Picture at an Exhibition

Fifth Year Ciara Thornton won Second Prize in the U-18s at the Ranelagh Art Exhibition Schools Art Competition! Her masterpiece is available to view for the next 10 days in the gallery just under the bridge at the Ranelagh LUAS Station. Ms. Halpin, and all of us, are very proud of Ciara!

Art Matters!

Ms. Mellon’s Third Class Art Pupils get creative in preparation for an upcoming important parental recognition day… we don’t want to ruin the surprise!

And Ms. Halpin’s First Years learn some embroidery skills… perhaps enabling them to take on some of the domestic work currently being done by a parental unit!

Pro Arte et Natura!

Our Arts & Environment hero! Fifth Year Ciara Thornton has been chosen by the Ranelagh Arts Competition to have her work framed and presented in their exhibition…. and, as our Green Schools chief, she has joined Cecilia of the Junior School in spearheading our green clean-up!

I Could Make That!

Yes, any visit to a museum or gallery of contemporary art, for the relatively uninitiated, inevitably leads to grunts of ‘I could make that’ and ‘That’s not art’ and, to be honest, in a previous life and at a different museum, when trying to appreciate a masterpiece entitled’ Self-Portrait’ but only seeing ourselves in a simple, unadorned mirror, we ourselves were tempted to join the philistines … but a visit to Dublin’s own Irish Museum of Modern Art would cure anyone of such small-minded begrudgery! As our Third Years found out, when, as part of their Artistic Performance class, they paid a visit to the cultural Mecca accompanied by connoisseurs and true-believers, Ms. Halpin and Ms. Mellon. Even our grumpiest critics were won over by the variety and depth of skill on display, particularly the photography, on which the students are currently working in class. So, enjoy the pics below… but… watch it! That’s not a pile of swept up dust you nearly just stepped on…it’s an ‘installation’!

TYs: All Heart!

Ms. Halpin has sparked the romantic side of TY, and they have responded with handcrafted St. Valentine’s Day love-heart sculptures. And these are not mere scribbles of ‘Gav + Richie’ on the journal back cover but full-scale tripartite art projects: First, the sketched…

Then, the raw…emotions and clay…

And… The Cooked! (and The Painted). But to whom are they going? Addressees to be revealed on Feb. 14th!

Last Gasp!

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!

Cool Ghoul 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!

Improv and Gore!

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!

Art Flows On

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!

Art Matters

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

Really… We Must Be Going …

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!

Art Kids Get Edgy

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!

Transition Years Are Go!

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

Stop… Motion!

The Puppet Mistress

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!

Imagine Dancers

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!

Art: On the Double!

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!

Birds of Batik

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.

Do Touch!

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!


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!

Art Kid Kool

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!

Wound Art

Puss-filled blisters, bleeding sores, open wounds, angry rashes… newly discovered symptoms of The Covid? Nah… just some cool cinematic special effects from Ms. McGuinness’s Third Year Artistic Performance Class. Yes, we have all met long-suffering artist type, but usually the only physical effects of their suffering are our sore ears, subjected to all that moaning, but Ms. McGuinness and her charges have really brought out the pain of artistic performance… and all ‘home-made’ from simple ingredients in room 2.6! Watch out, Industrial Light & Magic!


Yes, in some pursuits ‘how’ you do it, matters as much as what you do… ‘style’ does count! Here, Ms. Halpin’s Second Year Art Class took ordinary, everyday objects and stylised them through drawing. You may never look at your toothbrush in the same way again!

Art Avalanche!

Both the Junior and Senior School Art teachers are keeping me busy with an avalanche of art, produced by their students during Zoom classes. This time, in is Ms. Halpin’s turn to show off some of the creativity and craft of the Senior School Art classes, from burger fantasies to sneaker design to CBA project sketches. Enjoy quickly, as I already hear the rumbling of more art on the way!

First Years’ Burgers and Experimental Drawing with Coffee

CBA1 Influences and Brainstorming Sheet

TY Trainers!

Fifth Year Lettering and Poster Development Work (Emotive and Illuminative)

Pop ArtisTrY!

Fifteen minutes seems an awful long time in these days of instant telegrams and snappy chatters but perhaps one of our Transition Years will achieve such a legacy, if the talent on show below is anything to go by.

Senior School Art Teacher Ms. Halpin introduced the TYs to the ‘Pop Art’ movement and something about the personalities and techniques involved really struck a chord with our adolescent culture vultures.: maybe the look, maybe the swagger, maybe the arch irony with which Andy Warhol and his gang did everything. After all, was ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ not the first and dankest of all memes? Bonus! Two full projects: One, Two.

Last Christmas?

With Wham finally claiming their Christmas No. 1, we though it fitting to have one last look at Christmas at St. Conleth’s. While the rest of us were fighting it out for the last Bounties in the Celebrations container, intrepid TY (and BAND member) Rían McGonigle tightened his mask and set off with the school camera and several rolls of film to capture the fleeting moments of a celebration we enjoyed, but dearly hope will not have to experience, in quite the same way, again. On the Junior side, we see Ms. Mellon demonstrating her face-painting skills and the various student-created yuletide decorations which helped us forget you-know-what for at least a little while. And, of course, we have the latest edition of a now world-famous installation: the student art on the fence railings of No. 28 Clyde Road.

And on the Senior side, we have our Student Officers- Ted, Daniel and Emily- who spearheaded a ‘Christmas Jumper’ day which raise dover €600 for charity and photos of various class parties, including the TYs who had their very own COD Tournament, crowning Ralph and Mark as champs. A great way to end a tough term! We were all impressed by the students’ resiliency under the toughest of circumstances and look forward to at least some semblance of a return to normalcy. Happy New Year!

Too Cool for School!

St. Conleth’s has always been known as a bit of an ‘artsy’ school, and Ms. Halpin’s current crew of LC students have done their best to keep up that reputation, creating some stunning pieces and impersonating the edgier members of the Breakfast Club when they gather for their twilight meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays. They are also one of the few groups of kids who are still showing some moxie and chutzpah in the face of the Covid panic.

Cancel all school trips and outings? ‘Uh-uh’ said Ms. Halpin and off they went last Friday to the National Gallery for the Mondrian Exhibition. The 5th and 6th Years thoroughly enjoyed this unique showing of the masterpieces of the renowned Dutch neoplasticist, with all the Covid-compliant safety measures in place. And an added bonus was the ‘fresh air’ tour of the Science Gallery. Two for the price of one, and a much needed and appreciated escape from the desk-wiping and hand-wringing!

The Big Reveal!

Ms. Halpin’s Second Year Art Class really pushed the artistic and philosophical boundaries with their last project: Charcoal Reduction Drawings. It is a simple but startling idea: work backwards to create art. Hey, they have been doing it in the Civil Service for years! In this process, students ‘backdraw’: they don’t draw a figure, they ‘uncover’ it with erasers, like Michelangelo carving his Pieta from the block of marble. It is a thrilling process and creates some startling pieces, as you can see below. We are wondering if we can take the method to other mediums. Instead of writing a story in English from scratch, we can take a dictionary and just cross out most of the words. And, instead of students simply writing the solution ’42’ to a Maths test we can hand out a list of all real numbers. We will get back to you on those two!

Art Matters!

Ms. Halpin’s First Year Art class decided to stop the moaning and think about something other than the Covid Blues. News that the global shutdown helped but did not reverse the perceived effects of human activity upon climate change spurred them to take on a new project: creating visually engaging posters with a positive environmental message.

The results speak for themselves, and do so loudly and clearly! Ms. Halpin’s Fifth and Sixth Year classes took on a more traditional challenge: the still life. As we have been doing a lot of ‘still living’ lately, the students were well prepared. We were particularly impressed with the way a few of the students transformed their lunch detritus into beautiful pieces of art!

The End is Not Nigh!

Now that the vaccine is just around the corner, we can take a lighter look at the crazy things that Covid, and the resultant panic, brought to our world. Case in point, our very own Prophet/Artist Jacq Herbots (Class of 2019). Yes, we all knew Jacq had a world class and stunning artistic talent, but we did not expect him to also follow in the footsteps of Nostradamus and Tiresias! One of Jacq Herbots’s most impressive (and interesting) creations is this interesting portrait of his brother Scott (Class of 2025)….completed a year before Covid! On behalf of the poet/prophet, Scott presented it as a timely keepsake to Ms. Halpin. Hopefully, in the years to come, we will all be laughing at the coincidence when we pass it in the hallway. But, in the meantime, if you see Jacq wearing a sandwich board on Henry Street, you had better pay attention to his message!

The Holiday That Just Will Not Die!

Yes, like a zombie (or a zombie movie) St. Conleth’s Halloween celebrations keep coming back to haunt us! Here are some chalk skulls from Ms. Halpin’s First and Second Year Art Classes. And what makes them even more interesting is that the students made use of a new ‘app’ which allowed them to base their drawings on their own, actual skulls. So what do you think, all ye amateur phrenologists?

Halloween’s Last Scare!

Nothing is scarier than facing into a half-term of rain, wind, sagging masks, sodden leaves and closed pubs… emm… closed gyms and libraries, but Senior School Art Teacher Ms. Halpin and the TYs did their best to frighten and distract us on the eve of this November to disremember!

TYs Paint their Brains!

St. Conleth’s Senior School Art Teacher Ms. Halpin is always pushing the boundaries, especially in her Transition Year art class, where there is no looming state exam or curricular straight-jacket. And the TYs are happy to try new methods and new materials: neurographic art, for example. Neurography was discovered and developed by Pavel Piskarev, a Russian psychologist and creativity entrepreneur who said something like this about the craze he started: ‘Creative method of transforming the world. Author’s method. Interdisciplinary practice that allows you to make the necessary personal changes, reliably remove restrictions and successfully simulate a new, desired reality.” (It sounds more impressive if you hear it in a Russian accent.) The process involves challenging inner thoughts and worries into the drawing of abstract shapes and then creatively colouring. So, art and therapy in a one go: a perfect tonic for our times!

Rockett Men!

Like twin Apollos (or Sputniks, if you are more that way inclined) the Rockett brothers have blazed across the artistic firmament of St. Conleth’s. The elder model, Matthew (Class of 2019), was a permanent highlight of our various school concerts, culminating in his virtuoso piano performances of his own avant garde compositions in Sixth Year. And younger brother Stephen, Apollo (Class of) 21, is no mean fiddler himself, but has chosen mainly the artistic realm of paper, pencil and brush for his explosive talents. Case in point: over the lockdown, some of us used the extra leisure time to catch up on South Korean detective series or the rapscallion antics of quirky American zoo keepers, but Stephen took a nobler path. He decided to take one one idea, one theme- really just one word, and explore it artistically in a journal. The word was ‘apple’ and as you can see below, the results are incredible. And, if we get shut down again, the only good news is that Stephen is looking for a suitable ‘B’ word to do it all over again! ‘Banana’ is expected but we are hoping for ‘Beatle’!