December 20, 2018

Christmas Carol Service
The annual Christmas Carol Service featuring musicians, soloists and choirs from First Year to Sixth Year took place on Monday, December 17, The Sr Ursula Memorial Hall was transformed into a delightful Christmas scene with candles, lights and festive decorations. There was a traditional group of harp, fiddles, flutes, concertina, bodhrán and tin whistle playing distinctly Irish versions of Ding Dong Merrily on High and I saw Three Ships. The Cecilian Choir and Chamber Choir sang a selection of Christmas tunes including the hauntingly beautiful The Wexford Carol and the uplifting Carol of the Bells. Harpist Ella Flynn, Fifth Year, accompanied the Senior Orchestra for What Child is This? Isobel Hillery was joined by both school choirs for her rendition of O Holy Night. The programme also featured a Fifth Year vocal quartet comprising of Deirdre Fogarty, Aideen Carew, Laragh Hatherell and Aoife Dempsey. Well done to all those who performed and to Music teacher and Choir Mistress Ms Butler who organised the programme of events. Many thanks also to those who teach in St Angela’s Academy of Music where many of the students attend music tuition.

Mass of the Gifts
The Christmas Mass or Mass of the Gifts was celebrated in the Cathedral of the Assumption on Thursday, December 20. It is always such a special occasion and a lovely reminder of the religious meaning and spiritual value of Christmas. Fr Jim Purcell, the School Chaplain, presided over the mass and gave a very gentle, inspiring homily. There was a fabulous selection of Christmas songs which Cecilian Choir, Chamber Choir and many of the school’s finest instrumentalists had been rehearsing in the lead up to the mass. There was a liturgical movement at the offertory procession which included many dancers from Sixth year. They brought boxes to the altar to symbolise the many acts of charity that take place throughout the school during the year. This dance also featured two of school’s Spanish students, Daniella and Zanaida, who incorporated flamengo style movements into the procession. The students moved with grace to the strains of ‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’ sung by Cecilian Choir and interspersed with bell ringing by some Leaving Cert Music students. As is Ursuline tradition all First Years did a fabulous slow movement to Silent Night. They held lit candles while singing Silent Night in Irish, English and German. It was a joy to behold this beloved hymn prayed through harmonious voices and elegant movement. Thanks to all readers, musicians and dancers whose preparations made the Mass of the Gifts 2019 not only possible but wonderful.

Senior Camogie Munster A Semi-Final
Well done to the Ursuline Senior Camogie panel and coaches Ms Hogan and Ms O’Friel for reaching a Munster A Semi Final. They faced Ursuline’s Waterford who were always going to be stiff opposition. The Ursuline Thurles had the advantage of playing on home soil but this was not enough to secure a place in the final. Ursuline Waterford just pipped the Thurles girls at the post to finish with a heart breaking one-point lead. UCT played out of their skin but it wasn’t enough against a Waterford side that took every opportunity that came their way.

Christmas Activities
UCT-tv continued on Friday, December 14 with the Ursuline version of All Star Mr and Mrs. The Mr and Mrs were Ms Hynes and Mr McLoughlin who had to demonstrate just how well they knew each other. Mr McLoughlin brought gushes of approval from the audience when he declared that he wouldn’t change a thing about Ms Hynes as she was perfect.
The annual Teacher v Student debate happened on Wednesday, December 19. Representing the staff were debating enthusiasts Mr O’Byrne, Ms Geoghegan and Ms Loughnane who proposed the motion that ‘There is Feminism in the North Pole.’ There were pitted against a mighty team of Sixth years including Gemma O’Dwyer, Mary Kate Barrett and Gráinne McNamara. They argued strongly that the North Pole is not in fact an equal opportunities employer and that the fairer sex don’t fare so well there. The students won but the staff but up a brave fight, so well done to all those involved. Much thanks is due to the Fifth Year councillors and their year head Ms Bourke for organising the Christmas activities over the last number of weeks.

A merry and safe Christmas to all our students, their parents and relatives from Ms Butler, Ms Slattery and Ms Gleeson and all the staff and of the Ursuline Secondary School.

Written By Nora Tuohy