Cheer up, Peig!

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!

Aoi Lán Seoil!

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.

Ferg… on the Banseó!

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!

Mí-ádh…

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!

Gifted with Gab

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!

TY Gaeilgeoirí!

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!

TYs: Gang Gaeilge 24!

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!

Is Fearr Go Mall Ná Go Brách!

Ms. Fay and Ms. Dorman attempted to run their annual Poc Fada during Zoom classes but there were a few ‘incidents’ involving broken cutlery and one smashed fuinnneog; so, instead, the múinteoirí waited till all the classes were back sa craiceann. It was a beautiful day down at the Herbo and, no surprise, both Third and Fifth year featured a Weatherley at the top of the leaderboard. Sean was followed by Andrew McGoey and Louis mcGovern and deartháir mór Daniel pipped Anthony Steyn and Darrach Smyth. Maith thú!

Gaeilge Gravy!

We all know about the 10% ‘extra’ you get on the Leaving Certificate for completing your exams; the ten points Coláiste Eoin gets at the start of every basketball match versus against sassenach schools; the career express lane in the civil service for those with more than a cupla focal (and at Tesco Extras in the Gaeltacht); and the palatial homes inhabited by the TnaG weather girls… but going gaeilge also pays off at the rather anglophilic confluence of Waterloo, Wellington and Clyde Roads! Yes, these Conlethians will someday look back at their school days, especially their participation during the Seachtain Gaeilge competitions run by the Irish teachers and think: Bhíomar go léir ar mhuin na muice san am sin!

Cúpla rudaí eile!

We did Múinteoir Quirke a disservice, not including him or his Irish class in our round-up of the Irish Department’s Comórtas Ealaíne- Seachtain na Gaeilge. So, is fearr go mall ná go brách!

Comórtas Ealaíne!

Visual Art speaks in every language, as we saw this past week when múinteoirí Ms. Fay and Ms. Dorman ran a special Comórtas Ealaíne i gcomhair Seachtain na Gaeilge for First and Second Years. The response was brilliant and it was tough call for the teachers but below you see the prize-winners (and a few runners-up). Well done to all who took part!

Galway Glic!

Mr. ÓDúlaing and Ms. Fay, noted hurlers from the banks of the Liffey and the Suir, respectively, may have met their match in Ms. Dorman, who brought her Connaught cunning to the annual Seachtain Gaeilge display down at Herbert Park. Our Sixth Year Irish teacher set new staff records and passed on some useful tips to Luke, Ted and the like, who are more used to handling the Molten and the Gilbert than the sliotar!

Poc Fada Fun!

We imagine that in some Northern European countries, the enforced social distancing has not been as noticeable or lamented as it is here: self-sufficiency, logic, Calvinism and all that… but we Irish are a more gregarious lot and, yes, we are herd creatures. And this whole lockdown thing, with its Zoom parties and solitary walks and distanced classroom messing, especially does not suit us. And it is not just the pub, it is the bus-stop and the tea room at work and the hallways of a school and the walk in the park: all places where we would gather and chat and perhaps slip further down the national efficiency tables but have a darned good time en route.

Well, Mr. Dónal ÓDúlaing, Ms. Siobhan Dorman and their Sixth Year Irish classes reclaimed that last locale, the neighbourhood park, for Seachtain Gaeilge and for Ireland and for us last week with a long awaited return of the Poc Fada. Yes, the competition itself was keen and the celebration of our sporting culture important, but it was also great to just see teachers and students chatting and laughing and doing what we have always done so well!

From a Distance…

One of the unexpected effects of this series of lockdowns is a tendency to be more tolerant of schmaltz. Easy listening ‘gems’ of the 70s and 80s, which previously would have prompted a quick skip or turn of the dial, are now listened to in their entirety, prompting wistful, melancholic smiles and maybe even a tear… Well, Bette Midler was referencing a more celestial watcher but her time-tested sappy chestnut of a tune can serve as the theme song of our new way of learning: from a distance, indeed. Both St. Conleth’s Junior and Senior teachers have hit the ground running (literally, in Mr. Lonergan’s case) as they have shifted education on-line but carried on with same professionalism, enthusiasm and care and concern for their pupils as always.

And to be fair to the students themselves (and the accommodating and ‘nudging’ parents), it has been a continuation of the partnership that has made the in-the-flesh version of St. Conleth’s such a great place to learn over the years. Attendance has been near 100% and the variety of teaching methods and adventures has been impressive, from PE activity diaries to ‘Zoom Pet/Cactus Day’ in Classics and as gaeilge to spontaneous dress-up English classes to traditional classroom note-taking and discussions. Yes, we would prefer to be in the same classroom, but until that is possible, St. Conleth’s stays together… from a distance!

The O Dulaing Visits The O Rahilly

Sing of the O Rahilly!

Do not deny his right;
Sing a ‘the’ before his name;
Allow that he, despite
All those learned historians,
Established it for good;
He wrote out that word himself,
He christened himself with blood. WB Yeats

Also, sing of The O Dulaing, who sprang his Sixth Year Irish class from the mind-forged manacles of Covid restrictions and bravely led them on a solemn pilgrimage to the outskirts of Herbert Park, a notorious loyalist den, to stand witness to The O Rahilly, first slain by the British in 1916’s Sackville Lane and now desecrated by developer’s greed (or council incompetence) with the destruction of his family home. The O Dulaing duly informed his class of this important footnote of Irish history, proving that even on confluence of Waterloo and Wellington, green shoots do grow!

Gaeilge agus Clasaiceach agus Baseball sa pháirc!

Some Covid restrictions are more fun than others… like the encouragement for learning al fresco! Right now, we hear the rains of Storm Alex hammering down on our tin roof rusted, but last week the weather was intermittently divine and we did not need much encouragement to follow the government diktat to get the children out where the the zephyrs roam.

Above and below we see some Wellbeing, Irish, Classics… and baseball learning going on in the friendly expanses of Herbert Park. Yes, we will all be happy to see the tail end of this virus but we can make the most of the special opportunities which have arisen because of it in the meantime. Someone has to help Gav Maguire keep Lolly and Cook’s in business!

Abair é! Irish Debaters Win First Round!

You have read  here about our French debaters.  Our English rhetors are currently charging through Leinster (as they have charged through the history of schools debating).  And now Gang Gaeilge have joined the party!  Bainisteoir Fay had the boys and girls well-prepared and Emer Healy-O’Reilly, Conor Power and Oisín Dowling definitely did not let the tribe down and came first of four schools in this opening round match of the DÍOSPÓIREACHTAÍ AN PHIARSAIGH, run by Gael Linn.

Perhaps the fact that it was a home fixture helped: the presence of feisty muintir na háite such as Paul Ralph, Harry Mansfield and Gavin Nugent certainly did seem to spur the team onwards.  This being Irish debating (and this being St. Conleth’s), though the competition was fierce, it was also friendly and tae agus plé tar éis na díospóireachta.  Well done to Ms. Fay and the whole team.   They somehow found time and energy to prepare for the debate despite having taken part in another Irish Department outing the previous day, attending a performance of An Triail at UCD: a riveting play, indeed…  but it does tend to be a bit gruama.   It is even more impressive, then, that our team could still find their bronntanas do na gab!