Jitterless Juniors Join the Joy!

One on One. 1 vs. 1.: in sport, it does not get any more dramatic than that. And Ms. Speller’s teams excel at these mano a mano (or stick on stick) combats, showing nerves of steel. Maybe it is because of Ms. Speller’s training regimes which would probably be banned by the Navy Seals, including the handing out of al dente organic grains instead of Jaffa cakes as a half-time snack. And it pays off. Mr. Kilcommons had better order that new trophy cabinet as the Hockey Girls have brought home even more silverware… or gold ware, if you will. The Juniors have joined their older sisters in winning the South Dublin School Girls League, beating Rosemont, Sion Hill and Our Lady’s Grove, winning the final in dramatic 1 vs. 1s, with Maude and Isabella cooly slotting home. In-play field goals were scored by Maude and Elizabeth and several others. Another great day for St. Conleth’s Hockey… and another trophy!

Hockey Hysteria!

Cup? Shield? Plate? League? All of the above, please. Well, that is the attitude of Ms. Speller and the hockey girls towards postseason play! We can barely keep up with the pre-quarters, quarters, semis and (hopefully) finals that the various teams have been involved in! Punching above our weight (and numbers) Conelthian hockey teams have qualified at every level and every age group, extending the season… and Ms. Speller’s fixture congestion headache… but it is all worth it! Last week, our Juniors and Minors were edged out in their Cup and Plate competitions, facing big school, high level teams but, just yesterday, our Minors were back in the winning form they showed all season, hockeying Muckross, 2-0, in their Leinster League Quarterfinal with Gemma McCullough and Chloe McGovern scoring goals. Now, with all the fixture pot boiled down to one, we can all concentrate on supporting the Minors as they face Holy Faith-Clontarf in the Semifinal!

Alas! Conlethians Cede the Rostrum

Cicero, the greatest orator of the Late Roman Republic, and perhaps of any age, tested the limits of the power of rhetoric, and he found them a bit closer than he expected: his incendiary verbal condemnation of the supporters of the rebel Catiline wowed his fellow senators, Gallic emissaries and generations of Latin and ‘Speech and Drama’ students…. but failed to prevent his own exile for stretching the laws of Rome. And so, two Conlethian debating teams, Coleman Hegarty & Turlough Dineen and Lochlan Flynn & Finley O’Dea, similarly met their match at the Leinster Schools Senior Debating Finals, and they, too, retreated with dignity and heads held high. It was a great run, one to rival the many great forays in Conlethian debating history, but it ended in honourable defeat to a dynamic duo from the Institute of Education. One thing is certain: these talented and brave young men will not suffer the fate of Cicero, who ill-timed his return to the rostrum with tragic consequences. (Let’s just say that his timing was not… ‘handy’). However, Debating Dictator Rory O’Sullivan now has an enthusiastic and loyal praetor at his side in Sixth Year Coleman, eager to help nurture the next generation of Conlethian debaters, and Fifth Years Turlough and Lochlan, and Transition Year Finley, are back for another campaign next year!

Loquacious Lords of Leinster!

Conlethians continue to dominate debating with two of our teams making the Senior Finals (Coleman Hegarty & Turlough Dineen and Lochlan Flynn & Finley O’Dea) and Milo Smith qualifying as an individual for the Junior Quarters! Well done to all our debaters, and The General Secretary of Debating, Rory O’Sullivan!

Debaters of St. Conleth’s, Unite!

Conlethian debaters have certainly made their mark as individuals. Scroll downwards (and in older Conlethian annals) for the exploits of Daniel Gilligan, Conor White, Kevin Roche, Liam Brophy and other They-People, Masters of the Debating Universe. But it is as equal parts of a dynamic duo, a titanic tandem, a binary barnstormer… that our orators really seem to rock the rostrum. Michael O’Dwyer and Philip MacDonald were a legendary rhetorical team, eventually as Slaughter & May legal eagles, but first as Mace and Cup winning schools debaters. And the reverberations of the one-two punch of Matthew Collins and Christopher Costigan and of Paul O’Dwyer and Conan Quinn are still echoing through debating halls throughout this land… and others. And, now, two more teams have emerged from the hotbed of internecine warfare that is Conlethian in-house debating and they, too, will join the hallowed names mentioned above. Coleman Hegarty & Turlough Dineen and Lochlan Flynn & Finley O’Dea have qualified for the Leinster Schools Senior Debating Championship Semifinals, topping a tab which was filled with the names of the second-best debating schools in Ireland. Also pictured is Leo Nolan, who fought bravely as a lone wolf in the quarterfinals but, alas, like Trotsky, had to exit stage left. The sixth young man pictured below is unknown, but we suspect it is Beria.

TYs Go To Work!

A last bit of Transition Year news before midterm. First, a couple of shots of one of their last activities before their Work Experience fortnight: some free-wheeling but also Gaeilge-Growing ‘Seó Bóthair’ fun with Ms. ODulaing. And then we have snaps of two TYs who are doing their Work Experience on the home-front: Scott Herbots cheerfully erasing the Christmas Grinch from the staffroom windows and Alannah Henry giving Ms. Kelly a hand with the little darlings of Junior Infants. And while the TYs see what the ‘real world’ is like with Work Experience, our Third and Sixth Years take another step towards entering that rather scary realm: Mock Exams!

Above the Rim

In a relatively short time, we have grown accustomed to continued success for our basketball teams, and sometimes that can be a heavy burden to bear. Not that you can tell from the play of these boys! St. Conleth’s Basketball has consistently been winning trophies for years now, a tremendous tribute to coaches Sean Ingle and Peter Gahan. No other school our size has established and maintained such a basketball pedigree, so quickly. And this year, once again, the programme has played ‘above the rim’. After reaching the Ireland East Final, they powered through the various stages of the All-Ireland Finals to earn another day of destiny at the National Basketball Arena.

Their All-Ireland Quarterfinal game was against Cobh, and it was a close affair before the Conlethians pulled away, once again led by James ‘The Tower’ Power. James was missing his usual partner at the top of the scoresheet, Enda Crowley, who is currently off impressing the filles with his basketball (and perhaps other skills) on a TY exchange in France, but the rest of the team raised their game in support of our skyscraper. John ‘Mountain Man’ Engmann played a beast of a game, filling the paint with sturdy defence and running the floor with the grace of a gazelle…. well, a cross between gazelle and a freight train. Guards Myles Moriarty-Smyth and John Byrne were rapier-quick as they repeatedly foiled the opposition’s attacks and made stylish advances, themselves. Joe Kelleher showed his characteristic intensity and athleticism, playing the three spot with aplomb and it was no surprise to classroom teachers of Hugh Leahy and Cian McMunn, that these two played like whirling dervishes, scampering around the court and fearlessly making stops and runs against players two years their senior. And, of course, the rest of the team came off the bench to do their part in this historic victory. The All-Ireland Bronze Medals were assured but the boys nearly took the next step up the podium in a hard-fought loss against traditional power, Tramore. Not to be, but the bit of metal hanging around the neck was reassuring, and with some young talent, and returning francophones, the future of St. Conleth’s Basketball continues to look bright!

Catholic Schools Week ++

Like Seachtain na Gaeilge, our Catholic Schools Week celebrations demanded extra room and time! It all started two weeks ago with our traditional St. Bridget’s Day Assembly, where the inspirational words of the ODulaing/Gallagher duo and musical and prayerful accompaniment from the students. themselves set the right tone.

Then we got to work on the actual themes of the week.

Since ‘Togetherness’ was the over-arching theme, we figured: well, let’s get the kids ‘together’! First up: TY putting the idea of Christian ‘service’ into action and organising a Sports Afternoon for Second Years.

And First Years also got their chance: rounders, Gaelic football, soccer and just some good, old-fahioned messing around! Turns out, TYs and First year have a lot in common… except size!

And two First Years each earned their very own slider: Christopher Comer with his perfect throwing form…

And David Hearns, for his very distinctive style and socialibility…

Even Sixth and Third Years got in on the togetherness. With Mocks looming, we thought a stress-busting, comaraderie-building tea-and-biscuit chat might help… and it did, with pairs of elders serving pairs of youngsters. A taste of what is to come with our House System!

And, well into our second week of festivities, Mr. Lonergan and Mr. O’Neill took Fifth Years on a ‘Whiskey, Preachers, Plots & Stolen Hay: 800 Years of Dominicans in Dublin’ walking tour, courtesy of Fr. Conor Mcdonough. The tour was a whirlwind hands-on (with gloves) experience, including stops at the Four Courts, the original Dublin City walls, remnants of the De Bruce invasion and the history of religious persecution. Some may desire the separation of Church and State, but in Dublin, Faith and History are inextricably linked! The day was also bout more modern vestiges of our faith: a visit to a homeless shelter, The Morning Star Hostel, founded by Frank Duff (a close friend of Bernard Sheppard), opened some eyes to both the poverty of our time and the heartening response. The students got to meet some of these responders, when they visited St. Saviour’s Church and heard the stories of three young men training to become friars with the Irish Dominicans. 800 years +!

Our tour guide, Fr. Conor, also had a message regarding St. Brigid, who is joining St. Patrick in the national holiday rank of Irish saints. He echoed Mr. ODulaing in pointing out that Conlethians have a special connection: St. Brigid is joining St. Patrick in the national holiday rank of Irish saints, but our patron saint is mostly know through her. On the return too school, some Fifth Years decided to honour that connection. Led by Turlough Dineen, an impromptu band of medieval merry-makers distributed home-made Bridget Buns and good cheer, carrying their Bridget’s crosses with them!

Of Lawyers and Reptiles

Our Transition Years are currently on two weeks of Work Experience and we miss them dearly. Before they left, they were involved in an especially hectic flurry of activity, not that there is ever a dull moment throughout the year when TY Co-Ordinator Gav Maguire is at the helm. He, and trusty sidekick Mr. Morris, have structured a Transition Year that goes from activity to activity with little let-up. At some schools, TYs often appear to be cold-blooded creatures sitting around, sleeping, absorbing heat and waiting for the occasional, easy meal, but at St. Conleth’s this description only matches real reptiles: the turtles, lizards and snakes of the National Reptile Zoo, who paid us a visit with the knowledgable and patient herpetologist David. The TYs also had a visit from another species that has been unfairly stereotyped as lurking opportunists. Barrister Jack, of Law Ed, briefed our TYs on the career opportunities in the broad field of the law, as well as giving some practical advice (with some fascinating examples) on how to negotiate the labyrinth of tort… hopefully not advice that the TYs will need anytime soon. And, as if that was not enough, the TYs also enjoyed/suffered ‘subject presentations’ by our teachers. If you are planning a career in law, choosing the right LC subjects is important, as it is with any career. The TYs got the low-down on Maths from Ms. Hopkins, as well as the HCFs of subject choice. We wonder which subject is the only one to feature Cicero and other OGs of Law?

TYs: All Heart!

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

Then, the raw…emotions and clay…

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

Are You Being Served?

Well, yes, if our TYs are in the house! Fiona from Hospitality Skills came in to our TYs last Thursday and taught the students how to set a table, take an order, carry plates, absorb customer feedback and extort larger tips… just to name a few useful and potentially lucrative skills they picked up!


Conlethian hoops historians are welcome to correct us, but we do believe that below you see the first ever recorded in-game Conlethian dunk, as James Power led the U16s into the All-Ireland Quarterfinals. Skywalking alumnus Mark Ryan (2014) certainly threw them down with style at practice but do we have Kodachrome evidence of an in-game jam? Cian McCormack (2010) had the height and the hops but was too fond of pulling up for the speculative trey … and the Gilleran Brothers, Mark and Luke (2020), could both live above the rim but often opted for the bedeviling banker or stylish swish… Maybe even the notoriously earthbound and hops-less, but peerless Paint Premier, Jack Nolan (2011), once magically levitated for a stuff? We do have, on celluloid record, Daniel ‘Gilly, Gilly’ Gilligan’s (2016) participation in a thunderous dunk in Second Year… but as he was the dunkee and not the dunker, we will keep that in the vaults! In any event, we are sure all these past Conlethian greats will take great pride in hearing about the exploits of Jammin’ James Power and his teammates, including point-man Enda ‘The Game’ Crowley and John Engmann, the Wicklow Wild Man, and coaches Sean Ingle (he got net, once) and Peter Gahan (a possible alumnus dunker from 2012). James’s stupendous stuff/salacious slam/jiggy jam actually happened deep in the depths of County Tipperary but we could hear the reverberations all the way back in Ballsbridge, and the echoes of the rim-rattling ram confirmed what we already knew: the basketball glory days are back at St. Conleth’s!

Da Dunk

Lesser But Still Worthy Highlights

Last Christmas…

…we gave you the news, but the very next day… we gave you some more! In our-end-of-term rush, we left some fun colour prints hanging in the school darkroom, but they are all dry now, so we will treat you to some more news and images from our Christmas canoodling!

TY Zoo Story

First up, the TYs: no class deserved a break more, having been hounded all term by Gav and Richie to show up, take part and make the most of the opportunities of this special year. They will thank their stern but caring shepherds when it is all over, but they did certainly enjoy being cut loose for a day at Dublin Zoo. Interestingly, it seems like many of the animals, especially the primates, seem to be having a Transition Year of their own, judging by behaviour patterns!

A Very Rugby Christmas

Next, a reassertion that St. Conleth’s is still a rugby school! Yes, we know that hockey, basketball, fencing, chess and tiddlywinks are also part of the St. Conleth’s sporting legacy but if you want to settle this argument the old-fashioned way, you can take the whole chess team, throw in a few few hockey and b-ball players and a fencer (avec epée) and stick them in room with Front Row Hugo Lennon… and we know only one beast will be walking out under his own power! More on Hugo’s sporting exploits later, but for now enjoy these rather artistic yet still very jocky shots of our ruggers’ Christmas training sessions.

Mr. Coleman, Powered by Border Diesel, Seizes Karting Trophy from Sobbing Student

Fifth Years thoroughly enjoyed their day at Kylemore Karting despite the border fox, Mr. Coleman, placing amongst the winners. And Mr. Lonergan was last seen speeding away with the staff World Cup pool funds in the glovebox!

Christmas Cinema Trip

Our biggest Christmas trip was a local one: the traditional slow, herd migration over to Rathmines for a day at the Swan Cinema and various burger joints. A big thank-you to Ms. Crowley for organising everything. And we mean everything! Wakanda (and Wow Burger) Forever!

Minutes of the Central Debating Committee

The problem with many left wing organisations is that they never really get to even the first stage of the promised land: the much lauded, but never actualised ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’. Oh, we get the dictatorship… but instead of a co-operative committee of open-minded postmen, economists and butchers’ assistants, we just get the butcher and a formidable cult of personality. And so it is with the St. Conleth’s Debating Society. As Stalin was to the USSR and Hồ Chí Minh to Vietnam or, more appropriately, Idi Amin to Uganda, so was Oisín Power to our nationally renowned debating club. In 2021-2022 he led our orators to the highest rostra in the land… but there was a price: the velvet tongue was backed by an iron mace and we are still finding mumbling, emaciated debaters in chains in that little storage space beneath the Art Room. They can barely manage a plaintive ‘Point of Order’ as we free them and assure them that the persistent ringing in their ears is only the echoes of Oisin’s frequently pounded timing bell, and not a permanent case of tinnitus.

But times change and, like Nikita Khrushchev, our new Auditor, Coleman Hegarty, has brought in significant reforms, humanising the machine that is St. Conleth’s Debating, yet still churning out stunning results. But we warn the other debating schools of Ireland, always squabbling for second place and eyeing the Conlethian trophy cabinet with Gollum’s eyes, to not mistake Coleman’s pleasant demeanour and silky Hiberno-English for competitive softness: at a recent meeting of the Debating Central Committee, in an impulsive act of rhetorical excess, he took off his shoe (from Loake’s of Wicklow St.), banged it on the table and shouted, ‘We will not rest until this committee controls the the whole of the so-called ‘free world’!” We assume he was referring just to debating competitions of the so-called free world.

Of course, another significant influence on our debaters is Head Debating Coach Rory O’Sullivan who, these last few years, has organised (no easy thing with these guys) and led and coached the various auditors and the debaters themselves, but somehow still found time to work on a doctorate in Ancient Greek, write for various cultural journals, complete and stage a historical play and re-muster the Irish Citizen Army. And Rory and Coleman’s leadership has indeed been impressive, as our rostrum results have matched our historical heights:

At the National Trials, Fifth Year Turlough Dineen, continuing a long-standing Conlethian tradition, made the Irish National Team Developmental Squad, a stepping-stone to the Irish Team (which nearly always has at least one Conlethian). Turlough joined Sixth Years Coleman, Saoirse Corry and Leo Nolan in winning their rooms in the Leinster’s and moving on to the Finals. Fifth Year Team, Finley ‘Molotov’ O’Dea and Lochlan ‘Beria’ Flynn used incendiary rhetoric to also advance. And in their debate, TYs James Power and Hugo Sweeney spoke well and bravely but may well have fell afoul of new grammatical and usage restrictions. The young talent is also rising in the politburo! Third Years Brooke O’Connor and Jessica Gahan won their motion ‘That gender quotas have a place in modern society’ and, though we are not sure how many boys got through to the Finals, we know Second Years Peter Murphy and Patrick Kennedy were among them, winning their motion ‘THW prioritise STEM subjects over the arts.’  Ouch. Milo Smith, Ciarán Doyle, Patrick Cole and Shane Carroll all debated the same motions and did very well, indeed, but we think their might be school-based quotas out there, as well!

En Passant!

Beating Brazil in football. Canada in ice hockey. The Japanese in sumo wrestling. And Gonzaga… in chess. These are accomplishments worth crowing about, and like the Croatians, after the surprise vanquishing of the Brazilians… we will! Granted, it was just a friendly meet for Transition Years and First Years, organised by STEM wunderkind Mr. Carvill, The Younger, who has remained very quiet and humble about it all, but having come up against Gonzaga several times in a previous life as a chess ‘coach’ (more like a chess paedogogus or chaperone: these genii often get lost looking for the toilets!) we took great pleasure in a victory which had always eluded us. Something about the Jesuits enables them to jump around that chess board like jitterbugs! And with the robes, and Latin passwords and the secret, underground chess chamber… there was always something Slytherin about our near neighbours, so we do take great pride in this victory and look forward to more!

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







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!


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.