October 23, 2015

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin Visits

We were delighted to welcome award winning poet Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin to our school on Thursday, 22nd of October. This special event was organised by Leaving Cert. student Claire Dunphy who was able to contact Eileán through her aunt who works for Poetry Ireland. Eiléan is one of the poets prescribed for study by the current Leaving Certificates. It is not often that students or indeed teachers have the opportunity to meet such a renowned living female poet. She read a selection of her poems and spoke about the inspiration behind these particular works. In her succinct poem Street she told the students she wanted to capture a scene or a scrap of experience in the same way a photographer does in a snapshot of life. She said she also found the idea of peering through a half open door intriguing. It is a glimpse of the life lived beyond the door. She told the students that she felt she had permission to write about the experience of her mother dying in her poem Fireman’s Lift. However she wanted to write about her mother’s illness in an imaginative way rather than a literally. The starting point of this poem was the Assumption of the Virgin by Correggio, a fresco painted on the cupola of the Cathedral in Parma, which Ní Chuilleanáin saw with her mother in 1963. She explained to the students that she remembered looking up at this Renaissance painting of Our Lady being lifted up to heaven and years later likened it to her mother being lifted by the lovely nurses caring for her at the end of her life. She also felt that children, particularly in the past, often felt safe hiding in the folds of their mothers skirts, looking up. This was the feeling she got as she looked up at the Virgin ascending to heaven as portrayed by Correggio. She told them that the theme of Translations was the loss of identity experienced by the Magdalene women. Consequently she felt there was also the loss of history, the loss of family connections and the loss of names. She also said that she felt the nuns who ran the laundries lost much of themselves aswell. The poem, she told the girls, was inspired by a particular event, which was the digging up and re-burying of the bodies of women who had died in the Magdalen laundry in Drumcondra.

The students asked her lots of questions and showed keen interest in the craft of the poet. They asked her if she had ever read an interpretation of her poetry that she felt was not a true reflection or representation of her thoughts or ideas. They asked who her favourite poet is. She mentioned how she read Yeats when she was younger and had started to reread him again and how wonderful he is. They asked Eilèan to read through Translations and explain some of the more challenging images which she was more than happy to do. She invited questions and answered all the students queries and was thoroughly engaging. The students felt privileged to have met her and many got her to sign their ‘Poetry Now’ textbooks. She posed for photographs before joining the teachers for lunch in the staff room. Well done to Claire on organising this unique and special visit.

Millstreet International Showjumping

We are keeping our fingers crossed for 2nd year student Alannah O’Donoghue who qualified to represent Ireland at the Millstreet International Showjumping competition. Alannah is one of 32 young Irish showjumpers taking part in the CSI YP 1 competition. Alannah will be jumping with her horse Cleavers Daughter. We wish Alannah and her trusty companion the very best of luck in this important equestrian event.

Royal Irish Academy High Achievers

On Saturday, 10th of October nine of our students from St. Angela’s Academy auditioned in Mary Immaculate College for a chance to perform in the High Achievers Regional Concert in Limerick. Four were selected to participate in the in the event which will take place on November 15th. Those who were successful were Cliodhna Heenan, violin; Ruth Everard, Musical Theatre; Anne Marie O’Dwyer, Musical Theatre; Stacy Taylor; Musical Theatre. Well done to these talented young women and to all our high achievers who will receive their medals at this Regional Concert.

St. Ursula’s Feast Day

Wednesday the 21st of October was the feast of St. Ursula. We had a prayer service to celebrate the life of St. Ursula. The students read prayers remembering Ursula’s bravery, integrity and honour. Ms. McNally’s 6th year music students sang a lovely a cappella version of ‘I went down to the river to pray’ which enhanced the service beautifully. There were treats given to the students to mark this special day in the Ursuline calendar.


In interprovincial hockey we had a number of students who were involved in trials and tournaments recently. Fifth year student Ruth Herlihy was 3rd in the Munster under 18’s. Taking part in the South East U18’s were Susie Osbourne, Bronagh Dowling and Aoife Booth. Bronagh and Susie have also been selected for Irish trials. In the Munster U 16’s Caoimhe Perdue finished 5th. Well done to all these hockey players and we wish them continued success in their hockey endeavours.
There were four teams of first years playing this week against the Presentstion, Thurles. Two of our teams drew and two teams lost. Despite things not going exactly our way there was lots of enthusiasm from our girls, many of whom are only playing hockey since starting secondary school. Well done to their coach Ms. Creegan.


Once again thanks to everyone involved or who helped out in the show. It was a tremendous success and would not happen without the Production team, the staff, the students who volunteered to sell raffle tickets and do front of house and the parents who were supportive as always. Have a restful and well deserved mid-term break.

Written By Nora Tuohy