Thursday 30th November 2017

  • White Chapel (St Andrew).
  • Exodus starts after the end of the final examination, mid-morning.

Sunday 3rd December 2017

  • 6.30pm to 8.30pm: all boarders return between these times.
  • 8.30pm: Roll-call in House for all boarders.

 Monday 4th December 2017

  • 8.10am: Day boys and girls report to House.
  • 8.15am: First Chapel bell.

A service was held in the Chapel this afternoon in memory of Old Columban Orla McCooey. About 60 of Orla’s family, friends, OC peers, teachers and others attended, and the service was conducted by the Chaplain, Reverend Daniel Owen.

Those gathered sang ‘Abide with Me’ and ‘Brother, sister, let me serve you’, and in between there were readings from Orla’s contemporaries at the College: ‘Remember me’ from Ciana Taylor; Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ read by Jessica Beresford; Kipling‘s ‘If’ from Jack Goulding; ‘She is Gone’ by David Harkins read by Molly Maire; Psalm 23 read by Eliza Hancock.

Orla’s mother Sarah then gave a moving address, emphasising how strongly Orla’s Columban friends have supported her family over the last year. After the service, all went to the bench organised by Orla’s friends outside Iona House, alongside the Japanese maple donated by the McCooey family, and Conor expressed his thanks.

All then went to Whitehall for tea and chat.

Caoimhe Cleary reports on her recent experience at the European Youth Parliament. 

Earlier this term Harry Oke and I were invited by Ms Duggan to take part in an event called “The European Youth Parliament”. The European Parliament in essence is a simulation of the EU democratic process, and seeks to show its participants how legislation is actually passed in Europe. This is done by separating everybody at the event into the different committees and giving each group a motion. We then had two days to develop and prepare to argue for the implementation of our policy. I would fully recommend this event to everybody for two main reasons.

Firstly, this was a really informative and educational experience. I feel as if I really understand how legislation and bills are both put forth and denied now and, as someone who isn’t a European native, I walked away with a much greater understanding of the European system. It also helped train my ability to work with others to develop and defend a debating motion. I also learned how to argue against an argument in real time.

The second reason I would encourage somebody to attend EYP would be just because of how fun it is! As dull as taking part in the European democratic process may seem, it’s surprisingly enjoyable! The organisers and team leaders are very friendly, and you really do make friends! The friends I made I am still in contact with today. There was also a disco on the second day, which was amazing. I’m still not sure which part of the legislation process that fits in with.

A huge amount of hard work over the last couple of months paid off for everyone involved in the latest College musical, Oklahoma! last weekend, with three excellent performances of this old Rodgers and Hammerstein favourite (their first collaboration) for pupils, teachers, parents and friends. This production maintained the high standards of recent years in Grease, My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof and Guys and Dolls.

Directors Mrs Malone Brady (music), Mr Swift and Mr Clarke co-ordinated the elements: acting, singing, dancing. A large chorus was fronted by a strong first-line cast, with Alex Russell and Nicole Dickerson singing powerfully as the (eventual) love-birds Curly and Laurey, Alexandra Murray Donaldson and Tiernan Mullane delighting all with the wit and charm of their performances as Ado Annie and Will, and Aurora Higgins Jennings and Harry Oke-Osanyintolu knitting it all together as Aunt Eller and the ‘Persian’ peddler Ali Hakim. There were also effective contributions from Toby Green, James O’Connor and Caoimhe Cleary, amongst others.

A highlight at the end of the first act was the dream sequence, a mock black and white movie with musical accompaniment from ‘the band’ directed by Mrs Malone-Brady, and the visual look of the whole production was created by Ms Hennessey’s terrific costumes.

The cast sent everyone happily into the November evening humming the title song, and you can relive it below.

The production is excellently captured in the following series of superb photographs behind the scenes, and on stage, by our resident photographer, Daniel Owen.

The following have been elected to represent the Pupils’ Council in the current school year (one boy and one girl in each Form) –

VI              Sean Cooper, Kitty Morris.

V               Harry Kelly, Isabelle Townshend.

IV              Shannon Dent, Jakob Habsburg.

III              Charlotte Moffitt, Harry Petch.

II               Iona Chavasse, Guy Fitzgibbon.

I/P             Nikolai Foster, Kate Higgins.

Last Thursday, the College hosted the first round of the Leinster Schools Rugby McMullen Cup with the Senior Cup Team (SCT) taking on Árdscoil Tríonióde from Athy while the Junior Cup Team (JCT) took on the same opposition in the Duff Cup across the driveway. The SCT continued their excellent form to date brushing aside Árdscoil 24-10 in a physical and pulsating fixture. Árdscoil started the brightest and were soon 0-3 ahead when they slotted a penalty inside the Columba’s 22. The home side fought back and were soon on the scoreboard after an excellent kick behind the Athy defence allowed George Guinness cross the whitewash – Thady McKeever converted to give the home side a 7-3 lead. They soon followed that up with another excellent try, this time from centre Hector Wright with Thady’s conversion now making it 14-3 at half time. In the second half, the home side began to exert further pressure on Árdscoil and soon after the restart a great run from Max Hopkins, and quick ruck ball, allowed Hector Wright dot down for his second try  – this time the conversion eluded McKeever and the score remained at 19-3. Number four soon followed – this time from James Wilkinson – and Columba’s were cruising at 24-3 and looking like winning their first senior cup game in a number of years. Árdscoil managed to grab a late consolation but it was St. Columba’s that progressed to the next round – against Coláiste Cill Mhantáin on Wednesday.

The JCT were extremely unlucky in their fixture against Árdscoil. A slow start and some meek defence saw the visitors go into an early lead, 0-7, but St. Columba’s fought back well in the second half. An excellent touch finder from Matthew Russell allowed their effective line out set up an unstoppable maul before Mikhail Sukhachev picked from the base and crashed over. Russell added the conversion and the sides were level. SCC started to play some expansive rugby – which suited their abilities – and their increasing confidence was rewarded with another try as flying winger Luis Malaga dotted down. Russell couldn’t land the difficult touchline conversion but they led 12-7 with five minutes remaining. Alas, it was not meant to be. Árdscoil came back and began to string some phases together – their large pack picking and going effectively and drawing penalties. With 90 seconds on the clock they crash over and the easy conversion, between the posts, ensured they left with the spoils and moved into the next round.

While the cup competitions were taking place on the main pitches arguably the most important game was taking place on the Ducks pitch. Our youngest boys hosted their “arch-rivals” Headfort and recorded a (rare) victory over the visitors. The game started well with fierce tackling and hard rucking for both teams.  Some strong running from Caleb Owen saw him score a try in the first half before Ben Paterson led an infamous Mr Cron ‘black ball’, which bamboozled the Headfort defence, and Ben was able to fall over the try line without any opposition.  Some good defence from SCC meant the half time whistle was blown by the Warden with the score at 10-0. The second half started well and St. Columba’s started to dominate the match.  Pavlo Shvalov and Caleb Owen scored tries with strong, straight running and effective hand-offs.  The try of the game was set up by Caleb Owen who picked and went blind and, after breaking a few tackles, was able to offload out of a tackle to Tom Larke who ran in from halfway and dotted down under the posts.  A pleasing win for a Ducks side with much potential, with the return fixture to come next week away at Headfort.

So, mixed fortunes but a lot of great rugby on show on a sunny, crisp November afternoon.

A letter from the Warden has just been emailed to parents about a re-arrangement for the St Patrick’s Weekend Exodus in March 2018, made necessary by essential staff training for Junior Cycle changes. The explanation for this is in the letter; the key dates are summarised below:

Thursday 15th March

Boarders may leave on Exodus after classes finish at 3.30pm, or may stay overnight and leave on Friday (see below).

Friday 16th March

All academic staff in Junior Cycle training on site. College closed to Day boys and girls. Remaining Boarders will have study sessions until they leave for Exodus (by 3.30pm at the latest).

Monday 19th March

Bank Holiday. Boarders return to school between 6.30pm and 8.30pm.

Tuesday 20th March

Day boys and girls return by 8.10am, followed by normal school day.

Thursday 22nd March 

Classes end at 3.30pm, with House Singing Competition in the evening.

Friday 23rd March

Hilary Term ends after Assembly (c 11.30am).


This week at St. Columba’s there are a range of events to mark national ‘Science Week‘. Every day this week our beloved ‘Daily Notice’ will feature a science fact to engage the brain and encourage our pupils and staff to #StopAndAsk (which everyone is encouraged to do on social media). Our library has an excellent display on the best science books, both fiction and non-fiction, within the 15,000 volumes on the shelves. The pupils can take part in a Science Photo Competition or Science Joke Competition (a live mic for the best jokes is scheduled for Friday). Every year group will have a Science Kahoot Challenge at lunch time and Transition Year will have a science themed movie night. There are also a series of art in science projects in all labs and some lunchtime demos, including live dissections in the biology lab.

Please follow the events on the College’s social media platforms – Twitter & Facebook – and #StopAndAsk. (The video below was created especially for Science Week 2017 to kick start the #StopAndAsk initiative).

This year’s major drama production is the perennially-popular Rodgers and Hammerstein 1943 musical Oklahoma! Rehearsals have been going on for many weeks now, and they culminate in performances shortly. The details are below. All performances start at 7pm in the Big Schoolroom, and last approximately 1 hour 45 minutes (including a short interval).

Tickets are not issued, and there is no charge for entry, but parents and their guests are advised that seats cannot be guaranteed on Friday and Saturday evenings after the times indicated.

On Saturday evening parents and families are welcome to come to a have a drink with the Warden at 6pm in the Drawing Room.


Thursday 16th November: preview

  • Attendance: all Primary and First Form, including day pupils. No external visitors.

Friday 17th November: first performance

  • Attendance: all Second Form; all remaining day boys and girls; all those taking standard overnight exeats on Saturday evening.
  • Parents and guests are welcome, but are advised to be seated by 6.45pm.

Saturday 18th November: second performance

  • Attendance: all remaining boarders, and P/I/II boarders who wish to see the musical for a second time.
  • Parents and guests are welcome, but are advised to be seated by 6.40pm.


Updated Monday November 13th 2017, 8:00am

Everyone within the St. Columba’s College community would like to send their heartfelt congratulations to Old Columban Ian McKinley who made his international rugby debut with his newly adopted home Italy on Saturday. Ian was a star during his time at St. Columba’s, leading the Junior Cup Team to Duff Cup success and later the Senior Cup Team to McMullen Cup – they then went onto the semi-final of the Vinnie Murray Cup and the Leinster School Cup proper later in the same season). After leaving St. Columba’s Ian went on to represent Leinster and Ireland at U20 level, captaining the side during the Junior World Cup in Japan. Tragically, during a domestic game in 2010, Ian damaged his right eye but, amazingly, he returned to the field six months later. However, he subsequently lost the sight in the eye and was forced to retire from playing rugby.

Ian spent some time coaching at St. Columba’s after his retirement until he was offered the opportunity to travel to northern Italy to coach at underage level there. Ian, along with his brother Philip, came across a new protective goggle and helped to get them recognised on a trial basis by World Rugby. He came out of retirement and began playing for his new club Leonorso Udine before joining the Italian side Viadana on a professional contract. His performances there caught the attention of Pro14 side Zebre who offered him a contract after some impressive cameos during international windows. Ian was instrumental in the goggles being recognised by all nations in the last few years allowing him to return to play on Irish soil and to also represent the Barbarians. Ian has since moved to Benetton Rugby (formerly known as Treviso) and his form this season and last – he is arguable Italy’s form out half – earned him the call up to Conor O’Shea’s Italy for their November test series. He was named on the bench to play Fiji on Saturday, coming on for the final 20 minutes and scoring a vital penalty. Italy won 19-10. Ian was the first player to use in the goggles in the Pro14, the European Champions Cup and now at international level.

Ian’s story is an inspirational tale of courage and persistence. We are immensely proud of him at St. Columba’s and sent him this video message at the weekend. We now hope he has a long international career ahead.

6th November 2017

Last week my oldest son went to a meeting in the centre of London to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which was the first step to the founding of the state of Israel. It was not a celebration but a public forum addressed by a variety of eminent politicians and rabbis and Palestinian campaigners from many different perspectives. I was delighted he went along and he was fascinated by it.

One of the things that I feel strongly about is making sure that Columbans do not live in a bubble, where the issues in the world and the suffering and injustice experienced by so many are not ignored. On one level I do want our pupils to be protected from the harsh world beyond our privileged gates, because childhood is precious and children need to feel safe…but on another level it must be right to take an interest in the wider issues in the world and I have written often about wanting to prepare children for a life of service as well as a life of success.

This week is a good example of the world coming into the school and I hope that the pupils will develop a fascination with the wider world. Today our Transition Year have a whole day of presentations on China, which will hopefully give them an understanding of the importance that China plays in the world today and the influence that it will increasingly have during their lifetimes. If they are like me I suspect that they are very ignorant of so many aspects of Chinese life and it will be good to at least get them thinking. Maybe it will inspire some to study Mandarin at university, as many of my friends did. That would indeed be a very good strategic move for their careers.

On Thursday we have a visit in the evening from the Mexican ambassador to Ireland, who will talk to the senior pupils in our latest ‘fireside chat.’ I also wonder what our pupils know about Mexico…what is it like to be a neighbour to the USA, to be told by Donald Trump that your country is full of rapists and that he intends to build that famous wall? I am sure it will be interesting to get a perspective from Mexico. It is an extraordinary country but I realise that I myself know almost nothing about it at all.

Then of course this week culminates in Remembrance Sunday, which will remind us again, in ways that I always find very moving, that many Columbans made the ultimate sacrifice to protect us from fascism and brutal racialism and anti-semitism. On Tuesday I’m going to a talk on the role of Ireland in the Great War, something else that I know very little about. We have to embrace the world and take time to understand those different from ourselves because so many of the conflicts in the world are caused by ignorance of other people…and ignorance leads to fear and fear leads to hatred. It is much harder to hate people when you really know them. Our school is very international and that is a great thing because it is preparing our young people for an international future where they will rub shoulders with people from every possible culture and ethnicity.

I wish I had taken more of an interest in the world when I was at school, but I want to make sure that at least some of the present day Columbans have their eyes opened to the needs of the world while they are still here.

Mark Boobbyer