Tag Archive for: Trips

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.

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.

‘Trips Week’ takes place every year as the Junior & Leaving Certificate examinations take place; those not sitting examinations leave the campus on various trips to bookend their year and give those sitting examinations free run of the campus in that first week. There are a range of trips organised, including long-running trips to the Burren and Achill, as well as a fantastic junior tour to Spain (Madrid & Segovia) and several day trips to nearby attractions.

The traditional Form V trip to the Burren hasn’t taken place in full in recent years. The trip is designed to provide time for Geography and Biology fieldwork but there is also plenty of time to explore the wonderous outdoor scenery of the Burren National Park including Mullughmore, Lahinch Beach and the Cliffs of Moher. Meanwhile, our Transition Year pupils travelled to Achill for their traditional end-of-year outdoor adventure. There was time for hiking, coasteering, surfing, kayaking and plenty of fun.

Our younger pupils, those in Forms I & II, either travelled on the junior cultural trip to Madrid & Segovia or participated in a number of day trips in Dublin and neighbouring counties.

Below, find an album of photos from across the trips.

 

You might imagine things slow down for Transition Year pupils at this time of the year but it is the opposite in fact. As the year draws to a close, the pupils continue to develop their knowledge and skills and we reflect on and celebrate their achievements in a range of academic and extracurricular endeavours.

Away from the classroom this term there was a 50km hike along the Wicklow Way (pictured), a visit to the School Summit careers fair, a trip to Nowlan Park in Kilkenny for a hurling match, a visiting speaker from DePaul, volunteering with The Hope Foundation, sailing in Dun Laoghaire, the Viking Splash tour, a forensics workshop and a TV production workshop in Maynooth; all over six short weeks.

Recently, four major events focused on the Transition Year pupils’ academic achievements. Shannon Walker Kinsellawon the TY Academic Prize with her project on ‘fear’, judged by former SCC teacher Alan Cox. Clodagh Walsh won the Alyn Stacey Cup at the TY Modern Language Evening while, at the TY English Evening, ‘Premier Awards’ for English were presented to Aeladh Bradley-Brady, Cajetan Cardona, Carlotta Castagna, Amber Cotton, Ava Fagan, Emilia Hager, Manuela Nassief, Melina Paulsen, Shannon Walker Kinsella, Clodagh Walsh, Alison Wang and Johanna zu Solms. (Click here for a full report on the TY English Evening on the College website). The remaining academic prizes were awarded last night at the final Transition Year Awards & Prizes event with full details here.

Two other prizes were awarded last night also. Elliot Warnock was presented with the Spirit of Transition Year award, for embodying the philosophy of TY, and Ciara Finn was presented with the Transition Year Award for Outstanding Resilience.

It has been a bumper year for our Transition Year pupils and huge credit and thanks must go to Ms Lynch and her predecessor Ms Kilfeather for their extraordinary work in building and maintaining such a vibrant, rich and varied programme.

During the February midterm break, a group of St. Columba’s College junior and senior rugby players travelled to Naples to play a series of games against Amatori Napoli Rugby Club. The group arrived in Rome on the morning of Friday 17th and then travelled south to Naples by bus, where they were based during their trip, and were straight into action the following day. With a playing squad of 43, they played their first two matches against Amatori Napoli Rugby Club with the Junior team winning 40-29 and the SCT winning 29-19. After the games, Amatori Napoli hosted a spread of Italian food and the boys socialised and watched Ireland’s Six Nations match against France at the clubhouse.

The next day, the group climbed Mt. Vesuvius, had pizza for lunch, and explored historic Pompeii. They also had downtime before dinner at the hotel. On Monday, they had a walking tour of Naples with lunch at a local restaurant before heading back to Amatori Napoli for the second round of matches. They were two more competitive games but the hosts atoned for their losses in the first matches. This time, the Juniors lost narrowly 28-29 and the SCT lost 21-5, but everyone had a good time and friendships were made.

Amatori Napoli was very hospitable and the boys enjoyed the food and gifts they received. On Tuesday morning, the group packed up and travelled back to the airport to return home. Overall, it was a pleasant and memorable experience for the St. Columba’s rugby players. We’d like to thank Mr Cron for his efforts in organising the trip, Mr Havenga for his work on the ground and to all the staff that travelled with the pupils. Below is an album of photos from the trip, courtesy of Rev Owen.

A report on the recent Transition Year Leadership Day, by Aeladh Bradley Brady.

On Tuesday the 29th of November, the whole of the Transition Year pupils were taken out of the college on a trip as a lovely surprise and to celebrate receiving our Junior cycle results. Throughout the day we participated in many fun-filled activities. Firstly, we went up Larch Hill to a scouting centre to participate in team bonding activities, organised by Branch Out. We completed many challenges such as trying to untie ourselves in a pair, herding “sheep” and mathematical challenges. This helped us utilise many skills such as communication skills, leadership skills and cooperation skills. This is extremely important and useful for many real-life situations and jobs. Finally, the last task and most rewarding task was to build a fire as we made hot chocolate and s’mores to heat us all up. We had to collect firewood and organise specific roles and jobs for team members to fulfil. The Larch Hill trip was great fun and truly an amazing experience. The Branch Out leaders were very helpful and kind to us during our time spent there. 

After this, we went to Dundrum to ice-skating and see a Christmas movie. It was so enjoyable going ice-skating with all of Form IV and it was thoroughly entertaining to see people who had never skated in their lives attempt to manoeuvre about the rink. Mr Jones and Mr Clarke took wonderful pictures of many pupils mid-fall, attempting to stop their inevitable collapse to the ground. The movie was a great way to end the day as we could all sit back, relax and rest.

On behalf of Transition Year, I would like to thank Mr Jones and Mr Clarke for accompanying and planning this truly amazing trip. Everyone loved it! See a collection of photos from the day below.

On Tuesday 8th and Friday 11th of November, the Form V and Form VI Art sets visited the fascinating ancient burial site at Newgrange Co. Meath. In the afternoon they went to the NMI where they carried out an in depth examination of the pre-Christian artefacts they have studied as part of their Visual Studies Leaving Certificate course. Felicitas Ratibor and Joy Orogun report on the Form V trip.

Newgrange, Co. Meath.

Our tour of Newgrange began in the visitor centre where we were able to explore the Neolithic culture, landscape and monuments of Brú na Bóinne. It was a very interactive centre with beautiful light reflections on the floor representing the flowing water of the River Boyne and simulated forests with shadows of terrifying dogs creeping around. There was also a game in which you had to grow crops and harvest them which the whole class had fun trying out. It was all amazing and helped us to submerge into the experience.

After this we took a little shuttle bus to Newgrange, and I think that it’s worth mentioning that all of the staff were so friendly and we were also welcomed so kindly by our tour guide at Newgrange.

On arrival at Newgrange we split into two groups: one could take a walk around the passage tomb, examine the highly decorated entrance stone, Kerbstone 52 and take photographs whilst the other group went inside. Our tour guide talked about the unknown purpose of Newgrange, as well as the many theories. Since remains of the dead were found in the mound, the most definite theory is that it was used as a burial tomb. He also explained to us that as we enter and walk into the passage the ground level grows higher. This is an important feature of the construction at Newgrange as it allows the sunlight on the shortest day of the year to shine through the light box. Some of the theories to explain this phenomenon include sun worship or perhaps a celebration of the new agricultural year. When he talked about this he turned the light off and stimulated the sunlight coming through the lightbox shining directly into the chamber on the Winter solstice, which was a magical experience.

The thing that stuck to my mind the most is that the corbelled vault made everything much smaller than we expected and also that the chambers seemed more like one room with three protrusions rather than three different chambers. This trip to Newgrange was so very impressive. Standing in this tomb which has remained intact since its construction, without one single drop of water coming in, made us realise how amazing, innovative and inventive the Neolithic people were 5000 years ago!

Felicitas Ratibor.

National Museum of Ireland.

The trip to the National Museum of Ireland was a truly enlightening and clarifying experience for all pupils that went. The exterior of the beautiful building had intriguing information about some artifacts- one that was even formerly owned by the College- The Míosach! Once we got inside we began examining the different Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age artifacts we have studied. Some of the standout artefacts we examined included; a model of one of the passage tombs (though we had already seen the real thing at Newgrange). The Lunula from the Early Bronze Age, which was made by hammering gold into a thin sheet, cutting out the shape and incising the designs. Ribbon torcs from the Middle Bronze Age, made by hammering gold into thin sheets, cutting and twisting them to fashion neck ornaments. The beautiful Gleninsheen Gorget from the Late Bronze Age was made by hammering gold into a thin sheet and using the technique of repousée to make the designs stand out; another very ornate necklace. We also saw the stunning golden Broighter collar from the Iron Age. We even had a look at some of the bog bodies which was almost surreal, to say the least.

 Later we all took a picture beside the book Shrine of Míosach. Had we had more time, we would have gone upstairs to view the Ancient Egyptian Gallery. It just means we have a reason to go back! However, the experience we had was very fulfilling as it solidified what we had already covered in class while giving us a new perspective as we see them in person.

Joy Orogun.

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

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

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

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

It has been yet another busy term so far for Transition Year pupils, with a wide range of activities taking place outside of their normal (and not so normal) classes. There have been visiting speakers, days out and workshops to keep them occupied. Here are a few short pupil reports on some recent events, beginning with a report from Hannah Bergmann on a recent talk from Jackie Fox about the tragic tale of her daughter Coco.

Today we had a talk about a serious and very important topic, which is, unfortunately, becoming more and more common these days. It was very emotional and not only I was very moved by it. It was about the consequences of cyberbullying and physical abuse. To bring us closer to this, Jackie Fox told the story of her daughter Nicole, who took her own life as a young adult after she was abused both mentally and physically. She told us in great detail what happened to Nicole and what went wrong. Especially the sad video at the end of the talk made us all realise what bullying can do to someone and how important it is to do something about it. In the end, I could say that it was probably one of the most emotional talks so far. Although it was very sad, I am thankful that Ms. Fox had the strength to make us understand how important it is to prevent bullying, which I definitely learned from this talk.

We are very grateful to Jackie for taking the time to speak with our pupils about this incredibly important yet difficult topic. It was powerful, with a lingering message. Hugo Laurenceau reports from a recent visit from Patricia Clancy from the Irish Adoption Authority.

Patricia Carey, CEO of the Irish Adoption Authority, came to St Columba’s to talk about The Legalities of Irish Adoption. We were very lucky as a TY group to get this opportunity to listen to someone with so much experience in a field we don’t often talk about. At the beginning, I was expecting that Patricia Carey was going to talk about things I already knew, but the process behind any adoption is so interesting with lots of legal aspects to it. The complex work of getting a child into the right family is so hard and time consuming, but thanks to their work it is possible. I learned so many cool facts about adoption and fostering children that I did not know prior to the talk, but now I and hopefully the rest of TY saw how hard and rewarding it is to place a child with a suitable family. Patricia Carey and her team do tremendous work.

Finally, Catalina Mertes reports on the latest TY activities day which saw our pupils bounce their way around Jump Zone and think their way around GoQuest.

On Tuesday the 1st of February, the whole Transition Year went on a fun trip. We did not know where we were going, because the teachers wanted to keep it a surprise. On the bus ride we were speculating what activities were planned for the day. When we arrived at GoQuest we got split up into groups and had to try to complete as many challenges as possible. Each challenge was in a small room and you had a certain amount of time to complete it. Most of the challenges could only be solved if we worked as a team. I really enjoyed this. After GoQuest we went to JumpZone, a trampoline park. Everyone had a lot of fun there and we tried all of the different games and challenges the park had to offer. I think trampoline dodgeball and the game where you could fight each other with big rolls were the most popular. On our way back to the college everyone was tired but very happy. We had a really great time solving problems in teams and bonding with the whole year.

Aside from these activities, many pupils have also taken part in an architecture project. Next week, all will begin their planned work experience. We are grateful to the many companies and individuals who have provided our pupils with their placements at this unusual time.

Below is the TY photo album, constantly updated and cataloguing photos from throughout the year.

There’s a common misconception that Transition Year (TY) is a “doss-year”, that nothing happens and pupils are bored and rarely challenged. Well, judging from the exceptionally busy programme of events the TY pupils at St. Columba’s have been involved in so far, we can safely say that is not true.

We have a large, diverse, enthusiastic and hard-working Transition Year group this year. While their teachers have been challenging to develop academically, the TY Co-ordinator, Mrs Ann Kilfeather, and her team have been extremely busy providing them with opportunities to develop their interpersonal and extra personal skills.

Earlier in the term, the pupils visited the excellent Causey Farm where they participated in a range of bonding and team-building activities. There was fun and mayhem too with bog jumping, sheep herding and bread-baking. Every year, our TY pupils remark on how much they enjoy that first trip to Causey Farm each year and this year was no exception. We’ve had visiting speakers including former governor of Mountjoy Prison John Lonergan, who remains as engaging as ever, and others from Team Hope (who co-ordinate the excellent Christmas Shoebox Appeal) and the Peter McVeery Trust (more on that to come). They also took part in a motivation and leadership workshop with The Super Generation.

This week is designated the Transition Year Community Week and the pupils had no formal lessons, instead participating in a range of projects aimed at increasing their awareness of cultural, sustainable and equitable community involvement. They all visited Dublin’s Pheonix Park, soaking up the historical, ecological and cultural elements in Europe’s largest urban park. They then visited Dublin Zoo, touring the amazing facilities there before enjoying a presentation on community conservation and sustainability. Two large groups of TY pupils donned their high-visibility vests and travelled to nearby Marlay Park and Sandymount Strand to pick up litter. Continuing that theme, back in the College, some pupils built sustainable bird feeders in an effort to increase biodiversity in the College while others planted vegetables in the new sustainability garden.

There has been a lot of fun this week too. A hike up nearby Kilmashogue Mountain, baking brownies, scones and flapjacks (all delivered and donated to the Rathfarnham Parish Hall), wrapping shoeboxes for the Team Hope appeal and pitching tents for their sleep-out in aid of the Peter McVeery Trust, a wonderful homelessness charity. That sleep out took place last night and luckily the weather stayed dry, although it was very cold. Well done to all who took part, including the staff who supervised.

So, as you can see, it’s been a jam-packed eight weeks for our TY pupils. A “doss-year” I hear you say … I think not. See a selection of photos from the various TY activities below.

 

Our Transition Year pupils travelled to nearby Killruddery House & Estate on Wednesday for another scheduled ‘activities day’. The staff at Kilruddery provided them with an amazing programme of team building & leadership activities, physical and mental challenges, and much more, all safely managed under the current guidelines. Transition Year pupils Kamilla Murphy & Monty Walsh write these short reports on the day and below are some photos from the day.

After completing our exams, we were all delighted to have the opportunity to visit the Killruddery Estate in nearby Bray where we participated in various activities. We had the chance to take part in archery lessons, which many of us attempted for the first time, learn outdoor survival skills, including shelter building and fire lighting, as well as learn car essential skills, such as changing a tyre or using jump leads. On top of learning these useful life skills and attempting various new things, we had team-building exercises like solving riddles and codes or trying challenges as seen on the popular TV show “Ireland’s Fittest Family.” These activities challenged us in many ways but were undoubtedly a lot of fun and a great opportunity to bond with classmates. On behalf of my year, I would like to thank the wonderful staff at the estate as well as our teachers for organising such an event. I think I can safely say that everyone had a good time, became closer with their fellow classmates, and left with plenty of memories to look back on fondly. Kamilla Murphy

 

Recently, The SCC Transition Year group headed out to Killruddery Estate to visit the Alive Outside grounds in which we spent the day doing a number of activities which comprised of exciting things such as team building, bushcraft, archery, car maintenance and obstacles courses which some of which featured in the ‘Ireland’s fittest family’ TV series. Our day started by leaving the college on a chilly winter morning, not sure of what the day would hold, but excited nonetheless. After a short drive, we got into groups and began our day. My group was set straight to work on the obstacle course race. We split into two groups and did numerous challenging events. The highlight being the finale, in which we had to throw multiple water drums over two sets of hay bails, twice, and then build a tower once we had finished. This was a time trial and was a cause of great competition in our group. Secondly, we took part in a Car maintenance class which was although very educational, was still a lot of fun. We learnt how to change a car wheel in the event of a puncture or wheel failure. We also learnt how to make sure our engine oil was in good shape, and to conclude we learnt how to jumpstart a car. The final activity of the morning was archery. This brought out the competitive side in all of us and definitely was one of the highlights of the day. After lunch, we finished with team building and bushcraft, the team building was a real mental test which was a change from the physical effort of the obstacle course. The bushcraft was a really nice way to end the day as we built a shelter and learnt how to make fire from scratch. All in all, the day was a really nice break from the stress and worries you have in normal school life and I think that as a year group we would like to give massive thanks to the Columba’s and Alive outside staff that were involved, as it was an amazing experience despite the living with a global pandemic around us. Monty Walsh

Julia Kaptein, Form V, reports on the recent art trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Newgrange.

On October 19th, Saturday morning we left the school on a bus filled with V and VI Form Art pupils to go to the Boyne Valley. We arrived to the Interpretive Centre (currently undergoing renovations) where we met a shuttle bus which would bring us to our destination. Our first stop was Newgrange. Our guide showed us around and explained everything to us about the Newgrange passage tomb, a UNESCO world heritage monument. Through the narrow passage, we entered the grave. It is astonishing to think about the craftsmanship that was needed to build this structure. Looking up inside the passage tomb, we could see the corbel vaulting technique that was used to keep the grave dry inside. We walked around the outside of Newgrange and took a second shuttle bus that took us to Knowth. We were shown a short video about Knowth before we went inside the passage tomb. The Knowth monument was more decorated on the outside and surrounded by smaller tombs. We walked on top of the tomb and although the weather was not as beautiful as we hoped, the view was stunning and overlooked the entire Boyne valley. I think it was very helpful for all pupils to see and walk around the tombs rather than just learning from of our books. Visiting the site brought to life all that we had learned in the classroom. Many thanks to Ms. Cullen and Miss Murphy for organising this memorable trip. The excursion was very successful and a chance for us to learn outside of our classroom.

We are delighted to announce details of this year’s Cultural Trip to London.  The trip will take place over the January Exodus (Friday Jan 24th to Monday 27th Jan) and is open to pupils in Forms IV and V, but is currently limited to 40 places (but this may increase). Places will be allocated on a “first come, first served” basis. The estimated cost of the trip is an all-inclusive €550, which includes:

  • Return flights between Dublin to London.
  • All bus, rail and underground transfers.
  • Three nights luxury hostel accommodation in Meininger Hotel, South Kensington (adjacent to the Natural History Museum), with breakfast, packed lunch and evening meals.
  • Tickets to a West End musical (show to be confirmed).
  • Ticket to cinema in Leicester Square.
  • A Thames cruise.
  • Dinner in Leicester Square restaurant on one night.
  • All entry fees & tours for museums and attractions including: The Science Museum, Covent Garden, Natural History Museum, Imperial War Museum, National Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, British Museum, Tower of London, Cabinet War Rooms & Churchill Museum.
  • A visit to China Town during Chinese New Year celebrations.

There is a jam-packed itinerary for the pupils, catering for a wide array of interests, and is a great way to experience London and see all its major attractions and museums.

To secure a place for your son or daughter please complete this online permission slip (please note, passport details are required at the time of booking). A deposit of €220 is also required and can be paid by cheque (made payable to St. Columba’s College). Alternatively, the deposit can be lodged directly into the College bank account (details available upon request).

If you require more information please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Jones or Mr. O’Shaughnessy.

Sveva Ciofani (Form IV) describes her recent visit to KennardPhillipps exhibition ‘Finnegans Woke’ at Rua Red Arts Centre, Tallaght; this was an Arts Week event.

Unique, fun and interesting are the words that I would use to describe our Art trip. It was a sunny Wednesday and my art classmates and I took the bus with Ms Cullen to the Finnegans Woke exhibition in Tallaght. We arrived around 3pm we entered a small building  I wasn’t expecting to see a lot of interesting pieces of art in such a small building! A really pleasant man explained in detail some of the pieces and all of them had a really deep meaning. My favourite piece was the first one that we saw: a skyscraper with a background of polluted soil that represented pollution spreading nowadays. The reason why I highly appreciated this piece is that lately, we heard a lot about global warming, pollution and strikes around the globe. Another reason why I like the piece is because it wasn’t actually a painting but a photoshop, a type of art that I find really interesting because it’s related to technology and not to the typical use of markers, paint and pencils. We also saw other pieces, for example, we saw a piece that played with the shadows and represented multiple things; in all pieces, there were various meanings. In general, I thought that all pieces were really controversial and unique, they all dealt with very important themes: racism, war, pollution. These are all issues of which we need to be aware. In fact, I strongly believe that this exhibition is made for opening people’s eyes, to make people aware and most importantly to actually do something about it, so I invite everyone to go visit it.

The exhibition does not just teach us, but also involves the viewer.  In the middle of the room, there was an enormous raft made up of all the posters that were made by the visitors. I think that the raft brings to the world some hope. The posters represented a good vision and awareness of the issues, and all of us made some posters. The poster that Ana and I made was about the gap between rich and poor and how this expands every year. It was about over consuming items and about bad lifestyles. We decided the divide the paper into two different parts, a colourful one and a dark one, because we thought that gave a strong visual impact.

My other classmates made posters about other important issues: for example body shame, inequality, racism and the acceptance of the LGBT community. All of the pieces expressed creativity and a sense of awareness, that is a positive thing in my opinion, because our generation is going to be next one, and if all of us are tolerant, educated and aware it is going to be positive for our society.

We had a good time and I think it was worth the trip.  Apart from learning a lot of things, it was also a way of changing our normal routine and try something new. We also had the opportunity of spending some time together, to work in pairs and to think about how privileged we are to have access to some things.

Below is a gallery of photos taken all the events during Arts Week, including the visit to Finnegan’s Woke.

Trish Dunlop (parent to pupils in Forms V & III) reports on last weekend’s parents’ trip to Seville.

A group of parents and family emerged from the winter drear last weekend, ably led by the Warden, Cathy and Michael O’Shaughnessy, and burst into Summer. It seems we had all been checking the forecast anxiously, and the sun shone brightly for the Columban cohort.

We stayed at a wonderfully located hotel, always only a walk away from the best that Seville has to offer a visitor. Just as well, since most parents seemed to be brandishing state of the art step-counters and activity tracking devices which we would then compare and contrast at suitable junctures. How many flights was it up to the top of the bell tower?

It was a pleasure to meet members of the St. Columba’s wider community as we all gathered that evening, spirits were high and we embarked on a weekend of chat, laughter and learning about the joys that Andalusia had to offer.

In stunning sunshine, we walked through the winding streets of Seville as we visited the Moorish Palace and Gardens, the stunning Cathedral, up thirty-five ramps to the bell tower giving a wonderful view of the city. The sensual discovery continued relentlessly – the orange dotted trees and brightly coloured produce as we walked the streets, the wafting scents of lavender, orange blossom and jasmine, the mosaic decoration on sandy golden stone and all punctuated by delicious food and drinks (often with a distant strain of flamenco-style music). All the while the chat and laughter continued. The day was a lovely combination of guided and “free” exploration, at times coming together as a group and at other times opting to “do our own thing” which seemed to be just the right approach.

Sunday started with a robust breakfast before taking a bus ride to Cordoba. Cordoba was a true revelation – its grand history announced by the iconic “Roman Bridge” that greeted us as we disembarked. Set up to explore museums of art and history, we were again “free-ranging” on the hilly streets that sloped up away from the River Guadalquivir.

Most remarkable – in its mixed traditional styles – is the “Mosque” or “Cordoba Cathedral”. We found the visit very moving and had the benefit of a very passionate and dedicated guide. We learned about the layers and layers of Cordoba’s history which are carved into the fabric of the “mosque”, together with its continued dedication to its true purpose of sacred worship.

We returned to Seville on the bus, which gave us a much-needed opportunity to count our steps again. A quick turnaround and off out again to a lively last supper together. The Warden kept us on our toes with the tour quiz, with all teams securing excellent marks on our self-corrected answer sheets. Last late drinks at the hotel, before the reality set in: an early return to less sunny climes via Ryanair.

The beauty of Seville and Cordoba extended beyond the architecture, the sensual pleasures, and the history. Their beauty can also be found in how the cities are lived, everywhere its residents can be seen enjoying eating, shopping, strolling and spending time with each other. For a brief interlude, and thanks to the super efforts of Cathy Boobbyer, the Warden and Michael O’Shaughnessy, we parents and family members of the St. Columba’s community were part of the beating heart of Andalusia, and we are all the better for it.

Below is an album of photographs from the trip.

On Friday, December 14th 2018 forty-five pupils, from Forms II to VI, along with six members of staff will head off to Copenhagen for the weekend on a short choir trip. The party consists of 27 girls and 18 boys, singing in a four-part choir. 

The highlight of the trip will be a concert performance in St. Ansgar’s Cathedral on Saturday December 15that 6pm. The programme is an entertaining mixture of Irish folk songs, popular songs, spirituals and madrigals. On Sunday morning the choir will sing a Mass by Palestrina at the 10am service in the same cathedral. 

The trip will also include a Canal Tour of Copenhagen, a visit and dinner at the famous Tivoli Gardens, and a visit to the renowned National Aquarium. There will also be time to savour the atmosphere of the Christmas Markets in Copenhagen. The choir have been rehearsing very hard since September, and we hope it will be a memorable trip!

Amy Cosgrove, Form V, reports on her experience of the recent trip to South Africa.

On October 26th, eighteen Form IV and V pupils started on a 28 hour journey from the door of St Columba’s College, Dublin to the door of Tiger Kloof, in the north of South Africa. And while, after 28 hours, it seemed like it wasn’t going to be worth it, little did we know the extraordinary trip that lay ahead of us.

We had been travelling in a combie (minibus) with no air conditioning for nearly 6 hours and had not yet reached Tiger Kloof when our first ‘experience’ of South Africa took place. Windows down, wind in our hair, Katherine watching Riverdale, living the dream really. When all of a sudden a man reached in through the window, grabbed the phone out of Katherine’s hand and made a run for it. And that was when we realised we were in South Africa.

On Sunday we had a tour of the school and attended a church service which was definitely nothing like Sunday Morning chapel. It was lively and their hymns were much better than our Jubilate. We got to see the hostels (dorms) and the girls danced and sang spontaneously all in perfect rhythm and harmony. It’s safe to say, we are not as musical as we thought. We quickly learned how kind and energetic the Tigers are.

On Monday we got the privilege to work alongside an inspiring woman named Maggie, who has been running a soup kitchen for 40 years now. While preparing the food and playing with the kids was all fun and games, going into the township itself to serve the food was something else entirely. It was striking to see how they lived in what were basically tin cans. This was the first of the striking moments that were to come. The drive back from Maggie’s was what shocked me the most. On the left of the road was a township and on the right of the road were houses. Houses just the same as you would see in Dublin. That was the talk of the combie for the drive back, nobody could get their head around why there was such a contrast with only a road separating it.

On Tuesday we visited Thusanang Disabled Centre in the township of Huhudi, which was definitely what pushed everybody out of their comfort zones. The ages ranged from 5-50 years and you could immediately see how underfunded it was. When you did the math on the grants they receive, it equated to less than €1 a day. It was truly heartbreaking to see these mentally / physically disabled people not get the treatments they need, some of whom didn’t need to be there. It was just the best option in a bad situation.

Working in The Hem soup kitchen, which is ran by Tiger Kloof, really opened our eyes and mind to the world that we don’t experience. Watching these children smiling and running to get their food not only warmed our hearts but showed us how we take things for granted and that we are so fortunate to have 3 meals on our table every day.

Later on we visited a lion farm and it was truly mesmerizing to be able to get so close to these beautiful animals with just a fence between us. Having lions in a farm was in fact safer for them, to keep them from poachers, but unfortunately this fence that was between us meant they had been bred in captivity. We also visited another farm in Vryburg where we got to gallop around at sunset in South Africa, living the dream once again. But where the sun shines, there’s always a shadow. The family who owned the farm were lovely, welcoming people but after asking a few questions we got answers that we wouldn’t usually hear. They had different views and mindsets to all of us and it helped us understand why there is such a contrast on either side of the road sometimes. The aftermath of apartheid is still very much visible in the South Africa today.

Our trip to Tiger Kloof was an extraordinary, mind blowing and a once in a lifetime experience. To be able to work in the soup kitchens and go into the townships had a massive impact on our views and education. It was a privilege to meet such inspiring people and the Tigers and Maggie are only naming a few. It was a trip that won’t be forgotten by any of us.

On Tuesday twenty Transition Year pupils visited Microsoft Ireland’s newest building, One Microsoft Place, to explore their ‘Dreamspace’ – a wonderful space for young people to learn more about technology. On arrival, the pupils were given a tour of the amazing award winning building, where some of the highlights include the yoga cube, the wellness centre, the amazing “mountain” stairs, the roof garden and the LED waterfall. After the tour they settled into the amazing Dreamspace – a vibrant learning environment – discussing Microsoft’s contribution to technology in their lives before exploring their latest innovations in assisted technology for those with disabilities. The learned about the skills needed to thrive in STEM careers, with a focus on development of soft skills. Then their first challenge – a team building / problem solving task – the Marble Track. With a few assorted household items, each team had to create a track for a marble to travel before settling within a small square of graph paper. There were no rules except that is couldn’t be pushed and had to stop on the graph paper. Each team took a different approach (there was some astounding creativity on show) but all ended successfully completing the task (one team broke the record). But then it was on to the main task – a brief introduction to coding via the Mirco:bit software and hardware. The pupils learned about the basics of coding before programming their own devices, using Microsoft surface tablets, to play a game of rock, paper, scissors. Later they learned how to send messages from one device to another.

The pupils thoroughly enjoyed their experience and, no doubt, stoked their interest in STEM and coding (incidentally this week is European Code Week). We would like to thank Microsoft and their Dreamspace team for a most enjoyable, wonderful learning experience.