“Seachtain na Gaeilge” (“Irish Week”, in English) was actually celebrated over a two week period – that sounds mad but the country celebrates it for 17 days! Obviously, activities had to be carried out remotely and it was great to see so many pupils taking part in the various activities. We played “biongó foclóra” (vocabulary bingo) and had “tráthanna na gceist” (quizzes) during our Irish classes. Pupils, both those who study Irish and those who don’t, could enter a poster competition in which they were asked to illustrate one of three “seanfhocail” (proverbs). We received some wonderful entries; the winner was Isabella Treacy and Zofia Cannon-Brookes was awarded second prize. Pupils also entered a “tóraíocht taisce” (a treasure hunt) and answers had to be submitted by way of a collage. The winners were Cameron McKinley, Tabitha Larke and Rachel Shaw. Have a look at their amazing work below.

The Irish Department are also running a “Dialann Ghaeilge” (Irish Diary) competition, whereby pupils keep a record of the Irish they use and hear outside of the classroom for 14 days. The deadline for this has been extended until after the Easter holidays, so why not give it a go?! All prizes will be awarded to pupils after the Easter break.

Many words used in English in Ireland come from the Irish language and some of these were displayed on the College Twitter account and on the Irish Department’s new Instagram account @sccgaeilge. We would love it if you would follow us!

Bainigí go léir taitneamh as briseadh na Cásca agus táimid ag tnúth go mór leis na daltaí ar fad a fheiceáil ar ais ar scoil arís go luath! (Enjoy the Easter break and we are really looking forward to seeing all pupils back at school again soon!)

Many thanks to all those who entered into the Book Week 2021 “Bookface” competition. Below is an album of the best entries. We are delighted to announce the winners are Fee Ratibor & Coco Xu with Charlie Bevan as the runner up. Well done to all!

Táimid ag ceiliúradh Seachtain na Gaeilge ar aon leis an tír go léir. Ar ndóigh, caithfear na gníomhaíochtaí go léir a bheith déanta go fíorúil. Tá súil againn go nglacfaidh gach duine páirt – ní gá Gaeilge a bheith agat!

We are celebrating Seachtain na Gaeilge (“Irish week”, it actually lasts for two weeks!) along with the rest of the country. Obviously, all activities will have to be carried out virtually. We hope that everyone will take part –  you don’t need to know Irish!

  • Comórtas póstaeir: tarraing póstaer a leiríonn seanfhocal /
  • Toraíocht Taisce: faigh na rudaí ar an liosta agus déan colláis astu / Treasure Hunt: find the things on the list and make a collage from them.
  • Dialann Sheachtain na Gaeilge: tabhair faoi deara na focail agus nathanna nua a fheiceann tú, a fhoghlaimíonn tú, a chloiseann tú, a deir tú, a deir daoine eile, a sheolann tú / Seachtain na Gaeilge Diary: note down the new words you see, you learn, you hear, you say, others say, you send.
  • Focal an lae (15 Márta ar aghaidh): focail Gaeilge a choistear sa Bhéarla in Éirinn / Word of the Day (15 March onwards): Irish words that are heard in English in Ireland
  • Tráth na gCeist (sna ranganna Gaeilge idir an 1 agus an 17 Márta) / Table Quizzes (in Irish classes between the 1st and 17th March)
  • SCC Gaeilge ar Instagram: leathanach nua atá bunaithe againn chun an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn mar theanga bheo, spraíúil, thaitneamhach, nua-aimseartha. Lean muid! Beimid ag lorg ealaíontóirí a bheadh sásta pictiúr próifíle a dhearadh dúinn le linn Sheachtain na Gaeilge. / SCC Gaeilge on Instagram: a new page we have set up to promote Irish as a language that is alive, fun, enjoyable and modern. Give us a follow! We will be looking for artists to design our profile picture during Seachtain na Gaeilge.
  • Among Us as Gaeilge: Beidh daltaí na tríú bliana ag cur liosta foclóra le chéile ionas go mbeidh sibh ábalta ‘Among Us’ a imirt trí mheán na Gaeilge / Among Us in Irish: Third Year pupils will be putting a list of vocabulary together so that you will be able to play ‘Among Us’ through Irish.

The College’s Mental Health Awareness Week kicks off tomorrow, Monday February 8th, and despite our community being dispersed across the globe we hope everyone can come together and promote the message of positive mental health. Obviously, Mental Health Awareness Week will be a lot different this year with most of the activities taking place online, although there are a few activities for those currently on campus. There are daily morning walks, daily opportunities to CONNECT, baking challenges, TikTok challenges, online Zumba & mindfulness sessions, webinars, a “bring your pet to class” day and much more.

The full programme of events can be found on our dedicated FireFly page here (you will need to log into your FireFly account to access), which also includes loads of recommended videos, movies, music playlists, podcasts, weblink and more (including the first ‘Mind Your Mind’ videos collated from your submissions to your SPHE teachers.

The week’s events are based around a number of key principles of good mental health: connect with friends, engage with hobbies, eat well, be mindful, journalling for good mental health, exercise and sleep well. There are also a number of daily themes. We hope all members of the College community can get involved, including parents and siblings, and we want you to share your photos and videos through the FireFly page also.

We look forward to connecting with you throughout the week! Safe safe and mind your minds!

Unfortunately this year we were unable to hold our annual Christmas Carol Service but music is very much alive and well within the College community. Over the past few weeks, the various choirs and musical groups within the community have been practising diligently and we are delighted to present this short film of carols (sung with the appropriate ‘distance’) and lessons.

The Chaplain’s opening blessing is followed by Once in Royal David’s City, sung by the Chapel Choir with an opening solo by Isabel Warnock, Form IV. Felix Jellett, Form I, reads the first of two lessons and this is followed by Sine Nomine singing Ding Dong Merrily on High. Our newly formed quartet perform a beautiful rendition of The Snowman before a choir of staff and pupils sing the German hymn Es ist ein Ros entsprungen. Senior Prefect Éile Ní Chíanáin then reads the second lesson which is followed by a small Transition Year choir performing Infant Lowly, Infant Holy. Emily McCarthy sings a haunting solo performance of the Irish carol Don Oiche Úd i mBeithil before the Chaplain’s final blessing. The video concludes with organist Patrice Keegan playing Bach’s In Dulci Jubilo. 

Many thanks to the pupils and staff who helped coordinate the video. We hope you enjoy it and we wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

We would like to thank all pupils and teachers for embracing Science Week Nov 8th – 14th. We managed to incorporate an extensive variety of activities with plenty of fun and competitiveness.

Paper Airplane Challenge
Hugo Laurenceau won both Junior competitions with a distance of 23.45m and longest time in the air of 6.34 seconds. While Bruno Marti won the senior competition.

Junior Science Class Rocket Building Winners
A number of classes participate in the Film Canister rocket challenge, despite the weather we had numerous successful launches (and unsuccessful!). Notable rocketeers include Ivan Zhu and Harry Powell (2C), Elliot Warnock, Keelin Bradley-Brady and George Priestley (2B), Aeladh Bradley-Brady, Bella Fennell and Iona McCausland (2A), Sam Hayes, David Chukwueke, Ryan Ovenden (1A) and Matthew Houlihan and Oscar Liu (1B)

Poster Competition –‘Choose your Future’
Our poster competition entailed designing a poster to highlight this year theme – Choose your Future our Form 1 winner was Polly Pringle and the Form 2 winner was Hedley Butler

Junior Movie Night
Our Junior Movie night theme ‘Wear it – Eat it – Use It’ consisted of three short movies which the pupils watched during prep. The main objective to focus on sustainability. The best reflection was submitted by Sarah Cron, which can be read below. Our TY Pupils also got the opportunity to watch the latest David Attenborough Documentary – A life on our planet.

Senior Movie Night
On Friday night the senior pupils had the opportunity to watch the controversial documentary – Virunga. The story follows a small and embattled team of park rangers – including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas and a dedicated conservationist – protecting this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources. A very thought-provoking watch and definitely worth adding to your Netflix list! A huge thanks to those pupils who attended the event.

Science Riddle of the Day Winners

Monday: Kate Higgins, Avi Johnston, Jamie Casey
Tuesday: Joshua Chan, Calvin She, Rory O’Dowd
Wednesday: Solomon Babajide, Nikolai Foster, Alannah McKee
Thursday: Ciara Finn, Amaya Street, Carlotta Castagna
Friday: Keelin Bradley-Brady, Caleb Owen, George King
Saturday: Jemima Bunbury, Sinead Cleary, Yilong She
Teacher Winners Ms Kilfeather and Mr Canning

A shout out to some pupils who entered every day: Avi Johnston, Solomon Babajide, Nikolai Foster, Kate Higgins, Pascha Shvalov, Ciara Finn, Carlotta Castagna. A special mention to Mr McDonald and Ms McEeaneny for entering all riddles!

Science Kahoot Challenge
No science week would be complete without a Kahoot, we had a huge amount of entries with Amber Cotton winning the Junior Prize, Pavlov Shvalov winning the Senior Prize. A big shout out to Mrs Owen for winning the teachers’ Kahoot!!

Many thanks to our wonderful Science Department for organising the week’s event especially Ms Hennessy and Dr Rice.

Some Science Week Prize Winners!

Sarah Cron – A Reflection on Wear it –Eat it – Use it

On Wednesday 11th November as part of Science week we watched three short movies – the theme – Wear it –Eat it – Use it – looking at sustainability through the life cycle of tee-shirts, chocolate and plastic bottle.

Wear it – I had no idea how much water was required to produce one tee shirt and I also didn’t realise the impact the chemicals used have on rivers that affect ocean wildlife. The process of making a tee shirt is much longer than you’d think it is. It was also interesting to find out that the fashion industry has a serious effect on the environment as its generated a lot of greenhouse gases during its production and transportation of the millions of tee-shirts purchased each year. I also learned that cheap synthetic fibres emit gases like N2O, which is 300 times more damaging than CO2, is crazy to think about.

Eat it – This movie looked at the cocoa industry, from the cocoa plantations in Africa to the shelves in our shops. It’s unfortunate and unfair that the workers for the cocoa plants are under paid and don’t earn enough for basic needs. If chocolate is worth 4 billion pounds per year how is it fair for the cocoa farmers to live off £0.80 a day! Fairtrade is a great organisation, in my opinion, they are helping local farmers and their communities, helping to provide better farming technology, clean water and schools to advance their children’s education. In these cocoa-producing countries, women often have less access to land than men do so for a company being able to make a difference and give women their own independent income makes a huge difference. Buying Fairtrade products can really help people’s lives in the long term.

Use it – Our third movie looked at the life cycle of a plastic bottle. I never knew that it could take a water bottle 1000 years to decompose and I think it’s very sad that plastic pollution is having on a huge range of habitats around the globe. These three videos were all very interesting and definitely made me think.

Today, November 11th, is Remembrance Day. Traditionally, the entire school congregates in Chapel Square formally to acknowledge and remember the members of the College community who lost their lives in the World Wars of the 20th century.

This morning, a smaller than usual group of pupils and staff gathered (distanced, and wearing face coverings) for the regular commemoration of those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom, including the 96 former pupils and staff who died in the First and Second World Wars. The Warden has recorded a short video message to mark the event.

Pictured, the Senior Prefect lays the wreath. Following this, there was the two-minute silence, and then Konstantin Kühne played ‘The Last Post’ and the ‘Reveille’. The Chaplain concluded with a prayer.

Science Week kicks off and there is a wide range of activities and challenges for pupils and staff to get involved in. Some of the activities include: daily chemistry riddles, online science Kahoot challenges, STEM Activities (rocket building / paper aeroplane workshops & challenges), movie nights (exploring environmental and sustainability issues), poster competitions

The theme of this years Science week is Choose your Future  – and we want to focus on how you can shape the future of humankind by addressing key issues such as energy, pollution, and environmental change as we strive to find more sustainable ways to live and protect the planet.

Pupils are asked to keep an eye on FireFly and on the noticeboards in the Science Building. Get stuck into Science!!

Our Transition Year pupils took a day off class on Saturday last and instead engaged in a series of new activities to engage their creativity and challenge them physically. There was a wide range of activities on offer including yoga sessions, arts & crafts (including Christmas decoration making and book covering), Gaelic games (some promising “wristy” hurlers), baking and more. All activities took place in a socially distanced environment and we are grateful to members of the Parents’ Association for their help in facilitating some of the activities.

An album of photos from the Transition Year 2020 is below, including some new photos of the weekend’s events.

The College Virtual Choir launch their performance of Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’ tomorrow morning at 11:30am. Be sure to check it out on FireFly here or by watching below (when it goes live).

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.

On Friday evening we were delighted to host a live webinar with Professor Luke O’Neill from Trinity College Dublin. Professor O’Neill gave an hour-long masterly analysis of the Covid-19 situation in Ireland and around the world and shared the latest developments in the hunt for a vaccine, and the potential of anti-viral and anti-inflammatory drugs to help fight the infection. He also shared his own recent research, which is showing some promise.

Professor O’Neill was joined online by over 50 pupils, parents and staff, who contributed to a really great question & answer session in the second half of the talk. Professor O’Neill impressed with his knowledge, common sense, humour and, above all else, positive outlook in the fight against Covid-19. We are enormously grateful to Professor O’Neill for giving up his time to spend with the St. Columba’s College (online) community.

Professor O’Neill’s talk is now available online by clicking here (pupils and parents will require their FireFly log in credentials to access).

Today the 25th of April at 1:30 p.m.was when the entire St.Columba’s College community were to join Old Columban and extreme runner Alex Panayotu in stages of her 24 hour ‘Run till the Sun’ around the college grounds in aid of Purple House Cancer Centre.

The entire College community: comprising pupils, staff, parents, Old Columbans, friends of the college Come together to give something back to a very worthy charitable cause. The reason why this is not happening as I write is very clear.

The world will come out on the right side of this current global pandemic. So the ‘Run til the Sun’ is only postponed. It will be nice to have something to look forward to when we will eventually be allowed to get together.

As a cancer survivor, Alex has been in isolation in the northern suburbs of Athens for over six weeks with only her faithful dog Robyn for company. Alex tells me she is doing at least two hours of running and walking every day on Mount Penteli training and preparing for when her ‘Run til the Sun’ endurance challenge will happen. She also said ‘Liam you have no idea how much I am looking forward to seeing and running with all the pupils and supporters of ‘Run til the Sun’.

I am delighted to say that in a time which is a disturbing and challenging one for so many that I can give you some good news. Purple House has finally secured a permanent home after thirty years. The HSE approved a prioritised capital application for funds towards the purchase of its new permanent premises on Duncairn Terrace in Bray. This was announced in the midst of the current crisis it will give hope to the thousands who use its services every year. The ‘Run to the Sun’ committee delighted for Conor O’Leary and Stephanie Murphy, their dedicated team and all the charity’s volunteers. Although the doors of Purple House are closed their hearts are open and hampers and support are being provided for cancer patients who are isolating.

Purple House will need to launch fundraising when the crisis is over as they will need support to fund their move. The St.Columba’s ‘Run til the Sun committee’ are looking forward to giving them as much support as our community can muster.

Luke O’Neill is a Professor of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin and one of Ireland’s leading science figures. He has been a prominent figures on Irish radio and TV over the past number of years and in particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, providing evidence-based advice for the general public on minimising the risk of contracting Covid-19.

We are delighted to announce that Professor O’Neill will host a live webinar for pupils, teachers and parents on Friday April 24th at  7:00pm. The title of his presentation is “A frenzy of activity: vaccines, antibodies, anti-virals and anti-inflammatories against COVID19“.

To join the webinar simply click on FireFly logo above. This post contains the details of the Google Meet link  (you will need to log in to your FireFly portal to access). Professor O’Neill will give a short presentation before taking some questions from those attending (you can add your questions into the “chat” during the webinar).

The College is delighted to announce details of a fantastic charitable event taking place this April – Run til the Sun! On Saturday, April 25th, Old Columban Alex Panayotou – an accomplished long-distance runner – will challenge herself to run for 24 hours around the College campus. She is looking for your support along the way – both financial and physical – to complete this mammoth challenge.

The event is being organised by a committee of pupils, who have decided that all proceeds from the event should go to Purple House Cancer Support – a fantastic charitable organisation based in Bray that provide hands-on practical support for children and teenagers with cancer. They have set up a fundraising page here where all donations, large and small, will be gratefully received.

You will soon be able to sign up to join Alex on a leg of her journey; perhaps you’re willing to run for a half-hour, 10 kilometres or even something more ambitious? You can run in the morning, afternoon, evening or even at night time – with the course illuminated along the way. The event will culminate with a celebratory barbeque at the Cricket Pavillion on Sunday evening.

The pupils have created a dedicated page for the event here and a donations page here. They have a fundraising target of €8000, which would be transformational for Purple House, as the vast majority of their funding is through donations. We were delighted to welcome Purple House to the College Chapel last Monday to hear about the work they did and some of the organising committee visited their facility in Bray a few weeks ago. Alex is a cancer survivor, another reason why the charity resonated with the pupils.

So please do get involved, donate to the cause, sponsor a runner or run a leg of the journey yourself. We would love the whole community to get involved – pupils, staff, parents, Old Columbans, friends of the College and even local primary schools.

To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week the Parents’ Association is organising a walk on Kilmashogue Mountain.

The bus will leave the school car park at 8.30am and take us up to Kilmashogue car park. The walk will commence there and end up back at the school at approx 10.15am.

Our English Department is organising the first ‘English Meet’ on the evening of Thursday 23rd April (Shakespeare’s birthday). This is an evening for teachers of the English Leaving Certificate course to share ideas. It will be held from 7pm to 9pm, and will feature practising classroom teachers presenting for 10 to 20 minutes each on different aspects of the course. There will also be plenty of time for discussion. It will be a convivial and, we hope, helpful event.

Several teachers from schools in and around Dublin have already signed up, and more are welcome: just email sccenglish@stcolumbas.ie with your suggestion.

Tickets are available here.

On Thursday 14th November the College officially opened our new social centre. It is named ‘Whispering House’, acknowledging the title given by early pupils of the College to the previous building on the same site. The occasion also marked the renaming of the school’s Library the William Trevor Library and the art centre the Patrick Scott Art School. William Trevor, who died in 2016, and Patrick Scott, who died in 2014, were both alumni of the College.

The new building will also be used for artistic display and musical performance and, in recognition of the school’s proud artistic and literary heritage, Josepha Madigan, TD, Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, officially opened Whispering House. We were delighted also to welcome the legendary commentator Micheál O’Muircheartaigh, who delighted all with his words towards the end of the evening.

Pictured above, from left to right: Mark Boobbyer, Warden of St. Columba’s College; Josepha Madigan TD; Micheál O’Muircheartaigh: Gavin Caldwell, Chairperson of the Board of Fellows of St. Columba’s; Sarah Love, Chairperson elect.