Georg Müller-Methling, Form V reports on the recent school trip to China. 

A group of 17 pupils and 3 teachers left St.Columba’s College on March 22nd very excited about the upcoming trip, less about the fact that they missed out on the house singing event the same evening and that they had to leave at 04:45 in the morning. 

The group took two 8 hour flights, first to Abu Dhabi and then on to Hong Kong. The first day in Asia was very tough, for most of us the warm and humid climate was very unusual and we arrived in the morning, which meant that we had to stay up for another whole day, but everybody quickly forgot the exhaustion. We were welcomed by our first tour guide Ball-Ball (“because my body looks like a ball”), who was very interesting and funny, and spent the afternoon in a shopping mall to get some food and then we drove to our hotel to relax, before we had our first dinner in Asia. Later, we went for a walk to the fascinating harbour. 

The next day we  visited the 10,000 Buddhas, which led us to a nice spot on top of the city, then the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Hong Kong Science Museum, before we went to a have the first proper Chinese dinner. Most of us had to get used to the Chinese food, but it actually got better from day to day. The highlight of the day was yet to come: in the evening we went to Victoria Peak, from where you could have a magnificent view of Hong Kong and its enlightened skyscrapers. After that, some of us went to the Ladies’ market to buy some souvenirs. 

The next day, Ball-Ball took us to Lantau Island, where we used a cable car to get to the Giant Buddha in the middle of the forests. We walked the way up to the Buddha and also visited the close by monasteries. In the evening we took the metro to the harbour to see the light show. On our last day in Hong Kong, we visited the NanLian Gardens, some of us had lunch in the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world, while others preferred McDonald’s, before we went to a food market and then on a bus ride to cross the border and get to Shenzhen Airport. As we found out later, saying hi to China meant saying bye to proper toilets, social media and English speaking people. It was a very long day, in the end we nearly missed our flight, but finally we arrived in Zhangjiajie.

Our new tour guide Becky who taught us Chinese songs (at least she tried) took us to the Tianzi Mountains in the Yuanjiajie National Forest Park, the place where the movie ‘Avatar’ was filmed, which was enormously impressive. In the afternoon we walked the longest and highest glass bottomed bridge in the world with a height of 260 Meters. The same night we flew to Shanghai, where our most interesting tour guide Qi waited for us. 

In the morning we made our way outside the city in order to get to Zhujiajiao town, an ancient water town, before we went on to see the Chinese Maritime Museum & Urban Planning Exhibition Hall. That night we had dinner in the Xiantandi Area, a small area in the middle of China’s biggest city. Yu Garden and Shanghai’s old Town, where we had a delicious tea tasting,  were on our list the next day before we flew to China’s former Capital Xian. In Xian we were accompanied by the probably funniest guide called Richard who had the very interesting habit of ending every sentence with the words “oh yeah”.

One of the most exciting and interesting events of the trip awaited for us the next day. We got to visit the Terracotta Replication Factory and the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum. Later that day we cycled the ancient city wall, which goes around the whole city and is 14 kilometers long.  The following day we had to travel again, but this time we did not take the plane: the high-speed train (350 km/h) brought us to Beijing, our last destination. It took the train five hours for the 910 kilometers, it was an impressing experience. In Beijing tour guide Jing introduced us to the Peking duck before we headed to the hotel.

We spent Easter visiting the Tiananmen Square, only two days after Kim-Jong Un did, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. It was a very exhausting day with a lot of very interesting experiences, a lot of Smog and warm temperatures, a very special Easter.

Our last full day in China commenced with the visit of the Summer Palace from the Qing dynasty. The last site we visited was probably one of the highlights of the trip at the same time: The Great Wall. We climbed the 1,000 not always even steps and reached the top with an awesome view, however there was a lot of Smog unfortunately. After that we had our last dinner in China before we went to the airport to get home, again via Abu Dhabi. 

For me personally, and I think for the whole group, this trip was an unforgettable experience. China is an extraordinarily interesting and exciting country with lots of beautiful sites to visit. It was also worth going for the experience we gained. At times it was a bit difficult for some of us, but when you accept the cultural differences like being the main object for a photo by many strangers, it is a highly enjoyable country. 

Thank you to the teachers, especially Ms McEneaney, Ms Lynch and Mr Clarke as well as all the parents for making this awesome trip possible! I would highly recommend going on trips like this one in the future, because it is a really good opportunity to travel the world and broaden your mind.

We are holding our regular summer term Open Evening on Thursday 17th May, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, and all are welcome: places may be booked by contacting the Admissions Officer, Amanda Morris via the contact form below or by emailing admissions@stcolumbas.ie.

Visitors are welcome at the Main House from 6.30pm. At 7pm there will be a short presentation by staff on the school, followed by 30-minute tours conducted by Junior pupils.

Register your interest

1 + 1 = ?

View Open Evening Brochure

The Senior Rugby Team failed to defend their Leinster Schools League 2A title yesterday, losing an at times frantic final 31-45 against Ardee Community School in Ashbourne. The rugby on show as of an exceptionally high standard, with both teams using their physical runners to great effect but showing a determination in defence. It was Ardee who started the brighter, maintaining possession in St. Columba’s half for the early period. They soon turned the possession into points, converted a simple penalty in front of the posts. Their team was extremely well drilled and blessed with powerful and effective ball carriers, especially at prop, No.8 and in the centre. They continued to pressurise through possession, eventually dotting down for a try under the posts to lead 0-10. St. Columba’s, playing against a powerful wind in the first half, soon found their feet and some excellent ball carrying from Max Hopkins and Kosi Anyim brought them close to the Ardee line. The ball was recycled quickly – by scrum-half Thady McKeever – to centre Hector Wright who powered over. Thady missed the conversion (the wind was a big factor) but SCC were back in it. St. Columba’s continued to play well and maintain possession but couldn’t penetrate the Ardee line. The Louth side soon regained possession, off loose St. Columba’s play, and scored an opportunistic try just before the end of the first half to lead 5-17 at the break. The supporters on the sideline were optimistic that, with the wind on their backs, St. Columba’s could get back into the game.

The reigning champions started the second half brightly and soon crossed the white line again, this time through Kosi Anyim and converted by Thady McKeever. At 17-12, St. Columba’s were right back in this. But then, the sucker punch. Straight from the restart Ardee pounced on unsecured possession and scored under the posts. St. Columba’s heads dropped while Ardee rallied. They scored two more tries within five minutes and the game seemed all but over with twenty five minutes remaining. They now led 38-12 and there seemed little hope remained for the defending champions. However, St. Columba’s fought back, after some harsh words from their captain Sean Cooper under the posts. They scored quickly after the restart, with Hector Wright crossing for this second try, with McKeever converting. Another try soon followed, after some of the substitutes combined to turn defence into attack on the SCC ’22’. The same substitutes, Rowan Sweeney and Joel Taylor, finished off the move with Joel touching down in the corner. The score now stood at 38-24 and there was a glimmer of hope. Ardee were beginning to tire and the St. Columba’s power runners were stepping up again – Hector, Hopkins and Anyim carried hard but a lack of patience inside the Ardee ’22’ meant they couldn’t get closer on the score board. In fact it was Ardee who scored next, their powerful prop forward picking from the base of the ruck, close to the line, and powering over. They converted and the score now stood at 45-24, and the final flicker of hope seemed to extinguish from the travelling supporters in the stand. Again, to the enormous credit of the whole team and their coaches, St. Columba’s refused to give up. They secured possession from the restart and quickly worked their way back into the Ardee ’22’. Eventually, after an extended period of possession, they scored again – this time through Thady McKeever – who converted his own score. And that was how it ended – a final score of 45-31 and, in truth, a deserved win for Ardee.

St. Columba’s can feel an enormous sense of pride for the manner of the defeat though. Ardee were an excellent side, with some truly exceptional athletes, but St. Columba’s gave them an epic contest. But for that period after half time, when those three quick tries were scored, St. Columba’s were in this all day. The large crowd were happy, perhaps not with the result but certainly with the manner of how the game was played. Congratulations to Ardee Community School and hopefully the two sides will meet again in next year’s final.

Congratulations to the following, who have been awarded Form prizes on the basis of the examinations in the last two terms–

  • SIXTH: Sasha Cole, Richard Gao, Ryan Gumsheimer, Kosi Emmanuel-Anyim, Friedrich Hastedt, Nyla Jamieson, Alice v Lenthe.
  • FIFTH: Anna Bofferding, Catherine Butt, Harry Oke-Osanyintolu, Ji Woo Park, Casper v d Schulenburg.
  • FOURTH: Songyon Oh, Charlotte Klingmann, Eliza Somerville, Tania Stokes.
  • THIRD: Aurora Higgins-Jennings, Éile Ní Chianáin, Oscar Yan.
  • SECOND: Tom Casey, Emma Hinde, Marcus O’Connor, Caleb Swanepoel.
  • FIRST: Nikolai Foster, Emily McCarthy, Cian Slyne, Isabel Wainwright, Isabel Warnock.
  • PRIMARY: Elizabeth Hart, Noah Kutner, Rachel Shaw.

Yesterday we celebrated the 175th anniversary of the day when St. Columba’s College actually opened in 1843. At the time there was a Warden and a few Fellows, but there were no pupils at all and the College was located in Stackallan House in County Meath. Things have changed. We had a relaxed and fun day, with a late rising, a special chapel service and the creation of a ‘175’ figure by the pupils on the cricket pitch, photographed by drone. Despite chilly conditions the arrival of an ice cream van after lunch was a major highlight! We finished off with a barbecue and a dance in the evening. (A collection of photos from the day’s activities are below). In the morning I and a group of Columbans, together with Mr. McCarthy and the Chaplain, buried a time capsule behind the chapel, to be opened on 25th April 2118. In it I enclosed a letter to those future Columbans:

Dear Columbans of 2118

I earnestly hope that this letter is being read for the first time on 25th April 2118 and that the box has not been opened in advance of that date.

Greetings to you from April 25th 2018, the year that Ireland won the Grand Slam in the 6 nations rugby and the country was brought to a standstill by extraordinary snow in early March. It has been a long, cold, wet winter and we are longing for the warmth of spring.

St. Columba’s is currently a school of 320 pupils, 75% of whom are boarding, 60% are from Ireland and 40% from overseas. While we have very high academic standards and expectations of our pupils we prefer to be known as a school which has the highest standards of pastoral care, where young people are nurtured and encouraged and where they learn to live together in a caring and supportive environment. Everyone here matters.

As the Warden of this College I have a vision of producing young people who aspire to be successful, while remembering that they are privileged and blessed to be receiving such a good education. They should always try to be servants to those around them at school, at university, in their families and in the jobs they get in the future. The world of 2018 needs unselfish and servant-hearted young people, who will make a positive difference in a troubled world. I am sure your world will be no different.

The Columbans of 2018 are special young people and I believe in them and their future. As the Warden I send my greetings to you, the Columbans of 2118, and urge you all to be true to the Christian values of this great College.

Floreat Columba et floreant Columbanenses!

On Wednesday 25th April the College will celebrate the 175th anniversary of its Foundation. It was on St. Mark’s Day in 1843 that the most active Founders (Adare, Monsell, Sewell and Todd), together with Warden Singleton and others gathered in Stackallan, County Meath, and founded the school.

175 years later, the pupils and staff of the College will mark this occasion by altering the normal course of the working day. A late rising will be followed by a special commemorate Chapel service at 10am. Following three classes and lunch, there will be a full outdoors programme of sport and activities, followed by a barbeque for the whole school from 5.30pm. A time capsule will be buried in the College grounds for a future generation to discover. A drone video will be made of the number ‘175’ created by pupils. Festivities will conclude with a dance in the Big Schoolroom in the evening.

In the words of the traditional toast, Floreat Columba et Floreant Columbanenses.

Congratulations to the Minor & Junior Girls Basketball teams who both won their respective South Dublin leagues last week. The Minors (Form I) girls defeated NewPark Comprehensive by the narrowest of margins – 23-22 despite being down 2 – 12 after the first quarter. The team rallied after that with some super rebounding from Isabelle Wainwright and aggressive defense from Manuela Sanchez and Beth Hart. Zofia Cannon Brooks executed two excellent offense sets which saw the team take the at half time 15-12.  In the second half the teams traded the lead on several occasions but it was SCC that finished the strongest, scoring the decisive basket with just 21 seconds on the clock.

The following day there was another Girls Basketball success – this time the Junior Girls (Form II) after another narrow win over St. Andrew’s, 29-26 in overtime. St. Andrew’s started off very strong and led for most of the game, though the gap between the two sides was never more than 4 points. It was a tough battle with plenty of fouls and misses from both teams but the girls pushed through and showed determination, strength and team-spirit throughout. At the end of the fourth quarter there was nothing to separate the sides and the game progressed to a tense 3 minutes of extra time. St. Columba’s led by a single point going into the final minute and it was Poppy Gleeson who secured the win with a fantastic shot under pressure, inside the last 30 seconds, to secure a wonderful week for College basketball.

Congratulations also to their coaches and especially to Ms Hennessy for all her work over the season.

The College begins its annual Mental Health Awareness Week today with a packed schedule of interesting and varied events highlighting the need to mind your mind. The theme of this year’s MHAW is ‘Walk in my Shoes’ and encourages both pupils and staff to have more empathy for those suffering from anxiety or depression. Some of this week’s events include: the loud yet very active “pound fit” with Carla Roberts; a visit from the Irish Therapy Dogs; visiting speakers from BoydWhys on eating disorders and Stuart Wilson, a behavioural psychotherapist; a ‘poem in your pocket’ day; yoga classes with OC Dylan Stewart; a art display on the theme of ‘walk in my shoes’. On Friday pupils and staff are encouraged to wear odd or mismatched shoes to go outside your comfort zone and highlighting that the stigma over mental health issues must be stamped out. You can follow the progress of the week on Facebook and Twitter over the coming days.