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.

All prospective pupils and their parents are very welcome to our annual Open Day during the morning of Saturday 29th September. No booking is needed: just turn up and you will be guided by pupils to the  Lower Argyle reception point, where you can meet staff and current parents. From here, Prefects will take tours of the grounds, including the beautiful Chapel, the Library, the Science Block, dormitories and the sports facilities.

The day starts at 10am, from when visitors are welcome, and concludes at 1pm, so ideally you should have arrived by 11.30am.

Note: if using Google Maps you will be sent to the wrong entrance (beside Marlay Nursing Home). Instead, the main entrance is via Kilmashogue Lane at the other end of College Road. See here for full directions.

Queries about Admission and places should go to Amanda Morris, Admissions Officer, via or by phone or the Contact Form.

For the third time the College is taking part in Culture Night, the great national event which this year is on the evening of Friday 21st September. Again the Sub-Warden, Julian Girdham, will give a 15-minute talk on the history of the College starting at 7pm in the Chapel (visitors are welcome to come from 6.30pm, and will be guided to the Chapel by pupils), followed by an historical and architectural tour of the campus for about an hour. 2018 is the 175th anniversary of our foundation.

Note: if using Google Maps you will be sent to the wrong entrance (beside Marlay Nursing Home). Instead, the main entrance is via Kilmashogue Lane at the other end of College Road. See here for full directions.

See our entry on the Culture Night website here.

Among the features are the William Butterfield-designed Chapel (1880) as well as the Cloisters and Chapel Square, the original Hollypark House (late 1700s), and Robin Walker’s refurbished modernist Science Building (originally 1971), as well as lovely gardens. A literal overview of the campus can be seen in our aerial video here.

We were joined last week by Malebogo Modise, a former pupil of the Warden Mr Boobbyer when he worked at Tiger Kloof School. She assisted in the All-Ireland Head Prefects’ Conference training on Friday, and then on Saturday morning spoke powerfully about her own story. Her address follows below:-

“It is such an honour and privilege to serve and inspire leaders and history makers of tomorrow.

My name is Malebogo Modise and I am in the process of redefining myself. I am from a secluded village in South Africa where dreams are known to die or simply not exist. I am from a privileged but yet fully dysfunctional home, a home that sees it okay to insult and dehumanise people, more especially if they are children. I don’t have parents, I never have.  I went to a very prestigious school that produced world leaders like the late and former President of Botswana, Sir Quett Masire. I started primary school in Tiger Kloof and completed High School. I believe that makes me quite a special alumna.

I have had quite an interesting life, mainly because of the experiences I have had. For 20 years I have cried tears that could last an average human-being a lifetime. Here’s why:

  • My mother abandoned me when I was two years old and throughout my childhood I was always reminded that the reason she left me was purely because she wanted nothing to do me.
  • I was under the care of my father (traditional and wealthy man) who believed that raising a child was paying someone else to do the job.
  • I moved from 5 to 6 homes for a variety of reason and being the observant child that I was, I knew it to be because no one wanted to carry a burden that’s not theirs.
  • I made mistakes and with came the talks where my father expressed how useless I am. My mistakes would sometimes result to me not having school supplies or clothes.
  • My father stopped my school fees because I chose not do science.
  • My father disowned me when I was 15 for simply not apologising for something I didn’t do. It was quite an eventful night I must say. That was the night where I was told of how I would never amount to anything, how life has nothing in store of me among many other things.
  • My sister took me in and I lived with her family for the remainder of my High School career.
  • Being made aware of my situation, my former Headmaster, Mr Boobbyer, ensured that my education was not compromised. I was awarded a bursary that covered my tuition and boarding fees for three years.

I could have been homeless and I could have not had the opportunity to complete school if it had not been for the people that stepped in and saw me worthy of being given a chance. That is how I got to be the person I am today. Because I had practically lost everything, and I took it upon myself to fully gain something that one could ever take away from me, my education. I made that decision and I committed to it. If anything, I was quite aggressive and protective when it came to my learning because it was the only thing that I could ever say was mine.

Within those last three years I excelled academically, and I was elected for various leadership positions. I was honoured with opportunities to represent the school both nationally and globally.

All of that came to be because of the people, the teachers and institutions that believed in me when there was not much to believe in and more importantly when I didn’t believe myself. Tiger Kloof consists of individuals that encourage young people to trust themselves enough to have a dream and live it. Tiger Kloof is a Christian school and what makes it stand out is that it gives its students and community the exceptional gift of getting to know the Lord Jesus. And that is what I did. That is how I got to know myself, my worth and my purpose. That is how I became bold and brave enough to chase after dreams and opportunities my father said I would never get.

I am now a student at the University of Buckingham and I am one of the first recipients of both the tuition and living scholarship. I am doing a Bsc Honours Psychology degree. I chose to study this because I find it to be a powerful educational tool where one is granted the chance to understand human behaviour and in the process, themselves.

I am studying psychology in order to break down the societal principle that we as human beings must just survive and measure our strength according to the painful situations we have found ourselves in. I dream of a world where we can confidently turn away from a lack of self-worth regardless of past disadvantages. I am working towards becoming a political psychologist and life coach mainly because the political state of my country is in shambles and because I want the political sector to serve their citizens by first understanding what they need and deserve as individuals. That is my purpose. A purpose that can successfully be fulfilled through education.

The chance to learn and develop socially, emotionally and academically is a privilege each student in Tiger Kloof is given. But what is the point of having opportunities when students there have broken prospects of their own futures and their ability to succeed in anything because of homes and environments that completely destroy their sense of self-worth. Issues such as domestic and emotional abuse, poverty are often the sad reality that many of us students in Tiger Kloof have to face outside of the classroom. And because in collectivist culture such as ours, we kids are taught to merely survive rather than heal. But here is some questions: how does a young girl survive rape? How does a young boy survive drug addiction and abuse? How is it absurdly expected for a young person to survive and try make something of themselves when no one has showed them how to do so?

Tiger Kloof is situated just outside a broken township where domestic violence and drug abuse are rife, understandably so because that’s how (according to them) you survive life.  In such a circumstance, a broken child, a rape victim has to set aside their bad reality and go to school, that’s where they find their peace. School was and still is an escape for many students back at home like myself and you will find that students recognize academic excellence as their only strength, the only thing they believe is their right.

That’s the beauty and wonder of education; it sets you apart, challenges you and makes you see yourself beyond your hurt, your struggle and your condition. Most importantly education is the greatest tool we as students have been given to serve those who are in desperate to see themselves outside of poverty and lack. It is not easily accessible to many young people across the globe and sadly enough it is not used to overcome socio-economic issues that tear young people apart. That is the reality. That is the situation back at home and that is the challenge each of you see in different communities.

The world currently needs a lot of things. But most importantly it needs for the young people have been blessed enough to be educated to use it to radically transform themselves and the world around them.

All of you seated here are so blessed to be equipped with the tools that will lead you exactly where you want to go. But what a lot of people fail to understand about education is that it’s a service. A service to yourself and the world you in live. We live to serve and we learn to serve people and to pursue a purpose that is bigger than ourselves.

How are you using your gift of education and how do you intend on using it? Are you fulfilling the responsibilities that come with it?

I urge you to discover your purpose and serve through your right of education because knowledge can only be of value when used to change a situation, more so another person’s life.

For those of you that will be making their way to Tiger Kloof, go there with an open-mind and open-heart that is ready to serve, experience and grow. It is a beautiful place that is made up of young people like yourself that are finding it hard to dream and believe in themselves. It is a sanctuary where people like you are needed. Essentially what I am saying is, get ready to change someone’s life just by simply being there and experiencing it.

Thank you.”



A large cohort of pupils joined Rev. Daniel Owen for the first episode of the Nua Film Series last night – a new series of short videos which offers a different perspective on Christian faith. In total, there are eight videos in the series and each is around 15 minutes. According to their website ….

“NUA is all about exploration: it’s a film series that encourages questions, acknowledges doubt, and offers an engaging perspective on the Christian faith. NUA equips you with the ability to intelligently explore and understand what you believe. We give you tools to discuss your worldview with credibility and confidence, while encouraging you to wrestle with the things that just don’t seem to make sense. At the end of the day, this film series is about impact—immediate and personal, as well as the long-term, life-changing experience of working out your faith.”

The first video certainly was popular – I’m sure Rev. Owen’s vast biscuit collection had little to do with its popularity – with plenty of discussion afterwards too. Here’s the first episode of the series (in case you missed it).

A very important part of what we do is to continue improving our academic practices. This work is largely unseen by pupils and parents, but is a strong under-current of school life. As well as individual teachers and Departments working on their practice, there is also a formal programme of school-wide training, partly organised by the Teaching and Learning Team.

As an example, on Tuesday 4th September, the day before pupils arrived back for the school year, we set aside the morning and afternoon for thinking about assessment and feedback in teaching. This day was facilitated by a presentation by Tom Sherrington, an education consultant from England who was previously Head of two schools, and a Physics and Mathematics teacher. He is much in demand, travelling world-wide to help educators, and his recent book The Learning Rainforest: great teaching in real classrooms has been hugely successful.

Tom gave teachers a fascinating overview into current evidence-based thinking in education about assessment, and subject departments will now take ideas from this event into their own discussions in the months ahead, re-examining practices in the spirit of School Self-Evaluation which is currently a priority for secondary schools.

Wednesday 5th September

  • 2.00-2.30pm: arrival of new pupils at boarding houses, and unloading of luggage, followed by refreshments in Lower Argyle/Dining Hall.
  • 3.30pm: Welcome and address by Warden in Big Schoolroom to all new pupils and their parents.
  • 4.00-4.45pm: Meetings with House staff (different locations).
  • 5.30pm: Parents and day pupils depart by this time.
  • 6.00pm: Supper for new boarders.
  • 6.30pm to 8.30pm: Return of all other boarders to House.

Thursday 6th September

  • Late rising.
  • 8.50am: Day boarders and day pupils report to House.
  • 9.00am: Warden’s Assembly in BSR, followed by Chapel arrangements and then service, followed by administration periods and lunch.
  • 2.00pm: two afternoon classes, finishing at 3.30pm. Day pupils and day boarders may go home after this time.
  • Evening: short prep sessions for all boarders.

Friday 7th September

  • First full school day.



A hearty congratulations to the Leaving Certificate Class of 2018 on their record breaking average points score of 483. This, we are confident in saying despite the lack of national statistics, places St. Columba’s as one of the top performing schools in the country. 7% of our pupils achieved over 600 points, with one candidate attaining 6H1’s and therefore the maximum points score of 625. A phenomenal 48% of our pupils achieved over 500 points, 81% achieved over 400 points and, finally, 97% of our pupils achieved over 300 points. On the grades obtained across all candidates 17% of all exams sat were awarded H1’s, 41% either a H1 or a H2 and 61% either a H1, H2 or H3 – which is extraordinary. A considerable 85% of all exams were sat at Higher Level.

Our pupils worked extremely hard over the past two years, and in particular in the final term, and we are delighted to celebrate their achievements today. We celebrate every pupils’ results – from the pupil obtaining the maximum score to the pupil who struggled throughout but obtained their target, however modest. Of course, although it should seem obvious, the results obtained in these exams are not a true measure of a pupil’s life in school. Pupils are not remembered for their CAO points total but for their contributions to St. Columba’s on the stage, sports-field or in the classroom, for their attitude, work ethic, personality, humour and talents, of which this cohort had many.

We now wish each and every pupil success in their next big adventure, be that university, a gap year or another path entirely. Congratulations once again – we are all extremely proud of you!

The pupil magazine The Submarine has just released its end-of-year summer edition. Its focus starts with the recent Eighth Amendment vote, and also in it are a poem by Iona Chavasse, historical cartoons by Flora Macrae, illustrations by Tania Stokes and a Lord of the Flies wordsearch. Well done to editors Caoimhe Cleary and Tania Stokes. To read this terms edition click the link below.

The Submarine (Summer Edition 2018)

Last week, while our Leaving & Junior Certificate candidates settled into this intense exam period, the pupils in the other Forms took part in a variety of trips across Ireland. Form V spent four days in the Burren, their traditional ‘Trips Week’ expedition, doing a variety of Biology & Geography fieldwork but with plenty of opportunity for fun in the sun too (we got a lot of sun). The trip began with a walk ‘n talk up Blackhead followed by surfing / rock climbing at Lahinch before experiencing a stunning sunset at the iconic Cliffs of Moher. The vast majority of the fieldwork was carried out on Thursday – the Geographers exploring Liscannor Bay while the Biologists studied both sandy and rocky seashores near Fanore – while Friday began with a hike up Mulloughmore Mountain before the Geographers went caving and the Biologists hunted for orchids (and saints) at Slieve Carran. Finally, on Saturday, they all visited Ailwee Caves & Birds of Prey Centre before heading home.

Our Transition Year pupils spent the week in the Achill Outdoor Education Centre doing a variety of activities, again in glorious early summer sun. The activities included kayaking, surfing, coasteering, hiking, swimming and, on the final evening, camping out in the Achill countryside.

Pupils from Forms I, II and Primary took part in a variety of day trips over the week, usually within an hours drive of Dublin. Trim Castle, Mellifont Abbey, Glasnevin Cemetery, Croke Park (Skyline Tour & GAA Museum), National Aquatic Centre, National Aquarium (in Bray), Bray Head (hike), Kilruddery House & Gardens, the National Gallery (Nolde Exhibition), St. Michan’s Church, Museum of Modern Art (Frank Bowling’s exhibition ‘Mappamundi’), Dublin Zoo, the Kippure Estate, the Botanical Gardens, St. Enda’s Park, Marlay Park and, the less leafy, Tayto Park were all visited over the four days – luckily all in glorious sunshine.

Evie Pringle in Form II describes her favourite moment of the week – Frank Bowling’s exhibition ‘Mappamundi’ at the IMMA.

I loved his use of vibrant colors splashed in an array of patterns across the canvas. He managed to stick everyday objects onto a canvas, slap a bit of paint on it and make it into a beautiful piece of thought-provoking art. His paintings were massive, much larger than your average painting, covered with layers and layers of acrylic paint, prints, marbling techniques and materials such as styrofoam. He often painted maps, usually of Africa, into his pictures. He sometimes started with a print on the canvas and then painted over it, or hid drawings or paintings under layers of paint, giving the impression that he paints for himself rather than for other people. This I like as it means he paints what he likes and it really brings out his personality. It turned out to be a really great day although my feet were a bit sore by the end.

Below is a large selection of photos from all the trips over the week.

A spectacular weekend’s activities concluded last night with a lovely Chapel service at 6pm. Old Columbans from around the world, parents, staff and pupils took part in a huge variety of events blessed with perfect weather.

It all kicked off with the Old Columban Society drinks party in the Dining Hall of Trinity College, Dublin, with almost 300 attending. President of the Society Ian Fraser welcomed everyone, and the Chairman of the Fellows Gavin Caldwell also spoke. Simultaneously a large gathering of Sixth Formers and their parents were in the College at the traditional Leavers’ dinner. See an album of photos here.

The next day marked the annual St Columba’s Day celebrations, with the Chapel service followed by prize-giving in the Sports Hall. The speakers were Gavin Caldwell, the Warden, and Senior Prefect Kitty Morris, while there were presentations of various kinds by pupils such as Tiernan Mullane (drama), Grace Goulding, Isabelle Townshend and Orla Conlon-Batey (poetry), André Stokes, Tania Stokes, Sam Lawrence, Alex Lawrence and the Junior Choir under Mr McDonald (all music), and science pupils. Former Wardens Tim Macey and Lindsay Haslett were in attendance, and there was a filmed greeting from David Gibbs.

A fine lunch was had on Chapel Square, the BSR and Dining Hall in the sunshine.

Then the weekend really got going for Old Columbans and other visitors, with 400 people attending the Ball in the Sports Hall, preceded by a lovely drinks gathering in the Warden’s Garden. The Warden welcomed all at the Ball, asking OCs to stand according to the Warden of their time. A splendid meal was capped by a male-voice choir staff appearance by Barry Finn, Julian Girdham, Tristan Clarke, Eunan McDonald, Fraser Morris and John Fanagan, who performed two songs with familiar tunes but unfamiliar lyrics (adapted to the College traditions). The band Duvet played until 1.30pm, and eventually all drifted off in the small hours.

Sunday was much more informal, but equally enjoyable. Cricket, golf and hiking went on in the continuing sunshine, there were tours by the Sub-Warden, an art exhibition in Whitehall by Old Columbans, bouncy castles for smaller family members, and then a delicious barbeque on Chapel Square produced by surely-exhausted caterers.

The Chapel service was the perfect end. Mrs Malone-Brady had been rehearsing earlier with the choir, who sang several pieces, including Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ and Holst’s ‘Turn Back O Man’. The former Chaplain, Reverend Michael Heaney, read the first lesson and Gavin Caldwell the second. Prayers were said for all parts of the College community by the Chaplain, the Sub-Warden Julian Girdham, Christopher Hone, Sinéad Clarkin and Alex Owens, and traditional hymns were rousingly sung.

The sun was still shining strongly as the campus settled into peacefulness.

Particular thanks are due to the 175 Committee under chair Rosie Johnson, and organisers on-the-ground Sonia Young and Cathy Boobbyer as well as many many other helpers. Our thanks also go to Patrick Hugh Lynch for generously being at all events and photographing them; albums are here (TCD) and here (SCC).

Check out a Twitter timeline of weekend events here.

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.

Last night in the Big Schoolroom Mr McCarthy wrapped up this year’s Transition Year Programme, speaking to the pupils about their successes and progress throughout the year. He thanked all the TY staff team, and in particular Mr Noel Coldrick, who contributes a huge amount to the Year annually, and who is retiring from the College.

This year’s awards:
Margot Aleixandre: Spanish
Sam Lawrence: Biology
Shannon Dent: Physics
Sakhile Khumalo: Business
Calina Sacolax: Design
Charlotte Klingmann: Music, Chemistry, Economics
Tania Stokes: Art, Music, English, French, Latin
Eliza Somerville: Geography, Maths, Irish, Religion, Classical Studies

Congratulations also to:
Tania Stokes, winner of the Columban Award Scheme Cup.
Shannon Dent, winner of the Spirit of Transition Year Cup.

The 25th annual TY English Evening was held in the BSR last night to round off the pupils’ course. As usual the formula consisted of pupils reading out interesting pieces from their Work Portfolios, and a guest commenting on these and then on ‘matters English’.

The guest speaker last night was the first ‘graduate’ of the TY programme itself, Sophie Grenham, journalist and Old Columban. She has an excellent series in The Glossmagazine called “Writers’ Block“, having interviewed writers such as Louise O’Neill, Dave Rudden, Sebastian Barry and Sarah Webb. The presenter, Mr Girdham, mentioned the many other guests who have spoken at the evening over the years, including: academics Professor Colin Graham of Maynooth (last year), Professor Terry Dolan, Professor Kevin Barry; English teachers John Fanagan, Colin Polden and Mary Milne; and journalists Trevor White and Tom Doorley.

Shannon Dent started, with a reading of her evocative piece ‘My Secret Place of Wonder’, about the lush nature of Ecuador. Sam Lawrence gave us ‘Being Underwater’, another but rather different world. Charlotte Klingmann, who the previous night had performed several pieces at the TY Music Concert, read out ‘The Greatest Pleasure of My Life’ (music, of course). Andrew Kim’s piece was vivid about the early morning urban sprawl of Seoul in South Korea. Kathryn Kelly struck a recent note, since ‘The Big Snow’ was her most memorable event of the last 12 months, as she took the chance to reconnect with old friends. Frances Wilkinson was the only person to read a poem, “You”, delicately examining the difficulty of saying those three words “I love you”. Tania Stokes’s garden piece about a day in the sunshine was fine with detail. Finally, Andrew Pollock ended things entertainingly with his quirkly essay ‘Is Donald Trump Bald?’

Sophie Grenham then gave an account of her writing life, and of how well the College had prepared her for this. She said it was particularly important for young writers to ‘find their own voice’, and she made attentive comments about each piece she had heard.

She then made the annual announcement of Premier Awards winners. Congratulations go to Shannon Dent, Charlotte Klingmann, Sam Lawrence, Songyon Oh, Eliza Somerville and Tania Stokes.

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.

To coincide with the 175th anniversary, the Sub-Warden, Julian Girdham, has just published Floreat Columba, a book based on the first 100 years of The Columban, the school magazine. It is a rich compilation about all sorts of elements of College life from 1879 to 1979, from the most serious (the effects of the world wars, the fire that nearly destroyed the College in 1896) to the most bizarre and off-beat (a College Museum of scorpions, monkey-skins and spiders’ nests, ice-skating in Marlay estate, the death of a pet owl in a desk, a deer visiting classes for biscuits and cake, a rat being poisoned by a Library book, and much more).

You can find out more about the book here, and see many of the illustrations. It costs €10, including a DVD of the original files, and can be reserved for collection in the College by emailing Postage is extra.

Today, May 17th, we congratulate David O’Morchoe on his 90th birthday. An Old Columban (1941 to 1946), The O’Morchoe has had a profound and positive influence on the College over many decades, most significantly as a long-serving Fellow and Chairman of the board and of the Executive Committee. He is also a Vice-President of the Old Columban Society and Chair of the OCS Bursary Fund sub-committee. He has given enormously of his time and wise advice over many years to the College, and we thank him sincerely for this.

In 2007 The O’Morchoe was awarded the CBE for his services UK-Irish Relations and the cause of British Veterans in Ireland. He retired from the British Army as a Major-General after a ‘glittering military career‘, including being Commander-in-Chief of the army of the Sultan of Oman. He is also a former President of the Royal British Legion in Ireland, and in 2011 showed Queen Elizabeth the grounds of the Irish Memorial War Garden at Islandbridge during her state visit.

He is the hereditary chief of the O’Morchoe / Murphy clan.

Below is a selection of photographs taken by Patrick Hugh Lynch.