Here is a film to mark the St Columba’s Day weekend.  The Warden speaks, as well as Chairperson of the Fellows, Sarah Love, and Senior Prefect Megan Bulbulia. At the end are prize announcements (more prizes are being awarded in June). St Columba’s Day itself is on June 9th.

St Columba’s Day 2020 from St Columba’s College on Vimeo.

There are many fun and educational opportunities for pupils after teaching has finished, leading up to the end of term on June 19th.  Some of the awards and achievements will be announced at the Warden’s online End of Term Assembly. The time/day/link for this will be sent to pupils closer to the day.  We encourage all pupils to take part in as many activities as possible, starting with the Virtual Sports’ Day on Wednesday 3rd June. Contact details are not public here, but in the College documents and via Firefly. Pupils and parents can also see relevant material in this Firefly section.

College Awards and Prizes

 Warden’s Prizes

A challenge to all pupils at the College to produce a creative piece of work. It is not an academic task but one that will require imagination, ingenuity and practical skills.  Final date: June 19th?


  • Compose, perform and record an original piece of music;
  • Produce a piece of art work;
  • Make a model or mobile;
  • Design and build a robot;
  • Prepare and record a TED talk;
  • Write a computer programme;
  • Create an app;
  • Make a short film;
  • Make a photographic diary of the lockdown.

Other suggestions can be emailed to the Warden’s Office. There will be cash prizes in various categories and for different year groups. In September we will hold an exhibition of the best of the projects.


Form Prizes

(Dr Singleton)

These have been calculated on academic performance throughout the year, and those for Forms below Sixth will be announced at the end of term assembly.


Leadership Awards 2019-20

(Mr Jones)

These will be based on nominations by pupils and staff, and announced at the end of term assembly.


Willis Memorial Prize for Knowledge of Shakespeare

(Mr Girdham)

Sixth, Fifth and Fourth Forms. Those interested will receive the task directly, and will have a 48-hour period in which to complete it. There will be a general essay on Shakespeare’s plays, and a shorter task to analyse a sonnet by Shakespeare. No preparatory work is needed: candidates can use their knowledge of the plays they have already studied.  Final date: June 14th.


Peter Dix Memorial Senior Poetry Prize

(Mr Canning)

Sixth, Fifth and Fourth Forms. Candidates will submit between 2 and 5 poems in a portfolio based on the theme ‘Lockdown’. Full details and guidelines are on Firefly.  Final date: June 14th.


Junior Poetry Prize

(Ms Morley)

Third, Second and First Forms. Candidates write poems of at least 14 lines (as many as they like) on the theme of ‘Change’. Full details and guidelines are on Firefly.  Final date: June 14th.


Geology Prize

(Dr de Brit)

Fifth Form only. This will entail writing a research project in Geology on a topic of your choice.


Other Competitions, Activities & Ideas

(in alphabetical order: open to all Forms unless otherwise stated)


Art Activities

(Ms Cullen & Ms Murphy)

  • Artist talks every Thursday (same time as always: from 4 pm / 5 pm – 6ish)
  • A poster competition (on handwashing).
  • The Art History challenge (already on Firefly).


Biology/Art Project

(Mr Jones)

A competition for the best biological drawing. For full details click here (FireFly login required).


The Columban magazine

(Mr Girdham)

Look at the Chaplain’s ‘Lockdown’ album of photographs (photographs also at the bottom of this post) and write a paragraph on one of your favourite/most significant places in the College. The most interesting paragraphs will be published below the relevant photograph in the 2019-20 edition of the school magazine (out in the autumn). If you would like to write about another place, do so, and the Chaplain will take a photograph of it. Send entries to the Sub-Warden by the end of June.


Dúshlán Gaeilge | Irish Challenge

(Ms Lynch & Ms Maybury)

Competition: Pupils of Irish will be given a series of fun challenges to complete. They will be awarded points for each completed task and the pupil with the most points at the end wins. Examples of challenges include ‘translate an Irish poem into emojis’ and ‘make a meme as Gaeilge.’ Deadline: June 30th.


Fifth Form Careers and University Applications

(Mr O’Shaughnessy)

During June there will be opportunities to discuss next year with your academic tutors, and to receive advice about early deadline UCAS, and UCAS personal statements.

  • Online meeting with Mr O’Shaughnessy: Friday 12th June, 2.00pm Irish time (early deadline UCAS).
  • Online meeting with Mr O’Shaughnessy: Wednesday 17th June, 2.00pm Irish time (UCAS personal statement writing meeting, and suggestions for research during the holidays).
  • 23 UK universities are hosting aStudy in the UK Virtual Week from 1st to 5th June: a series of free webinars, live chats and Q&A sessions aimed at offering information, advice and guidance to prospective undergraduate students. Detailshere on Facebook.


Gaisce at Home

(Ms Lynch)

Our adventure journey which normally coincides with the Achill trip cannot take place this year. Gaisce participants are being offered two alternatives:

  1. Adventure Journey Exploration project – written/audio/visual presentation or
  2. The Backyard Adventure Journey – practical project. Relevant pupils will be contacted and briefed on these alternatives. Deadline: June 30th.


Generation Lockdown Writes

(English Department)

An opportunity for writers in all Forms up to the age of 17 to share poems, stories, personal experiences of the recent months. Well-known authors will judge each age category, and a book of the best entries will be published in a book by John Catt Educational. Advice available from your English teacher. Full details at entries are welcome).


Homeless Charity Events

(Mr Cron)

Events to raise money to feed the homeless using established charities which run food banks, and feeding and care schemes. It is planned also to set up mini-companies to help raise money, as well as for next term’s Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal. This is open to everyone, but particularly aimed at current Third Formers who intend to study Business in Fourth Form.


Mathematics Challenges

(Maths Department)

A competition to recreate al-Biruni’s experiment to calculate the radius of the earth. All details on the Mathematics Department Firefly page. There you will also find many puzzles, interesting videos as well as a suggested reading list to keep your mathematical brain going throughout June.


Mile-a-Day Challenge

(Ms Thompson)

We are challenging you to run a mile (1.61km) each day during the month of June! You can run outside or on a treadmill. Make sure you record your run using a fitness app and at the end of each run take a screenshot. At the end of each week upload your runs from the entire week to the Google Form below. Then do the same next week … If possible try to take a couple of videos of you running and send us in photos or videos of any nice scenery you see on your run or anything unusual or fun you notice. Upload link on Firefly.


NUA course (Scripture Union)

(Mr Cron & Reverend Owen)

Eight 15-minute videos will be watched and discussed, with two live Google Meetings a week. This course normally takes place in the Chaplain’s House, but is moving online in June.


On-Campus Performance

(Mr Swift)

Recording of eclectic performances by various live-in ensembles and individuals in front of a socially-distanced audience.


Politics Discussion Group – Crash Club Debate

(Ms Duggan)

Fifth Form. Bulletin/publication of Covid-19 research done by Politics Club members on the  differing responses and approaches to the pandemic by 14 different countries  around the world and, secondly, on imagining a better post-pandemic world.


Sports’ Day: Wednesday 3rd June, 1.30 to 5.00pm Irish time.

(Mrs Johnson)

A series of 10 challenges in teams, with the overall winning team announced at the end. Points from previous competitions (the Sports’ Day girls’ hockey and the rugby 7s) will be added. The challenges will be sent out via a Google Form, and Mrs Johnson will send plenty more detail in advance.


Sport Skill & Drill Challenges

(Mr Canning)

Some of our own sports’ coaches and stars have compiled a series of videos that we can all practise to improve our skills and hand-eye coordination over the summer months. Thanks to Mr Kemp and the Senior girls’ hockey squad for putting together an eclectic range of coordination skills and  ‘keepy-uppy passing drills we can all copy. Thanks also to our gifted junior Hockey player Harry St. Leger and our talented Irish under-23 squad member Sophia Cole for setting advanced ‘skills and drills’ challenges for you all to master. See the videos on Firefly.


Staff Baby Photograph Competition

(Mr Girdham)

An online competition in aid of Purple House cancer support charity. Identify which beautiful baby is now a member of staff. The link will be sent to all pupils on June 3rd, for completion by June 13th (with voluntary contributions to Purple House).


The Submarine

(Ms Duggan)

Editors Avi Johnston and Edna Johnston want to hear from you. Pupils in all year groups are invited to submit their artwork, poetry, book reviews, movie/gaming reviews, crosswords, think pieces, photographs etc., for the Hilary Term edition. Or you could just complete the following (in up to 100 words) “The first thing I’ll do after lockdown is…”  Email all submissions to by June 8th.


Tóraíocht Taisce Gaeilge | Irish Treasure Hunt

(Ms Lynch & Ms Maybury)

Competition: Pupils of Irish will be given a list of items as Gaeilge to find around their house and/or neighbourhood, put them all together and take a photo. Deadline – June 8th.


Typing Tournament

(Ms McEneaney)

It is a good time to develop proper touch-typing skills. Log in to your account or create an account using your school email address.  Join the tournament using this link. Work through the exercises keeping your hands covered with a tea towel. See typing instructions on Firefly. The winners will be the top three typists (most time spent and highest accuracy). Deadline: June 20th.


Transition Year (Ms Kilfeather)

  • Get Cooking: send in your best 10-minute meal. This must include a recipe and a short video link of you preparing it. Prize for the best! If you would rather cook someone else’s recipe have a look at ‘The best 10-minute meals’ from The Guardian.  Deadine, Friday 5th.
  • Some of you had signed up for Rosemary Smith’s driving school intensive 1-day course which has naturally been cancelled. You may like to get a copy of the Rules of the Road and then answer a 40-question quiz: email Ms Kilfeather by Monday 9th.
  • Don’t forget our wildlife as the weather gets hotter.  Learn how to make a simple bird bath at home. Check out this clip. Enjoy and don’t forget to send Ms Kilfeather your efforts: there are prizes for the best and most imaginative ones. Deadline: Fridat 12th.
  • TY took off with speed in September and disappointedly ended abruptly. I’d like you all to volunteer one word only to describe your TY experience up to March. You must draw this word and make it as colourful as possible then send it on to me and I will put all 72 words together to make a cool collage of all your submissions. Please initial each drawing too. Deadline: Wednesday 10th.
  • Keep your mind busy with these simple online Spanish and French online crosswords.
  • Bad hair day? Send on any photos of your DIY haircuts during the lockdown – not sure about prizes but definitely worth a giggle, ‘because you’re worth it.’
  • For those of you who get rainy days in June and you’re looking for some escapism, check out 100 best movies of all time.


Voices of Poetry

(Mr Swift)

A recorded version of the annual event, with poems recited by pupils and staff in many languages.

Raphaela Ihuoma writes:

On Wednesday our weekly Politics Debate Club came together and discussed whether juveniles should be tried as adults for serious crimes and also whether ex-criminals can reform and reintegrate back into society. Raphaela introduced the motion in a neutral way and the group discussed the following points and issues:

  • Are ex-criminals able to reintegrate back into society after committing such serious or heinous crimes? If so, how?
  • Should they get a second chance? Should society forgive them?
  • Is it the government’s duty to provide work and reintegrate former convicts so they can be part of society, pay tax and pay their way?
  • The UK case of Jamie Bulger, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson was discussed. Some asked whether prison is the best way to deal with juvenile ‘criminals’? Or whether justice should be about retribution or reformation?

The senior girls basketball team wrapped up the season a little differently yesterday and said farewell to the Sixth Formers, Captain Calina Sacolax, Avouka Assebian and Abbie O’Brien.

It was great catching up with the team and we would like to congratulate the following

  • Most Valuable Player – Charlotte Moffitt
  • Most Improved player – Maybelle Rainey
  • Defensive player of the year – Raphaela Ihuoma.

The team is excited and looking forward to building on their skills for next season.

Fifth Former Maybelle Rainey writes:

On Thursday evening, at the Art Talk, my uncle Gawain Rainey spoke about art in the fashion world. His company Image Partnership has over 20 years of experience producing fashion shoots and films and is also an agency representing some of the hottest artistic talent in fashion. He has worked with a glittering array of  top names in fashion, including Burberry, Vogue, Fendi, Prada  and Stella McCartney to name a few. He and his teams create exciting content for these brands in a number of different media: advertising, flim, editorial shoots and animation as well as the production of fashion shows. In his agency books, he has gathered a broad range of talent to make this possible – directors, photographs, set designers and makeup artists.

During his chat, Gawain went through, layer upon layer, all of the different departments and skill teams he puts together to create this magic. On just one fashion shoot, there can be as many as 35 people on set, aside from the model and photographer, to assemble the final product. Teams of set designers, stylists, make-up artists, lighting crews, catering and assistants are all pulled together by production (ie. Gawain) to create the precise look that the client desires.

Gawain grew up in the Welsh countryside, the second youngest of a bustling and bohemian family, driving tractors and running wild on the hillside, about as far from the world of fashion as you could imagine. However, his father had a seminal clothes shop on London’s Kings Road in the sixties, called “Hung on You”, dressing the Beatles and Rolling Stones, and his mother Jane, now a very successful interior designer, was considered a style icon of that decade. So although he had a fairly wild country upbringing, it is clear that fashion and design run in his blood.

Like me, Gawain is extremely dyslexic, but unlike me, there was little support within schools at this time, and he abandoned formal education at 15 and got a job, determined to get going.

He spoke of how he started as a photographer’s assistant, which mainly involves carrying photographic equipment and running errands, but showed him the ropes of how a set ran. Through working consistently and determinately, he built up a base of contacts within the industry, some his age, starting out, who were soon to be household names.

In his chat, Gawain stressed that although there are many amazing courses now in fashion colleges, it is also possible to climb the ladder in this world by just getting out there and getting work experience. Whichever route you take, though, it requires true hard graft, determination and a belief in one’s own personal ‘look’. The fashion world is famously hard to crack, but again he stressed that consistent hard work carries you forward.

I have a boundless admiration for Gawain’s achievement in having built such a successful business- what an inspiring and interesting talk! If you want to see more about his company follow this link.

During the period of ‘lockdown’ since March, our resident Chaplain and talented photographer, Daniel Owen, has been roaming the campus taking pictures, and now we present you with an online exhibition, below.

These are of course portraits of a campus emptied of pupils (though there are many resident staff and their families); they are also portraits of beautiful places blossoming with the growths of the season. They will be very evocative for all pupils, their parents, and Old Columbans, who cannot currently visit the College.

Reverend Owen writes:  “They are a mixture of colour and black and white and even a few taken on film. Emptiness and space are prevalent, along with a distinct lack of people – but there are also plenty of light-filled Spring photos to remind us of new beginnings to come…”


Last Friday the Warden held an online ‘Assembly’ for Sixth Formers and their teachers, since all academic work has now finished for them.

During Assembly he announced the winners of the 2019-2020 Form Prizes, based on work done since September: Megan Bulbulia, Sophia Cole, Camila Garcia Herrera, Dmytro Kasianenko, Eliza Somerville, Tania Stokes.

Prizes for other Forms will be announced in June.

Every year, during the annual Sports’ Dinner, ‘Colours’ are awarded to those who are deemed exceptional in every way in their sport: ability, attitude, commitment on and off the playing field, consistency, reliability, character and courage. Last Friday, during a virtual assembly with Form VI pupils, Director of Sport Liam Canning awarded ‘Colours’ to the following leavers:

  • Boys’ hockey: Andrew Pollock, Alexis Haarmann, Till Schultheis
  • Girls’ hockey: Sophia Cole, Cato Oldenburg
  • Rugby: Alexis Haarmann, Peter Keogh, Thady McKeever, Philip Shekleton, Sakhile Khumalo.

Congratulations to all the Form Prize winners and those who have been awarded Colours.

Fifth Former Tim Otway-Norwood and three of his friends are raising money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution by ‘virtually cycling’ around Ireland. They aimed to raise €2000 at first, but have gone well past that now, with currently over €7000 on their GoFundMe page.

Tim writes:

“To update you, the RNLI challenge is going really well: we have been cycling for six days. We set up a Twitter page @VirtualRnli and have been mentioned on Ryan Tubridy’s morning radio show on RTE radio 1, and the Irish Sailing Association have put it up on their website and put an article on Afloat.

We have been joined by Olympic Silver Medallist Annalise Murphy and other Olympic hopefuls have also taken part, including Aoife Hopkins, Oisin McClelland and former Olympian Timothy Goodbody. The Olympic Federation have also mentioned us on their Twitter accounts.

We have cycled over 1134km, climbed 7400metres and spent 36 hours cycling over six days around my online classes.  We took a rest on Friday in Virtual Achill Island Lifeboat Station.

Today, Saturday, we set out for Donegal.

Thank you for your support, we hope to get to over €8000.00.”

Further donations can be made below.


[Update May 27th: we have now concluded these sessions, but hope to run more next term if still necessary].

Since our annual May Open Evening cannot take place, due to the closure of the campus, the Warden is going to host ‘remote’ Open sessions, and families who are interested in sending children to the school up to 2023.

There will be three Open evenings/days over the next few weeks and we invite you to sign up. They will be held on the following dates (always Irish time):

  • Thursday 21st May, 18:00 (closed – FULL).
  • Tuesday 26th May, 14:00 (closed – FULL).
  • Tuesday 2nd June, 18:00 (closed – FULL).
  • Thursday 4th June, 14:00 (closed – FULL).

There will be a limit of ten families for each session. You will be given a link in advance, and then welcomed ‘remotely’ by Warden in his study. He will give an introduction and then show a 7-minute film of him giving a brief tour of key parts of the campus. After the film there will be for a live session of questions. It is envisaged that the sessions will last less than an hour.

If necessary more sessions will be organised.

 If you would like to sign up for any of these sessions, please fill in the form below.

Éile Ní Chianáin reports on the latest session of the Fifth Form virtual politics debating club:

Today we discussed ‘the legalization of all drugs.’ Sinead Cleary introduced the topic and highlighted why she suggested this motion. We decided to begin each of our meetings with a quick vote before the discussions began on whether we were for or against the motion. Interestingly, we were an even split. 7 of us were for the legalisation of drugs and the other half against. In our discussions we encourage everyone to contribute through stating opinions, outlining ideas or hopes for this future idealistic world, responding to others points or asking questions.

This discussion raised thoughts and questions on:

  • should we decriminalise drug users?
  • the power drug cartels hold over society and governments
  • whether the sale of illegal substances gives rise to secrecy and mistrust in society?
  • can substance abusers and addicts get the help they need for rehabilitation and recovery within prisons?
  • is reforming corruption in governments that facilitate drug trafficking the solution?
  • if drugs were legalised what restrictions would be put in place?
  • the practicality of implementing drug legalisation is LEDCs
  • The real-life effect of the legalisation of drugs in Portugal

In our next meeting we plan on voting at the beginning and end of the debate to see if members have been swayed by others’ arguments.

Congratulations to pupils who have been awarded Art Prizes this year (the annual prize exhibition could not be held this year in March). You can see the work of these pupils in the album lower down the page.


Senior Earl of Meath Art Prize

Arizona Forde (Coursework notebook pages and lino)

Senior Craft Prize

Nikolaus Wachs (lino print)

Photography Prize

Sveva Ciofani

Junior Earl of Meath Art Prize

Georgia Goodbody (painting in term I and her CBA)

Junior Craft Prize

Alison Coogan (Pottery macaroons)



Full details – 

Senior Earl of Meath Art Prize

Arizona Forde (Coursework notebook pages and lino)



  • Tania Stokes (Portrait & Painting) 
  • Iona Chavasse (Portrait)
  • Edna Johnston (Portrait)
  • Anthony Zhang (Portrait)
  • Eyitore Gbenga Ajayi (Portrait)


Senior Craft Prize

Nikolaus Wachs (lino print)



  • Paolo Garcia Leslie (Pottery Hand)
  • Iona Chavasse & Emma Hinde (Pottery landscape)
  • Elea Strahl and Mia Deutsch (Pottery hand and world)
  • Caroline Hagar and Edna Johnson (pottery Honey- comb)


Distinctions also awarded to the following for their excellent work on the JUNK KOUTURE project

  • Bonnie McCallum (Slaves to Pollution)
  • Maria Grimalt Pujol (Slaves to Pollution)
  • Jasmine Williams (Slaves to Pollution)
  • Caroline Hagar (The Treasure Hunters)
  • Vera Iltchenko (The Treasure Hunters)
  • Lioba Preysing (Black Water)
  • Franz Kohlhaas (Black Water)
  • Emma Hinde (Books for Dreams)


Photography Prize

Sveva Ciofani


Junior Earl of Meath Art Prize

Georgia Goodbody (painting in term I and her CBA)



  • Jasper Wilkinson (Drawings)
  • Amaya Street (Drawings)
  • Keelin Bradley (Drawings)
  • Phoebe Landseer (Painting term I and CBA)
  • Max Cully (CBA)
  • Isabella Tracey (CBA)
  • Jaime Green (CBA)

Junior Craft Prize

Alison Coogan (Pottery macaroons)



  • Elys Walker (Clay skull and prep work)
  • Kaley Song (Notebook Work and Drawings)
  • Kate Higgins ( Clay head and prep work)
  • Zofia Cannon-Brookes (Clay eye and prep work)
  • Isabel Warnock (Clay heart and prep work)
  • Elena O Dowd. (Lino and prep work)


From the Warden: 10th May 2020

So, there are not going to be any Leaving Certificate exams this year. It is probably the right course of action, but I cannot bring myself to feel any satisfaction about the cancellation, even if it simplifies my summer and that of all our teachers. It does mean that once this term ends and we have tried to interpret the criteria for awarding Leaving Cert grades, we can put it to bed and not have to spend an extra couple of months keeping the 6th form bubbling along until the exams finally begin at the end of July. I won’t have to fret about whether our overseas pupils will be able to get back into the country to sit the exams. We will not have to administer the exams right the way through August and that means we might actually get a holiday. Not that anyone can go anywhere, of course. Overall then, for the staff it is probably a relief.

However, schools are about young people and that is why I am not feeling satisfied. The last couple of months have been hugely stressful for the 6th Form, not knowing whether they are coming or going. I am sure there is a sense of relief that there is at least a clear course of action, but feelings will definitely be mixed. Imagine spending your whole secondary schooling psyching yourself up for the famous Leaving Cert, that semi-mythical beast that lurks as a rite of passage to devour every teenager in Ireland. Your siblings have done it, your parents did it, even your grandparents. People swap stories about it: the stress, the all-nighters, the celebrations when they finished and the results. You may be dreading it, but there is also a feeling of excitement, the facing of a necessary evil, via which one will burst forth into adulthood. Then suddenly it is snatched away. There has to be a feeling of anti-climax. The butterfly emerges from the chrysalis without that last desperate struggle to break free. Yes, it is a relief, but it doesn’t feel quite right.

These 6th Formers will always be the ones who never got to sit their final exams. Yes, they will get the results, and those results will be as fair as possible, but they will be the ones who never got to finish school properly. They won’t have the satisfaction of walking out of their final exam and burning their Maths notes. Well I guess they can still burn them, but it won’t have that same sense of catharsis. They have been cheated, not by the school, or by politicians, but by fate. That is why I cannot feel any satisfaction.

But then again, I wonder whether I am forgetting what true education is all about and why I got into teaching in the first place. I believe very strongly that terminal exam results, while necessary, are an appalling yardstick for measuring the worth of anyone, and certainly not that of a young person emerging from school after 13 years of education. Does all that time in school really come down to a piece of paper with a few numbers on it? That flies in the face of everything that I believe is the purpose of education. To think I nearly forgot myself. Education is about building character. It is about who you are becoming and the values on which you choose to build your life.  And so I am going to look at things differently.

I want to say this to my 6th Formers, now, in writing, in case it doesn’t come across very well when I try and articulate it in some impersonal virtual assembly later in the week. ‘You did finish school properly. You finished properly, because, over the course of the last few years at St. Columba’s, you bought into the values of the College and you have turned into deeply caring and thoughtful young people. You have had a fantastic and privileged education in many ways, but you have taken an interest in the world around you and become compassionate and humble. You have celebrated the strong, but you have also looked after and cherished the weak, which is a wonderful thing to say about any group of people. I know you want to be successful (whatever that really means) but you also want do good and generous things with your lives. I know that because I have talked with you. You are very good company, with a great sense of humour, and I have always enjoyed spending time with you. I don’t need a piece of paper to tell me what I already know…that you are a group of young adults of whom I and the College can be very proud. Proud of who you are, regardless of your ‘results.’ The chrysalis was not the Leaving Certificate, but the whole of your education. And you have emerged with dazzling wings.’



This weekend would have seen our Transition Year pupils participating in our 5th Pieta House ‘Darkness into Light’ walk in Marlay Park. Despite the cancellation of the event, we continued the tradition and supported this amazing charity by asking TY pupils and staff to show solidarity with those affected by suicide by getting up at 5:30am on Saturday 9th May to watch the sunrise from their homes. See the many evocative photographs in the album below.

Pieta House is accepting online donations here.

After the first virtual Artist Talk last week, Maybelle Rainey had the idea of getting a guest artist to speak every week. So this week we had “Art Maker”, Street Artist, Illustrator and Teacher, Niall O’Lochlainn, to talk to the pupils about his art work.
It was really interesting for pupils to hear about his work and processes. It was also great to hear about the range of work and commissions he does and how each one leads to the next.

Tania Stokes writes:

Last Thursday we had the great pleasure of listening to a talk from Niall O’Lochlainn. Niall is an art maker based in Dublin who specialises in street art, illustration and design. If you want to familiarise yourself with his work, his Instagram is a good place to start… though you might also try hunting around the city for his fantastic murals.

In his presentation, Niall shared some iconic experiences with us that were made possible by his art. He talked about how a small artistic favour done years ago for an anonymous rapper led to him getting recommended for a job for Wu-Tang Clan. He got to create the promotional poster for a Berlin concert they were putting on, and he considers it to be among his proudest works. “One of my musical heroes got to see a piece of my artwork through this… That was a cool moment.”

Niall’s involvement in the street art community has had its share of highlights too. Doing professional work for various clients has helped broaden his horizons. He told us he had never been sporty, but that on one occasion he was commissioned to paint a hurling wall at Stradbally, which got him involved with the club there for a few days. “It’s nice when you can link in to a culture that you’re not good with… through art you can get into that culture.” 

Likewise, his own personal art has opened up new worlds for him. Painting on walls in the streets at all sorts of strange hours of the day has resulted in some memorable encounters. “You don’t get that sort of stuff when you’re in a studio”, he says, telling us about the time when a homeless person bought him a smoothie out of appreciation for a giant mural of a granny he was painting. Hearing about the characters Niall has met along his journey put a good few smiles into our day.

I love Niall’s art, with all of its personality, quirky shapes and the interesting stories behind each piece. It was truly inspirational hearing him talk so passionately about it, and I want to end with a quote from him that I think sums it up very well: “I like to think that these pieces all have a bit of me in it. Y’know, that little bit of hip hop.”


The first Wellbeing Challenge this term produced lots of cheery images of what makes pupils, staff and parents happy.

The next challenge is to submit photos of things which bring you calm and peace. Please submit photos by Thursday 14th May.

See all the photos from the challenges in the album below.

Fifth Former Tita Schack and friends are organising a charity fundraiser for the Chittagong eye infirmity (CEITC), which is the largest eye clinic in Bangladesh. They would be grateful for any contributions to this worthy cause. You can see plenty more details, and a link for donations, here. You can follow also on Instagram here.


Fifth Former Raphaela Ihuoma writes:

The “crashcoursedebateclub” is a Fifth Form discussion group. We discuss current affairs, political and social issues. I set up the club in the midst of this global pandemic because I was keen to discuss and make sense of what was going on around me. I realised that when I spoke with my peers at St Columba’s that I learnt new things and I was influenced by what others had to say, sometimes to the point of reversing my initial opinion on a topic. This is why I thought it would be a good idea to establish an official club.

I sent out emails to teachers who would help establish this club and I asked the Warden for permission. They were all in full support of my idea. Ms. Duggan and I decided it would be a good idea to start a virtual discussion while the school campus wase closed, so we meet via Google Hangout now. Sveva Ciofani  and I gathered the initial thirteen Fifth Formers (the number has now grown to sixteen) and things started from there. If you would like to join our weekly discussions, please email me or Ms Duggan. The whole team is very grateful to Ms. Duggan for helping us set up this club.