March 28, 2021

TV3 News & Aisling Ní Choisdealbha
The Ursuline was delighted to welcome TV3 News Reporter and former student Aisling Ni Choisdealbha on Friday, 26th March, the last day of term. She came with cameraman Eoin to do a news item on the Leaving Cert Orals and Practicals which began this week across the country. She spoke on camera to Principal Ms Mary Butler about the impact of covid 19 on students in the School. Ms Butler mentioned the social impact Lockdown is having on students in younger years who are missing their friends and the comradery of school life. She said she knew of many students who had not seen a friend since 22 December. She also highlighted the high levels of anxiety among many due to the prolonged School closure. Aisling also talked to four Leaving Cert students, Ellie McMinn, Rebecca Walshe, Ellie Culliton and Chloe O’Connell about the upcoming Orals. Rebecca who is sitting Orals in Irish, French and German along with a Practical in Music said she was a little bit nervous having lost valuable in-class time. All four students were eager to sit the Orals and Practicals because of the valuable marks awarded for this component of the course. The students said they were all happy to be back in School, felt safe and thanked their teachers for all their hard work both online and in person. Leaving Certs in the Ursuline are busy studying for the examinations in June with most students opting to sit the papers as well as take predicted grades. Well done to Ellie, Rebecca, Ellie and Chloe who spoke so well on camera and with such confidence and for giving an honest insight into what it is like to be a Leaving Cert student at this strange and difficult time.

We Need to talk about Dementia, TV3
Well done to Ursuline student Bláthnaid Reidy, Fifth Year and her Mam Maguerite who spoke so candidly and bravely on Martin King’s programme We need to talk about Dementia, aired on Sunday night, 28 March on TV3. Marguerite spoke about what it is like to get a diagnosis of dementia. Bláthnaid talked about the close, loving relationship that herself and her Mam share describing the two of them as ‘thick as thieves’. Bláthnaid was understandably emotional when she spoke about not wanting to lose her Mam and her natural worry that Maguerite might not be around to share in her big life events in the future. It was so sad to hear Bláthnaid tell the viewers she doesn’t want her mother to forget her or forget the things they do together. Marguerite spoke with such positivity, mentioning her great hope that a cure for Dementia will be found in the near future, in time to benefit her. The programme was intended to raise vital funds for the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland with viewers being asked to DonateforDementia, a most worthy cause. The School is so proud of Bláthnaid for speaking from the heart and touching so many with her sincerity.

Sixth Year Jerusalema Dance
Sixth Years have missed out on so much recently as Lockdown and covid continue to drag on so it was decided on their return to School that a bit of fun was definitely in order. The Sixth Year School Councillors, the Senior Year Heads, Ms Flanagan and Ms Egan, and the PE teachers have been teaching them the Jersalema Dance that has been sweeping across the world. This socially distanced step it out to the music of Master KG featuring singer Nomcebo Zikode was a bit of craic over the last couple of weeks and the students were brilliant at giving it socks. They were filmed in their Tutor classes dancing in various locations around the School and then on Friday, 26 March they all came together for one big together Jerusalema dance on the Hockey pitches. The School was delighted to get some drone footage of this once off event thanks to Michael McCarthy who came in to lend a hand with the filming and subsequently with the editing. Well done to all the students who got in the spirit of it and really enjoyed themselves. A special mention to the graceful, talented Irish dancers Faye Morton and Amie Nolan and to Eimear Heffernan, the superb Ursu-Lion.

Leaving Cert Orals and Practicals
Best of luck to all the Ursuline Sixth Years who will be sitting their Leaving Cert Orals and Practicals over the Easter holidays. Many thanks to the teachers of these subjects who have been diligently prepping them since the return to School on 5 March.

March 5, 2021

World Book Day

For World Book Day, 4 March, Ursuline students were challenged to pick a place, bring a good book, strike a pose and take a pic. Everyone was a winner with online vouchers for all entries. Students also made bookmarks and created artwork inspired by their favourite book and characters. Some put together book lists of recommendations for their peers which they will be able to check out of the School Library when things return to normal in the, hopefully not too distant future. Well done to all students who took part and celebrated their love of books in such creative and varied ways.

February 5, 2021

Junk Kouture Grand Final

It was a spectacular night for the Ursuline Thurles on Thursday, 4 February when Junk Kouture Grand Finalist ‘Givin’ it Welly’ was crowned the Southern Region winner, live on RTE 2. This original creation, made from old wellington boots, airline pipe, chicken wire and milk filter socks beat off stiff competition from 19 other hopefuls from the South including the Ursuline’s other two finalists. Designers Laura Hally, Cathy Hogan and Emma Ryan showcased their haute couture gem in Bruff, Co. Limerick in November and clearly wowed the judges with their innovation and the imaginative use of farming materials. The students wished to highlight the underrepresentation of women in agriculture, an issue close to their hearts.

It was also a brilliant night for the Ursuline’s other Grand Finalists, ‘Barking up the Wrong Tree’ and ‘Midnight Memories’, both of whom were singled out for special praise by the judges. ‘Barking Up the Wrong Tree’ won the most Unusual Materials prize. Judge, Steven McLaughlin, loved the style of this dress, modelled by Kate Fitzgibbon, likening it to the earlier work of Alexander McQueen.

He was impressed by the fantastic craftsmanship, saying there was something magical about the design. ‘Midnight Memories’ caught the eye of Celebrity judge Louis Walsh, who described the bustier, trouser, ombre coat creation as different, original and amazing.

Congratulations to all three teams. Laura Hally, Cathy Hogan and Emma Ryan, creators of ‘Givin’ it Welly’. Kate Fitzgibbon, Rebecca Hogan and Sarah Egan, the dream team behind ‘Barking up the Wrong Tree’ and ‘Midnight Memories’ designers’ Clodagh Fanning, Ciara Moloney and model Carolina Ceban. Thanks to Mr English and all the teachers involved in Junk Kouture who, along with the students, created cutting edge, award winning outfits resulting in the Ursuline’s most successful year yet in this prestigious National competition.

Cáit Browne, First Year, ‘New Beginnings’

Congratulations to Cáit Browne, First Year, who featured on Tipp FM’s Drivetime with Owen Lonergan recently, reading her own poem entitled ‘New Beginnings’. Cáit described, in powerful imagery, what the beginning of 2021 has been like ‘imprisoned by screens’ and ‘waiting to go back to School’. But the poem has a profound central message about accepting what each day brings rather than trying to bend life to our will. Cáit ends her poem by reminding us that each new day, each new dawn is a new beginning.

UCT Get Fit

Thanks to the PE Department who are ensuring everyone in UCT remains motivated and fit in Lockdown 2021. Students and teachers have downloaded the Strava app on their phones to keep an accurate track of their weekly mileage. They are busy walking and running to clock up as many kilometres as they can, within their 5k boundaries, in a bid to be the Year group with the greatest distance under their belt when schools eventually open up again. Well done to all who are participating, it is brilliant that students and staff are minding their mental and physical health, with a little push in the right direction from the PE teachers.

On-line Learning
Well done to all our students and teachers who have embraced online learning with great vigour since the start of the year. Most classes are continuing live on Microsoft Teams and course work is being covered remotely with students adapting and engaging really well overall. Thanks too to the teachers who have become adept at using information technology to reach out and teach their classes, making the very best of a less than ideal situation.

December 20, 2020

Mass of the Gifts

The Ursuline Christmas Mass, the Mass of the Gifts, took place on Friday 18 December. Star Systems were on hand to record the occasion and stream it live into classrooms, meaning students and staff could participate virtually. The actual Mass was celebrated by School Chaplain, Fr Jim Purcell, in the Sr Ursula Memorial Hall with a select group of teachers, musicians and a trio of singers present to ensure social distancing and compliance with HSE guidelines. Fr Jim said that God gave humanity the ultimate gift, his Son born into the world as a little baby. He hoped that the spirit of God would come alive in everyone this Christmas as Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of God as a helpless little baby. He drew the attention of the congregation to the crib which has no doors, it is an open invitation to all, the birth of Jesus is for everyone, no body is shut out. Thanks to the musicians and singers who sparkled with a selection of festive hymns and instrumentals that included a lively trad rendition of Ding, Dong Merrily on High, Senior Orchestra, strings section only playing The First Noel. Lucy Butler, Sixth Year, did a beautiful liturgical movement and Cathy Hogan, standing a good distance from everyone else and behind a partition played a trumpet recessional of Joy to the World that lifted everyone’s spirits. Thanks to singers, readers and musicians on a wonderful Mass full of the most exquisite Christmas hymns to gladden the heart.


Christmas Carol Service

The annual Christmas Carol Service was pre-recorded at various locations around the School and in the Nun’s Chapel on Thursday 10 December. Both School Choirs were involved, Cecilian and Chamber. However no actual singing could take place on the day. To ensure the Carol Service was conducted safely the Choir members uploaded their individual parts to Music teacher Ms Butler who blended them all together digitally to create a virtual Choir. It was so professionally done that it really did look as if the Choirs were singing rather than just lip syncing. The trad group played a medley of songs while the Chamber Choir did a thrilling version of Oh Holy Night. In keeping with tradition the First Years did a movement with candles to Silent Night sung in German, Irish and English. Each class was recorded individually, one group in front of the School Crib, two groups in the Prayer Room at separate times, two groups in the Convent Chapel and a class who were filmed in front of the School Christmas tree. It was lovely that the First Years got to experience the Silent Night movement as it is always fondly remembered by older Year groups. The link to watch the Carol Service was sent out to parents last Thursday, 17 December enabling students to watch it at home with their parents.


Christmas Activities

Thanks to the Fifth Year School Councillors who organised Christmas themed activities in the lead up to the Holidays. They videoed all the different fun things that were going on in the previous weeks and put together a funny montage of everything in a 40 minute video which all students watched in their classes on Friday. The highlight was the UCT’s Fittest Year which saw Sixth Years and Fifth Years go head to head in a series of fitness challenges encouraged by their teacher mentors Ms Gleeson and Mr Rabitte. The Fifth Years had the winning formula and were crowned UCT’s Fittest Year group 2020. Other Christmas games included a decorate the classroom door especially for teachers and finish the lyric. Everyone got into the jolly atmosphere and were determined to do fun things as normal but with a 2020 Covid twist.

December 12, 2020

Christmas Hockey

There was plenty of seasonal action on the Hockey pitches on Wednesday, 9 December with a big turnout from all Year groups for the annual Christmas Hockey session. There was lots of red, green, silver and gold with Christmas jumpers, Santa hats and tinsel hockey sticks galore. Students participated in games like long jump and sprints. Christmas Hockey is a tradition that always goes down a treat, a joyous combination of sport and Christmas.  

Christmas Jumper Day for Down Syndrome Ireland

There was plenty of Christmas cheer on the corridors on Friday, 11 December with students and staff all dressed in jolly jumpers. The School Council organised the day in order to raise money for Down Syndrome Ireland. The festive attire certainly created an atmosphere that was cheerful, glitzy and wonderfully warm.

Christmas Activities

Christmas Activities continued this week with the Elf on the Shelf in hiding waiting to be found on Friday. Well done to Sarah Hanna, First Year, who with Sherlock Holmes type detective skills discovered the cheeky chappy hanging out in Ms Butlers Office. The Fifth Year Councillors also began the Competition UCTs Fittest Year. Each Year group has a teacher mentor who is doing their best to coach their team to victory as UCTs Fittest Year. A representative team from each Year group has been selected to run, roll tyres, do sack races and carry sandbags all the while being encouraged by their teacher mentor, many of whom would give Davy Fitz a run for his money. Also the competition for the most Christmassy Teachers Door and most decorated room continued unabated last week. The winners will be announced next week and it certainly is anyones to win at this stage such is the high standard of Christmas creativity.

Food Presentation by International Students

Thanks to the international students from France, Germany and Spain who prepared food talks and demonstrations last week for the Home Economics classes. They talked about traditional dishes, the ingredients used, when these foods would be eaten and what would accompany them. They even prepared some French, German and Spanish home cooking for their Irish classmate to see and sample.

TY Languages Workshop

The four TY classes had. a full day of Languages workshops organised by the Modern Languages Departments in conjunction with Languages Connect. In the morning students had a virtual talk given by comedian Des Bishop who described his journey learning Irish and Chinese in adulthood. They learned the Hakka and a French dance called Logobitombo and also participated in a Sign Language workshop facilitated by two TY students Lauren Ormond and Caitlin Byrne where they learned to sign the words of Perfectby Ed Sheehan. Katie Ruding Barnes gave a presentation about her home country Indonesia and Aoife Qian spoke about Mandarin, Chinese culture and showed off her knife skills. In the afternoon the Spanish and German exchange students in TY spoke about Christmas and New Year traditions in their countries and students got an insight into how Christmas is celebrated differently in other cultures. Also two Polish students Malwina, Leaving Cert and Julia, TY taught the classes some basic Polish phrases.  The day ended on an interesting and slightly uproarious note with a virtual belly dancing workshop. Thanks to all students who got involved  giving talks and demonstrations.

December 4, 2020

TY Orienteering
Ursuline TYs have been doing an Orienteering module in PE finding control points located around the School grounds for the past number of weeks. PE teachers Ms Cregan and Ms Fahey decided it was finally time to put their new skills of map reading and navigational coordination to the test in the wilds of Tipperary. On Thursday 3 December two Orienteering sessions were planned, two groups would go to Grange Wood, Gortnahue in the morning and two in the afternoon. This was to ensure social distancing on the buses and on the course. Some groups were in it to win it, getting around in twenty minutes. Other groups took a big longer, taking a more scenic approach. There was a bit of muck, plenty of fresh air, healthy competition and one group even met a very excited dog to add to the adventure of it all. Thanks to Ms Cregan and Ms Fahey for organising this fun, fitness event.


Kaffee und Kuchen with Third Years
It was time for Kaffee und Kuchen for the Third Year German students of the Ursuline Thurles last week. This was a chance for them to get immersed in the culture of the language and in a most enjoyable way too, by eating cake. Kaffee und Kuchen is a tradition of having coffee and cake in the afternoon. This is a time to sit down and chat with friends, at home or in the Konditore, confectionery shop, and enjoy an amazing array of sweet treats. The tradition stretches back to the 17th Century and it is certainly one that the students of UCT, who are studying German for Junior Cycle, would highly recommend. Thanks to all who baked in preparation for Kaffee und Kuchen, everything was delicious and devoured.


Third Year Home Made Advent Calendar
Third Year students in Ms Callinan’s Tutor class were busy in the weeks before December designing and making an Advent Calendar Wall Hanging for the residents of St Antony’s Nursing Home in Pallasgreen. The Calendar has an envelope for each day of December, containing a joke, a poem or an inspirational quote up to and including Christmas Day. It was a lovely gesture and much appreciated by the residents, some of whom it seems are taking sneaky peeks at the days ahead, so it certainly is bringing a bit of Christmas cheer into their lives. Well done to Ms Callinan and her team of hardworking, kind hearted elves in 3A.


Hand Painted Christmas Cards for the Hospital of the Assumption
Ms Spillane’s First Year Tutor Class hand painted Christmas cards to send to residents in the Hospital of the Assumption in Thurles last week. The students wrote seasons greetings and warm messages to the residents telling them about School and what they were looking forward to for Christmas and the new year. In September this particular class also wrote letters to the residents telling them a little bit about what their life was like and how they felt living through the coronavirus pandemic, the positives and negatives. In these letters they promised the residents they would make Christmas cards to send to them and were as true as their word. The students wanted to let those living in the Hospital of the Assumption, who were not allowed visitors, that there are young people who are thinking about them and wishing them well.

November 27, 2020

November Prayer Service
The students and staff of the Ursuline had a virtual prayer service on Monday, 23 November, in remembrance of deceased family and friends. The motif chosen for this year’s November service was leaves. Students wrote the names of loved ones they wanted to prayer for and remember on leaves which they then coloured in autumnal shades. The leaves were a reminder that although death is a part of life it is also signal of new life and growth just waiting to burst forth beyond the winter season. Thanks to all the students who did readings, prayers and reflections and to those who sang. The Prayer Service was pre-recorded and then watched by students and staff in their classes last Monday morning. A special mention must go to Caoimhe Ryan, Sixth Year, who composed a beautiful original song especially for the November service entitled ‘I’ll Remember You.’ Her performance was moving, her voice haunting and the lyrics touching and fitting for the occasion.


Junk Kouture
The Ursuline’s three National Junk Kouture Finalists 2020 made their way to Bruff last week to showcase their fabulous designs in front of the judges. The budding couturiers were ‘Barking Up the Wrong Tree’, ‘Givin’ It Welly’ and ‘Midnight Memories’. They did themselves and the School proud with the creativity, hard work and effort they displayed from the earliest days of the competition right up to this week’s National Final showcase, delayed and altered like so much else in 2020 because of Covid. Everyone is one hundred percent behind all three teams as they wait now for the final results which should be announced in the coming weeks.


School Council
The School Council were very active putting up displays to mark Thanksgiving on Thursday, 26 November. In the previous week they asked all students to decorate the international symbol for gratitude, a spiral illustrating an infinite loop which stands for everlasting appreciation. The colourful pieces formed the central part of their November Thanksgiving exhibit and by doing this all students got to focus their minds on the things they are grateful for in their lives. They also placed beautiful homemade decorations around the building to brighten up the hallways. The Fifth Year Student Councillors are planning for the Christmas season in the School starting with an Elf on the Shelf who has shiftily begun popping up around the place. They have posted clues as to where he can be found and are giving prizes to those who can locate him and return him to the office first. They are also working on other socially distanced activities over the coming weeks to get staff and students into the Christmas spirit.

November 19, 2020

Ursuline TYs had a ‘School of Life’ workshop last week facilitated by Professional Etiquette Consultant, Michelle Harding. It was both practical and expansive, covering life skills, social skills, communication skills, table manners, the art of polite conversation, dinner etiquette, appropriate dress, tips on how to pact the perfect suitcase, how to iron correctly, personal grooming and presentation. The students loved Michelle’s pleasant manner and practical advice peppered with anecdotes and stories from her own life experience. She told them how Walt Disney compiled a customer service manual for his employees which included the five foot, ten-foot rule on greeting customers. She also explained how important customer care is during the pandemic, as the friendly face on the shop floor or at the counter might be the only one that some people, particularly those living alone, might see in the day. Thanks to Michelle for her great work in highlighting the importance of etiquette and reminding the students that good manners are always appreciated.

Leaving Cert Birthday Bash
Covid 19 has cut swathe across so many social gatherings since March and many milestones have been missed and postponed as a result. This is why Ursuline Principal Ms Butler, aided and abetted by the two DPs Ms Slattery and Ms Gleeson and the Sixth Year Student Councillors threw a collective 18th birthday party for everyone in Sixth Year on Wednesday, 18 November. That was the day that the whole Year group turned 18. The gathering took place at lunchtime in the General Assembly Area. There was music, banners, badges, buns, sweets, all the usual birthday fare. Hot food and a massive chocolate biscuit cake were provided by Ms Butler to mark all the significant birthdays Leaving Cert students missed because of lockdown, that they could not share with their friends. A cracking good time was had by all and everyone felt it was a good lift to the spirits as life has taken on a bit of a dull pallor these days with so many social gatherings and activities restricted. Thanks to Ms Butler and the Sixth Year Student Councillors who organised this bash, it was fun and a collective birthday party to remember.

Bloody Sunday Remembered
On Friday, 20 November the students and staff of the Ursuline wore GAA jerseys or their county or club colours to mark the centenary of Bloody Sunday. The School remembered the victims who died as a result of the Crown forces opening fire on spectators gathered to watch the Tipp and Dublin footballers in Croke Park. Even the international students wore jerseys borrowed from their host families. However, Fifth Year History student Francesca from Italy was a bit more innovative. She painted her own Tipperary jersey on a white t-shirt so as to be able take part in the commemoration. In conjunction with this the School Council also decided to raise money for that other very Irish and much loved institution, Dublin Zoo. Students were asked to make a donation and everyone was extremely generous with €1255 being contributed to help save the Zoo. Thanks to everyone who supported this worthy cause. Continue reading “November 19, 2020”

November 5, 2020

TY Hairdressing Workshop

Ursuline TYs got the lowdown on how to take care of their locks with a hairdressing workshop last week, delivered by Ann O’Reilly. This is always a really popular event in the annual TY calendar with students learning about the types of products they should be using and the best ways to take care of their crowning glory. Each student also had a dolls head, replete with plenty of luscious hair on which they could practice up-styles, chignons, plaits and braids. It was a fun and practical lesson in personal grooming and keeping hair clean and looking healthy.


ARTiculation Public Speaking Final

Kaja Gorwa, Fifth Year in the Ursuline Secondary School, who finally got to compete in the National Final of the ARTiculation Public Speaking competition having secured her place among the remaining competitors way back in March. She submitted her presentation virtually on Tuesday, 3 November using a PowerPoint presentation to speak about the Polish sculptor Jerzy Kedziora. Kedziora’s work is internationally acclaimed and he has won numerous awards. His metal sculptures are displayed in open city spaces and balance in beautifully gymnastic and aesthetic poses, appearing to be almost suspended in thin air. Kaja recorded her submission in School and this was then uploaded to be viewed by the judging panel. The winners were announced virtually on Thursday. Kaja did a fantastic speech on a very interesting artist and topic. Well done to her on reaching the All-Ireland ARTiculation Final for the second year in a row and many thanks to her Public Speaking teacher Ms Quinn.

October 23, 2020

Dr Aisling Butler Memorial Bursary
Congratulations to Kate Bourke of the Ursuline Leaving Cert class of 2020, who is this year’s recipient of the Dr Aisling Butler Memorial Bursary. Unfortunately, due to the current Covid restrictions, John and Evelyn Butler, Dr Aisling’s parents, could not present the Award to Kate in person. Kate, who is studying Medicine in UCC, was presented with the Bursary by Principal Ms Mary Butler in the company of her sister Hillary and her parents Liz and Tim on Wednesday, 21 October.
Many of Kate’s teachers came outside, where the award was presented, to wish her all the best in her studies. Kate expressed her gratitude to the School, her teachers and the entire community of UCT for their help and support and thanked the Butler family for their generosity in establishing the Bursary. She said it was a proud day for her and her family and that she would truly be inspired and guided by Dr Aisling’s spirit in her study of Medicine. Well done Kate and best of luck to you as you begin on your chosen career path.

Congratulations to Grace Fitzpatrick Ryan and Sarah Bell Third Year who have both received the call up to play Soccer for Ireland. Grace has been selected for the U15 National Team while Sarah will be part of the U16 Irish line up. Well done girls and the best of luck to you both when you don the green jersey.

St Ursula’s Feast Day
The School celebrated the feast of St Ursula in a very new and modern way on Wednesday, 21 October with a prayer service that was streamed into each class using Microsoft Teams. Thanks to readers Katie O’Dwyer and Katelyn McGovern and soloist Lily Buckley whose rendition of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ seemed very apt in the current climate. However, nothing could get in the way of the traditional feast day treat which everyone received as a way of celebrating and remembering St Ursula, the patroness of learning.

Halloween Dress Up
Usually around this time of the year the Ursuline would be coming to the end of a successful run of the School Show involving over 200 students. Alas in a break with a very long tradition the annual musical could obviously not proceed this year. However, the students and staff of UCT were determined to salvage some fun in these bleak times so a Halloween Costume Day was organised by the School Councillors for the final day of term. There was mighty, socially distanced, craic about the place and everyone got into the spooky spirit of things. There were celebrity guest appearances from Donald and Melania Trump, Elvis, Fungie and the cast of Fr Ted. Plenty of witches could be seen floating through the corridors and a few lads from the CBS next door who must have gotten lost on the way to school that morning. There was plenty of retro with hippies and 1980’s girls sporting hairbands, flouncy skirts, leotards and leg warmers galore. Well done to everyone who got involved to make it a great fun day of safe high jinx which is exactly what the doctor ordered. Thanks to Ms Egan and the School Councillors who did all the hard work promoting the event.

TY Talk on Gender Equality
Thanks to Laura from the Hope Foundation who came to speak to the four TY classes in the Ursuline Secondary School on Tuesday, 20 October. The theme of her talk was Gender Equality and Unconscious Bias and it certainly got students thinking about and looking at gender issues in a new way. They were surprised to learn that early marriage is widely practiced in some parts of the world and that the education of girls is not considered a worthwhile investment for their families, particularly if poverty is an issue. Thanks to Laura for her engaging and thought provoking presentation.