Whole Child, Inc.

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!

Shh… What’s that Sound? Ka-Ching!

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!

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!

People For Profit!

Think globally: act locally! TYs helped Paddy Byrne, of Ballsbridge Tidy Towns, to make flower plants by up-cycling wooden pallets. They will be on display around Ballsbridge when finished. Work Experience that makes a difference!

Saving the Earth is a worthy goal, but the TYs also know the value of pure profit: under Shay Keenan’s watchful eye they have been selling break-time pick-me-ups, a legacy of Mr. KDK, the original purveyor of the Tuck Shoppe. Here the profits are counted… and partially eaten!

Transition Years Are Go!

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!

Where’s My Phone?

Yes, the desperate furtive glances and frenzied pocket patting usually results in a reassuring but slightly sickening feeling of comfort, as your hand closes again on your personal, pixellated portal to hell… ouch, a bit harsh, you say? Well, you should have seen the Transition Years when they were freed from their phones for the duration of their trip to Carlingford Adventure Centre. Yes, initially, there were the usual signs of withdrawal: sweaty palms. pale faces and awkward silences… but the last was quickly broken by Ms. Speller barking out some marching orders. And soon the boys and girls got into the spirit of the occasion and conversation, laughter and fun soon ensued, all somehow accomplished without the endless, pointless referencing to the World Wide Web under glass. Everyone was having a old-fashioned, good time enjoying the banter and watching Fionan and James Power rolling around on the floor of the bus.

And then they actually arrived in Carlingford! The medieval town opened up like a toy chest and the TYs experienced two thrilling days of pier-jumping, kayaking, rock-climbing, laser-shooting, axe-throwing and line-zipping. TY Head Honchos Gav Maguire and Mr. Morris did indeed bring the TYs back from their Carlingford Adventure Centre experience utterly exhausted but also deliriously happy! As they somnambulated off the bus on Friday afternoon, their sun, wind and salt-burned faces were contorted in a look that could only be interpreted as joy, though there was a bit of relief mixed in. After all, they once again had access to their phones.

TY: Full of Life!

We were planning on making jokes about Gav, and many of the TYs, ‘method acting’ all year long for 10 Ways to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse, or inferring that Gav and Richie looked ‘undead’ even without the make-up, or, indeed, wondering what happened to the two full pies that went missing somewhere between the second and third floor when the dynamic duo sprung for pizza ‘for the kids’ and insisted on bringing it up from Mr. Deliveroo themselves, or even celebrating that Gav’s planned solo, leather-clad rendition of MCR’s The Black Parade was mercifully cut from the final running order… but that would be petty and inappropriate considering what a splendid evening the TY finale really was.

It is a credit to Gav’s work and rapport with this gang that he only needed to ‘go ballistic’ once in all the long weeks of preparation for this special night (and that was a treat to witness!): the work having been done, not many hysterics were necessary. Of course, Gav had a very impressive supporting cast all year long: Richie Morris was a co-executive producer of all the various adventures and activities; Mr. Ingle and Ms. Halpin led the TYs on their weekly Dublin sojourns; and numerous ‘class’ class teachers kept the kids learning, or at least awake, in their own academic subjects. And the big show had its own big-time crew: Simon Toal, enfant terrible of Edinburgh and the Enterprise, brought his own one-man-variety-show to the table; Seamus Gallagher tempered it with his genial gravitas; and Lucy McGuinness mixed and applied Industrial-Light-and-Magic-level make-up and mixed and applied the infectious music and score with ‘The Ferg’ O’Neill. And of course, the amazingly vital, vivid and vivacious TY actors, themselves: never have zombies seemed so zesty and full of chutzpah! Enjoy the full show above, and do it quickly, before the real undead, the lawyers, spot the copyright infringements!

There was more than brain-munching done on the evening. You can catch here the equally deadly slide-show concocted and compered by Richie (Jr.) and Micheál and the winners of the awards on the night.

We did pity Gav when it came to the awards: we have not seen him show such indecision since he was torn between the Krispy Kreme Chocolate Dream Cake and the Krispy Kreme Caramel Iced Ring. In that case he took both, but the Transition Year Awards force tough decisions, from Gav but also, in some cases, the voting teachers and students. Our two Cicero Classics Trivia Medal Award winners, however, took it on themselves, in a dramatic face-off in which Micheál Sweeney roared back to nip James O’Neill who had been marching unhindered like Crassus into Parthia. And Luke Timlin ran away with the Sports Award, beating Leinster’s best… sometimes on one leg. James Burke accepted the Francis John Barrett for Maiden Debaters directly from Francis’s brother, Richard. Then, the tough choices. Julia Pratginestos Carreno beat off many quality competitors to take the Best Website Award, capping a year in which she really blossomed at St. Conleth’s. And regarding the oldest, most bearable TY Trophy, the JP McGilligan Award, both Ciara Thornton and Micheál Sweeney earned deserved honourable mentionings, but Conor Kirwan walked off with the impressive sculpture for an awesome year, culminating in co-narrating the whole zombie thing.

The last awarded on the night is a very special one: special to everyone at St. Conleth’s as it is in honour of TY student Neil Quinlan who tragically passed away nine years ago. The award named for Neil is given to the TY student who shows the most spirit and is the most inclusive, as Neil always was. The TY students themselves voted Richard Caldwell to receive this award, and no better man of spirit or inclusion than Gav Maguire to present it to him.

Brains, We Eat Brains!

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!

This Is What We Missed

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

jumping...

tugging…

stumbling…

staggering…

bumbling…

winning…

and having fun!

In slo -mo…

and fast forward!

Another Day in the Life of…

… St. Conleth’s. It is a hectic time of year, with many special events crowding the calendar… and the regular ‘stuff’ also carrying on. Here are just four snippets of our school life on May the 4th: TYs run the Tuck Shoppe (to the delight of some Second Years); Fifth and Sixth Years compete for the John Kelly Award and the Woods Bowl; Juniors fence with Maître David; and staff celebrate St. Conleth’s Feast Day with cakes, courtesy of Mr. Lonergan!

Turlough Dineen, Divus.

The Roman emperors were often declared divus by their successors in gratitude for a lifetime of toil and trouble on behalf of the SPQR. Apparently, of all the deified emperors, only Vespasian saw the humour in this designation being generally a posthumous one, declaring “Dear me, I think I’m becoming a god’ on his deathbed. Caligula and Domitian, however, saw the inherent irony in the situation and jumped the gun, claiming godhood for themselves, while still very much enjoying lives of unfettered debauchery and despotism. Things did not end well for them but we believe young Turlough Dineen’s fate will be different, despite us anointing him the divus novus of St. Conleth’s Debating while he is till very much alive… and speaking, scowling, and staring into the distance with substance.

Turlough takes his place in a storied pantheon of Conlethian oratorical immortals. You have read below of White, Gilligan and Roche’s passing on of the Irish Times Debating crown like a house heirloom, and names like Costigan, Coleman, Hastings, O’Dwyer, Quinn et al litter the annals of Irish (and the world’s) schools and collegiate debating. Turlough’s meteoric rise rivals any of those storied greats. After cutting a stylish swathe through Junior Debating, he entered the Leinster Schools Senior Debate as an outright outsider: a mere TY in a competition made up of nearly all Sixth Years in its final stages and as an individual, lacking the one-two punch of being part of a team. Yet when all the various rounds were done, Turlough could lift his head from his hands, where it lay in rhetorical mock agony, and hold it high as he finished second in all of Leinster!

Enjoy Turlough’s full final speech above, and snaps above and below, of our kid Cicero in action, but we must also praise the part played by two other individuals essential to Turlough’s triumph: Auditor of Debates Oisín Power and Debating Coach Rory O’Sullivan. Yes, Oisín is that kid in your class who thought he knew better than the teacher: the problem with Oisín is that he often does… and he always makes his points powerfully and sometimes, politely. Well, when Oisín was prevented from entering the competition on a debating cabal concocted technicality, he did not sulk (for long, anyways) but took all that intelligence, energy and splutter and put it to use exhorting onwards Turlough and a whole stable of young Conlethian debaters. And Rory O’Sullivan was also there, every step of the way, teaching the actual nuts and bolts, points and parries of schools debating. Rory is a brave man, being the first non-Conlethian, and a Corkonian at that, to take up the mantle of Debating Coach at St. Conleth’s but when he showed up at Number 28 with a carpet bag full of Greek epics and dirty French novels, we knew he was our man!

Chuggers Supreme!

A proper end to Lent! St. Conleth’s Transition Years were proud to present The Down Syndrome Centre with a cheque after breaking all records for speed and amounts when collecting. Believe us, the boys and girls can be very convincing… but this time, for the best of reasons!

Tennis, Anyone?

Nestled as we are between the shadow-dappled courts of Herbert Park and the power and prestige of the Fitzwilliam Lawn and Tennis Club, it is rather natural that St. Conleth’s would develop a tennis culture.  And, indeed, tennis, like fencing and cricket, has been linked with the school since its very founding.   And organising and inspiring our tennis teams for nearly all those years has been Shay Keenan, Master of All Sports. Shay is now concentrating on running the whole Leinster schools show, so our Mr. Lonergan has stepped up to the net and is proving a dab hand at this courtly sport, despite being disappointed to hear that tennis is a good bit more non-contact than Tipp hurling. Well, Mr. Lonergan has quite a spirited and talented squad of players, perhaps to rival Conlethian tennis legends such as Alex Hamilton, the Brothers English and the whole Kelleher clan.

The girls were up first and our Senior Team thrilled us with a victory over Sandford Park, with Sixth Years Emilie Ogawa Boostrom and Ava O’Mahony dramatically clinching the tie with a final match victory. TYs Sophia Jacobi, Meadbh Joye, Olivia Doyle, Adelaide Donnelly and Christina Corrigan and Fifth Year Timea Kovacs also competed well, and against older, more experienced opponents. Our U16s went down to powerhouse Mt. Anville but Lucy McGoldrick and Sophia won their game and Charlotte O’Donoghue, Ciara Prendergast, Anna Carroll and Maude Kinlay all played well, as did our U-14s who lost out to Mt. Anville and Drogheda Grammar with Lydia O’Connor, Isabella Lombardo, Eva Ryan, Emma Barkin, Aoife Hayden, Inez O’Donoghue, Jane Sweeney and Maggie Matthews all answering the call. Plenty of positives for the future of St. Conleth’s tennis!

Remembering Neil

Neil Quinlan passed away tragically while on a Transition Year hiking trip in April 2013.  Neil was only at St. Conleth’s for Transition Year but in that short time he truly became one of our own: his fellow classmates and his teachers still attest to his infectious enthusiasm and friendliness and a laugh with which you could not help but join.  Earlier this week, Mr. and Mrs. Quinlan visited St. Conleth’s to join us in celebrating Neil’s legacy, with Mr. ODulaing and Mrs. Quinlan both speaking emotionally and eloquently about Neil and the suitable way in which we are commemorating him with the planting of a magnolia tree. Those of us who taught Neil, especially his TY teachers Gav Maguire and Ronan Bolger, will always think of him when we see that tree in bloom and remember the warmth and joy he brought to those around him. And his classmates, many of whom joined us at the commemoration, will also see that tree on their visits to the school, or maybe just passing by, and Neil’s laugh will again be heard on Clyde Road.

In 2014, St. Conleth’s inaugurated an award in Neil’s memory for the Transition Year student who has the ‘best spirit’, as Neil showed in everything he did. Here are some of the past winners of the award. We know that in the years to come many others will be inspired by the spirit and legacy of Neil Quinlan.

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.

Let Putin Eat Cake!

Actually, no, on second thought, he can’t have any! Our Student Council have organised two fun, and profitable, events to help those who have been hurt by the recent conflict. On the last day of school before St. Patrick’s Day, there will be a non-uniform ‘Peace Day’. In order to participate, students must bring in €2 as a donation to the Red Cross in Ukraine. There will also be a Bake Sale, hosted by Sixth Year, during break. Sixth Year will be pricing and selling the goodies, but all years are welcome to bring in baked goods to the canteen in the morning. Our ambitious goal is to raise €1000 for this great cause to help the Ukrainian refugees. To be fully clear, the theme of the day is “peace”, it is not “Ukraine day” or “anti-Russia day”. Check out the powerful but peaceful posters below, made for the event by the TYs in Art Class.

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 Children’s Crusade (and Competition!)

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!

St. Conleth’s International

We have a long tradition at St. Conleth’s of welcoming students from all over the world and immersing them into the St. Conleth’s experience for an academic year, a term or even just a few weeks. Inevitably, these students leave having enjoyed a formative experience, and leave St. Conleth’s, enriched by their stay. So it was with our three delightful guests during the first term of the year as Marie from France in TY and Emilio and Maria from Mexico and in Fifth Year all settled in quickly, picked up a good bit of Irish culture and perfected their English, despite the Covid situation. Below you see them after being presented with their farewell gifts of St. Conleth’s scarves, by Ms. Crowley, the International Students Moderator. We wish them well and look forward to the arrival of the next contingent of road scholars. Welcome Camille, Flavia and Toi!

Holiday Hucksters!

Is there anything more beautiful than a tidy little profit, fairly worked for and won? Well Gav Maguire and his TYs don’t think so, and their recent Mini-Company Christmas Fair led to happy customers, reasonable profits… and Karl Marx rolling in his spare, unadorned lonely grave. Home-made Christmas crafts and baked goods were once again on the bill of sale, but the real star product was the hot chocolate: rumours abound about the identity of its ‘special’ ingredient, but we don’t really care what it is… just pour us some more!

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!

An Offer We Couldn’t Refuse

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!

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!

Climbing the Walls?

Yes, over the last twenty months or so, we have all been ‘climbing the walls’ at some point or another, in our Covid-compliant, semi-cocooned claustrophobia. And we are still struggling with viral vestiges… witnessing worrying signs of the return to the return to our kitchens, home offices and garden sheds. But for now, at least, Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire is giving his beloved charges the best possible Transition Year, despite the circumstances. He has steadfastly kept up the Thursday Outing tradition, somehow finding venues and activities that were still open and willing to take on the excess energy of fifty adolescent adventurers. Safeguarding them on all these jaunts across Dublin are Gav’s faithful lieutenants: Ms. Halpin and Mr. Ingle, who clearly have the best jobs at St. Conleth’s. Last week, on the agenda was an exciting visit to The Wall, where the boys and girls enjoyed climbing the wall… literally!

Seniors: Too Cool for Ghoul

Unfortunately, nearly all the Senior School students and staff thought they were ‘too cool to be ghoul’ for Halloween and did not dress up in costume for the last day before midterm. Thank goodness for Ms. Halpin then, who brought in her dinosaur costume, and who found an unnamed, border-accented staff member to show off his dancing moves in the entrance corridor.

True, Gav Maguire was also dressed up: as an Leinster/Conleth’s/Wanderers rugby player, presumably retired. But he wears that costume every day. Gav’s TY charges did bring a lot of life and energy to the day by inaugurating The Transition Year Halloween Bake Sale and it was a smashing success, with Dougie and Co.’s pellet pizza oven the highlight but plenty of other teams of TYs serving up delicious delicacies and earning some honest profit.

We must thank Emilio for the photos above. Regarding those below, we are not so sure. We think it has something to do with Michael Sweeney, who garnered much attention (and camera film) while on the TY Carlingford trip. See, Emilio and Michael go way back, with their friendship dating from their time spent as hoplite warrior buddies in the Spartan phalanx, and they have been best friends- and rivals, since. We feel the Emilio-Cam was thus motivated, but to be honest, he did get some great shots of various school personalities. And all have subsequently tested negative.

We may have not worn costumes, but the Student Officers continued a long-standing tradition of raising hundreds of euros for the charity GOAL through a jersey day, moving it up from the spring, because, well, we need to start doing fun stuff again! School Captain Rory Clarke and his loyal deputies, Hannah and Evan, organised it all and even got their hands dirty, collecting the filthy lucre themselves. Oh… did we say ‘loyal deputies’?

Buzz, Buzz…

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!

TYred?

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!

Great Sports!

We mentioned below how the St. Conleth’s rugby and hockey teams have hit the ground running, and we are soon to hear from the basketball teams, too, but sport at St. Conleth’s involves a lot more than the extramural teams. In fact, winning matches is great, but we are probably even prouder that all our students are encouraged to enjoy physical education and sport of the more everyday kind: in classes with Mr. Lonergan and the other PE teachers, at training sessions with the various coaches, on ‘Wellbeing’ brisk walks and even at break-time in the yard. Here are just a few snaps of what is going on at St. Conleth’s everyday, in a sporting way:

1) Shay Keenan, St. Conleth’s Games Master/Coach/Absolute Legend, gets the Sixth Year soccer boys lined up for a proper team photo at the grand re-opening of the Herbert Park Astro. They look great: a shame they will be crushed by the Staff Team in May!

2-3) Both the Transition Year girls and the boys get the opportunity to help improve St. Conleth’s sporting acumen. The girls are great helping Ms. Leary coach the Juniors… and the boys get to do Gav’s laundry!

4) Coaches Ingle and Gahan get the Basketball girls ready for the season, which is just about to tip off!

Lock and Load!

Many years, in fact, decades ago, when Transition Year Elder Gavin Maguire was a young lad, of about 17 or 18 years old, he was absolutely obsessed with the US military. Every Saturday, and all summer long, would be spent dressed up in American army fatigues and toting a toy M16, and young Corporal Maguire would scour his Blackrock cul-de-sac doing recon for his superior officers, who were safely ensconced back on the base in young Gav’s imagination. But people move on and grow up, and with Gav’s politics having slidden to the left: he now spends his off-time in his UN ‘blue cap’ replica uniform, complete with replica rice bag. But, boy, there is something in the old toy guns that brings us back to them, again and again! Case in point: the TY’s trip to Carlingford Adventure Centre. Yes, we expected a feverish if slightly clumsy eagerness from the Fortnite enthusiasts, but even the boys who talk to girls were gung-ho for the Laser Combat! And not just the boys either, as Ms. Speller, as super-powered as the Black Widow, ditched the Swiss Army knife, picked up a bazooka and led a gang of TY women warriors on the rampage!

It was not all combat, though. In fact, the theme of the trip was team-building and togetherness and besides the many social occasions (stretching well into the wee hours) there were organised exercises, such as orienteering, hill-walking, Skypark, rock climbing and Ziptopia, which emphasised co-operation and support for your friends and classmates. And though the youngsters somehow still had energy to chat and giggle and keep Mr. Morris busy, there was one high-ranking officer, in his blue night-cap, who hit the bunk early and snored the night away!

Like Princess Di and various Kardashians, Micheál Sweeney just commands the camera lens, so much so that we have put together his very own slider. Next time, in order to save on film costs, we just might find a camera-person who is not so enamoured with Micheál… if such a person exists!

Idle Hands…

Well, in Transition Year at St. Conleth’s, we really don’t have to worry about the conclusion of that old proverb because the TY students are never idle: their hands or their brains or any other part of their body. Currently, they are enjoying Carlingford Adventure Centre but we will have to wait for news and pictures of their cool Cooley kicks. in the meantime, take a look at just two of the many active courses in which the boys and girls take part during the regular school day: fencing and sign language. It is such a joy to visit both halves of TY and not hear a solitary vocal sound! Maître Aaron puts them through their paces in full fencing gear and only the beeps and buzzes of the electronic scoring, and the shuffling of sneakers on gym floor can be heard. And Jenny teaches them sign language… through the language itself. ‘Talk’ about total immersion! What a joy to return to Victorian values: TYs should be seen, and not heard!

Bray Rave

There comes a time in every world class athlete’s life when he or she must acknowledge the march of time and take a step back from the front lines. Ronaldo has prospered by moving to the 9 while Messi is struggling with his new role at PSG. TY Co-Ordinators are very similar to world class athletes: the adulation, the pay, the paparazzi. But also the effects of the indomitable effects of ageing. Luckily for St. Conleth’s, our TY Co-Ordinator Extraordinaire, Gav Maguire, is taking these changes with good grace. In his younger days, he would accompany his TY charges on all their trips, from Donegal to Dingle, while spending his summers marauding across Mongolia or kicking his heels on Kilimanjaro.

But now, with early middle age settling in, he has learned of the magical concept known as ‘delegation’ and entrusted the weekly Thursday trips to younger, spryer colleagues such as Pat McGrath and Ger Cummiskey. This year, Louise Halpin and Sean Ingle have stepped up to the mark and this combination of the artist’s eye and the athlete’s regimen should prove particularly helpful in marshalling our eager but dawdling adolescents to worthy sights across the hinterland of Dublin. Already, they have a Greystones to Bray Day in the books and the photos tell us a good time was had by all. But have no fear: Gav is not done with intrepid exploring! Like David Attenborough, this fellow just can’t resist the grand tour. Peru 2021 is still on the agenda!

Sailors, Ahoy!

Yes, it was the Irish rowers grabbed Olympic glory over the summer but we believe we have, right here at St. Conleth’s, a few talented and experienced sailors who may soon be piloting their svelte-hulled vessels through the spray of the whitecaps towards international glory. Conleth’s parent Rowena Bolger kindly brings us up to date with the maritime exploits of Russell Bolger, Daniel O’Connor and Louis McGovern.

Russell Bolger competed in the Laser 4.7 Worlds which were held in the Royal St George and National Yacht Club in August 21. It was a gruelling 6 days of sailing with teams competing from all over the world. Russell Bolger (TY) and Daniel O’Connor (3rd Yr.) competed and represented Ireland. They made the silver fleet and reached 34th and 49th place respectively, very respectable scores indeed. They are pictured here below with the other Team Ireland competitors. 

Russell competed in the 29erNationals as on the 3rd and 4th July, his first ever event. The 29er is the high performing skiff. He sails with his long standing sailing pal Peter Williams.  The The Elmo Cup was held in the Royal St George at the weekend and of course Daniel and Russell competed along with Louis Mcgovern(TY). The 29er team Russell and Louis’ team, the 29ers were runners up, losing by inches in the last 2 races. Pictured here receiving their prizes from Daniel’s dad, the current commodore of the RSGYClub. I’m sure Daniel is glad to back Laser sailing along with his brother Robert and Russell and Louis are delighted to be back in the exciting 29er. Good luck to Russell and Louis who compete in the RYNA Youth championships in Carraigfergus on the 11th Sept 21. 

Star of Track and Field

The so-titled pop song is a bit ambiguous about its subject but we are not, especially when in praise of TY Luke Timlin who is running and jumping to greater heights (and speeds and lengths!) each time he dons the racing flats. Luke has already run to Leinster and All-Ireland glory, never mind dominating the Conleth’s Sports Days like a certain youngster named Usain did at the William Knibb Memorial High School in Jamaica. Well, while the rest of us were sitting on the couch and eating crisps while watching the Olympics, Luke was out training and competing, and succeeding to the extent that perhaps we may some day be again eating crisps on the couch- but watching Luke run and jump for Ireland! In early August, at the National Age Group Championships in Tullamore, Luke did brilliantly, winning Silver Medals in both the U16 100 metres and the Long Jump. Luke’s next big competition will be the Tailteann Games, in which he will represent St. Conleth’s. Well done, Luke, and a message to the rest of the Transition Years: start training for your Sports Day, now. Second place is still up for grabs!

TY in a Trying Time

There were many contestants in the misery olympics this past year, and to be honest, quite a few had authentic claims on a medal: in fact, who among us actually had a good year? But perhaps a special soupçon of sympathy should be saved for the Transition Year students, up and down the country. They had had their Junior Cycle/Certificate cancelled the previous June… okay, maybe that was bearable… but and then the much-anticipated year-long break from the usual grind, the longed for mixture of adventure and novel learning experiences that is Transition Year was severely handicapped by various restrictions: the long-coveted had been long-covidded. TY is all about ‘going out’ and ‘doing stuff’ but what if you can’t go out and there is nothing to do?

Well, you turn to Transition Year Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire (and his team) and give him your trust (and a generous budget). Gav basically put paid to this idea that nothing could be done and he led from the front and the rear: he pushed, pulled and cajoled his charges into enjoying a Transition Year like no other. Yes, changes had to be made, methods adjusted, hands washed and masks worn, but the Transition Years of St. Conleth’s were the busiest in the land! From the eclectic mix of quirky versions of the regular academic subjects through the variety of special ‘extra’ courses such as Photography, Sailing and First Aid to guest speakers on careers and personal development to actual trips around Dublin such as the Zoo, rock climbing, the Epic Experience and the Simon Toal-led graffiti tour, our TYs actually kept busy! Yes, the death of Transition Years turns out to have been greatly exaggerated. But that is not to say that every TY was equally lively: some were more vivacious, vital and vivid than others. Below you see all our Transition Year Award winners, led by the winner of both the J.P. McGilligan and Neil Quinlan, our biggest TY awards, Caoimhe Moore. Well done to them and all our TYs but special recognition must also be given to Gav Maguire, who obeyed all the rules and regulations, but still managed to lead our boys and girls through some incredible experiences in they all-important year of transition.

TY’s Epic Finish!

Transitioning between a normal school life and a much restricted Covid-complicated version was not the transition our Fourth Years envisioned, but TY Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire has done an amazing job keeping the boys and girls busy. And they certainly are going to go out with a bang!

Above you see a snap of 4A during their visit to the Epic Irish Immigration Museum and, below, loads from their weekly sailing course. And the whirlwind finish to the term is just warming up! Here is the schedule and stay tuned for more news as TY’s Class of 2021 vanquish the virus and go out in style!

TY’s Whirlwind Wrap-Up!

17th May – Normal School 

18th May – 4B Will visit the Epic Museum

19th May – Garden gigs workshop on public speaking / Portfolios must be completed. 

20th May – First Aid / Photography-  4A Retreat 

21st May – Sailing / 4B Retreat 

24th May – Graduation times to be confirmed 

25th May – Gaisce Hike, Marley park to Enniskerry 

26th May – Sports Day 

27th May – First aid and Photography 

28th May – Morning of Activities

Peru: The Sequel!

Can it really be twenty years ago that Dr. Garrett Campbell, full-time Physics teacher and part-time adventurer, took a group of eager, naive Conlethians halfway across the world to Peru and the experience of a lifetime? Seems like yesterday to some of us, but the world has changed immeasurably since then, including the concept of school trips. In 2000, most school outings were just to the zoo or the box factory, but St. Conleth’s had already established a traction of foreign travel with Paris, Barcelona and Rome regular destinations, and one memorable trip to Russia where Peter Gallagher single-handedly jumpstarted glasnost.

The Peru trip was different: a proper expedition where derring-do and good-doing combined in a new concept. Other schools have since jumped on the bandwagon, but Gav Maguire and Dolores Kelly, Garrett’s heirs, have perfected the concept and practice of school expeditions. Over the years, this dashing duo have accompanied Conlethians to Mongolia, India and Africa, multiple times, and each journey has changed the travellers for the better and even left some good behind. And, now, Gav and Co. are going back to Peru! As Gav describes the pending adventure himself:

The present 3rd and 4th years will be heading to Peru on an expedition in June 2022. Students and parents were informed last night about the 3 week expedition where we will be trekking along Inca trails and visiting Machu Picchu.  While on expedition students are in charge of the expedition. They have control over the budget, itinerary, transport and accomodation. 
The expedition involves a trek and community service. The school will be working with True Adventures to deliver this once in a lifetime expedition. 

Enjoy the pics above of expeditions past and Gav’s comprehensive write-up here, but also look at what is in store for the Conlethians taking part in Peru 2022!

How West Won!

The cynic suspected that Gardner’s ‘multiple intelligences’ theory gained traction because we wanted to find something, anything that our kid was good at. We ourselves, for example, scored very highly, when we were younger, on the ‘Preserving Valuable Collectible Comicbooks’ intelligence, despite once almost suffocating in an epic battle with a 3 mil mylar bag. And Transition Year Ollie West just makes a mockery of the whole Gardner thing, showing world class talent in acting, singing, musical composition and performance, artistic illustration and, most importantly, maintaining a sense of humour. Ollie, you are only supposed to ace one or two categories! Our resident polymathic renaissance man’s latest coup is a new album, We Can See Blue, just released on Spotify. Enjoy it here, and have a peak below at the album ‘cover’ and some of Ollie’s previous feats: performing as Hamnet in the one-boy, world-conquering, all-award-winning play; his illustrated homage to Mr. Porzadny (who is now officially skirting the line between guru and god!); and his essential, friendly charm!

The Last Waltz?

‘Make hay as the sun shines’ the old adage goes, but at St. Conleth’s we also follow a more recent proverb: ‘Take your class to Herbert Park if there is no Category 7 hurricane’. Especially during lockdown. There is something about ditching the masks, walking down the lane and entering Dublin 4’s sylvan paradise that please both students and teacher… if it does put out our local yuppies and attendant personal trainers, a wee bit. Nevertheless, we assert our rights to this civic amenity and even get some work done.

And when Mr. Morris returned from his rooftop weather station with some bad news from the barometer and anemometer, we knew we must get last licks before the real Irish summer commenced. Below we see Ms. McGuinness’s class artistically performing with bubbles and flowers; Ms. Coleman holding her Fourth Class in rapt attention with story time al fresco; Mr. Maguire trying to convince his Business class to invest in a new cryptocurrency called ‘The Gav’; First Years unenthusiastically but obediently all lined up; and a TY Science class with Ms. Phelan in our own front-yard amphitheater.

Publish or Perish!

Transition Year Siobhán Fitzgerald is once again making waves with her poetry. Along with the works of several nationnally known established poets, Siobhan’s poem ‘Much Too Young’ is featured in the anthology Empty House, edited by Alice Kinsella, which has been launched by the Doire Press. Siobhan featured prominently in the official, livestream launch of the book last Thursday and we can see and hear her read and discuss her poem below (starting at the 22nd minute mark).

With the Covid crisis (hopefully) passing, our attention should return to the more perisitent problem of climate cgange and wider environmental degradation, and it is this issue which Siobhan and her co-contributors address in the collection. As Doire Press says: Empty House is a multi-genre anthology of Irish and international writing responding to the climate crisis. The leading challenge facing our world today, here writers share pieces that address what it is like to live in a world imperiled by climate chaos. Interpretations vary from celebrations of the natural world we are at risk of losing, anxious prophecies of the Earth we may soon live in, to constructive hope of how we can prevent environmental catastrophe. Together they form a rallying cry of human responses to a systemic problem. 

Hands On?

After years of encouargemnet from Dora the Explorer and other education experts, we boomers finally got used to the idea that learning should be as co-operative and ‘hand-on’ as possible. And then Covid hit and that all went out the ever open, no matter what the weather, window: we had to live and learn in little isolated bubbles, more in touch with Netflix characters than our colleagues or classmates. Well, TY Czar Gav Maguire and Czarevitch Richie Morris are now bringing the ‘touch’ back to TY! MInd you, it is just the touching of well-wiped CPR dummy torsos, but, hey, it is a start. It is nice to be able to reach out and touch someone…. even if it is just to compress a cold, rubbery simulated chest cavity! The TYs are also getting out and about for a Phoitography module.: more on that later. Slowly but surely normal life, for the TYs and the rest of us., is returning!

One Shining Moment!

January 8th, 2016. Covid can’t take away our memories or our hopes for the future. TY Eric Lawless recalls one of the greatest games in St. Conleth’s rugby history and certainly the greatest touchline celebration!

Vinnie Murray Cup: Conleth’s v Castleknock 

Match Report by Eric Lawless

Team sheets:

Castleknock: Cathal Lacey (15), Andrew Hobson (14), Sean Gibbons (13), Jamie McGaly (12), Nico Eastmond (11), Patrick Murtagh (10), Josh Conolly (9), Carl Keogh (1), Michael Corcoran (2), Gavin Murray (3), Jack Horgan (4), Conor Stinson (5), Darragh McNally (6), Cathal Bermingham (7)(C), Cian Clancy (8)

Conleth’s: Michael McKay (15), Sean Bortolozzo (14), Ross Murphy (13), Nicolas Foreau (12), Finn Mulcahy(11), Ben Doggett (10), David McKeown (9), Robert Cripwell (1), Colin Duffy (2), Mati Remi (3), Cameron Ross-O’Reilly (4), Patrick Cahill (5), Brendan Connor (6), David Pogatchnik (7), Kevin Dolan (8)(C)

This clash between Conleth’s and Castleknock in the Vinnie Murray Cup was a fantastic game of rugby and  a great show of talent   throughout the 82 minutes. The first half was very defensive from both sides, with very few missed tackles. With no points scored halfway through the first half, defenses were beginning to buckle and it was the Castleknock side that went first. At 22 minutes past the first whistle, David Pogatchnik received the ball 10 metres out and beat two defenders for a fantastic finish. With an amazing conversion from Ben Doggett, the score was 7-0 and the Conleth’s crowd was roaring.

Castleknock were quick to retaliate though and a scrum was given on the Conleth’s 10 for an unfortunate knock-on. Cathal Bermingham picked from the scrum and went to the blind side. With good hands out to the wing and a few nice steps from Andrew Hobson, Castleknock scored a beautiful try. With the Castleknock 7 Cathal Bermingham knocking over 2 points, the game was now even with 10 minutes to go until half time. Conleth’s became more aggressive in attack and marched from their 22 to the opposite end. They were close to the 5 metre line when there was a deliberate knock-on. A penalty was awarded and Ben Doggett put another 3 up on the scoreboard. 

Both teams took turns in attacking: no-one able to break through. A few penalties conceded by Conleth’s put Castleknock with a lineout on the Conleth’s 22. They came close but an overudged chip from Sean Gibbons closed out the half, the score being 10-7 to Conleth’s.

With just two minutes gone since the start of the second half, Castleknock had  drawn up the game with a penalty under the sticks kicked by Bermingham. Conleth’s did not like losing their lead and attacked again and again until their  captain Kevin Dolan made an exceptional break on the Castleknock 10, but was forced to offload to his back row partner Connor, who gave it to Nicolas Foreau for a wonderful try. Another exceptional conversion from Doggett and 17-10 was the score with 25 minutes to go. 

Castleknock fired back their response with a try created by the pack. Brute force brought replacement prop Gibney over the try line for another 5 points, with the chance to make it 7 missed by Bermingham. Conleth’s quickly drove back, claiming the restart and moving the ball from wing to wing. A high tackle from Gibney on Brendan Connor. A penalty was awarded and in his usual fashion, Ben Doggett knocked over another three making the score 20-15 to Conleth’s. 

Unfortunately, it seems Conleth’s took their foot off the pedal for a bit and Castleknock did not need an invitation to capitalise on this. They charged with determination from a lineout on the Conleth’s side of the pitch. A few gaps and a lovely break from Gibney put them on the 5 metre line, where the forwards drove over and Bermingham dotted it down on the line. Bermingham’s conversion put Castleknock in the lead. Again Conleth’s drove back against this lead, not letting their heads hang whatsoever. They gained possession and smashed the Castleknock defense. A beautiful skip pass from Doggett put Ross Murphy into a lot of space and he came just short of the 5 metre line. From there it was up to the pack. They inched towards that try line and eventually, Cripwell got it down. A very tough angle for Doggett’s conversion and Donnybrook stadium fell to a complete silence. Unfortunately he pulled the kick and the opportunity to be an unconverted try ahead was missed. 

There were only 3 points in it with 10 minutes to go. Conleth’s were awarded a penalty on the 10 with just 6 minutes to go. A kick to touch and they were on the 5 meter with a lineout. But the Castleknock defence was having none of it. They piled into the rucks and regained possession. An unfortunate injury from Sean Gibbons and a scrum to Castleknock.  A penalty for Castleknock from the scrum and they were full steam ahead. The Conleth’s defence was under pressure, another two penalties were given just before and after the halfway line. Castleknock decided on a scrum and shifted the ball out wide going from wing to wing. They were getting advantages for offside and hands in the ruck. A full penalty was awarded just short of the Conleth’s 5 for a deliberate knock-on and Castleknock took a quick tap and go, catching the Conlethians by surprise. Good hands out to winger Andrew Hobson and at 82 minutes, Castleknock won the game by 2. No conversion needed. The end score was 27-25.

 All of the players that took part played well but the players that stood out were Ben Doggett for his exceptional goal kicking and command in the midfield; the flanker partnership of Pogatchnik and Connor for their strong running; Andrew Hobson for his agility and finishing and Cathal Birmingham for his strength, goalkicking and command in the pack. This intensely close game was brilliantly played by both teams, with a lot of flair and strength shown, but ultimately it was an unfortunate but proud day for Conleth’s. 

Timea Nails It!

TY Timea Kovacs has been the most enthusiastic participator in PE Teacher Mr. Lonergan’s weekly fitness challenges. Here, we see snippets of her workout, including an incredible, successful crossbar challenge! Mr. Lonergan encourages all his PE charges to keep the activity levels up over midterm, and try to match Timea’s effort and accuracy!

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.

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!

Leo, Leonis: 3rd Dec. Masc.

Quick! Someone go and get Mr. Carvill (The Younger) and his nunchucks… there’s a lion loose in Transition Year! Oh, wait, it is just Leo Nolan, once again showing the swagger and chutzpah of his namesake. A few weeks back, we published the various projects of our Cool Classics Kids which were entered (and won laurels) in the Classics Now competition, but we neglected to include Leo’s: not very nice, especially considering that Leo is the widely acknowledged Dear Leader/Beloved Mascot of that quirky gang of kids known as TY-A. Well, we make amends here, and see and hear Leo reading, in fine Classical Latin, the opening of Virgil’s Aeneid Book I.

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!

Bon Appetit!

First of all, we need to get a few things straight: macaron- a confectionary made from a batter of ground almond flour, egg whites, and confectioners’ sugar that puffs up to form a smooth-surfaced cookie with a hollow center; macaroons– cookies made from shredded coconut held together by egg whites and granulated sugar. They have a craggy surface and chewy interior; macron–  a populist, centrist politician and the current French president; macroom– a market town in County Cork.

Well, one person who knows her meringue from her coconut is Caoimhe Moore, who stunned Ms. Crowley’s French Class with the quality of her macarons. And then Charlotte McClaren’s pains au chocolat took there classmates’s breath, and tastebuds, away! Saoirse Corry was also a chef pâtissier for the day, and her delicate creations just finished everybody off; and the whole 4A Class, like true Frenchmen, just napped through break, dozing contentedly with full bellies and satisfied smiles behind their masks!

What Does He See in your Future?

Our new Guidance Counsellor, Mr. Gordon Weldon, has hit the ground running at St. Conleth’s, and he has not let any of the Covid restrictions inhibit the various services which he provides for our students, of both the personal and the academic/career-related kind.   Mr. Weldon has an uncanny talent for connecting with the students and it is due not to any smoke-filled crystal ball but a wealth of experience and hours of hard work sifting through, organising and deploying the vast array of guidance tools, both digital and physical, which are out there. At the centre of Mr. Weldon’s work is the St. Conleths College Guidance Counselling Website, which keeps the students and their parents up-to-date with everything from the latest CAO news to the availability of free revision courses to tips on maintaining wellbeing during a stressful exam period.

But there is also a lot going on in person. Mr. Weldon meets all the Fifth and Sixth Years for course and career advice and is always available for the more personal kind of counselling. And he also knows when to bring in the outside special forces: just in the last few weeks, Fifth and Sixth Years have had separate inspirational and practical seminars on study skills; TYs have gauged their career aptitudes and interests with the Cambridge Profile Tests and enjoyed a careers seminar; and First Years have taken their first steps off the standardised testing process with the CAT-4s. Mr. Weldon is keeping busy so that St. Conleth’s students will stay busy themselves, in their chosen courses and careers, when they leave the doors of No. 28 Clyde Road!

The Debate Goes On!

We are spoiled at St. Conleth’s when it comes to debating: the All-Ireland and Leinster rolls of champions are filled with Conlethians, and the Irish International team is practically our fiefdom. And, recently, the usual gang of garrulous guys, including Oisín and Evan and Turlough and Coleman and Leo and Daragh and such, have proudly carried on that winning tradition. But, lo and behold, a new star is rising in the Conlethian debating firmament: TY Saoirse Corry who made the Finals of the covid-delayed 2019/20 UCD Leinster Junior Debating Competition, one of only four individuals so honoured, from over 300 participants. Yes, it was about time that this boys’ club was broken up, and recalling the sparkling rhetorical achievements of Cathy McShane (2009), Ebhan Rowe (2013) and Eavan O’Riada (2016), Saoirse has stated her claim to full membership, and even leadership, of the Conlethian debating house!

Feeling TYred?

Well, you would be, too, after the week of full-on activities and adventures which the Transition Years enjoyed and endured while the rest of the Senior School were involved with their Christmas exams. Due to obvious reasons, the traditional ‘Work Experience’ was difficult to arrange for most so TY Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire put together an alternative schedule which stretched the bodies, minds and spirits of his charges. With the eager assistance of Scout Masters Morris and Speller and resident raconteur Simon, Gavin kept the TYs busy, as they: hiked in the Dublin Mountains; completed a TEFL course; worked on a Christmas TY newsletter; researched career possibilities; learned about cancer research; started various min-companies… .and examined the material culture of canal-side Dublin. So much for the TY ‘doss’!

Escaping the Void!

Of all the tall tales about our intrepid expedition leader, Gav Maguire, which have drifted back to leafy Clyde Road from the far-flung corners of our world, one of our favourites is how he inspired a particularly lacklustre group of students dawdling on the flanks of Kilimanjaro into action by stripping to the waist and scaling the Barranco Wall in his flip-flops- without a rope (or a shirt). Well, approaching middle age has mellowed Old Grizzly Gavin a bit and now he sends out younger minions to accompany the Transition Years on their various adventures. The last couple of weeks, Ms. Speller and Mr. Morris were on call, as the TYs broke Covid claustrophobia and journeyed to Sandyford to conquer The Wall.

Ms. Speller’s scout leader skills are well-known to us all by now, and, as expected, she marshalled the gangly teenagers expertly, marching them in unison from the bus while singing socially conscious campfire tunes, and somehow managing to earn two new badges for herself in the process. But who knew that within Mr. Morris’s left-side-of-the-brained, NPHET-devoted, man-of-science persona there slept an auteur? Surely, judging by the elegance of the short film above, this budding young cinematographer is destined for Cannes!

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!

I Have Two Points, Sir!

Only two, are you sure, Oisín? It is with great ambivalence that teachers face the prospect of having a schools debater in their class or, heaven forbid, two or more. On the one hand, we are guaranteed continuous, enthusiastic, irrepressible, hubristic contributions to class discussions, but, on the other hand, we are guaranteed continuous, enthusiastic, irrepressible, hubristic… Joking aside, Schools Debating is the one sure thing at which we know we are the absolute best in the land. The roll calls of Leinster, All Ireland and World Champions are replete with Conlethians. And the tradition which feeds that success: that of open and lively debate within our classrooms is a core component of our distinctive learning culture. Conlethians simply discuss stuff. Anything and everything. And we do it all the time.

News of our latest debating success came through last week. Evan Power, Leo Nolan, Coleman Hegarty and Oisín Power took part (via Zoom) in a multi-province debate to determine the make-up of Ireland’s Senior International Schools Debating Team. It was open to all school debaters from Leinster and Ulster, attempting to get a place on the five person team. There were two preliminary debates with the motions that ‘This house would abolish Juries in all Criminal Trials’ and this ‘This house supports the radical redistribution of wealth’ (but not the debaters’ families’). Our team of Fourth and Fifth Years did very well against mostly Sixth Year competition and Oisín was chosen to be one of eight debaters to make it to the Leinster+Ulster Final. There he debated ‘That this house regrets the the prevalence of good against evil in children’s literature’ (that includes the New York Times). Oisín spoke with his customary tenderness and compassion, finishing just outside the top five. Well done to all four participants. By incredible coincidence three of them can be seen above, sitting next (-ish) to each other in LC Latin class!

Prized Poetry!

Transition Year Siobhán Fitzgerald did not spend her lockdown gorging on the latest dark Danish Netflix sci-fi series. Okay… maybe she did a bit of that, but she somehow also found time to finely hone her already impressive creative writing skills, to the point where earned two separate, national commendations! One of her poems, ‘Much Too Young’ has been accepted for publication in an anthology on climate crisis edited by poet Alice Kinsella which is forthcoming from Doire Press in Spring 2021. Her poem will sit alongside works by such established poets as Claire Hennessy, Jan Carson, Rick O’Shea, and Paula Meehan.

Siobhán was also chosen as a Runner Up in the Post-Primary Junior Category  of the Trocaire / Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition 2020 for the same poem, ‘No More’. She read her poem at the awards ceremony during Culture Night on the 18th of September. Here is her award letter and below you can see a recording of her reading. (Skip to 20:12 if you just want to hear Siobhán!).

As part of the award Poetry Ireland will also organise an author visit to St. Conleth’s: another reason to look forward to the ending of the covid conditions. Well done to Siobhán, a great example of what students can achieve under their own initiative. We encourage all our students, especially TYs, to take on similar challenges!

Sailing Takes Me Away…

If one man could defeat Covid-19 all by himself, and we know that is impossible, but if one man could vanquish this pandemic…. it would undoubtedly be the unflappable Mr. Gavin ‘Gav’ Maguire (Class of 1990). Our intrepid explorer and expedition leader has faced down some mighty challenges on all seven continents and across seven seas, and he has acquired many a herbal remedy in his journeys, which he keeps lodged in his ever-present, trusty and fashionable man bag.

Given enough time, we think Gav could cook up some kind of elixir for the current plague but the problem is just that: Gav simply does not have the time! For, Gav and the TYs were already in action on Thursday, starting off the year with a sailing session at the Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire (with none other than John Melia, of the Class of 2020, there to show them the ropes… and the knots). And today, Friday, they are off again: who knows where, but we are sure more news and pics of Transition Year derring-do will soon be zinging in over the wireless!

TYs Zoom Outta Here!

For a man who has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in flip-flops and has swum the mighty Ganges River in those French campground type of tight bathing shorts, you would not think walking into one’s usual place-of-work would be such a great accomplishment… but these are strange times indeed, and Transition Year Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire’s decision to heroically host the TY Graduation Ceremony from old No. 28 Clyde Road is proof that when the times get tough, the tough get going. And, no, the fact that Tolteca, down the road, has recently opened up for take-out had nothing to do with Gav’s decision to ‘make it real’ for his beloved TYs. And what a ceremony it was!

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Gav reacquainted us all with the dearly missed St. Conleth’s campus, Adam hosted a video retrospective of the year and Gav gave out some eagerly contested awards. Among the winners were Emile Boostrom Ogawa for Best Portfolio Website, Eva Stylianides for Best Actor, Leah Crimmins and James Moriarty Smyth for Musician of the Year and Louis Cullen for TY Linguist. Of course, the two most prestigious TY awards are those named in honour of two past pupils, JP McGilligan and Neil Quinlan. James Moriarty Smyth deservedly won the McGilligan for best overall TY student and Adam Rafter and Matthew McKeown shared the Quinlan award for class spirit, as voted on by their peers. In reality, everyone who stuck with Gav’s programme during these trying times deserves an award and we hope the graduating TYs enjoy a richly deserved summer break and that the current Third Years are ready to hit the TY ground running in September. Gav is going to be well-rested and ready!

Drums Along The Dodder!

To prompt pleasant memories of when your younger family members were not always just standing there listlessly in front of an open refrigerator door, we will periodically bring you news from a bygone era: B. C. (Before Corona). Yes, it is only in retrospect that we realise how full our lives were… especially St. Conleth’s Transition Years!

A couple of weeks B.C., ace TY Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire arranged to have Patrick Naughton and his African Drumming Ireland programme pay a visit. Patrick was brilliant. He has the skills and knowledge, the authentic drums and, most importantly the ability to keep a group of sometimes grumpy adolescents enthusiastic and involved… and even rhythmic! Enjoy the video above and the pics below. More B.C. News to come!

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TYs Show Flair Français!

The TYs are just about to close out a very busy first term, with outings galore, a monumental Christmas Fair and special courses in First Aid and Photography, but they also were pushed in their ‘regular’ classes, completing creative and innovative products both in groups and individually. Here, Mr. Porzadny, updates us on what went on in the TY French class this past term.

Let the students be the teachers!
What do Dungeons and Dragons, the Beatles and kitchen utensils have in common? Not much would you answer. You would pretty much be right. Except that as of today you can learn how to talk about elves, yellow submarines and whisks all in the language de l’amour! Learning French in a fun and easy way is made possible thanks to the home made flashcard made by the students of Transition year.

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As part of the TY French curriculum, a “Quizlet” competition was organised. Students would have to create a set of 20 words or expressions from a theme of their choosing. Mr Porzadny would then pick the 10 best sets based on originality, variety and quality of the French language. Students would then vote for their top 3 set. The final sets would then be shared here on the St Conleth’s website for the enjoyment of the whole School community! So without further a due, here are the results:
Tied for 3rd place with 11 votes:Ava with “Les jeux olympiques and Keelan with “Le rugby en français
In 2nd place with 16 votes:Cael with “Les films en français
And in 1st place with 18 votes:Luca with “Le football en français
Get ready, set and “allez”!

Thumbs Up for the TY Fair!

The Annual Transition Year Christmas Fair and Tree Sale was once again a spectacular success, with trees, wreaths and various home-made crafts and goodies flying out the doors of the school hall this past Saturday morning and afternoon. The various student-run ‘mini-companies’ got a taste of real world business and the profits off of the trees and wreaths themselves will all go to St. Conleth’s partnership with the Bridge Light School in Uganda. A great big ‘thank -you’ to TY Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire, all the participating parents (especially TY reps Caroline O’Dea and Ray McDonnell) and, of course, the TY students themselves for continuing this great St. Conleth’s tradition in style.

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like…

…the Annual Transition Year Christmas Tree Sale and Fair!  Yes, indeed: the wind has picked up, the sun was last seen September 14th, the falling leaves are halting nearly all movement in the city, Switzer’s has a vaguely yuletide theme to its window display, and if we just lost a few degrees, we would be neck deep in snow! And, of course, the Transition Years are once again readying themselves for another Christmas Fair and Tree Sale  extravaganza.  (Click for poster!)  They have been like busy little woodland elves: planting, cultivating and cutting the finest of firs and poinsettia and etching and whittling the most exquisite of Christmas cards and crafts.  And Gav Maguire has been doing his best trying to fill in as Santa but is not quite able to grow the wintry whiskers of one of his predecessors, Mr. Bolger, nor the rounder middle and rosy red cheeks of another!  Well, make this Santa smile by ordering a Christmas tree from the TY girls and boys and come by this Saturday, December 7th, from 10-4, for them and all the extras, including holly wreaths, poinsettia, tree stands and tea and coffee.  All proceeds go to supporting the Bride Light School in Uganda.   To order a tree, call (087) 799-8702.

Gotta Love a… TYer!

In the old country, ‘Gotta Love a Trier’ is one of those ambivalent sayings: a double-edged sword, a backhanded compliment… You say it with a sardonic, Southern drawl when you are standing on second base, chewing a plug of tobacco, and watching a teammate give three almighty swings at the baseball…. and come up empty, all three times. You admire his effort, but you also almost pity his irrepressible ‘can do’ attitude… in the face of overwhelming genetic evidence to the contrary. Well, here, in our brave new Land of the Celtic Tyger 2.0, everything is possible and all efforts are worthwhile… especially in Transition Year. The whole programme, as implemented by Co-ordinator Gav Maguire, is about trying as many new things and skills as possible, and just a half term in, the boys and girls have already stretched their reach, as well as their CVs.

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Above you see them working at First Aid certification and here they are in a mix of activities from earlier in the year: The Law Module, an Auto Safety seminar, Build-A-Bank interviews and out catching a professional performance of Joseph and his Technicolour Dreamcoat.

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And that little trip to the theatre was a hint at what is surely to be the biggest TY ‘try’ of all: a big budget, professionally produced rendition of the play at the end of May. (Thank you, Emer Hartnett and Seamus Gallagher!) The rehearsals and the try-outs have already started and so has the fun. Stay tuned for more highlights of the musical machinations and the TY experience overall!

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Good and Tired!

It is a phrase of which you do not hear much anymore… after all, is it not oxymoronic? Good and tired? But it is possible: just ask the TYs (and their accompanying teachers) after their whirlwind outdoor adventure sojourn in Carlingford.

Transition Year Head Honcho Gav Maguire did indeed bring the TYs back from their Carlingford Adventure Centre experience utterly exhausted but also deliriously happy! As they somnambulated off the bus on Friday afternoon, their sun-, wind- and salt-burned faces were contorted in a look that could only be interpreted as joy, though there was a bit of relief mixed in.

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After two days of pier-jumping, rock-climbing, laser-shooting and axe-throwing, Gav’s TY boys and girls learned how much fun there is to be had doing things together other than a Fortnite Battle Royale. And we are sure co-leader Ms. Speller will concur… as soon as she wakes up from her nap on the staffroom couch!

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Cars and Girls

Did we take the wrong turn somewhere in the late 60’s, when Brian Wilson retreated to his room and stopped singing about  his ‘409’ and his ‘Little Deuce Coupe’?   Rock and roll wandered aimlessly through punk and progressive and not until Bruce nosed his Chevy out onto Thunder Road, did we once again have gasoline and testosterone in plentiful lyrical supply.  And 1978’s Grease took it one mile further: transporting us back to a simpler time when the music was simple, the harmonies were plentiful and the fuel was fully leaded.   Throw in the fact that the musical is an unrivalled camp masterpiece and you please everyone!

The audience at our TY year-end extravaganza was certainly thrilled with the performances, as maestros deBhal and Gallagher coaxed some stunning performances from our shy and retiring boys and girls.  Actually, ‘coaxed’ might be the wrong term: how about ‘barely able to restrain’ an explosion of enthusiasm for hip-shaking, T-shirt-wearing, chorus-crooning and cross-dressing!  The last, of course, is a long-standing St. Conleth’s tradition and, thankfully, the presence of real girls in the cast did not prevent Nathan, Fergal, Ian and Keane from taking a walk on the wild side. And the actors who suited up in their cisgender costumes were not that bad either! Stephen, Sophie, Zach, Robert, Emily, Omar, Jack and the vast supporting cast hit the right notes, shook the right hip and simply charmed us all with their talent and enthusiasm.

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The night marked Mr. Trenier’s swansong as TY Co-ordinator, and he certainly went out with a bang. The photos on the walls of the Performance Hall were a testament to his industry and the TY students’ reciprocal spirit: the physical evidence of fun yet educational trips all over Dublin; various courses, projects and competitions; and the conquering of the Wicklow Mountains to complete the Gaisce Hike.  Scroll back through our news to read all about the wide range of TY adventures, but first check out the snaps and video of Grease (both rehearsal and performance) and the Roll of Honour for the individual TY awards. Well done to Mr. T. and the Transition Year Class of 2019!

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Absorbing the Hits

Apparently, when Mr. Trenier heard that his Transition Years were organising a fundraiser for the Irish Wheelchair Association he mistakenly thought they had decided on a charity ‘sponge-bath-athon’ and being a good Cavan man, he could not pass up the offer of a free wash, especially after a rather strenuous lambing season. To Mr. T’s credit, when he arrived in the courtyard at lunchtime on Friday and realised that it was, rather, a ‘sponge-throw-athon’, the semi-pro rugby veteran gamely took his position and absorbed the hits with good humour and barely a grimace. Apparently, a gangly First Year’s emphatic sponge-heave has nothing on a loose-head prop’s gouging scrum play!

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Mr. Smyth and Mr. Coleman joined Mr. Trenier in the line of fire, with the former’s already legendary sheer ‘niceness’ serving as an adamantine shield, and the latter somehow managing to retain his customary impeccable deportment despite the onslaught. Enjoy the pictures above and video below, but be warned, the latter is to be only viewed after the watershed!

Last Post of Spring!

We were just clearing our desks of all the news from last term and we found one roll of undeveloped film and, lo and behold, after a quick trip to the darkroom, we saw images of mountain vistas, smiling teenagers and grimacing teachers take shape. It could only meaning thing: the annual Transition Year Gaisce Hike in Glendalough. Every year in early May, as the TYs trudge onto the coach for the Gaisce hike, the irrepressible Gav Maguire treats them to a virtuoso performance of a medley of various one-hit wonders from his youth in the 80’s. He nimbly cavorts up and down the aisle of the bus, effortlessly reaching the high notes and hi-fiving and back-slapping as he belts out ‘Down Under’ or ‘Karma Chameleon’. Of course it as usually all lies because, despite Gav’s upbeat and sunny disposition, it nearly always rains on the TY Gaisce hike!  And not just a ‘soft day’ drizzle…the TYs usually get the kind of downpour which turns the Wicklow mountains into a series of torrents and mudslides.  Well this year, the clouds came and went, but it was ‘a bright, bright sun-shiny day’ in the end and the boys and girls, Gav, and his enthusiastic colleagues, Mr. Smyth and Ms. Long, all enjoyed this important right of passage of Transition Year.

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TYs Take History and Botany 101

Last week the Transition years satisfied both their fauna and Fianna cravings by visiting both the Botanical Gardens and Glasnevin Cemetary. They enjoyed professionally led tours of both, learning loads about our history, both natural and political, and even had some time for the local delicacies: ‘a single’, washed down with a Lucozade. Check out the pics below and stay tuned for more TY ramblings!

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TY Activités Françaises!

You have already read below how a group of Mr. Porzadny’s TYs initiated an innovative project which involved the organisation of a ‘French-style’ football tournament for some Junior Schoolers. Well, more of the TY students’ Francophonic projects are coming to fruition: in particular, French (not Belgian) Waffles; student-created, French-themed board games; and a good, old-fashioned Kahoot tournament! ‘Les Gaufres Fantastiques’ premiered at lunchtime last week and though we are in the middle of Lent, the student punters must have plenty of indulgences saved up, as they kept Nathan, Fergal, Matthew and Hugh very busy serving up those waffles ‘au sucre et au citron’, ‘au sirop’ or ‘au chocolat’.

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The student-created board games were also French-themed and the amount of work and preparation that went into them was very impressive, with a French geography-themed game and a francified version of Cluedo particularly fun to play. There was also time for a class-wide game of Kahoot, based on the general culture and history of France: Mr. Porzadny won, ‘but of course’, but our new Spanish student Miguel was the real star of the show!

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Francophonic Football Flair!

Mr. Porzadny and Ms. Crowley are at it again, keeping le français alive and active and fighting a two-teacher war against the ever-encroaching English and Mandarin. The French Transition Year classes are again involved with interactive projects with the Junior School but this year they taking new and varied forms. Below you see some snaps from a Football Français tournament run by the TYs for our Junior School friends. All the teams’ names (Monaco, Lyons, PSG…) were French as were the coaches’ and referees’ instructions (and a few muttered expletives when passes went awry). We even saw some French flair in the play on the field! Stay tuned as more of the projects come to fruition. Monday will see more French football (avec les professeurs!) and a special addition to our canteen menu: ‘French (Definitely Not Belgian) Waffles’!

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The Boyz Take Centre Stage!

The TY Bank Street Boys enjoyed taking the stage and pushing their concept and products at the Build-A-Bank final, while also exploring the futuristic activities available at the @AIBIreland Future Sparks Festival. With Mr. Robert ‘Baron’ O’Connor off with the SCT, Mark Connor, Zach Carr, Luke Gilleran and Matthew Lynch took the lead presenting their student banking franchise to the judges and they did a fine job, displaying not only matinee idol good looks and T-shirt cool, but also sound marketing and accounting practices. They did not place in a very crowded field, but the experience will certainly stand to them in the years to come. And there was the consolation prize for all of TY of sampling all the other cutting edge technologies and concepts on show at the over-arching Futuresparks Festival.

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Goin’ County!

Historically, St. Conleth’s is traditionally associated with sports that may be described as particularly ballsbidgy or even ‘mock-ascendancy’: we excel at fencing, hockey and rugby to this day and cricket was once a mainstay of our Sports Days. Dare I say a few games of croquet and tiddlywinks have also been played on sunny afternoons in the garden of 28 Clyde Road over the years… but that does not mean that we do not occasionally ‘go county’!

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Our Junior Schoolers have had Gaelic sessions with a local club and several first year girls are on the Dublin panel, and of course, there is that annual trip for our TYs to the Mecca of all things GAA: Croke Park. A mainstay on the schedule of weekly ‘Dublin adventures’, the boys and girls always enjoy a visit to the museum and the skyline tour. And after steeping themselves on their native culture, they may even know what Mr. ODulaing is talking about the next time he complains about the puke peile of the northern counties.

Two Wheels Good!

Now, that’s a real ‘pick and roll’! TYs enjoyed a day of sporting fun with a social dimension as they took part at Gormanston College in the Irish Wheelchair Association’s fundraising basketball league. It was a great day out and everyone played their part. Of course, our ‘regular’ basketball stars such as Luke Gilleran, Colin Bolger and Keane Acosta were wheelin’ and dealin’ all over the court but it was great to see newcomer Ian Mauer showing off his skills and Vanshika Shukla and Ciara MacNally absolutely dominating the mid-court with their stylish pivots and passes. Check out the (many) pics below!

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Send Lawyers, Guns and Money!

Actually, just send the lawyers: guns are rendered redundant when truly rockin’ rhetoric is reverberating from the rostrum and the money, well, the bills usually follow the barristers, so just keep an eye on the in-box! TY Co-Ordinator Mr. Trenier, himself a self-taught expert in agricultural law (there was some issue over a prized stock bull a few years back), invited two of the top barristers in the land into St. Conleth’s to present a seminar on the life and work of our legal eagles and then lead the TYers themselves through a ‘mock court’ with the students themselves taking the parts of plaintiff, defendant, prosecutor, defence attorney and various witnesses. Newcomer Ian Maurer played a blinder as a police officer and Dylan Alvez was particularly adept at capturing the mix of deductive reasoning and moral flexibility which are the hallmarks of all great lawyers!

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Of Bankers and Buskers!

When you think ‘banker’ perhaps you think of the little moneybag grabbing Monopoly caricature… or, perhaps, some of the individual bankers who have been periodically in the news since 2008 come to mind… or the USC or PRD on your payslip flashes across your mind.  One does not usually think of music, especially not the free-to-hear, just-for-the-fun-of-it tradition of busking, but the ubiquitous Robert O’Connor and the rest of the ‘Bank St. Boys’ took their endearing pun-ful  name to its logical conclusion and promoted their TY Build-A-Bank by bringing back a modern Conlethian tradition: the lunchtime Buskers’ Corner!  Musicians such as Rory Clarke, James Moriarty-Smyth and Sam Lynch were only too happy to respond with signature performances (in return for the promise of a tracker mortgage).  Yes, commerce and the arts can work together!    *Terms and Conditions do apply.

 

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DELF Delivered by Duo Dynamique!

Is that a whiff of Chanel mixing with the scent of curry wafting from the cafeteria?  Did a well-dressed and stylishly-coiffed professeur just nonchalantly douse her cigarette and sweep through reception en route to the Performance Hall? If so, it can only mean one thing: DELF days are here again!

 

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Prendre le train en marche?  Yes, schools all over the country are ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ and getting into ‘DELF’ these days, but do remember that St. Conleth’s was the first school in Ireland to have its students sit this prestigious French exam.  A few years ago, Mr. Porzadny and Ms. Crowley worked tirelessly  to complete the quintessentially French labyrinth of paperwork to bring the DELF to St. Conleth’s and they made Trojan efforts again this week, and to be fair to the Transition Years, they responded to their teachers’ efforts and enthusiasm in kind, displaying both zeal and talent on the written and oral exams.  Soon we will have the results and a little soirée to celebrate!

Ballsbridge Fair

A TYer reports on their super-successful Christmas Fair (in partnership with Parents Association):

The TY Christmas tree fair all started in the TY  Room, late October. Each student chose a role and a group to participate in the fair. Last week, the preparations began to heat up. Christmas trees were bought in bulk, ranging from 3ft to even 14ft, and were brought into the hall the Friday before the fair. Many TY groups made their own products, such as baked goods and Christmas decor, like logs and wreaths, which sold completely throughout the day. Other groups sold waffles, sausage rolls and Christmas cards.  Saturday, the 8th of Dec.,  at 9:30 marked the beginning of our annual fair. By quarter past the school hall was bustling with parents and students alike, many of whom bought Christmas trees right away. The trees were selected, netted by the students and then carried outside where they were drilled. One of the TY parents even organised all the payments and receipts.   Ms. Fay came in with the hand-picked best members of the Senior School Choir so that Christmas  carols could greet our shoppers at the door.

 

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Most stalls immediately began making some profit, the Christmas logs and wreaths likely made the most cash on the day, with the confectionary not far behind.   There were also several Third Years taking part, raising money for their East Africa 2020 Expedition development work.  By 12pm the Christmas trees were clearing out and many were sent out by delivery, in which two of the TY boys would carry a tree anywhere around Donnybrook and Ballsbridge, and then they set it up in the buyer’s house. Most of us made some money out of tips! Many of the students carried trees all over the local area and even a little further. By 2pm the fair was still going strong, the balloons had sold out and trees were still being delivered. Free tea and coffee were available on the day and some stalls were filled with books and small toys.  At 3pm the were still selling strong and some stands, like the Christmas logs and wreaths had sold out and made maximum profit. The pastries and sausage rolls stocks had also almost depleted… everything was a hit!

 

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The TY students all wore Christmas jumpers and Santa hats, this all added the Christmas cheer and even the parents dressed festively. By 4:30 pm, the fair had almost ended, and everything was pretty much sold out. Many students and parents volunteered to stay behind and clean up. I would hope we raised a great profit as 100% goes to the East Africa fund.  We’d like to thank everyone involved, especially the Parent’s Association who worked very hard to help set up everything, and all who helped out on the day.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Oooh! Look! It’s The Bank Street Boys!

Drift back, if you will, to this time of year in, say, 2005… You are working in mortgages at the AIB and the future is rosy: share prices are rocketing, interest rates are minuscule, bonuses are bulging and the first of your three fully comped Christmas parties is about to roll in.  Your only complaint is a bit of the old carpal tunnel syndrome from scribbling ‘yes’ so many times…  Yes, those were the days, but judging from the extravaganza put on by the Transition Year Build-A-Bank Team, those heady days are here again!  The professionals from the AIB were around to provide shrewd advice and to assure due diligence but the show was all the boys’ alone, as Robert O’Connor, Luke Gilleran, Colin Bolger, Zach Carr, Mark Connor and Matthew Lynch implemented their innovative marketing concept with consummate skill and a good bit of panache.  Combining matinée idol looks with advantageous interest rates, the latest TY Build-A-Bank team are definitely destined for big things in the financial world!  The competitions and freebies drew the youngsters in and, like with many a mortgage-taker in days gone by, when the smoke had cleared and the confetti had settled, the signatures were somehow on the bottom line!   Seriously, a generous bonus was provided by the AIB for openers of student accounts and it was a win-win situation: the TY boys gained valuable business experience and the general student body got a whiff of the financial sector’s profits, while still learning the value of saving for a rainy day.

 

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A Conleth’s Christmas!

The Annual St. Conleth’s Traditional Christmas Fair is being held this year on Saturday, December 8th from 9.30-4pm. As well as trees (€30-€120), beautifully hand decorated wreaths (€20-€80), poinsettias, lucky dip, raffle, hot refreshments, live music, carol singers and lots of Christmas cheer, the students will have lots of wonderful stands selling cakes, crafts, treats and much more (please remember to bring old-fashioned cash on the day!). This is a wonderful opportunity to do some essential Christmas shopping whilst helping a good cause and adding to the Traditional St. Conleth’s Christmas Fair Cheer!  Proceeds as always will go towards the Africa Project. The schools past fundraising efforts have borne fruit and the latest development is that the villagers now have their own borehole to collect water – a huge step and a massive help to the community.  Check here for our price-list and see our TY students’ artful promotions below, as well as a photo of the good which comes from it all.  See you Saturday!  Mr. Alan Trenier, TY Co-Ordinator.

 

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Uisce, Teanga agus Craic!

TYs enjoy a day of water-sports and Irish at Moontour, an innovative language adventure centre run by Past Pupil Sean Greif (Class of 2005).  More details from Ms. Dorman, as Gaeilge:

Chuaigh lucht na hIdirbliana (TY) go dtí Dun Laoghaire an Mhairt seo caite chun lá a chaitheamh ag déanamh sport uisce as Gaeilge le hiar- dhalta St Conleth, Sean Greif. Bhí an-lá againn. Rinne siad ‘kayakadoireacht’ agus léimt on gcé (pier jumping!) Bhí an aimsir go hiontach, bhí an t-uisce ina chlár agus bhi an craic go maith!  Thapaigh Jack Buckley an deis foto a fháil le Brendan Gleeson ar fheiceáil dó é ag siúl sios an cé, rud a chur an-áthas air!

 

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TY’s Rockin’ Finale!

Our School Concert this past Spring was once again a magnificent spectacle of student musical talent but we did notice a decline in the number of shouting and jumping, hairy retro-rock aficionados who used to frequent and shake the stage (and our eardrums).  We had at least thirteen tasteful classical piano solos but not a single note of grungy reverb!  So, Transition Year took it on themselves to bring back all three chords of modern music and ‘rock the Casbah’, staging their very own version of the classic Jack Black vehicle, ‘School of Rock.’  Maestros deBhal and Gallagher concocted a daring, ‘fourth-wall-breaking’ Ionescuesque pastiche, with multiple stages and plays within plays and concerts within concerts.  And the boys and girls responded with a veritable explosion of enthusiasm for stage-stomping, hip-shaking, concert-shirt-wearing, chorus-crooning and cross-dressing!

 

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The last, of course, is a long-standing St. Conleth’s tradition and earlier in the year the male TYs were beside themselves with worry that the presence of females in TY might eliminate the need for them to break free from their La Cage aux Folles.  But turns out they had nothing to fear as Mr. Trenier, TY Co-ordinator, runs a very tight camp indeed, but it is quite a camp camp!  In all seriousness, Mr. T. did a brilliant job integrating the girls as smoothly as possible this year and further fine-tuning an already impressive programme, from trips all over Dublin (see recent pics from the Viking Splash Tour below), through pushing the boys and girls to the completion of their various courses, projects and competitions and dragging them over the Wicklow Mountains to complete their Gaisce Hike.  It was a great year with a fitting finale.  Check out the snaps of their performance and the individual TY Awards winners, above.

 

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Transition-year

In the new 2020-2021 Transition Year Programme Booklet, Mr. Gavin Maguire, our TY Co-ordinator, lays out all you need to know about the exciting classes, trips and projects.

Transition Year at St. Conleth’s is part of our Senior Cycle and is a mandatory growing space and time for our girls and boys en route to being young adults. Our TY Programme encompasses all areas of personal development, from the charitable through the athletic to the cultural, as well as continuing the academic and intellectual growth of our students, as they sample all the available Leaving Certificate subjects and make well-guided choices in accordance with our strengths-based educational philosophy.

At St. Conleth’s we do not believe that the mind should sleep during Transition Year! A dedicated TY Co-ordinator organises a team of teachers and adjunct professionals who lead the students through a demanding but exhilarating curriculum of subject-specific project work, real-life and work experiences and the individually tailored Gaisce programme. A TY day may also include a bit of Mandarin Chinese and cooking in the morning, sailing and photography in the afternoon, and practice for the year-end musical at day’s end. No two students are alike and this is especially true when it comes to determining courses and activities for Transition Year. Our TY Programme has the correct blend of variety and depth, which enables every student to fulfil their potential in this important year of transition.

Some of our Transition Year adventures:

  • Expedition to East Africa (optional)
  • SciFest and Young Scientist Competition
  • PSAT, Eirquest and COA
    aptitude and career guidance testing and one-to-one consultation
  • Community Work to benefit groups such as GOAL, Simon, SVP etc…
  • ‘Mindfulness’, mental and personal health seminars
  • Overnight trip to Carlingford Adventure Centre.
  • Sailing in Dun Laoghaire (INSS)
  • Drama Classes
  • Law seminar
  • Certified First Aid Course
  • Early Morning Latin (optional)
  • Christmas Fair and Carols
  • AIB Build-a-Bank programme.
  • Storytelling with students of St. Bridget’s National School
  • Photography Course
  • Self-Defence Course
  • Gaisce Award Programme
  • TY Musical and Graduation night
  • ‘Know your Dublin’ educational outings