Emma Hinde, Form III, reports on a very successful Book Week 2018.

There were loads of things to do during book week this year. The week featured two chapel talks in which Kate Higgins and James Park spoke about their favourite books and Mr Swift sang a song about his bookcase. The author talk was probably my highlight: Richie Conroy told us about his career as a screenwriter (he wrote the animated movie “Two by Two” and the TV series “Fran: Assistant manager”, along with many more). He also wrote a book called “An Jailtacht” which is in the library. It’s aboout a teenage girl called Emily who goes to the Gaeltacht.
There was also lots going on in the library. The “shelfies” were photos of teacher’s bookshelves and we had to match the teacher to the shelf. I only managed to get one. We could also estimate the amount of books in the library, and design a cover for our favourite book. There was also an official book week bookmark, designed by Tania Stokes.
The first book club meeting of the year took place during lunchtime and we talked about which book we would be reading for the term. Lots were suggested and eventually Geraldine McCaughren’s Where the World Ends was chosen. The next meeting will take place in the library on Monday, 10 December at 1.20 pm.
First, second and third years had Book Speed Dating in the BSR. This is where we talked for two minutes about a book to the person sitting opposite us and then swapped. It was interesting to see what other people were reading. I kept changing the book I was talking about, but settled on one called ‘The Lost Gate’ by Orson Scott Card. It’s part of a trilogy.
The library was open at break and lunchtime, which was so successful that it was decided it would remain open at lunchtimes for the rest of the term.
I loved book week, and hope that others enjoyed it as much as I did.

Last year the first Book Week, to promote reading by everyone at St Columba’s, was a great success, and this year’s equivalent starts on Monday 24th. Mr Jameson introduced the elements of it in a Chapel talk on Wednesday.

These include:

  • The Library will be open every day at break and at lunch-time as well as the usual hours.
  • There will be competitions in the Library (including staff ‘shelfies’) plus a new bespoke Book Week book token available from Ms Kent-Sutton.
  • Book speed-dating will take place for First, Second, Third and Fourth Forms in the BSR.
  • Drop Everything And Read will take place on Friday. All pupils bring a reading book to every class.
  • There will be an author visit from Richie Conroy on Wednesday 26th from 11.00 to 12.20 in the BSR. There is a sign-up list pinned to the noticeboard in the Library.

You can follow events on Twitter at #sccbookweek.

Senior Prefect, Harry Oke-Osanyintolu, reports from the All Ireland Senior Prefects Conference.

The All Ireland Senior Prefects Conference took place last Friday September 7th 2018, with over 40 pupils from 11 schools taking part, from both North and South of the Irish border. Now in its second year, the event once again took place at St. Columba’s and I am happy to report that it was a great experience. We were really honoured to be led by Ms. Katy Granville-Chapman and Ms. Emmie Bidston, from Wellington College Leadership Institute, who made it clear to all of us present the kind of leaders we should work to become. In addition, we all were deeply moved and enlightened by the words of Malebogo Modise, our guest speaker and former pupil of Tiger Kloof School in South Africa. The day really allowed us reflect on what it means to be a school leader and it was great to be with people who understood our responsibilities and our challenges. Many thanks to Mrs. Cathy Boobbyer for organising such a wonderful event and to all who attended.

 

Old Columbans are currently travelling from all over the world for our special 175th anniversary weekend, which coincides with the annual St Columba’s Day Celebrations. We have already welcomed visitors from places such as Singapore and Bangkok who have been seeing the school, and tonight 300 OCs and their guests attend a drinks party in the Dining Hall of Trinity College, Dublin.

Tomorrow sees the prize day marked by a Chapel service at 11am and the prize-giving itself in the Sports Hall at 12pm, followed by a lunch for parents and their guests. Then the Sports Hall will be readied for the evening Ball, with drinks starting at 7pm and the Ball itself at 8.30pm. 400 people have booked places.

Sunday sees a variety of sporting and more informal social activities on the campus, including cricket, golf and hiking, and a barbeque, with everything being rounded off by a Chapel Service at 6pm.

The College is looking at its best and we are excited to welcome so many old friends. Follow #scc175 on Twitter over the coming days.

The College was buzzing on Saturday as sport took centre stage once again.  In the afternoon the main events of Sports Day took place, with pupils assigned to one of four teams (red, blue, green and white). The campus was awash with colour as the pupils competed in a wide range of events ranging from the traditional track and field fare (short & long distance running, long jump, high jump etc) to skills based challenges (cricket throw, rugby conversions, soccer penalties, basketball throws etc) to some less traditional events (like the three-legged and caterpillar race). The final races are traditionally the “cloister dash” – a 100 yard sprint from the Hurley Lane gate to Chapel Square. The race is only contested by Form VI pupils and the winners this year were Sasha Cole and Franz Truchsess. Well done to everyone who competed – Sports Day is, for many, the highlight of the year and this year certainly didn’t disappoint. Well done to everyone on the Blue Team for amassing the most points over all the events. Many thanks to Ms. Thompson and Mrs. Johnson, in particular, but to all the teaching and sports coaching staff for their seamless running of the day’s events.

That evening the College’s sporting successes were celebrated at our annual Sports Dinner, with ‘colours’ awarded to those pupils who have excelled in their chosen sports this year. Colours for Rugby were presented to Sean Cooper, Hector Wright, Adam Murphy, Max Hopkins, Kosi Anyim and Joe Gernon. In Basketball, colours were presented to Ryan Gumsheimer, Franz Truchsess and Tiernan Mullane. In Hockey, colours were presented to Ivan Moffit, Sean Cooper, Kitty Morris, Sasha Cole and Ella Noeldeke and in Cricket, colours were awarded to Helen Crampton. The overall Sports Pupils of the Year were awarded to Sean Cooper and Kitty Morris, for their contribution to College sport over the past six years.

Below are a series of photographs, taken by Rev. Owen, from the weekend’s sporting events.

That excellent annual event, Voices of Poetry, took place last night in the BSR. Every year it seems the sun is shining outside as the darkened space, lit by a single spotlight, gives us an hour’s treat of great poetry. As Mr Swift, the compère in black tie, pointed out, there was a ‘175’ tinge this time.

Again there was the mixture of poems in English and other languages, and of pupils and staff reading. The first off was appropriately the Senior Prefect, Kitty Morris, with a poem she had studied in Irish class, followed by two pupils with their own poems – Emma Hinde, winner of the Junior Poetry Prize, with ‘Eye of the Storm’ and Caoimhe Cleary, Commended for the Peter Dix Memorial Prize, with ‘Electric Picnic’.

Mr Swift was proud to have unearthed possibly the most obscure yet in the history of the event, as Shannon Dent read a poem from a native pre-Columbian Ecuadorian language. This was followed i by Latin (JiWoo Park), Italian (Sveva Ciofani), French (Georg Mueller-Methling), Korean (JiWoo Park again) and Vietnamese (Florian Zitzmann). Tiernan Mullane read in ‘American’ Raymond Carver’s ‘My Death‘, and then there were Swedish (Gioia Doenhoff), German (Carla Ladanyi) and Swahili (Akin Babajide).

Poetry has featured throughout the Columban year, and Jasmine Williams read a piece from the ‘Poem in Your Pocket’ initiative on Ireland Poetry Day (and in Mental Health Week), Walt Whitman’s ‘I Dreamed in a Dream’. Poetry Aloud was represented by national finalist Harry Oke-Osanyintolu, who recited Thomas McCarthy’s ‘State Funeral’. Next Mr Swift sprang a surprise: a €10 tuck-shop voucher with a poem was taped to the bottom of one chair, and Polina Grakhovskaia had it. She sportingly came into the spotlight to read our ‘The Dead‘ by Billy Collins (and retain the voucher). There was a bravura performance by Mr Swift himself of his own ‘Poetry Slam’ piece, written as lyrics for one of his songs. Next was Kate Higgins with another Irish poem.

Four teachers were next. Mr Girdham read ‘Breaking-up Night’, a poem from The Columbanmagazine of 1890 nostalgically recalling the old pre-Christmas tradition; it is reproduced in the new book Floreat Columba. The founder of Voices of Poetry, retired Head of English Mr John Fanagan, had written his own poem marking the College’s 175 years, and read it out. You can see it at the bottom of this post. The Warden followed, impressively reciting from memory Rudyard Kipling’s famous ‘If’ (written for Kipling’s only son, who died in the Great War: this is marked in Wellington College, where the Warden previously taught). Mr Finn followed, also reciting from memory, this time Yeats’s ‘September 1913’, which he had learned when studying for the Leaving Certificate (it is still often on the course).

Frank Meng’s reading of a poem Mandarin was dramatic, as was Katie Lam’s in Cantonese, and then Éile Ní Chianáin read the third Irish poem of the evening.

 Rounding off, as is traditional, was the recent winner of the Peter Dix Senior Prize for Poetry, Tania Stokes, with her ‘Death of A Moth‘ (she is pictured above with Mr Swift and Mr Fanagan), and then Manuela Sanchez from Primary with Yeats’s ‘He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven.’

And so the final whole-school BSR event of the year came to a lovely close.


SCC 175, by John Fanagan

May in 1843 saw
St Columba’s on its way.
From the plains of County Meath
To Whitechurch where we are today.

Wardens, teachers, pupils all
Have given of their very best.
We celebrate 175
Moving forward with new zest.

So much has changed, yet much remains
Of what has made us what we are:
Our friendships and our memories
Now span the world both near and far.

Next weekend it’s party time,
With sports, a barbeque and ball.
Tonight, as one who loves this place,
I say happy birthday to us all.

27 May 2018

 

The annual Second Form public speaking competition was held in the Cadogan last night, and showcased a great variety of topics and eight speakers who really engaged their audience of junior pupils. Much of the material was based on the Classroom-Based Assessments recently done in English classes. Mr Brett and last year’s winner Charlotte Moffitt were the judges, and Mr Girdham compèred.

(Mr Brett’s judging comments are in italics). Peter Taylor opened with an account of his life in Bangladesh, a talk which was clear and well-paced – exactly right). Caleb Swanepoel spoke about bias of various kinds; Mr Brett liked the way he provoked the audience. Franz Schmucker spoke on the topic of fake news, and engaged with audience well with sensible content. Fourth came Donald Thomson, whose talk opened with the famous Johnny Sexton drop-goal against France in opening up the subject of the Butterfly Effect; there were many good examples. Georgina Stewart tackled sexism, with good examples and her point of view coming across in a reasonably way. Emma Hinde spoke on a complicate subject, the tesseract (a four-dimensional cube), making a difficult topic interesting, with fascinating ideas. Poppy Somerville spoke on a very current topic, social media and teenagers, with very good points and sound judgment. Finally, Wolfgang Romanowski’s piece on vampires much amused the audience, being very funny.

Mr Brett then announced that the top places went to Donald Thompson (1st), Emma Hinde (2nd), and Georgina Stewart (3rd). Well done to all eight speakers on their polished and confident performances.

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 + 2 = ?

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!

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.

House Singing traditionally rounds off the Hilary Term each year with our pupils, in their respective boarding houses, showing off their singing talents in the most entertaining fashion. This year was another hotly contested competition with the standard of singing, dancing and all-round entertainment extremely high – the noise almost blew the roof off the BSR at one point! Inter-house competitive reaches new heights during House Singing with every house (and secretly every Housemaster) keen to take home the trophy. This year the bragging rights went to Glen, and for the second year running, but there was only 1 point between the top three houses after the judges had completed their adjudications. A sincere thank you to the judges on the night – Mr. Girdham, Ms. Kilfeather and Ms. de Fréin) and to the MCs Mr. Swift and Mr. Jones but the biggest thank you must go to the pupils – each and everyone of them – for their dedication and the incredible spirit and talent on show. Perhaps a special mention to the Form VI pupils who take charge of the organisation in each house, many of them day pupils who stayed long into the night preparing their charges! Here are a selection of photos from last night’s event, taken by Rev Owen, and click here to visit our Facebook page to see Glen’s reprise of their winning chosen song – a version of Breeze Blocks by Alt J. While you’re there why not give us a like!

Antonia Bullrich and Isabelle Townshend write short reviews on recent art gallery expeditions – the Grayson Perry exhibition at the RHA and the Emil Nolde exhibition at the National Gallery.

Last Thursday, the senior art pupils visited the RHA for the Grayson Perry exhibition. Grayson Perry is a British contemporary artist. He is known for his tapestries, vases and for cross-dressing. The exhibition is called The Vanity of Small Differences and it consists of six tapestries expressing modern life based on classical paintings. Perry is very interested in the emotional attachment we place on objects. The tapestries were hung up in a very spacious white room and each of the colors stood out individually. Each one told a story about the different social classes, and some harsh truths were depicted. As I walked around I realised each tapestry had small details that are hard to notice but they are exceptionally meaningful. When I gave each one of them a second look I noticed one or two new details I hadn’t noticed the first time around. Overall it was an amazing exhibition and we really enjoyed the day.

Last Thursday, the fifth and sixth form art pupils went to the Emil Nolde exhibition in the National Gallery of Ireland. Nolde was a German expressionist and at the time (1867-1956) which an attempt to creat a new style of painting. Nolde was so daring for his use of colours and topics that he painted. His paintings have a way of speaking to you in a way that I have never experienced before. For example in his self portrait of himself his piercing blue eyes feel like they are staring into your soul. The gallery was split into five sections ranging from paintings based on his homeland to when he went travelling. The most appealing section to me was called ‘conflict’ in which he painted his view on religious events which would have been really outrageous at the time. My favourite painting has to be Nolde’s interpretation of Adam and Eve, the use of colours and form of Adam and Eve is really interesting to look at. I would recommend this exhibition to anyone.

Last week was ‘Seachtain na Gaeilge’ – where pupils and staff celebrated of the Irish language and culture. Below is a short report, as Gaeilge ages as Béarla from our Head of Irish Alison Maybury.

Form II pupils after their bodhrán workshop.

SEACHTAIN NA GAEILGE

Cheiliúramar “Seachtain na Gaeilge” sa tseachtain roimh Lá Fhéile Pádraig. Seans a bhí ann do na daltaí a labhraíonn Gaeilge spórt agus spraoi a bheith acu trí mheán na teanga agus bhí deis ag daltaí eile taithí a bheith acu ar chultúr na hÉireann.

Eagraíodh imeachtaí éagsúla sna ranganna Gaeilge. Bhain daltaí an-taitneamh as a bheith ag cleachtadh damhsaí nua-aimseartha (mar is léir ón bhfíseán gearr de dhaltaí ón Idirbhliain ag foghlaim na ngluaiseachtaí don “Dreoilín”!) agus roinnt de na seandamhsaí freisin. Chan siad amhráin, arís idir shean- agus nua-aimseartha, agus chuaigh siad san iomaíocht a chéile le tráth na gceist. Bhailigh daltaí le chéile sa tob-Ghaeltacht ag am lóin i rith na seachtaine chomh maith le haghaidh comhrá agus spraoi. Chuir daltaí ón Idirbhliain isteach ar thráth na gceist Gaeilge agus tá siad ag súil le ticéid a bhuachan don fhéile ceoil “Groove” i dTeach Chill Ruaidhrí.

Bhí fuaim iontach treibheach le cloisteáil ar an Máirt nuair a d’fhoghlaim daltaí ón réamhrang, Bliain I, II agus V conas an bodhrán (uirlis thraidisiúnta) a sheinm le Robbie Walsh ó The Bodhrán Buzz. Ghlac Nyla Jamieson, Henry Carroll, Éile Ní Chianáin agus Poppy Somerville páirt i gCraobh Náisiúnta Tráth na gCeist Boird i mBaile Átha Cliath an lá céanna. Níor bhuaigh siad ach rinne siad éacht dul chomh fada sin sa chomórtas!

Sa séipéal ar an gCéadaoin, sheinn André Stokes fonn traidisiúnta ar an bhfidil agus chan Emily McCarthy “Siúil, a Rún”. Léigh Kate Higgins agus Cian Slyne na dánta “Sneachta” agus “Mise Raifteirí” agus chan Aurora Higgins-Jennings aistriúchán den amhrán “Your Song” le Elton John, á tionlacan féin ar an bpianó. Chan daltaí ón réamhrang agus Bliain I “Amhrán na gCupán”, le Jamie Green agus Tadhg Rane Ó Cianáin ag canadh na véarsaí. Rinne siad go léir éacht!

Bhí seans ag na daltaí sóisearacha a gcuid eolais (nó easpa eolais!) faoi Éirinn agus cultúr na hÉireann a thaispeáint i dtráth na gceist i Seomra Mór na Scoile oíche Dé Chéadaoin. Bhí an bua ag Harry Petch, Boris Shvalov, Poppy Gleeson agus Elena Diaz-Leanta Sanchez.

Bhaineamar go léir taitneamh as imeachtaí na seachtaine agus táimid ag tnúth le Seachtain na Gaeilge 2019 cheana féin!

SEACHTAIN NA GAEILGE/IRISH WEEK

We celebrated “Seachtain na Gaeilge” in the week before St Patrick’s Day. It was a chance for the pupils who speak Irish to have fun through the medium of the language and an opportunity for other pupils to experience Irish culture.

Various activities were organised in Irish classes. Pupils really enjoyed learning modern dances (obvious from the short video of pupils from Transition Year learning the moves to “The Wren”!) and some of the old dances too. They sang songs, again both old and modern and they competed against each other in quizzes. Pupils got together in the pop-up Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) at lunch time during the week for conversation and fun. Pupils from Transition Year entered an Irish quiz and they hope to win tickets to the music festival “Groove” in Kilruddery House.

A wonderfully tribal sound was to be heard on the Tuesday when pupils from Forms Primary, I, II and V learned how to play the bodhrán (a traditional instrument) with Robbie Walsh from The Bodhrán Buzz. Nyla Jamieson, Henry Carroll, Éile Ní Chianáin and Poppy Somerville took part in the National Table Quiz Final in Dublin the same day. They didn’t win but they did great to go so far in the competition!

In Chapel on Wednesday, André Stokes played a traditional air on the fiddle and Emily McCarthy sang “Siúil, a Rún”. Kate Higgins and Cian Slyne read the poems “Sneachta” and “Mise Raifteirí”. Aurora Higgins-Jennings sang a translation of “Your Song” by Elton John, , accompanying herself on the piano. Pupils from Forms Primary and I sang “The Cup Song” with Jamie Green and Tadhg Rane Ó Cianáin singing the verses. They all did really well.

There was a chance for junior pupils to show their knowledge (or lack of knowledge!) about Ireland and Irish culture in a quiz in the BSR on the Wednesday evening. Harry Petch, Boris Shvalov, Poppy Gleeson and Elena Diaz-Leanta Sanchez won.

We all enjoyed the week’s events and we are looking forwards to Seachtain na Gaeilge 2019 already!

Yesterday Primary to Third Form had a fascinating morning with fantasy fiction writer Ruth Long (pictured with Jean our Librarian). It was a real insight into the mind of a writer and the process that a writer goes through to create a novel.

In the afternoon senior artists were treated to a visit to the Stoney Road studio in Dublin (see photos from the visit on our Facebook page here). It was a chance to observe the incredible skill involved in the print making process. Head of Art, Mr Watts is certainly now considering taking up print making in his retirement.

Today we have had both poetry workshops and electro pop workshops. Old Columban, Caroline O’ Neill, together with Cian spent the day working with a group of Fourth Form on producing their own music digitally. They shared the loops they had created at the Open Mic night. Mr Swift kicked off the evening with a song he had written followed by the talented James O’Connor also singing one of his own works.

Jasper Bark, performance poet and novelist surprised pupils in chapel with an unexpected promenade performance of one of his own poems. He went on to spend the morning first with second and then fifth form working on performing either poems they had written or ones they had chosen in preparation for the Poetry Slam competition on Friday night.

All in all a busy day.

Arts week kicked off yesterday with Thibault Loiez (former French teacher) returning to spend the afternoon doing caricatures of pupils. These will be strung up across the dining hall from tomorrow.

Sadly the opening of the Guest Artist exhibition scheduled for Monday night had to be cancelled as the snow meant no-one could get up to St Columba’s to hang the work on Thursday and Friday. We hope to put the exhibition on in May instead.

Today we had a fantastic day. Primary and First Form spent part of their morning with artist and astronomer, Deidre Kelleghan, learning more about the Apollo moon landing. Then on black paper with chalk pastels and using a couple of images as inspiration, they produced some wonderful drawings.

While this was going on we had eighty children from four primary schools arriving to take part in the Primary Schools Choral Day. They spent the day learning various everything from Shosholoza (a song in Zulu from South Africa) to a ‘mash up of some well known pop songs! The day finished with a fabulous concert featuring the visiting schools, our Junior Choir, Sine Nomine, various soloists and our male staff a capella quartet. A big thank you to Eunan MacDonald.

Our Fourth Form art students students enjoyed a workshop with one of the Stoney Road print makers.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) we host fantasy author Ruth Long who will share her work with Primary, First and Second years. We have the rescheduled concert with Mr McCarthy on the piano and Mr Finn singing in the Cadogan at 6.30pm. There is also a visit for senior pupil artists to Stoney Road print studios during the afternoon.

Despite the snowy weekend which put a bit of a dampener on the start of Arts Week things have definitely revved up!

Below are a selection of photos from the week’s events, which will update frequently as new photos are added.

On Tuesday January 23rd eight Transition Year pupils attended the 9th annual DLR ECO Conference in Dun Laoghaire Town Hall. The conference is run in conjunction with ECO-UNESCO and Stillorgan College of Further Education, and aims to influence young people to become stewards of change both in and outside of their school communities.  Upon arrival we were warmly welcomed by Mr. Dean Eaton who passionately explained the need for the sustainability and the awareness of the sensitivities of our environments in our world today. Our pupils actively engaged with other students present through activities such as the World Trade Game and Food Miles Workshop, they also attentively listened to talks from Rebecca Doyle of The Native Woodland Trust, Veronica Ryan of WECREATE and finally Ji Hynn Kim of ECO-UNESCO. The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all the pupils involved, and we return to St. Columba’s better prepared to become stewards of change without our community.

A number of our Transition Year pupils recently took part in a Trinity College Geoscience Week. Shannon Dent reports on a challenging but exciting week’s events.

Geoscience week was organised to engage students into geology and the importance of this science in our daily lives. I went to this event with two other students in Transition Year in St. Columba’s, Calina Sacolax and Sam Lawrence. Apart from us there were 12 other students from different schools that also showed an interest to science and geology. The activities ranged from lectures to museum visiting to a day on the beach analyzing rocks and entering a small cave. We had 3 lectures and the one I enjoyed the most was one focused on seismographs and looking at earthquakes. The museums were also great fun. I have always wanted to visit the Book of Kells and the Old Library, and I was able to do it! It was a beautiful library and the book itself was crafted so intricately that I can understand the reason for its popularity. We also visited that Natural History museum which is packed with exhibits. Among the museum category we visited an art and science exhibition. These were a lot of fun and there was one specific piece that caught my eye, which was a DIY science kit including its own microscope that was made entirely of materials you can buy at local stores. During the beach day my friend Sam and I were picking at a rock and a shard-like piece fell out. We looked at it and decided to build a sort of spear with it, which sounds dangerous but was actually just for gags. Later on Shane told us about the micas (which are the shin bits in rocks, more specifically in granite) you can find in that specific rock and the layers of age in the rocks. Overall Geoscience was a really enjoyable activity and I definitely do recommend it for all Transition Year students who are interested in looking at the world through a scientific and curious point of view.