Tuesday, June 23, 2020

More Junior Poetry Prize entries

Here are two more poems from candidates from the recent Junior Poetry Prize.

'Too Far To Say Goodbye' by Marco Trolese

Too far to say goodbye 

But never too far to feel it. 

As soon as the news came in——

it was like I’d been stabbed in the heart

A piece of me had died. 

The trees outside blossomed while the pollen swayed in the summer's breeze. 

Inside there was stone cold silence. Hearing someone's breath was like a megaphone being put to your ear. 

Whether he was in the garage fixing his MG or in the garden, everything was an adventure to him. Always making me dust myself off, after a trip to the beach before getting back into his brightly polished Volkswagen polo.


He reminds me of a river. 

As he flows away on his next journey, his memories will last forever 

A candle describes his life, when lit he was born and kept shining even in the darkest hour until finally blown out softly. 

Everyday him watching over me, keeps me going 

Trying to be a better person each day, 

Trying to make him proud 

I love you grandad 

Too far to say goodbye 

'Summer' by Yilong She

out with spring calling onto summer,

chill of the weary clouds into

the clear azure skies,

waves of searing heat 

clashing against the golden radiant lights

buds blossoming,

fugitives of the wild flaunting in the day;

trees swaying in the whooshing wind

dancing to the mockingbirds’ calls

yet, what creature of land could 

grasp the heavenly divinity of 


having eyes to see, but

blinded by the glistening rays of white and silver

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Peter Dix Memorial Prize for Poetry 2020

Congratulations to Tania Stokes, who has again won the Senior Poetry Prize, named after Old Columban Peter Dix, who was killed in the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. The sculpture marking the prize is kept in the Library, and inscribed with the names of past winners.

Here are two of her winning poems.

‘The Lockdown Dichotomy'

The neighbourhood felt like a meadow
And I was a wandering sprite,
Bending my eye on the tiniest blooms
With a pioneer's sense of delight.
I skipped in the middle of glistening roads,
Chasing them into the haze—
Each time they would roll off the end of the world
So I wandered their length with my gaze.

Then bustling into the vacuous forum
I wondered at how all was still...
But a revenant cloud must have stirred overhead
When the quiet was cast in a chill:

The sun trickled off from the windows above;
Shadows around became cold;
Loneliness sucked at my heels like mud;
The strangeness was made manifold.

I slunk away from that desolate scene,
Headed for hearth and home.
But ever I saw the streets in a shroud,
This cold, unwavering gloam.


‘Shadow Stream’ By Tania Stokes

On quiet nights there is a shadow stream,
A well-kept secret sneaking between lines
Of forgotten cottages, fleet as time.
By day it runs right beneath our noses,
So obtuse is the prattle of traffic
Bridging the fisherman's subtle angle.
But now, being fettered and infested,
Driving home at night is no one's business.
Once more the silence of antiquity
Sits in the dry, grey hours after dusk
And from crepuscular halftones issues
The shadow stream, as smooth as worry stones.
Water like a cut of silk softly folds
Over pebbles, pooling in crevices,
Slipping beyond knowing under the bridge.
Down here, down in the darkling river bed,
Where the hush goes deeper than the water
And is just as clear, the susurration
Of a lone heron lifting off upstream
Nestles in the ear as a close sound might,
Nearer to the low snuffling of shrews...
Few are the patrons of the shadow stream:
Even as this town's sleep begins to thaw,
The waters bending to their fading realm,
The number of them dwindles, growing thin,
Until the stream is lost to memory
And once more is a shadow in the din.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Voices of Poetry 2020

In 2020, the annual Voices of Poetry evening moved online. Normally, we would be round a single spotlight in the Big Schoolroom listening to words in different languages from all over the world. This time, words were sent from all over the world in, to be gathered virtually in this recording. Many thanks to Mr Swift for putting it all together.
Poems and readers: 

  • Mr Canning - Spring by Gerard Manley Hopkins 
  • Mrs Boobbyer - When by John O’Donnell 
  • Phoebe Grennell (Form V) - What If 2020 Isn’t Cancelled by Leslie Dwight 
  • Sveva Ciofani (Form V) - A Zacinto by Ugo Foscolo (Italian) 
  • Peter zu Bentheim - Nemzeti Dal by Sandor Petofi (Hungarian)  
  • Mr Finn - Ozymandias by Percy Shelley 
  • Cameron McKinley (Form II) - Not Waving But Drowning by Stevie Smith 
  • Orrin Bradley Brady (Form IV)  - The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost 
  • Emily McCarthy (Form III) - from Virgil’s Aeneid, Book IV (Latin) 
  • Mr Brett - In Memory of WB Yeats by WH Auden 
  • Mr Crombie - The Child is Not Dead by Ingrid Jonker 
  • Mr Cron - Soldier’s Poem of Salvation from Ravi Zakarias 
  • Naoise Murray (Form II) -  Patch Seanin by JM Synge 
  • Ms Lynch - Faoiseamh a Gheobhadsa by Martin O’Direain 
  • Megan Bulbulia (Senior Prefect) - An Irish Airman Foresees His Death by WB Yeats 
  • Phoebe Landseer (Form II) - Maj by Karel Hynek M├ícha (Czech) 
  • Dr Pyz -  Proba by Wislawa Szymborska (Polish) 
  • Elise Williams (Form V) - Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes 
  • Vivian Tuite (Form II) There Will Come Soft Rains by Sara Teasdale 
  • Mr Girdham - A Portable Paradise by Roger Robinson 
  • Alex O’Herlihy - He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by WB Yeats

Willis Memorial Prize for Shakespeare 2020

Congratulations to Eliza Somerville, winner of this year's Willis Memorial Prize for Shakespeare, and to Sinead Cleary and Shannon Dent, who were awarded Commendations for their entries. In addition, Fourth Formers Marcus O'Connor and Oscar Sternberg gained Distinctions with fine entries from Fourth Form.

The paper asked candidates to consider the tricky complex Sonnet 71 ('No longer mourn for me when I am dead') and then the 'memorability' of the plays. Candidates ranged widely across Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, King Lear, The Merchant of Venice and Julius Caesar. Thanks and well done to all who entered, especially in these 'distanced' days. But Shakespeare draws us together...

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Submarine, June 2020

Well done to all those who contributed to the final edition of The Submarine for this academic year: click here to access and download a copy.
First Formers Rory O’Dowd, Hal Somerville and Alexander Fought write about their grandparents.  Fifth Former Maybelle Rainey  reports on forest fires in the Hortland Bog in North Kildare and Hugo Dunlop (Fourth Form) asks whether humanity’s aspiration to do justice at Nuremberg has been fulfilled. We also hear what some of our pupils got up to during ‘lockdown’ and about their plans now that lockdown has been lifted. There are poems from Isabella Treacy (II) and Marco Trolese (III) and an abundance of art-work from Third Formers Zofia Cannon-Brookes, Kate Higgins, Isabel Warnock and Pavlov Shavlov,  as well as Fourth Formers, Cadhla McGuinness and Iona Chavasse and Fifth Formers Arizona Ford and Ana Junquera, among others.

Junior Poetry Prize 2020

Congratulations to Hannah Swanepoel, who has been awarded this year's Junior Poetry Prize. Here is her poem 'The Spiral' (we will publish more entries in the coming days).

The Spiral
Ever fleeting, ever present
Can you feel it?
It is the movement of night to day,
The rebirth of spring to winter,
The continuation of the cycle of life

And yet change is also subtle,
Its deft hand ever present
working its way through the mortal maze
It is there when a person takes their first breath,
to their final
When flowers lift their weary heads
to herald the coming of spring
after the deathless slumber of winter,
And when you take your last breath
change will be there,
freeing you from the spiral that is life.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Summer Reading

There is no more important thing you can do to improve in English than read widely (it has a powerful positive impact on all other subjects, too). 

Set yourself a realistic target of the number of books you plan to read over the summer, and create a list.

Here are some pointers:

Ms Kent-Sutton, Librarian, has lots of great suggestions here. Note that it is easy to sign up online to Libraries Ireland and access free e-books, audiobooks and magazines/newspapers.

You can also use a Library card (see above) to discover handy book recommendations

A similar site is What Should I Read Next?

There are also lots of ways to discover books on Good Reads.

Five Books is an outstanding site, particularly for Senior pupils, with recommendations from experts in so many areas. If you are already thinking of what third-level course you are interested in, this is particularly good.