Surfin’ Safari!

Mr. Smith and Mr. Lonergan were like the Wilson Brothers on Tuesday morning on Killiney Strand (they can fight over who gets to be Brian). Yes, the temperature was a bit nippier than in SoCo, and the beverages were only topped up with extra shots of espresso, but the dynamic duo of St. Conleth’s Geography Department did their best to make the annual Geography Fieldwork Trip feel like a real day at the beach. Yes, there was work to be done: longshore drift to be measured; groynes to be stretched; and tombolos to be touted… but there was also fresh air and freedom and fun: three things of which we have learned their true vale, these last few years!

Look What the Tide Dragged In!

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!

First Years Invade Bray!

You have heard how Mr. Lonergan and his rather raucous gang of PE, Geography and First Year teachers decided to give the Herbert Park regulars a bit of peace and quiet by taking all the First Years off to Bray for a day…. well here are the photos that prove the expedition a rousing success!

Various flora and fauna kept the Science teachers happy; there were a few tombolos and plenty of erosion (Watch your step!) to keep the geologists interested; a bit of interaction with the rather selectively bred locals for the ethnographers; and plenty of cardio and leg-stretching in line with the PE syllabus. But, most of all, there was a heck of a lot of fresh air and fun! Second Years, your turn next week!

Friends Reunited

Do you remember when people used to ‘visit’? As in people besides the ones whom you have seen every day for the last 14 months and, frankly, of whom you are getting a bit tired? Neighbours, relatives, friends… and international students like Conal Richrads? Well, things are finally opening up again and hopefully that means a return of more people like Conal to our shores and our school. Conal was a breath of fresh air in 2017, bringing energy, good humour and that distinctly American combination of gregariousness and impeccably pressed ‘slacks’ to every class and school gathering he graced with his presence. Here, Conal recalls his year at St. Conleth’s and its lasting positive effects:

My name is Conal Richards, and I come from a small town called Scranton, Pennsylvania in the northeast United States. In 2017, my mother’s Fulbright research grant afforded my family the opportunity to live in Dublin for a year, where I attended St. Conleth’s as a third year.

It’s often said that Ireland is the place of a thousand welcomes, and I was greeted with generous friendship and hospitality from my first day at school there. I came from a large American public school system, and my new friends and teachers helped me every step of the way in navigating a new academic environment. Conleth’s was a tiny school with a close-knit community, and I fell right into the new routine. I still remember my first geography class with Mr. Lonergan where we explored maps and images of my hometown of Scranton with the class. I’ll never forget laughing when he told me, “Good man! He knows his geography.” From there, I fell in love with the school and understood why my classmates and friends had such a strong Conleth’s spirit. Many of my best memories come from the everyday things: going for a 99 ice cream with my friends on a warm day, sharing our joy for music at school assemblies and concerts in the hall, and collaborating on community service projects across Dublin city.

            Today, I remain in contact with the close friends I made at Conleth’s. Hanging on my bedroom wall is a full-sized Irish flag signed by all of my classmates, a touching gift to remember my time in Ireland by. Since I returned to my hometown in the United States, the academic and social experiences I had from Conleth’s have prepared me for any challenge, including facing the COVID-19 crisis. Like many schools across the world, my own high school (Abington Heights) shut down in mid-March of 2020 and switched to online instruction shortly thereafter. As my family adapted to a new lifestyle and I learned how to work in a new environment, I found myself comfortable in navigating changes. Moving to Ireland from the United States taught me the values of patience, perseverance, and gratitude in all aspects of my life.

            I’ll forever remember my time at St. Conleth’s as a time where I learned to develop myself and explore the world. I’m grateful for the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and experience another culture. To my friends and teachers in Dublin, I thank you all for such a great year.

-Conal Richards, The United States of America

Bray Adventure!

What is the best thing to do when your students start drooping under the pressure of their Covid masks and looming summer exams and the knowledge that summer holidays will probably be in Bundoran instead of Barcelona? Get them up and out! You have seen already how Herbert Park has become our adjunct classroom; well, now Mr. Lonergan (and select colleagues) is leading First Years a bit further afield: to the Wicklow Mountains overlooking the charming seaside town of Bray, to be exact. Those headland winds whip away Covid germs as easily as they do lethargy and ennui! Below you see maps of potential routes, as well as all the details of the trip. We will report back when they return, triumphant!

On Tuesday (11th May) 1st years will go to Bray for a trip that will include elements of Geography, History and Physical Education.
Due to current Covid 19 guidelines you will have to arrange transport for your son or daughter to Bray and back.
We will meet at Bray DART station at 9.15am SHARP on the Tuesday morning. The 4 teachers mentioned below will be at the station from 9.00am for any early arrivals. 
The main event of the day will be a walk along Bray Head to examine coastal features of erosion as well as enjoying a challenging hike. We will be walking the Bray leg and turning back at the Windgates steps ( LINK TO OUR WALKING ROUTE). After this walk we hope to return to Bray seafront to examine features of coastal deposition.
We will also have time for recreation on the beach as well as breaks for snacks and lunch both along the walk and again on the beach later. There will be an opportunity to purchase food from the local shops on the day as well. Students can enjoy a supervised swim if they wish. We will have a qualified lifeguard with us.
The day will conclude between 2pm -2.45pm approximately (it is difficult to know precisely) at Bray DART station.
Some key things to remember:- Any medical supplies e.g. EPI pens/inhalers (THESE WILL NOT BE BROUGHT FROM THE SCHOOL SUPPLY)- Water- Sunscreen- Rain gear- Packed lunch- Suitable footwear e.g. trainers or hiking boots/shoes (Those wearing unsuitable footwear will need to be sent home)- Swim Gear- Towel-Money (if desired) ALL ITEMS SHOULD FIT IN ONE BAG THAT CAN BE CARRIED EASILY ON THE WALK.STUDENTS MUST WEAR THE FULL ST CONLETHS TRACKSUIT.

Left Brain Activities!

Where would we be without the scientists and the statisticians during this Covid crisis? Why, in the pub, or enjoying the company of friends and family, the wag might say, but we may also be someplace much worse off. Yes, never before have those with an advanced analytical skill set been more front and centre on the world’s stage. And this trend is set to continue. Apparently, Pangolin Pathology at Carlow IT is pushing 600 points!

Well our Maths and Science teachers are doing their best to improve our students’ STEM skills and, just as importantly, show them how much fun numbers, angles and floodplains can be! Ms. NiAonghusa took her Third Years to Herbo to put their Trigonometry in action and Mr. Carvill (The Younger), always one to emphasise teh Physical over the Social, had his First Year Geography students map out the stages of river development. Check out the pics above and below!

Surfin’ Safari!

Mr. Smith and Mr. Coleman were like the Wilson Brothers last Friday on the Killiney Strand (they can fight over who gets to be Brian). Yes, the temperature was a bit nippier than in SoCo, and the beverages were only topped up with extra shots of espresso, but the dynamic duo of St. Conleth’s Geography Department did their best to make the annual Geography Fieldwork Trip feel like a real day at the beach. Yes, there was work to be done: longshore drift to be measured; groynes to be stretched; and tombolos to be touted… but there was also fresh air and freedom and fun: three things we have been keeping ourselves from, lately. Edwin even brought his fishing gear… you should have seen the one that got away!


The time-honoured cross-sectional diagram of the earth is most of our First Years’ first entry into their Study-books, but Geography certainly goes on from there!

Geography may be the most diverse subject you can study in school. What happens at the subduction zone? Are South America and Africa two pieces of a jigsaw that once were joined together? What is a population pyramid? How come the south of Italy and the west of Ireland have so much in common? Global Warming, Desertification, Deforestation, Overfishing, Major Multi-National Corporatons, Political Corruption, Refugees, Fair Trade, Bilateral Aid … and so much more.

In our Geography classes we try to cover our curriculum using innovative teaching methodologies that engage the student. Geography pupils will reach their goals and learn so much about the world we inhabit in an interesting challenging environment!

There is something about the OS maps, the pictures and the field trips that sparks the interest and keeps the students focussed. Again, the new Junior Cycle version of Geography promises even more hands-on adventures in learning, with projects and field-work counting via continuous assessment towards the final grade.

Field-work is already mandatory in Leaving Certificate Geography as the mandatory field-study brings our Sixth Years out into the elements with their various measuring and recording devices. A non-mandatory, but recommended, jump in the Irish Sea often caps the trip to a nearby strand….once the long-shore drift has been carefully noted.