There has been lots of activity in Transition Year since their work experience week and half-term, especially for those involved in the Gaisce President’s Award scheme. Some community service was carried out in and around the school while the pupils were also thanked for their contribution to The Hope Foundation. Recently, they helped raise €860 for the charity which works with street children in Calcutta. We were grateful to Alpana Delaney from The Hope Foundation who visited the College to speak with the pupils about the work they do and present them with certificates recognising their work. The Gaisce pupils also volunteered at a charity auction for The Hope Foundation at the Ballsbridge Hotel, which yielded over €20,000 for the charity.

Some TY pupils took part in the Careers in Screen Day 2022, a joint initiative from the Irish Film Institute and Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival.  The day started with a showing of The Racer followed by a discussion panel including the film’s Director Kieron J Walsh along with his producers and the Director of Photography. There were talks on Costume Design, Casting, Animation, and the National Talent Academy along with model-making and interviews. It was a terrific day!

Finally, TY pupils from Sustainability and Gaisce modules recently volunteered at our local Whitechurch National School to prepare the foundations for the construction of their outdoor classroom (pictured above). They did fantastic work and we look forward to continuing this work seeing the final product after the Easter break.

Again, many thanks to Ms Kilfeather and all her team for the great work they do with our Transition Yeat pupils.

The traditional winter sports of rugby and hockey wrap up their seasons and all the participating teams can reflect on a full and generally successful season overall. In rugby, the JCT squad showed significant potential and the foundation for future senior squads was strengthened. Young players like Ryan Ovenden, a Form II boy who ended the season as captain, and Oran Mann have further years to contribute at junior level. They’ll be joined by some promising talent coming up from Form I, especially the try machine David Cron who excelled for the Ducks this year. The SCT had a disappointing cup run but reached the semi-final of the Shield, losing narrowly to Newpark. On Wednesday last, they played in the semi-final of their league ….. They played without their talisman Tom Larke was has been called up to the Ireland Under 18’s preliminary camp as they prepare for the upcoming Six Nations competition.

The boys’ hockey season has not been the most successful in terms of qualifying for finals and silverware but there have been some good results.  The senior team qualified second in their pool behind a strong High School team.  There were four pools and the top team from each pool qualified for the A-League whilst those who came second qualified for the B-League.  In the B-League our seniors would play against Newpark, Sandford Park and Templecarrig.  Two wins and a narrow loss to Newpark placed them second in the league and 6th in the province.  With many of the players still here next year they have a good opportunity to improve on this position.  The team captain, Andrew Maguire, led his team extremely well and it was fantastic to see their progression through the season.  Other standout players included Johannes Pabsch, Jurre Chukwueke and Harry St Leger.  Harry, who is only in third form, was selected as Captain for the Leinster U16 team and is part of the Irish U16 training squad to play in a five nations tournament in the Netherlands in April.  They will be playing against England, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium.  It should be a fantastic experience for him.

The U14 boys also had a strong season.  They qualified for the A-League after topping their pool and were pitted against St Andrew’s, Wesley and King’s Hospital.  They lost both their matches against St Andrew’s and Wesley but had a strong outing versus King’s Hospital, comfortably winning 3-0.  This placed them third in the province.  Two key players in this team, David Chukwueke and David Cron were both selected for the Leinster U14 training squad.

The girls’ hockey season also concludes at the end of this term and it was a very solid season overall, with lots of promise on show. The traditional end of season inter-house match (Potty Match) was won by Clonard in their first time competing in it. There was some great skill on show, as well as laughter and colour.

Attention now turns to the summer games programme: cricket, athletics, tennis, golf and more.

Congratulations to the following pupils on receipt of one of the Senior Art Prizes.
Senior Photography Prize.
‘Blurred Time Series’ by Alice Letort, Form V.
Senior Craft Prize.
‘Finite Infinity’ by Antonia Ladanyi, Form V.
Earl of Meath Art Prize, Senior.
Time and tide wait for no man’ by Georgia Goodbody, Form IV.

Ms Kent-Sutton, our Librarian, writes:

Book Week has returned to the College after a small hiatus with teachers getting into the spirit of things by decorating their classroom doors with designs based on their favourite books.  Thank you to all the staff members who took time out of their busy schedules to decorate their doors and talk to pupils about their favourite books.  Copies of the “books behind the doors” are available to borrow from the Library.

The Library extended its opening hours to play host to some book-based activities.  There were some new books trapped in a lockbox that could only be released with a special code.  Literature inspired clues were provided each day to help crack the code.  Well done to Matteo Tafi whose perseverance paid off to claim the first book; happy reading Matteo.  We also had some mystery literary guests to supper in the Library too.  They left some interesting clues behind so good work to everybody who correctly identified them!

Our Junior Book had a longer than usual meeting this week and we enjoyed a very lively discussion about our chosen title, Savage her Reply by Irish author Deirdre Sullivan.  We also voted for our next Book Club read, The Hobbit!  If you would like to join us, copies of the book will be available to borrow from the Library after the Easter break.  Pupils were also given the opportunity to redesign the College bookmark, keep an eye on the Library notice board to see what design was chosen.  Professionally printed versions of the bookmark will be available in the library next term so keep your eyes peeled: they go quickly!

While our author visit had to be postponed until next term, we are very much looking forward to welcoming author Richie Conroy, who will speak about his career path into writing and his current position as Scríobhneoir Cónaithe Gaeilge DCU.

It is good to see the spirit of reading is alive and well at SCC.  Remember the Library regularly adds new stock throughout the year and remains open at lunchtime for browsing and borrowing!


On March 12th 2020, the Taoiseach announced from Washington DC that all Irish schools would close that day due to the impending pandemic threat. The Sixth Form then thus never got the chance to end their school careers as normal, and go through all the rituals associated with leaving school.

Yesterday, at last under a pure blue sky, they returned to the College, many of them with their parents, and we had a chance to say a proper goodbye. Firstly there was a Chapel service at which the Warden greeted the visitors, three favourite hymns were sung, the former Senior Prefect Megan Bulbulia spoke on behalf of the year, and prayers were said by the Chaplain. You can read the Warden’s words below.

This was followed by a presentation ceremony in the sunshine outside Whispering House, with sports’ awards and Parents’ Association gifts being handed out, and then a tea, before all headed off for further festivities off campus.


The Warden:

745 days ago, March 12th 2020, is a day I remember very well and I am sure it is etched permanently in all of our memories. To cast our minds back, the virus that had started in China, had arrived in the north of Italy in February and was getting closer to these shores. I was due to take a parents’ trip to Florence in late February, but decided that it might have looked slightly cavalier to head off to Italy on a pleasure trip at that moment, so that trip was cancelled at the last minute. We thought we might rearrange it for the Autumn. The first few cases of Coronavirus had appeared in Ireland and rumour was growing that schools could close early for the end of term and staff and pupils were a little jittery. One or two pupils were even wearing masks, which we thought was over the top and creating an unnecessary sense of panic. Common sense Irish people don’t wear masks, we thought, perhaps considering it as a sign of weakness or surrender. I thought the situation called for some decisive leadership, so at the end of morning chapel I confidently strode to the front here to reassure everyone that it was business as usual…that if schools were to close early, which was unlikely, the government would obviously give us plenty of notice and we needed to stay focused on the task at hand. It was a good performance…I strode back to my seat, sure that I had delivered a strong and clear message. Two hours later Leo Varadkar closed schools with immediate effect! So much for my reassuring and wise words!

The news went round the school like wildfire and the message went out to parents that flights would need to be rearranged and that any pupils unable to leave that day would be allowed to stay until the next day. It was amazing how pupils who could not get themselves sorted to hand their essays in on time, unless it was for Mr. Finn of course, nor carry out restriction properly for Mr. Higgins, nor get motivated to turn up to games on time, could suddenly organise international flights around the world at a moment’s notice and get out of here within what seemed like minutes. By that evening we had about 20 pupils left in the school.

Of course, they took the minimal amount of belongings, because we were going to see them all in a few weeks…two weeks of online work, three weeks of holiday and we would all be back, once the Coronavirus was gone and life was back to normal. But, as we know, for all of you, that was your last ever day physically at school and we never got the chance to say goodbye. Some of you came back to get your stuff, creeping in individually by appointment, when we could be sure that you would not run into anyone else, but for those who live abroad Gillian and her heroic team, once it was clear that there would be no return during the following term, spent hours and hours boxing up your things and shipping them off…and many of you have not been back here until this afternoon. I promised that we would organise a farewell in the Autumn of 2020, then the Spring of 2021, then it was delayed again and again…and finally here we are…745 days later. In actual fact, we are in the middle of by far our worst outbreak among the staff and pupils at the moment, which is why you may not see some of those you were expecting. I hope that this will not be a super-spreader event!

So let me start by saying to you pupils, or rather Old Columbans, that it is an absolute joy and pleasure to see you here this afternoon and the fact that so many of you have made a big effort to be here reflects I would suggest both a love of the College and also a need to finally close out this chapter of your lives in an appropriate way. You haven’t changed that much, although some of you are a little hairier.

It is also a great pleasure to welcome back your parents, to whom, like you, we never got a chance to say farewell. You had been standing on touchlines together for years, sat on committees, hosted each other’s’ children and you also were deprived of seeing your child proudly leave school and of saying goodbye to your fellow travellers. I am touched that so many of you have come to be with us today and hopefully enjoy a social and convivial weekend in Dublin.

Turning back to the pupils, there is no doubt that your cohort, the leavers of 2020, got a very raw deal. It was tough for everyone, but you got the worst of all worlds. You missed out on the rites of passage that go along with leaving school: your final house singing competition (it hasn’t happened since, but we are doing it early next term), sports day, sports dinner, Columba’s Day, prize-giving, graduation…even the actual experience of sitting your LC exams (although I know, looking around here, that there were a few for whom that was a huge relief). Then, having decided that there was no point in having a gap year, since there was nothing that you could do anyway, as there were no jobs and no travel was allowed, you headed off to university, to online lectures and remote freshers weeks. You cannot relive your last term at school, nor have your first year at university all over again, but I do hope that coming back here today gives you a chance for some closure. And I do hope that your university experience has got better since its rather sad beginning.

It wasn’t easy for you, but it hasn’t been easy here either. There were times in those first few months of lockdown in 2020 when I wasn’t sure whether we would have a school at all in the September, as there was uncertainty over whether boarding schools would be allowed to operate and, if they were, whether international boarders would be allowed into the country. There were pre-term quarantine periods that tested all of us, including an almost total absence of many of the things that make Columban life so colourful: concerts, full school chapel, sports matches, debating, plays. It was very hard work and demoralising at times but we survived, somehow, through the incredible hard work of a lot of extraordinary people, and the wonderful support of staff, parents and pupils…and we have managed to keep smiling through it all. Or at least most of the time…I know that there have been some tears along the way as well.

Have a wonderful and I look forward to chatting to all of you later.



The Warden writes (10th March 2022):

I haven’t blogged much this year, perhaps because there is a limit to how often people need to read my thoughts about coping with the pandemic and life has been dominated by that for so long. Now, of course, just as life is returning to normal, we are facing even more serious challenges in Ukraine and the world seems like a rather dark place. Ironically, from a school point of view, there is much to look forward to as Spring arrives and the daffodils begin to add colour to the campus. However, it is hard to be too upbeat when so many are suffering so much elsewhere.

Let me stay off the politics and the pandemic…it is that time of the year when I remind the school that my father scored the only try of the match for England v. Ireland at Twickenham in 1952 in what must go down as the most absurd game of rugby in history. The match was supposed to have been played in February but was postponed, for the first time ever, because King George VI died. It was rearranged for the end of March and so had to be played then regardless of the conditions. In those days, there was no such thing as health and safety or concern for player welfare and matches never got called off!

A few years ago I found the footage from the match on YouTube. In fact I found two different versions of the same match. Both are magnificent. The older among you will remember that when those leather balls got wet they swelled up and become like a bar of soap, which helps to explain the chaos that you see. The commentary of the shorter is wonderful, while the longer one has more footage and ends with an Irish player trying to start a snowball fight.

You can watch the two clips below.

Sport is not real life, but it can provide a great distraction in tough times. I hope this cheers everyone up!

In case you are confused, a try was only worth three points in those days, hence the final score of 3-0. Oh, and good luck to Ireland on Saturday. It is always a great occasion, but I hope you will not be too disappointed by the result.