On Friday, December 14th 2018 forty-five pupils, from Forms II to VI, along with six members of staff will head off to Copenhagen for the weekend on a short choir trip. The party consists of 27 girls and 18 boys, singing in a four-part choir. 

The highlight of the trip will be a concert performance in St. Ansgar’s Cathedral on Saturday December 15that 6pm. The programme is an entertaining mixture of Irish folk songs, popular songs, spirituals and madrigals. On Sunday morning the choir will sing a Mass by Palestrina at the 10am service in the same cathedral. 

The trip will also include a Canal Tour of Copenhagen, a visit and dinner at the famous Tivoli Gardens, and a visit to the renowned National Aquarium. There will also be time to savour the atmosphere of the Christmas Markets in Copenhagen. The choir have been rehearsing very hard since September, and we hope it will be a memorable trip!

On a rainy day in November, one of the 3rd form sets went to the DSPCA for our CSPE action project. The Dublin Society of Prevention against Cruelty to Animals is Ireland’s largest and oldest animal welfare organisation.

When we arrived, we were given a very interesting and factual talk. We were given a brief history of how animal cruelty came about and learned about some of the work they do at the DSPCA.

Animal cruelty started to happen near the end of the industrial revolution. This was because land based animals weren’t needed weren’t needed for economical purposes, like transporting goods. The animals that weren’t needed would be shot or left to die. People thought that animals only were useful for economical purposes and didn’t have any feelings.

In the 1870s Mary Wright Sewell changed people’s views by writing “Black Beauty”. The book was written from the perspective of a horse which was mistreated. Many animal welfare organisations were set up at this time. This was about 150 years ago and cruelty towards animals still goes on. That means people still don’t understand that animals should be treated with respect, or people just don’t care.

The DSPCA was established in 1840 and the centre we visited in Rathfarnham opened in 2003. They have 5 stages when it comes to rescuing animals and they call them the 5 Rs. They are Rescuing the animal. They might have to Rehabilitate the animal as they might be scared of other humans if their owner treated them badly. They will Reunite the animal with the owner if the feel it is right. Otherwise they will Rehome the animal. At the DSPCA they also care for wild animals so they will Release them when they are ready.

At the DSPCA they care for all animals from labradors to African land snails! They help about 30,000 animals yearly. It costs them €3.3 million a year to run. They are an NGO which means they don’t receive any funding from the government apart from small grants. They get most of their money through fundraising and donations. At the DSPCA they only have a few employed professional vet and the rest are all volunteers.

At the DSPCA they have dealt with a lot of appalling cases of animal cruelty. We were told one of the cases. It was about a dog which had fleas. The owner didn’t know what to do so instead of taking the dog to the vets, the owner decided to cover the dog in diesel. The next week the fleas were still there so the owner scrubbed the dog with a Brillo pad. They were still there so the owner decided next to cut the patches of skin with fleas off with a Stanley knife. When the DSPCA found out they cleaned the dog and had to stitch up where the owner had cut the dog. When the dog healed, it was adopted by one of the volunteers.

After the talk we were lucky enough to look around the cattery and the dog kennels. In the cattery there were separate pods which all the healed cats were in. All the cats were very cute but sadly we weren’t allowed to pet them! Next we went to the kennels and the dogs were also very cute. At the end we even got to hold some adorable puppies!

It was a really interesting and fun trip and I would love to go back another day.

The latest edition of the pupil magazine, The Submarine, has just been published, and you can read it here via Issuu (click on the arrows to go through the pages, click again for a closer view, and click the icon bottom right for full-screen). Tania Stokes, Avi Johnston and Edna Johnston put it together.

Among the pieces are (written) Georgy Dementiev, Sinéad Cleary (‘In defence of Oedipus’), Shannon Dent and Marcus O’Connor, and there is lots of talented and skiful artwork by Amelie Buzay, Paolo Garcia Leslie, Isabelle Townshend, Kate Higgins, Jeanne Levesque, Max Cully, Glory Popoola and Frances Wilkinson.

Moreover, you can also listen to Noah Leach’s Song ‘Muse’ via Soundcloud below or via this link.

Transition Year pupil Elise Williams writes about last year’s Junior Certificate Art Projects, which will be on display in the BSR this Sunday after the Christmas Carol Service.

Last year, Form III art pupils undertook the Junior Certificate Art Project. The projects were based on a theme of which there were five to choose from. The themes we were given were broad, but we could expand on them and each create our own version of the topic. The projects were very much centered around the preparatory sketches, the work that was put into planning them, and brief explanations for the thought processes. 

The course required three art pieces, three preparation pieces to support each one, two supporting pieces, and two one-hour long drawing exams. There was a 3-D construction or sculpture, a 2-D painting or design, and an option to do a craft piece with choices to use calligraphy, puppetry, batique, a lino cut, woodwork, etc. My class seemed challenged not by the projects themselves, but the pressure to complete them in the frame of time given. 

An important part of the course was to show how our work developed and how new ideas generated over time. In addition to our three projects, we completed an hour-long  drawing exam of a still life and a second exam  which required us to draw a model from life. 

We all worked hard on our projects and as the due date came closer we became more satisfied with the results of our work. It was a good experience that taught me creating art takes time and a lot of work because it is not just the art, but the ideas behind it. 

This Sunday December 9th, there will be an exhibition and opportunity to view our work displayed in the BSR after the evening of the Carol Service. We hope to see you there!