Mairead McGuinness is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), and also Vice President of that Parliament. The boys from Ms Carragher's Fifth Class and Mr Arthur's Sixth Class were delighted to welcome her to our school during the week.
Mairead has a special interest in education, particularly, of course in relation to the European Union and she came to support our project for the Blue Star Programme. This programme encourages our students to build their knowledge of Europe's culture, history and politics.
Mairead got to see the work of every class in a slide show presentation of the school's work. Then, the boys in fifth and sixth presented their own projects in person to Mairead.
An MEP since 2004, Mairead spoke a little about her background in agriculture and media. She also spoke about the difficulties of life as a politician commuting from Dublin to Brussels each week but of the importance work of the EU. Getting representatives from twenty seven nations to agree with one another was often difficult but ultimately has brought a lot of improvements and, vitally, has encouraged peace among nations.
Laytown lady, Emir Smith-Duff also accompanied Ms McGuinness and was equally delighted to chat with the boys and their teachers and answer their questions. She pointed out that the twelve stars on the EU flag symbolized the EU ideals of unity, solidarity and harmony.
With a plane to catch and meetings to attend, Mairead was whisked away to Dublin Airport but left us all inspired to learn more about the vital work of our European politicians and its parliament.
Wednesday last saw our boys from fifth and sixth classes take on Duleek Boys' School in the second round of the Cooney Cup. Conditions were perfect on the day and our boys had a spring in their step as they lobbed point after point over the bar.
Duleek boys put up a superb defence. They were fast on their feet and quick to tackle. With a terrific pitch on their school campus, they no doubt had put in plenty of practice in honing their Gaelic football skills.
But the Donacarney boys had been training hard for this occasion too. Under the direction of Mr Arthur, Mr Culligan, Mr Lynch and Mr Duffy they had turned out in droves for their 8 am training sessions and everyone in the squad had a chance to play on the Duleek pitch.
Donacarney also had very welcome support from parents and from the former principal, Mr O'Conghaile. They were thrilled of course with the Donacarney win but know that the next match will be a tough one too.
On the 16th March we will line out again. This time against St Mary's Primary Parish School. We're looking forward to the challenge!
The Battle of the Boyne site at Oldbridge, Drogheda was the setting for another clash yesterday as teams from all around Leinster competed at the annual Rás na hÉireann event.
Muck was in plentiful supply but at least the rain was there to wash it off faces and jerseys as the competitors bounced around the field.
Our school was represented there in four categories, U9, U 11, U13, and U15. Coached and organized by Ms Brennan, they wereteams from highly competitive athletic clubs such as the Tullamore Harriers, Bohermeen, Boyne A.C, St Peter's Dunboyne and of course, Dunleer AC.
Dunleer AC were the organizers of the entire event and they did a superb job. Instructions were clear, the field and carpark were well stewarded, the track well marked and supervised and each of the races were run off on time.
U9s ran 500 metres, U 11s ran 1,000 metres, U 13s 1,500m and U15s ran 2,500m.
But this was cross country and the going was tough.
Nevertheless, our teams showed great spirit and character claiming gold, silver and bronze in the U15s, U13s and U9s respectively.
But more importantly, they all showed great determination and spirit on that most famous of battle sites. Every one of them completed the course. Some indeed fell, picked themselves up and continued on. We are proud of them all and wish them many more days of happy running.
Today is Pancake Day! The boys in Ms Smyth's Senior Infant class each got a chance to enjoy some delicious pancakes with their favourite topping of Nutella.
Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday marks the start of Lent. Traditionally, it was a time when the last of the eggs and flour were used up in advance of Ash Wednesday, which is a day of fasting.
I called to the doctor's surgery last week. I had a sore wrist. Luckily for me, there were two hospitals in our school! This is all thanks to the fantastic Aistear program which are running in Junior and Senior Infants.
These hospitals come fully equipped with stethoscopes, syringes, scalpels. They are run by the most enthusiastic of medical teams featuring receptions, radiologist, doctors and nurses.
After making an appointment, I was whisked away to the hospital tent. Upon careful examination of my sore wrist, the doctor was only too keen to adminster an injection. In fact I had three injections in all! He also wrote a brief prescription before sending me to the pharmacy.
Maybe the medication worked but Aistear certainly is. Learning through play in this way allows for the exploration of environments which are familiar to the children. This leads in turn to opportunities to develop oral language, reading and writing. And it was just great to see the boys in Ms Rice's and Ms Martin's class having so much fun with the process.
More information on Aistear here!
It's the first day of February and. even though the weather was decidedly wintry today, officially it's the first day of Spring.
The first of February also marks the feast day of Saint Brigid. Brigid, or Bríd, as she is known in Irish, is renowned for making a cross out of rushes.
All around our school this week, boys were busy making Saint Brigid's Crosses.
Vast quantities of rushes were required and Mr Conneely, Mr Arthur, Ms. Callan and Mr. Lynch collected these from marshland and bogs and the boys from third to sixth class got busy sorting out rushes and weaving crosses.
Meanwhile, both Third Classes gathered together for a special Prayer Service. This prayer service celebrated Catholic Schools' week and also the heritage of Saint Brigid.
The boys told stories of Saint Brigid, her life in County Louth and Kildare and of how she comforted a dying chieftain by telling him about Jesus. Gathering rushes from the floor of the chieftain's house, Brigid weaved a cross and spoke to the chieftain of the crucifixion and resurrection of Our Lord.
Our Prayer Space celebrates Saint Brigid for the month of February. She is part of the richness of our Irish heritage, her cross being almost as widely recognized as the harp and the shamrock as a distinctly Irish symbol. Brigid herself is one of our patron saints. Her memory lives on too in those named after her. Bríd, Bridie and Breda are all variations of the name Brigid.
According to an ancient Irish custom, hanging St. Brigid's crosses over the doors or windows of the house protected the house from harm.
Nowadays, the parade of Brigid's crosses from our school reminds us that it is worthwhile keeping some ancient traditions alive and that Spring days of sunshine, warmth, life and growth have finally arrived.