasis and good humour; in fact, we were privileged to a trend all five assemblies and have to say that his jokes really hit their peak with their fourth rendition! But what was no surprise was the display of an absolute abundance of musical spirit and talent in each and every year. Somehow, on very short notice, Ms. McGuinness cobbled together the various soloists, duos and groups into a slate that once again proved that St. Conleth’s is a ‘music school’ above all else, especially now that the Parents Association-purchased instruments and equipment have hit the stage. We had pianists from First and Third Years, full pop bands from Second and Sixth, the singular talent of Third Year Michael Horan and that barnstorming, reverb-surfing duo of Ollie and Finn from Fifth Year. Enjoy some highlights below, and stay tuned, as all this talent will once again take the stage… hopefully together!
Last Friday, our First Years enjoyed a day of faith and fun with the dynamic Christian group, An Tobar Nua, just as Second and Third Years did in October. And the reviews have once again have been rave. Our Religion Department, namely Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Lonergan, have found the perfect antidote to students with low energy levels and, perhaps, a lack of a faith-filled background: a retreat that is large parts fun and ‘generally’ applicable, yet also true to our Christian ethos and mission. Just think of these retreats as faith and wellbeing ‘boosters’… but with only positive side effects!
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. Smyth was joined on his mid-morning jaunt along the seaside by the best and brightest students of Sixth Year (who don’t take Classics) as well as some curious TYs and had a veritable party by Geography standards (but has nothing on the bacchanalian festival that is the ‘Ides of March’ Classics Quiz).
Eventually our resident rock-stars got down to work and measured their longshore drift, wave frequency, beach profile, cliff height and, yes, most excitingly, 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!
St. Conleth’s a Gaelscoil? Well, the other Modern Languages also lay claim to our turf, including a recent arrival: gli azzurri! Ms. Crowley has brought Italian into Transition Year and last week they indulged in a stereotypical but delicious mainstay of Italian culture: homemade pizza. Yes we enjoy using and celebrating the Irish language but as now Italian is also la cosa rostra, we had better share the spotlight with our cugini… or else!
Even in the deepest and darkest dungeons of the most totalitarian states, the imagination flies free… as it does in the minds of Ms. Halpin’s JC Art students, despite the gathering morbid covidity… and covid morbidity! Check out these Imaginative Composition Illustrations from the current crop of Third Years, who may just be lucky enough to sit the first Junior Cycle to be administered in three years!
Apparently, their day has come! Banishing rugby, hockey, fencing and even their fellow modern linguists to the back pages, the Irish Department have apparently taken over this website. First, Gaeilge24 and, now, success in GaelLinn’s Díospóireachtaí: the team of Evan Power, Caraiosa O’ Farrell and Coleman Hegarty are through to the next round, after debating with Templeogue College, Loreto Beaufort and Our Lady’s Grove. The debate took place in the Louis Fitzgerald Hotel, just off the Red Cow Roundabout, at 5pm and Ms. Fay and Ms. Dormand thoroughly enjoyed the mentoring experience, and the traffic. “Tá droch thionchar ag na meáin shóisialta ar an tsochaí.” or “That social media has a bad influence on society.’ An-mhaith!
No, Torthaí Tráth na gCeist, is thankfully not an Irish Spelling Bee but a General Knowledge Table Quiz in the mother tongue, and in this age of skills over content, organisers wondered if any of the participants would have any of the answers, separated as they were from their out-sourced data storage devices, the ones with the 4.7 inch bevelled screens (or 5.7 in D4)! Well, Conradh na Gaeilge need not fear when Conlethians are in the competition. Ms. Dorman and Ms. Fay’s TY Gaeilgeoirí rocketed up the charts of the Gaeilge24 event, finishing in 8th place of 260 schools, with Harry Cooper Reid individually notching 46th place out of 1,455 students. Harry, a noted connoisseur of historical and political facts (and strongly stated opinions), answered such tough questions as: What is a sloth called in Irish? ; When did World War II end?; and Where did the 2008 Olympics take place?… all as Gaeilge. An-mhaith!
Yes, Christmas is coming early… well St. Conleth’s Senior School Christmas Exams, anyways! Nice to get them all wrapped up so we can enjoy 50% of the usual fun with 50% of our friends in the run-up to Christmas. Unfortunately, Doc Tony’s suggestion of the halving of holiday cheer does not apply to your exams: they are the full deal… more PCR than antigen, if you will… so get studying!
Yes, we cringe a bit when, in mid-March, those few Americans who don’t claim an actual, specific percentage of Irishness as a birthright, state they are ‘Irish for a day’ and proceed to drink copious amounts of green-tinted weak beer and shamrock shakes. Well, Múinteoirí Fay and Dorman celebrated a different kind of Irish when they led our TY Gaeilgeoiri through a full day of activities as gaeilge, as they took part in Conradh na Gaeilge’s Gaeilge24, a nationwide celebration of the Irish language, with over 300 schools taking part. From a Tráth Na gCeist to Tae agus Plé to a Tóraíocht Taisce, all day long, the TYs had their Irish (T-Shirts) on!
Ms. Mellon and Ms. Halpin, Art Teachers of the Junior and Senior Schools, respectively, make for a formidable dynamic duo: the school’s walls are full of their students’ creations, testaments to both teachers mastery of helping their charges hold that difficult line, the one between impulsive creativity and enabling organisation. Ms. Mellon ran a Winter Art Competition, with each class winner taking home a ‘state of the art’ forty piece pencil set. The winners were: 1st Form- Harry McDermott; 2nd Form- Emily Freedman; 3rd Form (and overall)- Beatrice Perinati; 4th Form- Eleanor Hobbs; 5th Form- Conor Hobbs; 6th Form- Nathan Keogh.
And Ms. Halpin has been busy teaching ‘Lazy Daises’, ‘French Knots’ and ‘Rough Purls’, as her First Years enjoyed the soothing rhythms and controlled creativity of combining embroidery with seascapes. Enjoy seeing their work below!
The Kellehers, from Lorcan (Class of 2008) through to Joe (2025) have been, and still are, are an essential part of the St. Conleth’s culture and community. In between Lorcan and Joe, there were John (2019) and the shining sisters pictured below: Bridget (2011), Lois (2017), Mary (2015) and Rita (2022). They are seen on the Quad, celebrating Lois and Mary’s earning of their Trinity College Classics degrees. Yes, Mary may have wandered a little ways down a STEM pathway, but she was drawn back to the light, and the right, side and now can have those sisterly chats with Lois in the real mother tongue… with Rita, a Leaving Certificate Latin student, soon to join them!
Batik is a technique of wax-resist dyeing applied to the whole cloth, or cloth made using this technique. Of Javanese origin, batik is made either by drawing dots and lines of the resist with a spouted tool called a canting, or by printing the resist with a copper stamp called a cap. The applied wax resists dyes and therefore allows the artisan to colour selectively by soaking the cloth in one colour, removing the wax with boiling water, and repeating if multiple colours are desired. Or, in other words…. batik-ing is cool! Ms. Halpin’s Leaving Certificate Art students mastered the batik technique, transforming tropical birds into something even more beautiful. Below you see the original photos and the resulting masterpieces. Pretty impressive work from the students… and from Ms. Halpin, who has been forced to take her art show on the road, or at least- the corridor, because of Covid restrictions.
You would think that Mr. Carvill The Younger would be the last to fall for the old honeypot trick, but when Rose showed up from the Dublin Beekeepers Association he was as gaga as Barry B. Benson when he first caught sight of Vanessa, and the fact that this visiting veteran apiarist was carting all sorts of cool beekeeping equipment and gadgets and gear meant that there was also one suddenly smitten young biologist/amateur mellitologist!
And the TYs were soon won over too, as Rose gave a fascinating presentation on all aspects of beekeeping and allowed the students to try on what ha story be the coolest costumes this side of a ninja-yoroi. And Rose even pointed out that… according to all known laws of aviation, there is no way a bee should be able to fly. It’s wings are too small to get its fat little body off the ground. The bee, of course, flies anyway, because bees don’t care what humans think is impossible!
Too often, especially during Covidity, we retreat to the easier option of not getting too involved: don’t get too close, don’t touch, don’t get infected. But life, and learning, is about getting to grips with things… literally, sometimes. And we at St. Conleth’s, truly support the educational philosophy which underpins the new Junior Cycle syllabi: ‘hands-on learning’. Here we see manual dexterity from both sides of the brain: a cool cinematic special effects workshop from Ms. McGuinness’s Second Year Artistic Performance Class and Mr. Callaghan’s Science class discovering the simple but stunning sights of onion seeds under the microscope. Time to get down and dirty!
Rapid changes in technology, and our society as a whole, have made the currents students’ attitudes sometimes seem very foreign to those of us of previous generations, even for such relatively young teachers at ourselves! We remember the tantalising promise of ‘We will watch a filmstrip in class if you are good…’ being met with barely suppressed yelps of intense excitement, and glared silent warnings at the messers that might derail this rare break from the routine… even if the filmstrip was akin to the one memorably mocked on the Simpsons: Meat and You: Partners in Freedom. Nowadays, the visually sated kids react with a bored shrug if you promise a YouTube video. Whatever.
Retreats, the same. Yes, we did think the Kumbaya sing-along sessions were a bit cringy, but we got to go somewhere and do something different! And maybe, just maybe learn something about ourselves. Nowadays: groans. Well, the young men and women at An Tobar Nua may have just changed that. Our First Years will soon be enjoying a day of faith and fun with this dynamic group, just as Second and Third Years did in recent weeks, and the reviews have been rave. Our Religion Department, namely Mr. Gallagher and Mr. Lonergan, have found the perfect antidote to students with low energy levels and, perhaps, a lack of a faith-filled background: a retreat that is large parts fun and ‘generally’ applicable, yet also true to our Christian ethos and mission. And only one verse of ‘Kumbaya’!
Well, maybe you should change out of your pyjamas and slippers before you log on to work from your comfy little wingback? Just think how exhausted your TY sons and daughters are: taking a full slate of academic classes as well as special courses such as Sign Language and Fencing and then being dragged around the place every other Thursday afternoon! Tired, yes, but good and TYred! Just two examples of the stuffed-to-bursting-point TY schedule below: They get into the holiday mood, making papier mache pumpkins with Ms. Halpin in Art Class but eschewing the predictable orange for cool ‘cadet gray’ and they venture to the Botanic gardens where the boys and girls received expert guidance from Ms. Halpin (a glutton for punishment!), as they enjoyed the Sculpture in Context exhibition… and the local wildlife!
No, it was not open auditions for The Breakfast Club re-boot, but, yes, our art kids are certainly proud of being in the vanguard of alternative nation. And having Mr. Simon Toal along for the ride is not quite like bringing a Business Teacher, or actuary, along to keep everyone in line and on budget. Good thing Art Teacher Ms. Halpin, the Countess of Creativity but also the Queen of Common Sense, was there to get everyone back to earth safely, after visits to the ‘Sculpture in Context’ installation at the National Botanic Gardens and, later, to the National Gallery’s Jack B. Yeats exhibition. Mr. Toal was actually quite helpful on the Glasnevin leg of the trip, as he is a local and speaks the language… that is, until he tried to enter a sculpture which he claimed resembled a rudimentary TARDIS.
Seriously, it was an eye-opening trip to the Tolka watershed, as the rain held off, the sun shone and the art came alive in the landscape. Such was the experience that we are pretty sure that someone in this crowd will end up studying sculpture, maybe at St. Martin’s College. And then, to top it off, the exhibition of an Irish artistic institution: Jack B. Yeats. Yes, there is a singular piece hanging nearer by, but to see so many masterpieces together, certainly made it worth the trip. Never you mind that ‘jock school’ stuff!