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Student Work

National Flag Post-Primary Presentation Ceremony March 7th 2016:

It seemed like any other morning in the capital: the rush-hour traffic, bitter cold, and a spring wind that nipped at the tips of the nose. Yet something was stirring in north Dublin, as the crowds of uniform-clad students and their teachers flocked to Croke Park. This was no ordinary event; this was the National Flag Post-Primary Presentation, to which all 723 secondary schools in Ireland were invited. In preparation for the 1916 Commemoration Day the following week, three students and two adults were invited to receive the magnificent tricolour flag to fly with pride outside their own schools. School Principal Mrs. English so kindly invited and drove the selected pupils to the event. She was joined by the Chairman of the Board, Jim Hand. I, as the Deputy Head Girl, had the pleasure of representing the senior students of St. Louis. Ellen McGrory, a third-year student, the triumphant winner of our 1916 essay competition, had the honour of collecting our flag. Chantelle McEvoy from first-year, runner-up in the competition, took the final coveted spot for this iconic event.
Despite the spine-chilling cold, the atmosphere of the buzzing crowd was electric. The Cusack stand was soon overflowing with adults and teenagers, unified in our cause: to celebrate the Thomas Francis Meagher Flag Week. Our host for the event was none other than the hilarious Ryan Tubridy. However, that almost paled compared to the next surprise. The presence of the army could only herald the arrival of one man: President Michael D. Higgins! It was then that an tUachtarán took central stage, and explained the reason behind this spectacular gathering. He delivered a captivating speech, its message touching our very hearts with its passion and vigour. The President left us with a valiant mission: to spread the inspirational message of the flag that we hold so dear in our hearts.
What does the Irish tricolour flag represent? The design of our flag was instigated by a man named Thomas Francis Meagher on March 7th 1848. He was a member of the Young Irelanders, an early revolutionary group who fought against the rule of Imperial Britain. After several failed rebellions, tension had grown between the Irish Catholics and Protestants. Instead of uniting to fight for Ireland’s independence, this sparked decades of bloody violence that only drove the groups further apart. Meagher had been inspired by the successes of the French Revolution; he created a new flag based the French Tricolour to reflect the principles of equality, peace and unity. Regarding his choice of colours, he said:
“The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between orange and green. I trust that beneath its folds, the hands of the Irish Catholic and Irish Protestant may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood.”
He was the first person to fly this new tricolour, outside the Wolfe Tone Confederate club in Waterford. For his insurgency, he was sentenced to exile in Tasmania, and two years later, escaped to New York. A triumphant leader and soldier, Meagher then became a hero of the American Civil war, and is now recognised as the patriarch of “Irish Americanism.”
Decades later, Meagher’s revolutionary tricolour would be flown from the GPO during 1916. It rekindled the flame of fraternity, and unification in a common goal for independence. Despite the bloody War of Independence, and bitter Civil War, the green, white and gold banner evolved to become the nation’s symbol. Even our national constitution, Bunreacht na hEireann, recognises the tricolour as our official flag.
But why is this flag so prominent, an inaugural part of Irish culture and heritage? Firstly, because it reminds us of our intriguing past. We can never forget the struggles of those who gave their lives for our state. The green and orange remind us of the years of suffering, and the cataclysmic violence that erupted between two ethnic groups. We must never forget these noble sacrifices, but must never repeat them. The flag calls for an end to all violence, to learn from the actions of our ancestors, and to work towards a more cooperative, tolerant and loving nation.
Yet it is the white that embodies the most crucial message of all: peace. It is a hope for peace in today’s world, in a world engulfed in racism, hatred and destruction. Though Ireland is no longer “at war,” it does not mean we are not fighting. We are all fighting our own wars, on a much smaller scale than traditional warfare: everything from local tensions to the refugee crisis in Europe, the homeless crisis, and the ultimate challenge: climate change. And of course, every war needs good soldiers: which are us, the “now” generation. Having conscience and imagination is what makes us human- and this gives us the ability to think. Every human, regardless of colour, gender, sexuality, or religion, has the potential to make a difference. The worst thing we can do is turn a blind eye- the opposite of love is not hatred, it is apathy. And words are our weapons, so we must chose them wisely. Violence is never justified-only through diplomatic means can we win our wars.
Our flag is an eternal reminder of our endeavours for equality. Fortunately, the Irish scales of equilibrium have tipped in our favour, as our country is a more equal society than ever. Think of the rights of women, the marriage equality referendum, religious freedom, our right to elect our government: We have broken free of the chains of oppression and injustice. Eire has taken her rightful place among the most democratic nations in the world. Her martyrs would be proud.

-Orla Murnaghan, 5th Year, Deputy Head Girl





Winner of the History Competition to attend Croke Park on 07/03/16

Do you think it is important to commemorate the past?
Personally, I think it’s essential to commemorate the past. We need to remember the past to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. As so many people witnessed things in history like slavery, genocides, wars and many other forms of oppressions, sane people are not supportive of these types of things at all. Although there are still wars going on today, with countries like the USA and UK sending off soldiers to fight in places like the Middle East, it is not encouraged to send young men off to their death like it was during past wars. You wouldn’t see a poster saying things like “ I want you for the US Army!” Men would not be considered “cowards” for not fighting. That is because people look back on the past and see just how horrific war really is. It isn’t noble or heroic to die for your country, as was said in the past. All people have to do is open a history book to see how brutal war is and they know it is absurd to force men into war.
It is also important to look back on the past to realise why the world is the way it is today. If we didn’t look back on the past, we wouldn’t know simple things like why six counties in Ireland belong to Britain, why there is English, Spanish and Portuguese spoken in countries like America, Argentina and Brazil. Or why there are so many different denominations of Christianity, why Islam has stretched as far as Turkey, or why Judaism is the smallest major world religion today. Although these seem like pretty basic things to know, we wouldn’t know these things if we chose not to observe the past at all.
It is pretty clear that we need to know about the past to make decisions for the future. Even events that took place in the past were of course influenced by events that took place even further in the past. The American Revolution influenced the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which influenced the 1916 Rising, which then influenced the War of Independence. Outside of Ireland, people like Gandhi influenced Martin Luther King Jnr. How Gandhi worked to win freedom for India in the past impressed King and led him to fight for black people’s rights.
Without recognizing the past, a country would have no culture, customs or belief systems. Italy for example, their culture revolves around art, architecture, music and food, which was influenced by the fact that Italy was home of the Roman Empire and played a major part in the Renaissance. People like Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo had major influences on science, helping science to make discoveries in the future. Even the Renaissance was influenced by the past, Ancient Roman architecture became popular again. Things in the past helped the Enlightenment, as people looked back on past ideas and realised they were wrong, so then they improved these ideas. People need to look back on the past to come up with ideas for the future and to make better decisions for the future.
We should also commemorate the past to honour the sacrifice of others and to pay respect to people who worked for liberty, freedom and peace that people in first world countries enjoy today. And to acknowledge the suffering of people in the past. “Black History Month” has just ended in America, which commemorates the suffering of black people in the past and is a reminder to people to never let this kind of suffering happen again. Not just to black people, but any race.
As the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising approaches, it is important for Ireland to commemorate the sacrifice of the rebels who helped Ireland become the free and independent country it is today. Many events will be held throughout the year to help do this and is also a fun, interactive way to help young Irish people to learn about their history, as some may find just learning it in a classroom to be boring.
Of course remembering history doesn’t always prevent mistakes, and many people are still repeating mistakes made in history. Some people just refuse to learn from mistakes in the past. I find it very hard to imagine complete world peace, a world with no wars, conflicts or poverty, and it is very unlikely it will happen any time soon. But hopefully, more and more leaders and politicians will start to learn from mistakes made in the past, by remembering the past, and eventually achieve world peace, or at least as close as possible to it.
For all these reasons, I truly believe it is extremely important to commemorate the past, to make a better present and a better future.

Ellen McGrory
Rang Doireann, 3rd Year
March 2016.




Runner- up in the History Competition to attend Croke Park on 07/03/16

I think it is important to commemorate the past
We cannot change the past, however we have a choice to live and embrace the present which in turn will create a future.
Many well-known historical Irish people, Jim Larkin, James Connolly, Joseph Plunkett and Thomas McDonagh put their lives in jeopardy to make sure Ireland was an independent country, this should not go unnoticed.
They were not made to fight. They had a choice, a chance to leave their families and become “fighters of Freedom for Ireland”. I do not believe that they were fighting for themselves. I believe they were fighting for the future of Ireland, the future of their children and their children. As we all know, they did not win the first time, but they did not give up, they kept fighting till the end. They could have quit, nothing was stopping them, but they had courage and faith to fight for what they believed in.
When we learn about history we ask why? What if? We also get bits and pieces of the truth, however what really happened, the full detail is in the past. We just have to be grateful for the past, because without it we would have no future. The past is a building block that creates a foundation for our present, and in turn our future, and it is with thanks to the many brave and courageous Irish men and women who fought and laid a foundation for an independent Ireland. We all have a freedom of choice, and a free will, and I believe this is what they fought for, a free Ireland.
Like all other Irish republicans, I am proud to be Irish. From the four proud provinces of Ireland, shoulder to shoulder we will answer Ireland’s call, just like that of our great ancestors.
Chantel Lonergan
Rang Eanna, 1st Year.



1st Place – Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Competition 2013


Earth-Bound - By Phoebe Garity

Cold be the golden earth beneath the sky
For those who slumber under weathered stone,
And forever in darkness shall they lie?

May they thus be bound when all the stars die
And the sun fails on its descended throne.
And forever in darkness shall they lie?

May the blackest clouds go unheeded by
And the benighted moon remain unknown.
And forever in darkness shall they lie?

So, let the accursed wind rage and cry.
It is unacknowledged, let it moan.
And forever in darkness shall they lie?

And all the twilight world passes them by
Until dusk depart and the dawn is grown.
And forever in darkness shall they lie?

Then at long last the Spring shall come. And cry,
"Awake now all of you whom I have sown!
Rise! Rise! And reach all of you to the sky-
Never more in darkness shall you lie.

Space - By Olivia Sewell

Lying by the camp fire,
Face to the sky,
Cold blanket of darkness
Lit by fiery stars,
Flickering, flaming, fascinating.

I see the man in the moon,
Staring down at me and you,
And all other upturned faces,
Mesmerised by his curious gaze.

Spinning planets round the sun,
Shooting stars, comets soar,
Mysterious space,
No corners, no edges,
An infinity of star-speckled blackness.

Learned astronomers, dreamers, thinkers,
Peering through telescopes
Like Galileo, yearning reason, truth,
Stretching their hopes,
But the answers, like the stars, are far beyond their reach.


The Morning Rush - By Bláithín Swinburne

Alarm clock is ringing, I just want to snore,
Feet are refusing to touch the floor.
Jump into the shower and bang my head,
Oh, I just want to go back to bed.

My toast is burnt,
Didn't study the test,
Can't find my shoes,
My hair is a mess.

I get some cereal but the milk is gone sour,
Day's off to a bed start it's only been an hour.
On my way to school I just want to go home,
Forgot to do homework was meant to write a poem.

In the classroom, surrounded by friends,
This is what makes my bad mood end.
Shouldn't let homework and school worries mount,
Because family and friends are the true ones that count


Symbols of Life - By Holly Bloore

Flowers. Small ones, big ones,
Bright ones, plain.
How dull the garden,
Were they all the same.

Roses are red, or so it says,
But in my garden, they're colourful sprays.
Given on Valentine's to the one you adore,
The one you'll love for ever more.

A daffodil is a chirpy sort of fellow,
A sign of spring, like the sun, bright yellow.
From its tea-cup petals on a day that is sunny,
With its basket of eggs comes the Easter Bunny.

Three leaves of shamrock,
Faith, Love and Hope,
Taught by St. Patrick,
To all Irish folk.

A green leaf of holly and the bright red berry,
A symbol of Christmas, a time to be merry.
Flowers are not just a gift from above,
But symbols we cherish, in life and in love.


By Phoebe Garity

Merry has just moved into the apartment, an old room in an old building. A small dusty space with bare walls and floor. The one window provides a dim light that illuminates an empty fireplace and a sagging bookshelf full of books. An armchair and a bed are the only other furniture. The owner of the building enters the room. Merry follows, carrying two small trunks.

Owner: I'll arrange for coal and wood to be delivered later. (He brushes his hand through the dust on the mantelpiece.) If you're willing to pay. (He looks at Merry expectantly.)

Merry: (setting down her bags.) That'd be great, thank you. (She looks at the Owner's outstretched hand and sighs before dropping the last of her money into his palm.)

Owner: The bathroom's downstairs. There'll be hot water in the evenings. If you need anything else (he pockets Merry's money) don't hesitate to ask. (He makes his way to the door.)

Merry: What about these? (She points to the bookshelf.)

Owner: (shrugs.) Read them, burn them, sell them...I don't care. They've been here since my grandfather's time so I doubt they're worth much. (His hand drums the door impatiently.) Anything else?

Merry: That's all, thank you.

The Owner leaves.

Merry lies down on the bed, ignores the protest of a loose floorboard, and falls asleep. A Stranger enters as a fire blazes to life in the empty grate. Flickering orange light fills the room. Merry wakes. The Stranger turns quickly, his eyes wide.

Merry: (yawning and blinking against the unexpected light.) Ah, you're back. (she has not yet realised that it is not the Owner. ) Thank you for lighting the fire I must have... (she jumps to her feet, stumbling as she shoves the chair between herself and the Stranger.)Who are you? What do you want?

Stranger: (raising his hands.) I was about to ask you the same. What are you doing in my room?

Merry: What are you talking about? This is my room. Leave before I call the police!

Stranger: Calm down! My name is Theo. I've been living here for a while. I can prove it if you like. (He slowly lowers his hands and reaches toward the bookshelf.)

Merry: This is a joke. It has to be.

Theo: Well, if it is, it's on me too. (He has removed a small book from the shelf and is now holding it out to Merry.) My address is just inside the front cover. No. 13, The Amity Lodges, Dublin. (Merry grabs the book quickly and stands back further. Theo gives a small smile and tucks his hands into his pockets.)

Merry: (glances from the book to Theo. It is a journal, antiquated in style and yet the ink is fresh and clear. She hands it back with a frown.) The No. 13 part seems to be in order...I only moved in today so I don't really know the rest.

Theo: I still do not know why I memorised that address.

Merry: What do you mean?

Theo: I have had not a single letter in all the years that I have lived here. (His eyes meet Merry's before flickering to the floor.) I will go speak to the Owner. It comes as no surprise that he has evicted me, the rent has long been overdue.

Merry: It's okay, he said he'd be back. If he's sold me an occupied room then he'll have two unhappy customers to contend with.

Theo: (smiling widely.) Fantastic! I never liked the old sod anyway! (He begins to cough and turns toward the fire.)

Merry: Are you all right? (She moves slightly closer.)

Theo: (choking.) I am...perfectly...fine, thank you. (He turns to Merry as he stuffs a handkerchief in his pocket.) Some sort of flu if I had to guess.

Merry: Well, you can keep it. I've had enough trouble without adding a cold to it. (Her smile falters as Theo sways.)

Theo: Would it be all right if I sat down?

Merry: Go ahead. (She moves away from the chair as he sits down and takes his place at the fire.)

Theo: I am sorry about this...(he frowns.) What did you say your name was?

Merry: I didn't. It's Merry.

Theo: Mary?

Merry: Merry. M- e- double r- y. You're not the first person I've had to explain that to.

Theo: I love it. Merry. (He draws out the 'e' and smiles.) This is turning out to be a far better evening than I had expected...though I am sure I am alone in thinking that.

Merry: I have to admit, it is nice seeing a friendly face.

The sound of footsteps outside.

Theo: That must be him. (He begins to cough as he stands. He raises the handkerchief to his mouth.) If I am not back, there's some money I have been saving under a floorboard under the bed. (He hands his diary to Merry and she notices in the firelight that there is blood on his handkerchief.) It was a pleasure meeting you, Merry.

Theo leaves. Before the door can close the Owner enters bearing a candle and a small sack of coal.

Owner: What are you doing standing there in the dark? (He drops his burden by the cold fireplace and gives Merry the candle as she sits in the armchair.)

Merry: I made a friend.

Owner: (frowns.)Okay...well...I'm sure you need your rest so...(Owner leaves.)

Merry blinks confused and looks at the book in her hand. It is aged and well thumbed. The address at the front is almost illegible. She flicks it open, a blur of faded words, and marvels at the final passage.

Merry: (reading aloud.) Today, I made a friend. She did not stay for long, she was there...and then she was gone. But now, in these final moments, I no longer feel so alone in the world.

Merry smiles and returns to bed, clutching the journal in one hand. The old floorboard creaks with promise as she extinguishes the candle.


Our Amazing Gift by Celine Byrne

Dreams have immense power, dreams can change the world. If Walt Disney didn't have a dream we wouldn't know about one of the most famous theme parks in the world. We wouldn't have fallen in love with our favourite Disney characters either. If Michael Jordan didn't have a dream, we wouldn't know of one of the most famous basketball players of all time. If people like Nelson Mandella, Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa didn't have a dream our world would be a very different place to live in today.

Can you imagine a place with all the things that make you happy? My place would be a beautiful garden in summer. There would be flowers like roses, daffodils and tulips. The only people in my dream would be the people who make me happy. In this dream there would be an end to war, pain and a cure for cancer. We would eat chocolate and brownies and cake galore. These thoughts have made me very happy. Dreams have this power.

Dreams allow us to escape from our busy hectic lives .They allow us to escape from what sometimes seems to be a horrible world. People all over the world dream of different things. We all dream of our futures and what different paths we may take. For others, their dreams are very serious and may never come true .People all over the world dream of a world free from tyranny, free from a world where no child dies due to hunger or poverty.

These dreams are very real. They don't affect us but we still care and dream the same dream for those it does affect.

Some say dreams are better than real life, but those who say that should realise dreams are no different to goals. When you set your mind to a goal, it can come true.

I don't think people realise the different meanings the word "dreams" has.
Dreams can be your own imaginary world with the things that make you happy.
Dreams can be the little movie that plays in your head when you're asleep .For me, the most important dreams are the dreams that drove people like Nelson Mandella, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa and Walt Disney to change the way the world thinks. We may not realise it, but a dream is an amazing gift.


The Door by Phoebe Garity

Cold rain fell as paced the woman

Back and forth before the door.

Hands clasped before her wretched heart

Chill and barren, devoid of guilty words

Of a husband who had once lived-

there, but lay now in a box.


A box

Carried through that silent door,

And the husband with it,

A void without words

That had watched the woman

As she had shattered his heart -


Until a knock shook that watching door

And the other box, the vaulted chest

in which the woman chained her heart.

Thought she the husband returned?

Fear stoppered the passge of words,


the beat of her heart,

as resolute, the woman turned the handle and faced-

not the husband! But a man, clutching a box.

A man who uttered meaningless words,

As taking it, she slammed the door.


Thick the air with exultant words

As the woman kissed the box,

And shivered the door in its frame

While the husband turned in his grave.

And sang her crooked heart


As opened she the box

Before the door to discover ....

Not the gold to sate her heart

But words that chilled from her a shriek!

And so fell the woman


Box and all, as witnessed the door the words of the husband that smote the heart of the

woman down -

I forgive.

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