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

Our senior girls have gone from strength to strength this year, led by a strong core of Form VI pupils –  Abbie Murray (Captain), Sarah Cron, Raichael Murray, Elisa Bulla, and Lauren Ng. Their hard work and effort were rewarded last week (during exams) with a comprehensive semi-final win over Holy Child Killiney. They then took to the floor a week later on Wednesday 29th November, in the East Region Final at the Oblate Hall in Inchicore against a team they had already met during the league campaign – Luttrellstown Community School. 

The nerves were obvious in the early stages of the game, but they took a 9-2 lead in the first quarter with Holly Murray controlling the tempo and Laia Perich-Godo setting the pace with some excellent lay-ups. Luttrellstown fought back with some nice long-range shooting and the quarter ended 10-8.

The second quarter got off to a shaky start. The team’s offensive play was smooth with excellent ball moving, creating many easy scoring opportunities, but we could not finish. The lead was maintained through tough defense with an ending score 19-12. 

The steadiness of team-play and overall confidence continued to build as the game progressed. Team defense was the decider on the day, fluid moving and talking limited Luttrellstown’s offense options to long-range shots. Sarah Cron, Elisa Bulla, AJ Ediale, and Abbie Murray were all excellent under the boards pulling down strong defensive rebounds, which ignited the fast break. The third quarter saw a surge in focus and energy from the girls. Molly Mann was inspirational with her tough aggressive defense, and tenacious drives to the basket. AJ Ediale was superb from the free-throw line and the third quarter ended with a 33-24 comfortable lead.

Luttrellstown started the 4th quarter with a full-court press and the team took a few minutes to adjust to the pressure, making a number of silly turnovers, which luckily did not result in any scores. Once they regained composure, Holly Murray took to the helm and pushed the ball upcourt, creating numerous scoring opportunities with Molly Mann, AJ Ediale, Laia Perich, and Sarah Cron hitting some impressive scores.

The last four minutes of the game were dominated by strong defensive play, Raichael Murray and Molly Mann worked hard to contain their key shooter. With 2 minutes to go, Henrike Tertilt made an impressive steal and followed it up with a super long-range past to Giulia Trolese for an easy 2 points and ending with the team notching up a 20-8 score line in the 4th for a 49-30 victory.

The entire team worked as a unit, with everyone stepping up and making excellent contributions are various stages throughout the game. This was the first time we had reached this level of competition and winning the title, well that was the icing on the cake.

Laia Perich-Godo (24pts), Molly Mann (6pts), Aj Ediale (6pts), Abbie Murray (3pts), Holly Murray (4pts), Sarah Cron (2pts), Giulia Trolese (2pts), Safia Walker (2pts), Raichael, Murray, Elisa Bulla, Lauren Ng (Illness, DNP)

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

I am sure that, like me, you were alarmed by the riots in Dublin on Thursday evening last week. The Irish like to think of themselves as welcoming and friendly …the land of 1000 welcomes… so it was a bit of wake-up call when the cry went out, as you may have heard on social media, to kill the foreigners in a city that is increasingly international and diverse. I know that many people have been seriously shocked by what happened. And it has made me ponder how common it is, and has always been, to blame the immigrant and the outsider for the problems in a country. It’s a very old story.

When we were living in South Africa there was an outbreak of xenophobic violence and many African immigrants from countries surrounding South Africa were attacked, their businesses were destroyed and some were even killed. In our local township of Huhudi, which a few of you will be visiting in February and from where many of the children came to the school I was running, a couple of immigrants were killed, including a Somali who had set up a bakery. The old cry went out that ‘these foreigners are taking our jobs’ and he was killed by a mob. The following week there was another outcry…there was a shortage of bread in the township. 

Discrimination and prejudice is usually the result of ignorance. It is harder to hate someone with whom you have shared your life, and whose concerns and fears you have made an effort to understand. It makes you realise that they are people just like you, with the same hopes and fears for themselves and their families. It is much easier to discriminate against people you don’t know or don’t relate to and to convince yourself and other people that they are somehow not like us and therefore of less value. That can happen on a micro level and cause hurt, but it can also happen on a much bigger scale and the results of that can be horrific and catastrophic. We all know what happened to the Jews before and during the second world war. 

In case you think that this was a unique occurrence, be warned that it is all too common. On Saturday evening my wife and I were invited to dinner with some Argentinian friends from our church. As we chatted the wife of the couple dropped into the conversation that her grandfather was Armenian. I immediately asked if he had fled from Turkey during the genocide of the Armenians living in what was then the Ottoman Empire, in 1915. She said he had. Up to a million ethnic Armenians were marched into the Syrian desert and left to die, while their cities and towns were systematically destroyed and their culture and history erased. This is a fact of history that Turkey to this day denies was a genocide but is accepted as such by most Western countries. She said that her grandfather had been rounded up with all of his family and hit on the head. He passed out and when he woke up he found himself under the body of his grandmother, where he pretended to be dead for the next three days until the attackers left. He eventually emigrated to Argentina. Amazing to discover that story about someone I have known for a while. 

I asked her husband, Pablo, why you see many indigenous people from South America in countries like Brazil and Peru and Bolivia, but not in Argentina. He explained in a very matter of fact way that in the 19th century the indigenous people there were considered a nuisance and rounded up and killed or forced to emigrate. I had no idea about that. Argentina is an enormous country but there are basically no indigenous people left there at all. They were victims of an ethnic cleansing.

In Australia, the Aboriginal, indigenous people were considered to be sub-human and hunted down by the early white settlers, mainly British and Irish. There are many still around now, though often living in very squalid conditions. Such was the attitude towards them that for a long time, and until as recently as the 1970s, their children were removed from their families and forcibly adopted by white families, so that they would grow up to be civilised. I played a season of cricket in Australia in 1990-91 and I was horrified to hear the casual and racist manner in which white Australians referred to the oldest inhabitants of their land. Oddly enough, my aunt married an outback farmer and they lived in a remote corner of north west Australia known as the Kimberleys. The nearest white neighbour was about 50 miles away and so my cousins Joe and Matt grew up with the local Aboriginal children as their friends and grew to respect them. Joe is now one of the world experts on Aboriginal languages at a university in Sydney.

In 1994 in the small Africa country of Rwanda there was a genocide when the majority ethnic Hutus turned on the Tutsis and butchered up to a million of them in a couple of months. Ill-feeling, whipped up by propaganda, had been building until the cry went out that the Tutsis were ‘cockroaches’ who should be stamped on. They were vermin and to destroy vermin is doing everyone a favour. This happened even despite the presence for much of the time of United Nations peace-keeping forces. That is only 30 years ago.

In 1986 I was part of an exchange between British and Arab students. I spent a week in Jordan meeting young Palestinians who were refugees from the West Bank, from where their families had been forced to flee in 1948, or 1967 or 1973….you can go and research those dates. What is happening now in Israel and Gaza fills me with horror but also enormous sadness. Neither side in the conflict sees the other as human and, as I said earlier, when that is the case it makes it much easier to treat them as the ‘other,’ of lesser value. How many Jews really try and understand the pain of Palestinians who lost their homes after the establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948? How many Palestinians understand the historic persecution of the Jews and the incredibly real and still raw trauma of the killing of 6 million Jews before and during the second world war? I am not going to attempt an analysis of an historically complex situation (I don’t want to walk into a minefield) but to see the hatred that people have for each other in the holy land, where Jesus once walked and talked, is hugely upsetting. Last week it was announced that Christmas this year has been cancelled in Bethlehem. 

I made a friend on that trip, Jeroen Gunning, who was so moved by the experience that he has become one of the top experts in the world on the region and knows more about Hamas and Hezbollah than almost anyone on the planet. He is a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at King’s College London. I have been trying to pin him down for a fireside chat, but, as you can imagine, he is in high demand at the moment. 

You might think that these kind of things couldn’t happen nowadays in the West. However, when I hear Donald Trump, former and quite possibly future president of the United States, describe his enemies and detractors as vermin I do worry. After all, vermin is not really human and to destroy it is to do everyone a favour. 

In the South Africa where my wife grew up, along with a few of the staff here, non-whites were treated as second class citizens by law and did not have the right to vote. I have told you this before but her best friend was not allowed to go to the beach with her or travel in the best train compartment as those were reserved for white people. That same friend is now vice-chair of the South African medical research council and we are staying in her home at Christmas in Cape Town. 

When I started the job in South Africa we decided to have a few teaching staff round for dinner and we made sure that those coming were a mixture of different racial groups: white, black, mixed race, Indian…they were enjoyable evenings, but during one of them one of the black teachers, possibly about 40 years old, admitted that this was the first time that she had ever sat down to eat with a white person. What we had thought was normal was actually far from normal. But how can you build relationships between people of different backgrounds, mutual trust and respect, if you do not create the conditions for dialogue and honest conversation?

You may wonder why I am telling you all of these things, many of which are extremely depressing. I’m not entirely sure myself, but I guess that in some ways I am just trying to share with you what has been on my mind, particularly since the attack by Hamas on October 7th. And having observed the scenes in Dublin last week I also want to change the conversation slightly and ask what part we as Columbans can play in being part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Yes, even we here in our splendid isolation on the hill have a responsibility.

This is a very multi-racial and multi-cultural school and it is being increasingly reflected in the city around us. In the 8 years I have been here I have seen Dublin become much more cosmopolitan. I think that is great, but some people clearly feel threatened by it or want to use it as an excuse for their own shortcomings. The same understanding of difference and diversity that is needed for society to function successfully should be modelled by us here in our own smaller and admittedly privileged context. How we respect each other, particularly those who are different from ourselves, how we talk about each other, how we talk to each other, is supremely important. Do you make an effort to understand the country your friends come from? Do you have friends who don’t look like you or talk like you? Can you disagree with your friends who may have different viewpoints from you, while remaining friends? Society is losing that valuable skill, the skill of disagreeing respectfully. Our diversity here is our strength and we must learn to cherish our differences. 

I hope that all of you take some interest in what is happening in the news. I think we all have a responsibility to know what is going on. And I think we also have a responsibility to get to know people from different communities, to really listen to their stories, because otherwise we risk getting our opinions from hysterical social media, from fake news and algorithms that manipulate us. It can feel like the big events in the world happen a long way away and do not touch your lives, but last week’s events here in Dublin showed that the culture of blaming the foreigner and the outsider is alive and well over here. And perhaps what I really wanted to say this morning is, let’s make sure that that is not something that anyone can ever accuse us of here at St. Columba’s. 

Each year, when Remembrance Sunday comes around, I wonder about its relevance. After all, there are no survivors left from the First World War and veterans of the Second World War are fewer each year. My father lost three uncles on the western front and I grew up with a keen awareness of that, but my own children do not feel any connection to that. For the generations who fought in the first war, and their children, the annual acts of remembrance must have been very poignant, with almost everyone being so personally affected. At this distance, it is impossible for us to understand the trauma of what they experienced. 

In the first war, 67 pupils and staff of St. Columba’s College were killed. Considering that this was a very small school at the turn of the 20th Century those numbers are hard to fathom. It must have been a common experience for the Warden to announce to the College the death of a recent pupil, remembered by many still in the school, or of a brother of a pupil in the school. Does one get hardened to that regular news, and cease to feel its impact, or does news of each death bring a new trauma? 

I think there are two reasons why we should still continue to remember those who died, even as it becomes more part of history. Firstly, it is an integral part of our history as a school, part of our DNA, part of who we are. It surely does us no harm at all to remember the sacrifices that were made by previous generations, so that we can live in a peaceful and prosperous country, enjoying the freedoms that we share. Secondly, the annual reminder of the pain and destruction of war, and how little is achieved by it, is surely good for us, lest we get blasé and complacent. When we see war in Ukraine, dragging on towards the end of its second year, and the endless cycle of violence and war in the Middle East, we can either despair or commit ourselves, in our own very small way, to build understanding between individuals and communities…or even nations. We can start in this school. 

In the Beatitudes Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.’ Not many are singled out for that praise. I guess that means that we are all called to be peacemakers, not just those in positions of power. I think that was a challenge from Jesus not just to the Nelson Mandelas among us, of whom there are few, but to each individual person in their family, place of work, community and even their own country. In chapel this morning, the reading from Luke’s gospel reminded us that anyone can love those who love them. That is easy. However, Jesus’s teaching that we should love our enemies and pray for who those persecute us is perhaps the most counter-intuitive and revolutionary teaching in history. No wonder even his own family thought he was mad!

It may sound absurd but what is more absurd is that throughout history so few people and peoples have taken him at his word.  

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 been another busy term of sport, briefly disrupted by some recent heavy rain. In rugby, the Senior XV have started their league campaign reasonably well with comfortable victories over De la Salle Churchtown and St. Conleth’s but they’ll rue missed opportunities in their narrow loss to a strong Newpark side at home. The JCT XV have struggled with injuries and a lack of depth, sadly losing their three league games to date. Their captain David Cron has been their star player and he donned the Leinster colours recently for the Metro Under-16s. Our youngest pupils in Form I had a great victory on Wednesday over Mount Temple.

In basketball, the Senior girls have made a strong start to their season with three impressive league and Cup wins. Yesterday, they hosted Naas Community School in the All-Ireland Cup quarter-finals, sadly losing narrowly. The Cadette girls and Seniors boys are mid-table; the Cadettes had impressive wins over Luttrellstown and Loreto Beaufort while the boys’ most recent successes were wins over St. Mary’s College and Terenure College.

Our boys’ hockey teams have started the season really strongly, with some very impressive wins for our Under-13s and Under-14s in recent weeks. The Junior XI have been going exceptionally well, winning all their matches so far except for a narrow defeat to St. Andrew’s. Jan Dijkstra is a goal-scoring machine! Our Senior XI were unlucky to miss out on All-Ireland qualification but have had some good wins since, most notably a 8-0 win over St Kilian’s. A busy programme of girls’ hockey continued; the Minor and Junior Girls’ teams had some good performances while the Senior XI’s best win (4-0) came against East Glendalough.

We were delighted to welcome Irish golfing legend and former Ryder Cup player and captain Paul McGinley to the College yesterday to officially launch the St. Columba’s College Golf Academy and open our new state-of-the-art indoor golf studio. Paul toured the new indoor studio, practised his putting and hit some balls on the new golf simulator. Afterwards, he attended an intimate function in Whispering House and took questions from those in attendance.

The Golf Academy now have a fantastic indoor facility to match our evolving practice area (new greens under construction) and of course our amazing nine-hole golf course. Josh Adams, our resident PGA professional, has created a vibrant programme for our young golfers along with teachers Ian O’Herlihy and Liam Canning.

We were also delighted to welcome to the school representatives from five local golf clubs Kilmashogue, Stackstown, Rathfarnham, Grange and Edmondstown. The school is surrounded by fantastic golf courses (the five listed are all within walking distance, with Kilmashogue GC based on the College course) and our young academy golfers will get a chance to play them all over the course of the year.

You can find out more about golf at St. Columba’s here and check out the photos from the event below.

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.

The College’s young golfers recently competed in the Leinster Secondary School’s Under 19 Golf Championship, after an absence of nearly twenty years. This is a gross score singles and team event held last Monday in nearby Stackstown Club. Each team comprised of four players with the better three scores counting for the team score. Due to illness, a key player had to withdraw late putting added pressure on our other three players Harry Smith Huskinson (5th Form), Rafael Martinez Tavio (Third Form) and Mateo Munoz-Rogas Salinas (in the First Form and the youngest competitor at twelve years of age). Rafael and Mateo had an impressive gross stableford score of 27 points, making them tied 26th out of 113 competitors; Harry, our team Captain, scored a creditable 24 points in 46th place. 

St. Columba’s was placed 16th out of the 39 competing school teams.

Josh Adams, our PGA professional and Golf Academy leader, was justifiably very proud of our young players who were playing the course for the first time.

Leinster Schools U19 Results Stackstown Golf Club.

Congratulations to Grace Koch, the winner of this year’s Transition Year House Speeches, which took place last weekend. Grace gave a powerful and well-delivered speech, with a personal connection to her Great Grandmother Freda Teitelbaum’s experience with anti-semitism and concentration camps. In joint second, Rebekah Fitzgerald Hollywood spoke confidently on Psychedelics and Psychology and the medicinal benefits of Psilocybin and Safia Walker on the fear and benefits of making a speech. Iona were the House winners.

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.

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.


This year’s St. Columba’s College ‘Lionel Munn’ Golf Trophy for Primary Schools was played in gorgeous sunshine and with the course in tip-top condition. It was great to see young people playing competitively, sharing a day of fun, camaraderie and competition.

Last year Whitechurch National School lost out to Our Lady’s Grove on a countback after both teams had a 39 Gross Score. Whitechurch entered two teams this year and bounced back securing both first and second-place team positions. Tyler Neill and Olly Conn had a creditable five over par better ball gross score of 42. This year’s winning Whitechurch National School team of Alex O’Herlihy and Joshua Cron had a level-par better ball score of 37. This excellent performance is one that the great Lionel Munn would have enjoyed watching. There were also some notable individual performances including Alex O’Herlihy’s 38 and Tyler Neill’s 48 gross scores.

Very well done to all participating schools and players; their parents, accompanying teachers and the well-maintained and conditioned St.Columba’s golf course.

The day could not have happened without the help of my colleague Ian O’Herlihy who laid out the T-boxes and designed the scorecards. Very many thanks to Brendan Blake of Kilmashogue Golf Club for generously giving his time to walk and guide players around the nine holes. The College Academy’s PGA professional Josh Adams also supported and helped run the day. It was great to see so many smiling and positive young faces enjoying the day, meeting new like-minded people and playing our wonderful game of golf.

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.