Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Wave, and Titus Groan

Here is Jessica Dean's Junior Certificate book report analysing two books - Morton Rhue's The Wave and Mervyn Peake's Titus Groan, from the Gormenghast trilogy.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Science site

A cross-curricular plug for our Science Department colleagues, whose new site, mainly for pupils, has just opened here (partly still under construction).

Friday, January 26, 2007


We now have a weekend Exodus, with term resuming on Tuesday. Events in the next few weeks before half-term will include the Junior Play, the St Andrew's one-act drama festival, the House debating final, and the Transition Year Information Evening. Click on our Calendar for more.

Today is the 100th anniversary of one of the most famous events in Irish literary history - the riot at the Abbey Theatre on the occasion on the first night of Synge's The Playboy of the Western World (pictured - Druid production).

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Donne, Messud

Two more book recommendations from recent reading :-

Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children :- the story of privileged New Yorkers in the months just before and after 9/11. A book that is a chocolate box of many pleasures - not perfect, but always absorbing and intelligent. 9/11 itself is approached in an exemplary and subtle way.

Donne : the reformed soul, by John Stubbs. An excellent new biography of one of the poets on the Leaving Certificate course. Stubbs is particularly good on the slow but dramatic development of Donne's life from lad about town 'Jack Donne' to the famous Dr Donne, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral. He provides a rich evocative portrait of London, and writes movingly on the central relationship of the poet's life, that with his much younger wife Ann.

Julian Girdham

Monday, January 22, 2007

Senior Poetry Prize 2007

Entries for the Senior Poetry Prize are due in by the end of term. This year candidates should write between two and five linked poems inspired by or based on the idea of either 'Voices' or 'Pictures.' See more details and ideas by clicking here.

As with our other academic prizes, a book token will be awarded to the winner, and the book bought from this presented on St Columba's Day. This prize however is also marked by the trophy (pictured, in the Library) which is in memory of Old Columban Peter Dix, who was tragically killed in the Lockerbie bombing of 1988. Past winners' names are engraved on the back. The sculptor is Joe Sloan.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Shape We're In

Sophie Haslett's essay on 'The Shape We're In', which is due to be published in 'Teen Times' in the Irish Times in the coming weeks, starts :-

"She's far too thin. Everyone agrees on that. In those shrunken hot pants and skinny vest she looks positively ill, like an urchin from Oliver Twist, albeit one with this season's Prada handbag and hair extensions. But just how skinny is Victoria Beckham? How would it feel if she sat on your lap? Would she be heavier than a kitten? If you hugged her, would she break?"

Read on ...

Friday, January 19, 2007

How much do you read?

Thanks to the excellent service from the people from Zoho, we add today our first voting poll (see top of right sidebar). How many books do you read in a normal month? After a while, we'll move this poll to a new sub-section, and post new ones occasionally, with a few between now and World Book Day on March 1st surveying the reading habits of our visitors.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Disaster - Morpheous

Here is Archie Brooke's story, 'Disaster - Morpheous', a piece written for his Junior Certificate course which imagines a distant future in a world hit by global warming.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Our Calendar

A new feature on this blog : in the right-hand sidebar (and also here), under 'About Us', there's now a link to our English Department calendar. You can find our schedule of Department events, academic deadlines, prizes, drama productions, term dates and also many general school events.

Elizabeth Bishop

One of the most popular and absorbing writers on our Leaving Certificate course is the American poet Elizabeth Bishop (the selection includes 'The Fish', 'Filling Station', 'Sestina' and 'The Bight'). A fascinating recent book edited by Alice Quinn, Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box, is in our Library and puts together many of her uncollected poems, drafts and fragments. It is reviewed interestingly by Gillian White in the London Review of Books here. As White writes, 'Bishop could mull over a draft for more than a decade in wait for the right line or word,' and 'as Bishop says in one of her prose drafts, "it takes great skill to make poetry seem natural".'

Saturday, January 13, 2007

English Prize Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the two English Prizes, the exams for which were held at the end of last term : Hatty Homfray, VI form (Senior) and Fiona Boyd, III form (Junior).

Book tokens for other strong entries will be given to Patricia Jackson and Patrick Ussher (VI), Sophie Haslett and Ellie Russell (V), Joseph Millar (IV), Miriam Poulton (II), Patrick Tice (I) and Kezia Wright (P). We hope to feature some of the work here in due course.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Hypochondriac

Rehearsals have started for this year's Junior Play, Molière's The Hypochrondriac, which is being directed by Sandrine Pac and Head of Drama Jeremy Stone. For the cast, click here (more performers and back-stage helpers are currently being recruited). The performances will be in the BSR on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th February. For the play itself, click here. More on the production nearer the time.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Transition Year Work Portfolio

Our Transition Year have just started on their Work Portfolios (here). Last term they completed their Extended Essays, which are lengthy literary analyses. The Portfolio, however, helps them develop their creative, narrative and discursive writing, and each year produces some fine writing. Some of the best pieces are read at our English Evening in late May, as the year completes the course, and indeed in the coming months we will post some of these here.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hilary Term 2007

Boarders return tomorrow night, and classes start again on Tuesday. As usual, term will be very busy. In terms of regular work, it's not too far from Mock Leaving and Junior Certificate exams in late February. The winners of the Senior and Junior English Prizes will be announced shortly (these exams were taken at the end of last term). The Willis Prize for Shakespeare will be held near the end of term. Transition Year pupils, having recently finished their major Extended Essays, will this term be starting their Work Portfolios, further developing their creative writing skills. The Transition Year Academic Prize Presentations will be held near the end of term. There are two dramatic productions this term - the Junior Play, The Hypochondriac, by Molière (pictured), and the St Andrew's Festival one-act entry, Chekhov's A Marriage Proposal. The House Debating finals are on February 3rd. In mid-March we have our annual Actiontrack 'taster' workshops for II form.

Over the term we'll be posting plenty of news about other events, and plenty of work by our pupils.