Form IV pupil, Philomena Schneider, reports on the recent College trip to South Africa.

During half term, the Warden and Mrs Boobbyer took a group of 12 senior pupils to South Africa on a school trip. I was one of them and in the following report I’m going to describe the activities in which we participated, as well as our experience in a country unknown to all of us.

The Friday before half term, the 9th of February, we went set off; first stop, the airport. We had two flights; the first one, 7 hours long, to Doha airport which was mind-blowing to all of us in its greatness and creativity. The next flight to Johannesburg took us about 8 hours, which we didn’t notice much, because we were sleeping most of the time. As we arrived in Johannesburg airport, we quickly found our luggage and went off to take the bus to Tiger Kloof, the boarding school where we would be staying. The Warden was the former principal of that school, so he knew almost everyone already. It was a very warm welcome, equally by the people and by the weather. Because we had a lot of traveling behind us, we just unpacked and got to know four very nice prefects who were greeting us in the evening.

On Sunday we started off with our programme, which this day included a walk around the school grounds after breakfast. This ended up being a 7 km walk, as the school is around 10 times bigger than St. Columba’s. On this walk we discovered the quarry and some ruins of old buildings. Chapel in the late afternoon was a very different experience than what we are used to. People were dancing and singing out freely, which, from my point of view, was great fun and not at all comparable to our chapel services. During this service, we first came across the amazing marimba band. This day was very exciting for everyone, so we talked about our experiences while playing cards after dinner, before we went to bed at around 11.00 pm.

Monday, the actual work started. Again, after breakfast, we made our way to the nearby primary school where we were supposed to help with classes and play with the kids. There was a little awkwardness on our side, but the kids soon were all in and had us playing with them until we couldn’t do anything any more. But that was not the end of the day yet! We had lunch after the primary school project and at 4:00 we went on to have two workshops. The first one was about how to do gumboot dancing and the second one about how to play the marimbas. Nobody from our group knew anything about either of these activities, so we watched and learned. It was very interesting to see how they would dance and it was very funny seeing them trying to tell us to loosen up a little.  It took us a few tries, but in the end we mastered at least the basics. Later that night we went out to dinner, where we got to witness a thunderstorm, which was really impressive. The rest of the night we played cards again until we went to sleep.

Something different was planned for us on Tuesday. We went to help Mamma Maria cook and serve food in a soup kitchen which she supervises. Because we were done with the food quickly, we went next door to play with the kids in day-care who were about 2 or 3 years old. Then it was time to serve the  aforementioned food to the people who came. The soup kitchen was located in Vryburg’s township, Huhudi, so most of them were starving and very happy about the meal they got. At around 2:oopm, we went to get our own lunch, of course, after helping Mamma Maria to wash the pots and plates. In the afternoon, we went to church again, where this time, a cultural evening was held by the Tigers. The marimba band as well as the gumboot dancers were performing. From our side Cerys was the only one brave enough to go forward and play something. It was rather spontaneous, so everyone who wanted to contribute anything could do so. For dinner we were supposed to cook our own meal, which was a chicken stew. Split into 4 different groups, we cooked it over an open fire and in the end, a “Jury” got to test it and determine a winner. This evening we went to bed early.

We got to hear the early bird song on Wednesday, at 5:30am. The sunrise walk was, in my opinion, very early, but totally worth it. It was really spectacular seeing the sun rise above the quarry, from where we were watching. Because it was so early, most of us went back to sleep right after it, to have a little rest before breakfast. This day, we were again doing the primary school project and got to see the kids again. Sadly, just short this time, because at 11.00 we drove off to another school to hand out sanitary pads as a part of the HER project at a school with major social issues. Right after it we went to have lunch and to go to a farm which had a huge wedding venue. There, we could do things like horseback riding or Kalahari surfing, but we mostly just played football. For dinner we had a barbecue, or braii, and went back to Tiger Kloof after that.

On Thursday we went to a disabled home, not far from the soup kitchen. It was very humbling to see the conditions under which the staff had to work and the people being taken care of. They were mostly children, but there were also 2 or 3 adults. We helped with feeding them and after a short break, where we went to see a lion farm, we got to play games with them outside and give them their lunch inside. We picked up our own lunch and later that day we went swimming in the quarry, where we played a few games like Marco Polo. For dinner we went to Orexi’s,a steakhouse in Vryburg, and after eating we went back to pack our bags for the next day.

Friday morning after breakfast we got a bus to take us to Pilanesberg. We said goodbye to everyone and off we went. The bus travel was about 5 hours with two short breaks. When we arrived at the game park, welcomes by monkeys, we had to hurry to bring our bags inside and go out almost immediately after, because we had a safari booked for 15 minutes after we arrived. On the first game drive we saw a lot of elephants, wildebeest, and even a warthog and three cheetahs, among many other things. This drive lasted for 3 hours, so when we came back, we jumped in the pool and went straight to dinner. We also went to bed quite early as we had to get up at 6 am the next morning.

As I mentioned, the second game drive was at 6:00 am. This time, the most seen animals were rhinos, which was very exciting. After this safari, we had breakfast and packed our last things. At about 10:00am, we took the bus to Johannesburg and first visited an African market, where everyone got souvenirs and later visited the Apartheid Museum. This taught us a lot about the apartheid system, which was very interesting to me and I wish we have had more time to spend in it. Finally, for the end of our journey, we drove to the airport, where we went on the 8 hour flight to Doha followed by the 7 hour flight to Dublin.

I think this trip was a once in a lifetime experience and I would recommend it to anyone considering it for another year. I brought back lots of memories I won’t ever forget.

Congratulations to the winners of the Junior Art Prizes 2024. Harry Bowles, Form III, is awarded the Earl of Meath Art Prize (Junior) for his piece ‘Gazing’ – an evocative painting of a squirrel. Angela Ge, Form II, is awarded the Junior Craft Prize, for her sculpture ‘Under the Sea’ . Finally, the Junior Photography Prize is awarded to Sophie Dobbs, Form III<, for her photo  ‘Rugged Connemara’. Congratulations to all pupils.

This year’s Junior Play is made up of three short pieces ‘sandwiched’ together, hence the production title: Junior Sandwich. Two acted pieces Now Hear This and The Shadow of the Glen provide the bread while the central piece (the mature cheddar and pickle) is Blackout Number, a narrated item involving creatures seldom seen on an Irish stage.

The Junior Play is open to pupils in Forms I, II and III and from the eleven Columbans involved all three forms are represented.J.M. Synge’s ‘Shadow’ is as playfully twisted as his more famous full length play, The Playboy of the Western World. Michael Frayn’s Matchbox Theatre collection is the provider for the other two mini-dramas: wordplay and humorous observations abound.
Junior Sandwich will be performed in Friday evening (February 24th) at 7:15pm in the BSR, with two further performances on Saturday evening (7:00pm and 8:15pm).
All are welcome!
Update: See some photos from the first performance below:

Mental Health Awareness Week is under way, with a jam-packed programme of events, workshops and themed lessons focusing on gratitude as a central theme. On Tuesday, we welcomed the award winning Shona Project who spoke with Forms I to V. There are further workshops with psychologist Tom Tate with Form VI, morning walks and evening yoga, mindful music in chapel and movie nights. There is also a gratitude wall and art display in Whispering House and, finally, on Friday everyone is encouraged to wear “odd socks’ to celebrate our individuality!

Also, check out our Spotify Playlist! We hope everyone enjoys this important week.

It has been another busy half-term for the Transition Year pupils. Some braved the elements in the first week of January for an early-morning hike up Kilmashogue and the following week we had a TY Bake-along and made delicious chocolate cookies. We had a fascinating talk from Law Ed on the Irish legal system and Irish classes had a two-hour drama workshop which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. TY Geography classes visited Irish Aid and the EIPIC Museum in the city centre.

The highlight of the term so far was the TY Carousel Day. Pupils tried out at least three different activities throughout the day, including Barista Training, Segway Driving and Hurling or Croquet. We also had a very impressive talk and workshop from The Reptile Haven and we all had the chance to get up close and personal with tortoises, iguanas, lizards and snakes.

This week, TYs are out on their second week of work experience and some are heading off to Kolkata with The Hope Foundation and others on the South Africa Trip. We look forward to hearing about all of these experiences upon their return.

Last year, the Warden introduced a new set of awards called Musarum Comes to recognise a pupil’s contribution to the arts in the College. Awards for this year were awarded at an assembly yesterday to the following pupils:

Art: Georgia Goodbody, Ella Taylor and Isabella Treacy

Music: Harry Powell, Lauren Ng and Coco Xu

Drama: Naoise Murray & Phoebe Landseer

Debating: Cheuk Yin Wong

Congratulations to all the pupils who received these awards; each of them have made a wonderful contribution to the artistic life of the school and, in many cases, multiple disciplines.

Congratulations to Form VI pupils Hughie Casey, Gabriel Murphy and John-Jack Beglan O’Connell who were presented with Leadership Awards at an assembly yesterday. Hughie and Gabriel coordinated an amazing Movember fundraising campaign over the past five weeks, helping to raise over €5000 and awareness for men’s mental and physical health. The boys set themselves a series of challenges including an inter-house football tournament, chilli eating contests, ice-cold swims and a mammoth 60km run undertaken by John-Jack over a single day – the 60km representing the 60 men who die by suicide each hour around the globe. Congratulations to the boys for their fine achievements and for galvanising the school around their campaign.

If anyone would still like to donate to the boy’s campaign, they can do so by clicking here.

Well done to the Pupils’ Council who organised a Christmas Jumper Day in aid of Focus Ireland – a Dublin based homelessness charity. Lots of pupils and staff got involved and have raised over €300 for this wonderful charity.

Congratulations to the winners of our recent Wellbeing Poster competition, held by both the Art and SPHE Departments. Pupils were challenged to create a poster promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. There were lots of very super entries and three prizes were awarded at both junior and senior level. The College is always focused on the wellbeing of the pupils and it will be fantastic to see the pupils work hanging in classrooms and in the boarding houses reminding us all of the importance of wellbeing.

The winner of the senior category was Georgia Goodbody while the junior category was won by Amy Anne Newell. Congratulations to all who took part. The winning and runner up posters can be viewed in the gallery below.


1st – Georgia Goodbody
2nd – Hal Somerville
3rd – Bibiire Oke-Osanyintolu
1st – Amy Anne Newell
2nd- Sasha Foster
3rd – Mario Esteban

Drama continued to find its feet post-pandemic (when only modest productions found their way to the BSR stage, such as Michael Frayn’s Matchbox Theatre and a part of Waiting for Godot). Last year’s excellent Blithe Spirit was followed this November by another cleverly-plotted piece of stagecraft, Lennox Robinson’s The Whiteheaded Boy. First produced in the significant year 1916, it tells the story of the Geoghegan family: the youngest son, Denis, is his widowed mother’s favourite, and all the other siblings suffer by comparison. When – yet again – he fails his TCD exams, the oldest brother, George, decides Denis must leave and go to Canada. Trouble ensues, a trouble that gradually cranks up over the first two Acts, and culminates in the third.

One of the features of the play is the series of stage directions which amount to opinionated commentary, and so the decision was taken to have an actor voice these: Cheuk Yin Wong confidently came onto the stage at the start, introducing and commenting on the three women who had taken their positions after setting out rugs – Mrs Geoghegan, the mother of the family (Phoebe Landseer), her daughter Kate (Clodagh Walsh) and her crocked old maid Hannah (Melina Paulsen). He then headed off to man the PA system, his disembodied voice guiding the audience to their amusement. Four of Mrs Geoghegan’s other children followed soon after: Jane (Bibiire Oke-Osanyintolu), Baby (Emilia Hager), Peter (Euan Flanagan) and the effective head of the family George (Hal Somerville). Any production depends on those playing these parts to delineate their distinctive characters clearly, and present a strong sense of the family dynamic, and all these performers managed that well.

They were gradually joined by the Aunt Ellen (Sofia Gill Torrejon), Jane’s intended Donough (JJ Beglan O’Connell), and the final ‘child’, the feckless charmer Denis (Aran Murphy), the white-headed boy himself, as well as his fiancée Delia Duffy (Henrike Tertilt). All three were new to the Columban stage: one of the cheering things about drama here is the willingness of pupils to step forward and volunteer themselves to perform to an audience of their peers.

The second Act saw the delayed arrival of Delia’s father John Duffy, a recognisable ‘type’ in rural Ireland, with his fingers in every pie, dealing not just with his business interests but his daughter’s romantic ones. Naoise Murray was most effective in this role, giving the production a boost of energy with his stage presence: both he and Phoebe Landseer have performed in several productions across the years, and in their final one they showed how important such experience is.

The final Act saw everything come together, and it was evident on all three nights that the audiences appreciated the pleasure of this: there are no dramatic events in this play, but instead the words provide the satisfaction. Credit is also due to Calvin She for his patient prompting: he was a busy man leading up to the public performances, but happily scarcely used on the nights themselves. Just as the play itself comes to a satisfying conclusion after its confusions and conflicts, so did the production come together to provide pleasure for the audiences, and a happy sense of achievement for the actors.


  • Our Guide and Opinionated Commentator: Cheuk Yin Wong
  • Hannah, a slow-moving maid: Melina Paulsen
  • Mrs Geoghegan, a widow with six adult children: Phoebe Landseer
  • Kate, her oldest daughter. Now 36, so little chance of marriage: Clodagh Walsh
  • Jane, another daughter. Nice and quiet: Bibiire Oke-Osanyintolu
  • Donough Brosnan, Jane’s intended for the last three years: JJ Beglan O’Connell
  • Baby, yet another Geoghegan lass. Full of notions: Emilia Hager
  • Aunt Ellen, Mrs Geoghegan’s sister-in-law. A bit cranky and full of schemes: Sofia Gill Torrejon
  • George, the oldest Geoghegan son, and now the head of the family: Hal Somerville
  • Peter, the classic neglected middle son. Nothing much one way or the other: Euan Flanagan
  • Denis, the youngest of all the Geoghegans, and his mother’s unashamed favourite. The ‘white-headed boy’: Aran Murphy
  • Delia Duffy, his fiancée. Not as simple as she looks: Henrike Tertilt
  • John Duffy, her father, and one of the solidest men in Ballycolman. His wife died some years ago. On every Committee going: Naoise Murray

Costume, Set and Lighting: Mr R. Swift
Lighting & Sound Operation: Mr J. Girdham
Props: Ms D. Cullen
Hair and Make-up: Molly Mann and Liberty Jacquier-Kende
Production Assistant and Prompts: Calvin She

With thanks to Humphrey Jones, Gerry Pullman, Ted Sherwood, Elaine Healy, Form 2 Artistic Performance, and The Performance Corporation.

Directed and Produced by Mr R. Swift & Mr J. Girdham

The Whiteheaded Boy by Lennox Robinson is a favourite on the Irish theatre scene. First produced in the significant year 1916, it tells the story of the Geoghegan family: the youngest son, Denis, is his widowed mother’s favourite, and all the other siblings suffer by comparison. When he – yet again – fails his TCD exams, the oldest brother, George, decides Denis must leave and go to Canada. Trouble ensues.

The first performance is tonight, Friday, at 7.00pm in the Big Schoolroom, the second and final one tomorrow at the same time. Parents are welcome at either.


Our Guide and Opinionated Commentator.

Cheuk Yin Wong

Hannah, a slow-moving maid.

Melina Paulsen

Mrs Geoghegan, a widow with six adult children.

Phoebe Landseer

Kate, her oldest daughter. Now 36, so little chance of marriage.

Clodagh Walsh

Jane, another daughter. Nice and quiet. 

Bibiire Oke-Osanyintolu

Donough Brosnan, Jane’s intended for the last three years.

JJ Beglan O’Connell

Baby, yet another Geoghegan lass. Full of notions.

Emilia Hager

Aunt Ellen, Mrs Geoghegan’s sister-in-law. A bit cranky and full of schemes.

Sofia Gill Torrejon

George, the oldest Geoghegan son, and now the head of the family.

Hal Somerville

Peter, the classic neglected middle son. Nothing much one way or the other.

Euan Flanagan

Denis, the youngest of all the Geoghegans, and his mother’s unashamed favourite.   The ‘white-headed boy’.

Aran Murphy

Delia Duffy, his fiancée. Not as simple as she looks.

Henrike Tertilt

John Duffy, her father, and one of the solidest men in Ballycolman. His wife died some years ago. On every Committee going.

Naoise Murray

It’s that time of the year again – the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal aims to collect and deliver wrapped and packed shoeboxes, full of toys and essentials, for some of the poorest children in the world. To date, over 2 million such boxes have been handed directly to children all around the world and the College are delighted to have a long-standing relationship with this wonderful charity.

Last year, our Transition Year pupils (ably assisted by Mr Paul Cron) filled over 200 boxes while also volunteering at the Team Hope warehouse, packing additional boxes and loading lorries destined for Eastern Europe and beyond. We hope to top that figure this year but need your help.

Over the half term, we would greatly appreciate if you could make up a box/boxes or collect some fillers for the boxes or even empty shoeboxes and bring them back to school after the break. All completed boxes or fillers can be brought to the collection point in Gwynn or left in the staff common room. You can also donate online via the Team Hope website.

Five simple steps to follow:

Get a shoebox, wrap the box and lid separately with Christmas paper (we have already wrapped 150 boxes, so if if this is too much hassle fill one of our boxes)

Decide to whom you want to give your gift (boy or girl) and what age: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.

Fill the box = use our 4 W’s as a guide (Wash, Write, Wear, Wow – more details below)

Close the box with an elastic band – please don’t seal with tape as the contents of each box have to be checked to comply with regulations.

Please include the €4 for transport in your leaflet envelope either on top of the gifts or taped to the inside of the lid.

The first drama productions of the year took place last Sunday night as our youngest actors took to the BSR stage for the annual Form I & II plays. Many of the young cast members were “threading the boards” for the first time and these short plays tend to serve as great stepping stones to greater dramatic challenges in the months or perhaps years ahead.

This year’s Form I play was a medieval comedy called ‘A Good Knight’s Work’ by Allan Mackey. The young cast were full of energy on the night as three brave knights battled each other, fire-breathing dragons and a bloodthirsty executioner for the hand of the fair princess. There were plenty of laughs and the odd groan at the brilliant terrible puns.

The Form II play was an adaptation of the Oscar Wilde short story’ The Canterville Ghost’. Once again there were plenty of laughs as Sir Simon, the 300 year old ghost haunting Canterville Castle, grows increasingly exasperated at the new American owners who refuse to be frightened by him and his ghostly companions.

Well done to all the pupils involved (listed below) and to the staff (Mr Stewart, Mr Boobbyer, Mr Jones and Mr O’Shaughnessy) for directing.

Form I CastForm II Cast
Chamberlain – Georgia DobbsMr Otis – Finn
Servant – Henry van den BerghMrs Otis – Giacomo Borrilo
Trumpeter – Hugo BellewWashington – Wilfred Hui
Lord Lilly – Seán HennessyVirginia – Alice Hutchon
Lady Lilly – Laurence SunStars – Jason Otolorin
Lord Fitzroy – Max HeidenfeldStripes – Elijah Kim
Lady Fitzroy – Mena SweetmanSir Simon – Harry Casey
King Ferd – Christabella Osereme LynchThe Spirit – Claire Higgins
Queen Maud – Oyindamola OniThe Skeleton – Merida Zhang
Princess Adeline – Maureen DengNarrators: Finn Breatnach, Amy-Anne Newell and Divyaansh Bhardwaj
Executioner – Andrea Beggy
Magician – Charlie Dunleavy
Sir Blufus – Ivor Guinness
Sir Angus – Winnifred Cawley-Comerford
Sir Richard Trueheart – Eric Wang

The first eight weeks of Transition Year 2023-2024 have been typically hectic. In the classroom, the pupils continue to expand their knowledge and skills across a wide range of subjects and most recently received their Junior Cycle results. While we place a strong emphasis on academic progression in TY at St. Columba’s, there is still plenty of opportunity to explore interests beyond the classroom.

So far this term, the Transition Year pupils have welcomed Stephen Kiernan (motivational speaker), Alex Hibbert (Arctic explorer), John Lonergan (former Governor of Mountjoy), Fiona Boobbyer (expert on human trafficking) and Stephen Conway from Team Hope’s Christmas Shoebox Appeal. Visiting speakers are a great way of expanding the worldview of the pupils and we’re enormously grateful for all those who come and speak with our pupils.

There have also been several expeditions, with a visit to Flynn Park for outdoor activities an early highlight. They’ve also visited the Seán O’Casey Theatre to see ‘Bullied’, an excellent play on the theme, which was a Bullying Awareness Week activity. More recently, the TY biologists visited Dublin Zoo for an evolution workshop and, of course, had a chance to see the impressive animals there and explore the conservation work taking place there.

Charitable work is always at the core of our programme and we’ve been delighted to help fundraise for the Hope Foundation and Team Hope. The Transition Year pupils also organised a ‘Colour Run’ to help raise more funds for the Hope Foundation – it was a brilliant, colourful event and will surely cement itself in the College calendar.

The annual TY House Speech competition also took place. There was a high standard overall. Rebekah Fitzgerald Hollywood and Safia Walker were equal second, the clear winner being Grace Koch with her account of her great-grandmother, Freda Ulman Teitelbaum – you can read her speech here.

This week, the Transition Year pupils are completing their Community Involvement placement. This new addition to the TY programme sees every pupil work with a charitable or not-for-profit organisation, gaining valuable insight into teach charity but also building their knowledge of the world of work.

There’s been time for some fun activities too and most recently the TY pupils honed their pumpkin carving skills.

Well done to Ms Lynch and her team for putting together and coordinating the complex machine that is the Transition Year.

Prospective pupils and their parents are warmly invited to attend our Open Morning on Saturday, October 7th 2023 with an opportunity to explore the College’s wonderful campus and facilities. Visitors will receive a pupil-led tour through the College and will have the opportunity to speak with teaching staff along the way. The tours will visit the Chapel, the College Library and Science Block, and see activities taking place like choir practice, House speech practice, artwork, science experiments and sports sessions.

The Open Morning begins at 10.00am and ends at 1.00pm, and visitors are welcome at any time, though we advise not arriving after 12pm, since there is not then enough time for a tour.

Just drive into the school, and you will be met at the car parks by Transition Year pupils, who will greet you and then guide you to the reception point, Whispering House.

No booking is required, but any advance queries about admissions to the College should go to our Admissions Officer, Mrs Amanda Morris.

Please note: If you can’t make this event, a second open event – our Open Evening – takes place in May so look out for details of this event on our website and social media accounts.

Notice concerning the admission process to St. Columba’s College, for entry in 2024.

Please be advised that, according to the admissions policy of the College, drawn up according to Department of  Education guidelines, the timeline is as follows:

● The school will accept applications for day places on October 2nd 2023.

● The school will allow three weeks for applications to be received, the last date being October 23rd

● Parents will be notified of the result of their application, in writing, by November 10th

● Parents of children who have received offers will have three weeks to accept the place.

Full details on the admissions process & current admission status can be found here.

Please find the College’s Admissions Policy here.

Admissions Notice:

Please find the application form here.

On the afternoon of Saturday 17th June a memorial service was held in the College Chapel for former Warden David Gibbs. Mr Gibbs was Warden from 1974 to 1988, and died in June 2020 (he was born in 1926) when pandemic restrictions meant that such a service was not possible.

A considerable gathering came to the Chapel, consisting of family, friends, former colleagues, and current and former Fellows, to remember a man who had an enormous impact on the life of the College. That was made clear in an address given by Mr Ninian Falkiner which described Mr Gibbs’s early life, and then the deep influence he had on St Columba’s. Another angle was given by Mr Shazad Contractor, who had been a pupil at St Paul’s School, Darjeeling from 1962 to 1968 (Mr Gibbs was Rector of that School from 1964 to 1972). He made it clear how affectionately those Indian pupils regarded Mr Gibbs by reading out tributes from some of them.

Thomas Gibbs, grandson, read the first lesson, and the Warden the second. The choir (Soloist: Emily McCarthy) sang ‘The Cloud’s Veil’, and the prayers were led by former Whitechurch Rector Canon Horace McKinley and former Chaplain, Reverend Michael Heaney. The Chaplain, Reverend Daniel Owen conducted the service and said the final prayers, as all present went down to Whispering House for tea and continued reminiscences of a most remarkable man.

It has been a very busy term in the Art Department. First up the Senior Art prizes were awarded with Antonia Ladanyi winning the Earl of Meath Art Prize, Senior. Ellen Beven won the Craft Prize, Senior and Calvin She won the Photography Prize, Senior. We also want to congratulate Jamie Green for taking up an offer for September from the Manchester School of Art.

Junior Cycle pupils, having completed their projects embarked on a sculpture project highlighting some of the environmental issues that we face and this work has been exhibited around the College.

Form VI carried out their practical art exam- a five hour window in which to demonstrate their skill and talent. It was a challenging and stressful day for them. TY pupils exhibited their Architectural Drawings at a Nationwide Architects in Schools exhibition at the Lexicon Library In Dun Laoghaire. Form I and II continued to work on craft projects such as clay modelling and lino printing.

In the week leading up to St. Columba’s Day senior pupils had the opportunity to meet with the designer and artist Serena Kitt to talk about creating a portfolio and applying to Art College. This was supported by a trip to the BIFE for their end-of-year portfolio show for those pupils interested in compiling a portfolio in the next year or two. 

TY pupils exhibited their portraits in the Whispering House and an exhibition showcasing a selection of pupil work from Form I-VI was on display in the Sports Hall for St. Columba’s Day.

There was a trip to the Lavina Fontana exhibition at the NGI and a guided tour of the Casino Marino for Form V. Below, Lily Boyle and Jesse Reynolds write reports on those expeditions.

National Gallery of Ireland by Lily Boyle, Form V

On Tuesday, May 30th, the Form V art pupils went on a trip to see the Mannerist paintings of Lavinia Fontana in the National Gallery. Lavinia Fontana was born in Bologna in the middle 1500s and she was best known for her attention to detail, especially in the fabrics she painted. We had a tour of all of her works on display in the gallery and we developed a deeper insight into her compositing and the story behind her work. We learnt that Fontana was managed by her husband Gian Paolo Zappi, all the while having eleven children. One thing I found particularly interesting was how Fontana combined the interest and/or professions of her clients into their paintings eg, a horoscope globe into an astrologer’s portrait or into her self-portrait she included a piano. Lastly, something I found truly interesting, was the classical and biblical allusions in some of her work, including the love affair of Aphrodite and Mars and Judith slaying Holofernes. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and found learning about Lavinia Fontana enlightening and it has inspired me to dig deeper into other Renaissance and Mannerist artists.

Casino at Marino by Jesse Reynolds, Form V

After visiting the gallery, we went to see the architectural gem – The Casino at Marino. The Casino was designed by Sir William Chambers as a summer house for James Cauldield, the first earl of Charlemont. It is a great example of an eighteenth-century neo-classical building. Our tour guide told us that the egg and spear design throughout the casino represents life and death and that the lions surrounding the building were originally supposed to be water fountains; however, they ran out of money. The Casino was designed to look small on the outside when in reality it is much larger than it seems on the inside. The classic Greek columns elongate the building and deceive the mind into thinking the building is small. The Casino has been recently restored by the Office of Public Works and it now stands as a perfect example of Chambers’ work and the cultural aspirations of the Irish ruling classes.

Seeing the building in person really helped to understand the architectural innovations and how effective the deception was. We had a great day out. 

Below is an album of photos and pieces of work from this term in Art.