May 14, 2016

Presentation of National Calligraphy Award

Congratulations to Fifth Year student, Nuala Fitzgibbon, who won the National Handwriting competition run by An Post. Nuala came first out of thousands of entries for her letter written from the perspective of someone caught up in the events of Easter 1916 whicalligraphy awardch she scribed using calligraphy. Nuala’s achievement made the Irish Independent last Wednesday which pictured her holding the framed certificate she received. As part of the prize Nuala was allowed to bring a class of students with her to enjoy lunch in the historic GPO.

Nuala was presented with her prize by An Post Chief Executive Donal Connell, who mentioned the high standard of the entrants on this centenary year. There was rapturous applause from her friends and her proud mother Liz who accompanied the class on the trip. The staff of the GPO looked after the students with immense hospitality and it was a privilege to be able to go into the very heart of the building that has such an iconic place in Irish history. Once the award was presented and lunch concluded the class was given guided tour of the new ‘Witness History’ permanent exhibition in the GPO which has had 40,000 visitors since it opened on March 29. The exhibition was very interesting and the guide, Niamh, was excellent and delighted to answer all the students’ questions. She also praised them on how informed they were about what happened in1916 and also what life was like for the poor people of Dublin at that time.

Fifth Year History Trip

On the same day, the Fifth Year History class, who accompanied Nuala for her award ceremony, made their way to Dublin for a day of excitement. The first stop of the day was the ‘Haunted History Ghost Tour’ in association with ‘Hidden Dublin Walking Tours’. The tour started off at Dublin Castle and ended at St. Audeon’s Church. As the students walked through the side streets and alleyways, they listened to spectral stories of Dublin from a bygone age told by the tour guide John. The stories involved well-known creative figures such as Jonathon Swift, Bram Stoker and George Frederic Handel. Over the duration of the tour they also heard some eerie tales such as the burning of 18th century Madam Darkey ‘The Witch’ Kelly, the tragic tale of ‘The Green Lady of St. Audeon’s’, tales from the mysterious 18th century ‘Hellfire Club’ and also stories regarding the crypts under Christchurch Cathedral.
Next stop for the class was the GPO, where fellow Fifth Year student Nuala Fitzgibbon received an award for winning the An Post National handwriting competition and they viewed the “Witness History” exhibition. .


YSI 2016Well done to Ms. Purcell’s TY class who made it to the final of the Young Social Innovators Speak Out held in City West on Tuesday, May 10. Her class worked with First Year students and Sixth Class students on what it is like to make the transition from primary school to post primary. They worked out a set of guidelines to help young students to make this changeover with greater ease. They presented their findings and conclusions well on the day and all TYs had a most enjoyable time.

Also attending were some of the Fifth Year students who were part of the Fifth Year Communities of Excellence Committee. The school was asked to form a small group of Fifth Year students to participate in this YSI initiative and choose a topic to work on in their school that they felt was of particular importance. The Fifth Years took on the challenge of highlighting mental health awareness among the student body. They implemented many initiatives around the school to help students identify mental health issues and identify strategies that would help them to take care of this most important area of their lives.

Speech and Drama

The Speech and Drama examination year opened prestigiously in November, 2015 with Elaine Hayes sitting her Associate Diploma Practical Examination. This was a great accomplishment for Elaine, a Leaving Cert student, who also received her teaching certificate in ballet this year. Elaine has always achieved great results in all her grade exams since starting Speech and Drama aged 4.
In January Vivienne O’Keeefe represented the Ursuline in Feile Liumní in the senior monologue competition and was placed third overall.
LAMDA candidates took their examinations in January. Congratulations to Megan Hayes who was awarded her gold medal. Emma Cheasty and Juliet Smyth who obtained silver medals. Successful candidates for bronze were Neassa McGrath and Juliet Smyth. On March 14, there were 60 students sitting their I.B.S.D. exams between performance and grade. There were five overall gold medals being awarded to the Ursuline centre. The recipients were Heather Hourigan Powell, Andrea Halley, Zoe Bracken, Kerry Tierney and India Leonard. Congratulations to our Sixth Years who obtained their proficiency gold medal in their final Speech and Drama exam. These dedicated students were Chloe Barrett, Sarah Kelly, Emer Breslin, Eimear O’Loghlen, Dervla Lynch and Gallina Kennedy.

On May 4, Ms. Purcell, the Speech and Drama teacher, had I.B.S.D. Performance exams which saw all candidates receiving their programme medals. A big well done to Kerry Tierney who sat her grade 10 recital exam and received another gold medal.
The Speech and Drama year will conclude with Lucy Gillespie and Anne Spillane, both Fifth Year students, entering their gold medal Clanidal on May 21st and Erin Ryan sitting her performance diploma on July 1st. The students who have been mentioned are only a fraction of the 72 students who entered various examinations and received marks from honours to distinction. The students prepare for these exams in their own time and the fact that they all do so well is a testament to their hard work. Speech and drama could not happen without the continued dedication of Ms. Purcell, the Speech and Drama teacher. The examiners who came to the school commented on the overall presentation and, communication skills of the candidates and also their huge level of enthusiasm. Well done to all on a fantastic year in Speech and Drama.

Green Schools

green schools sixth flagIt was with great pride the that Green schools representatives, Kaitlyn Maher, Leanne Donegan, Kate O’Flynn received the Sixth Green Flag for global citizenship, litter & waste. They attended a ceremony in Kilkenny where they were presented with the flag by Hanz Van de Van the Green Schools Officer. It is a credit to the hard working Green School team, their co-ordinators Ms. Carroll and Ms. Coffey and of course the entire student body that the Ursuline Secondary School Thurles is the only post primary school in Tipperary to be awarded the sixth Green Flag. The committee under the chairmanship this year of Constance Quinlan, is kept busy reminding their peers to reduce, reuse, recycle, to conserve water and energy and be mindful of their carbon footprint. Well done to everyone involved in Green Schools for their continued commitment to saving the environment.


The Junior Cert Debaters took to the floor on Monday May 9 for the final of their Debating Competition. Two powerful teams set out to debate the motion that ‘Science holds all the answers for mankind’. Proposers Mary Kate Barrett, Vivienne O’Keefe and their captain Gemma O’Dwyer were emphatic and forthright in proposing the motion but Dervla Lanigan, Hannah Murphy and Sarah Bourke fought a spirited and beautifully presented argument to the contrary. The girls did indeed enthrall, entrance and entertain their audience. Well done to all. The motion was carried by a narrow margin and so the proposers emerged victorious. A great display and superb performances all around. Thanks to Ms. Quinn for all her hard work in organising the competition and to all those who took part and showed up to support.


The First Year Camogie players travelled to Charleville on Wednesday, May 11 to take part in the First Year Munster A blitz. They played four group games. The first match they played resulted in a one point loss to Cork side Ballincollig 2-3 to 2-4. The girls were much more settled in their second game against Middleton winning comfortably by 3-4 to 1-1. They also won against Killaloe and home side Charleville. The score against Killaloe was UCT 4-5 – Killaloe 1-1. The Charleville game was a much more closely fought contest with the Thurles side winning by a point 3-3 to 3-2. They won the semi final against St. Mary’s Nenagh, the final score being UCT 2-4 – St. Mary’s 0-1. So the girls faced West Cork team, Clonalkilty, in the final. However despite their success in their previous games and playing great camogie all day the Thurles girls were beaten by two goals 3-3 to 1-3. The First Years had a fantastic day out in the sun and there will definitely be more to come in the years ahead from this talented bunch of girls. Thanks to coaches Ms. Hogan and Ms. O’Friel.

A Cadette Basketball blitz was held in Thurles on Friday, May 6. The Ursuline played the Presentation in the first game. It was close encounter but the Presentation came out on top. The final score being UCT 15 – Presentation – 20. In the second game Ursuline played Scoil Chroist Rí, Portlaoise. The girls played very well and won out in the end. The final score of this encounter was UCT 22 – Portlaoise 14. Well done to all who played and to coaches Ms. O’Friel and Ms. Casey.


Well done to the 2nd Year B team who played in the Cup final against the Presentation Thurles and won 6-0. It is then another trophy for the Junior end of the school who have had a very successful year. Well done to all!

Written By Nora Tuohy