Alternate Power

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.

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!

His Story/Her Story

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!

Who is King or Queen of the Castle?

Somewhere back in the mists of time, not long after the Norman invasion itself, Mr. Peter Gallagher inaugurated a Castle-building Competition amongst the First Years at St. Conleth’s and over the subsequent centuries it has developed into one of the most prestigious competitive events at the school. The rules are simple: build a castle (by yourself, not with your parents or architect uncle!) and earn points for historical accuracy and creativity. We always enjoy the influx of inspired and even outlandish concoctions which for a few weeks take up every horizontal surface in the school. Apparently, not all Conlethians build their castles merely out of air!

This year, of the First year History teachers, Mr. Baneham was in first with his class’s castles and, having been raised in a fortified tower house somewhere well within the Pale, as well as working for a while as seneschal at Windsor, he certainly had the required experience to draw the best from the boys and girls. We have castles made of sand, Lego, wood, styrofoam, cardboard and some gooey stuff of which Mr. Callaghan took one sniff and retreated to the lab for his gas-mask! And who is the 2021 ‘King of the Castle’?  You will have to wait till we see the other classes’ entries and then the Awards Ceremony for the dramatic announcement.  Until then enjoy the pictures above of the 1C castle-builders and their creations!

Bell Bottom Blues!

Actually, judging by the fervour with which our Junior School students are tackling their projects, the Covid lockdown is not really getting them down at all! We do imagine, however, that when the projects involve fashions of the 1970’s, parent and staff who were around back then probably do succumb to some nostalgic melancholy when they view them. We are too young to remember ‘the decade that taste forgot’ but Mr. Kilcommons was just talking the other day how he missed his old bell-bottom jeans, tie-dye T-shirt and lambchop sideburns! Though, if this lasts much longer, certainly the hairstyles will start looking 1970s-ish. Ms. Loomes’s Sixth Forms did more than a troll through the history of fashion. See some highlights below and click on the titles further below to see the full projects on a variety of subjects.

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Fashion Throughout the Ages: The 1970’s ( by Colmán O’Flynn)

Book Report (by Niamh Hennelly-Bridges)

Fashion through the Ages: (by Jamie MacNicholas)

My Time Capsule of Covid-19 (by Milo Campbell)

The Invention of Paper (by Paul Jackson)