News from Coláiste Muire, Ennis

April 2017

Niamh O'Regan of Coláiste Muire Ennis has kindly shared the following student news from her school.

CanSat Success!

Congratulations and very well done to our TY CanSat students who won the regional final of this competition on Friday 31 March in GMIT.

A CanSat is a simulation of a real life satellite, contained within the volume of a 330ml soft-drink can. The students had to launch the CanSat which then needed a parachute to land safely. All the time students are collecting data .... measuring temperature, pressure, etc. and transmitting it to a laptop computer. A major part of the CanSat competition on Friday required the student teams to analyse and present their data and other work to an audience!

It is the first time our school has entered the competition and we had two teams participating.

Our "NASARR" team, comprising Robyn Maxwell, Amy Stanley, Niamh Ross, Roslyn Cuffe-Kelly, Shona Power & Ailbhe Cannon will now go on to represent Coláiste Muire at the national final in Birr on 27 April. The European final takes place in June in Lisbon.

Visit to Zimmer Biomet

Zimmer Biomet is a worldwide leader in musculoskeletal health care and has been since their founding more than 80 years ago.

Today, their global team of more than 8,500 employees works to provide effective, creative solutions that support orthopaedic surgeons and clinicians to restore mobility and treat arthritis and traumatic injuries. Their joint replacement technologies and a wide range of related products and services make them valuable partners to health care providers in more than 100 countries.

30 of our Transition Year students (pictured above) had the opportunity to visit Zimmer Biomet’s plant in Shannon on 22 March.

After an introductory lecture on Biomedical Engineering, students toured the plant, met with some of the engineering team and learned more about their day-to-day working lives.

BOI Bond Trader Challenge

Two teams of four students from TY3 who run our school bank participated in the Bank of Ireland Bond Trader Challenge on 23 January. The competition was held in Thomond Suite, Thomond Park, Limerick.

The morning began with an overview of markets and trading by BOI Head of Pensions & Investments. Students then participated in the Bond Trader Challenge responding to real market scenarios and making decisions on how to manage their own bond portfolio.

One of our teams (Ciara Ryan, Gemma Brady, Robyn Maxwell and Eimear Ní Choileain) won the competition. Each student was presented with an iPad mini.

My Adopted Soldier Trip 2017

Well done to Mary Tiernan TY2 (pictured above) who has been selected to represent our province in “My Adopted Soldier Trip 2017” with her short essay on ‘Why I would like to represent my province and what World War One means to me’. This is a unique project which commemorates soldiers from the island of Ireland who died in WW1. She entered the competition as part of her History class.
Mary has been selected as one of 15 students from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland who will join 15 students from Germany in a project and trip in June 2017 to remember soldiers from both sides who died in the Ypres region of Belgium in WW1.
Mary will now be given the name of a soldier who died in Flanders from our province or country. She will have to carry out research on her soldier just like students did on the first trip to the Somme in 1915 which is archived on the website
RTE will be filming aspects of the trip for a documentary.
Mary is our 3rd Transition Year student this year to win a competition involving travel to Europe. Roslyn Cuffe Kelly TY5 was one of 10 TY students who won a trip to the European Parliament on 8 -10 December as part of the Meet Your MEP Programme for her essay entitled "Why the EU is important to me".

Hannah Keane TY2 (pictured above) was selected as one of 24 district winners of Rotary's Youth Leadership Development Competition on Friday evening 18 November in Athlone. This competition focuses on leadership, citizenship and personal growth.

In February the 24 winners visited Belfast and met with local political and business leaders. They then travelled to the Houses of the Oireachtas in Dublin.
The highlight of the trip was debating a variety of motions in the European Parliament in Strasbourg at Euroscola!

National Final Transition Year Drama Festival

We had considerable success at the final of this competition which was held in the Mullingar Arts Centre on 4th March. Coláiste Muire received 7 awards as follows:
  • Interpretation of an Irish Play - Bog of Cats
  • Special Performer - Roslyn Cuffe Kelly, Bog of Cats
  • Best Costumes - Alice in Wonderland
  • Best Producer - Bog of Cats
  • 3 Runners Up Prizes - Alice in Wonderland, Importance of Being Earnest, By the Bog of Cats

Paul Durcan Poetry Reading

Our Senior English students sat spellbound as the Poet Paul Durcan read his poetry in Glór on 3 March during the Ennis Bookclub Festival.
The poetry reading was organised as a special student event as Paul Durcan’s poetry is on the Leaving Cert English course.
Students had an opportunity afterwards to ask questions and discuss his poems with the poet.
The reading brought the poetry to life and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

LGFA Coaching, Refereeing & Event Management

This programme is organised by the Ladies Gaelic Football Association. 16 TY students completed day one of this programme on 7 March which involved training in the basics of Coaching, basics of Refereeing, Event Management, Event planning.
The second day of this programme to be held in the 3rd term will involve TY students organising an event for a number of local primary schools in the catchment area together with some of our 1st year students.

Volleyball Success

Congratulations to the Senior Cup Volleyball team above who beat Presentation Kilkenny on 12 March in the All-Ireland Quarter Final 3 – 1.

The team will now face St. Mary’s Naas in the semi final.

Coláiste Muire Economics Students debate EU Trade Policy

Pictured above (front row) Shauna Greene, Carol Buckley and Eanna O’Loughlin with (back, from left to right) Head of European Commission Representation in Ireland, Gerry Kiely; Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan; Journalist for the Irish Farmers’ Journal, Mairead Lavery; HE Mr Bernardo Futscher Pereira, Ambassador of Portugal; Ellen Jones, Teacher; Brian Hayes MEP and Executive Director of the European Movement Ireland, Noelle O’Connell at Dublin Castle on 20 March where they where debating the hot topic of EU trade policy at the 11th Model Council of the European Union.

Industry Visit: VISTAKON, Limerick

38 TY students visited Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (operating as Vistakon Ireland) on 8 March as part of Engineers Week. Vistakon is the world’s largest contact lenses manufacturer.
The purpose of such a visit is to showcase the exciting and diverse career opportunities that the engineering profession has to offer.
As a long-established multi-national in the mid-west, Vistakon works with local schools on an ongoing basis to foster upcoming talent and inspire the engineers of the future.
Our students had guided tours of the plant, met with some of the engineering team and learned more about their day-to-day working lives.
They also worked on 5 interactive activities under the guidance of a team of Engineers.

LEO Enterprise Final, West County Hotel

We had great success at the finals of the Enterprise Competition held in the West County on 9 March.
Coláiste Muire had 24 companies (of 109) showcasing on the day! Results as follows
3rd Winners Overall - Memo Me
Best Business Plan - Safe Sips
Craft Category
1st place: Memo Me
3rd place: Coco Naturel
Tech Category
3rd place: PhoneFriend
Retail Category
2nd place: Pamper Hamper

CEIST Student Leadership Conference

Mary Tiernan, Alanna Clohessy and Aishling Hehir TY2 (pictured above) represented our school in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra on 14 March.
Their presentation outlined how they have shown leadership in Coláiste Muire.

Walk in My Shoes

Walk in My Shoes is a mental health education and awareness campaign of St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services.
St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services is Ireland’s largest, independent, not-for-profit, mental health service provider in Ireland.
Each year, Walk in My Shoes runs a Transition Year Programme. The aim of the programme is to educate young people about mental health the stigma associated with mental health illness.
Mary Tiernan TY2 was (100 students nationally) selected to participate in the programme from 20 -24 February.

NUI Galway’s SIMMED School Programme for TY students

NUI Galway’s SIMMED School takes place annually in the university’s School of Medicine and in the Nurses’ Home in Galway University Hospital.
Going into its fourth year, SIMMED School is an innovative and unique programme for Transition Year students who are interested in exploring medicine as a career.
Students are immersed in the world of medicine over a four day programme, giving them a flavour of what life will be like as a doctor in a major teaching hospital.
Throughout the programme, students are part of a simulated medical team and get to carry out medical and surgical skills in the centre for simulation in Galway University Hospital, SIMWEST.
They hear the experiences of current students starting their journey in the School of Medicine and those of fully qualified doctors.
They also meet different professionals employed in a wide range of roles throughout the hospital, learn about common medical problems and discovered interesting facts about plastic surgery, orthopaedics, HIV, oncology, diabetes, asthma and many more topics.
Mary Tiernan TY2 and Roslyn Cuffe-Kelly TY5 were selected to participate in this programme during final two weeks of March.

CIT Cork School of Music Transition Year Orchestra Project

Lucy Galvin TY 4 has been selected to participate in this programme from 3 – 7 April. This full-time Work Experience Week involves rehearsals, professional seminars, audition training and a final concert. Lucy was accepted on the basis of a video audition.

Easter Camp to China

The Easter Camp Programme is a two-week programme in Shanghai. It is jointly organised by UCC Confucius Institute, Irish Institute of Chinese Studies (UCC) and Shanghai University and sponsored by the Headquarters of Confucius (Hanban).
It provides an opportunity for non-Chinese students in Irish second level schools (Transition Year students) to visit China and to learn its language and culture.
Brenna O’Keeffe and Niamh McHugh TY1 have been selected to participate in the Easter Camp from 7 – 20 April

May 2017

Coláiste Muire School Choir Success in Chester, England

The School Choir of Coláiste Muire, Ennis and conductor Carmel Griffin had significant success at the recent Competitive Festival of Performing Arts in Chester, England.
The choir was awarded first prize and a certificate of outstanding in their competition and then went on to win the choir of the Festival award because it had been awarded the highest mark in all choral competitions.
They performed Danza by Linda Spevacek and Someone to watch over me by George Gershwin.
Following a four-day trip to the charming English City of Chester, the choir, consisting of 131 students, returned home to a hero’s welcome.
The choir participates in a variety of performances during the year including school masses, concerts, festivals, competitions and tours.
The aim of the Choir is to give every student the opportunity to reach a high individual and group skill level in vocal music.?This is done through performance and rehearsal settings that maintain high standards and purposeful participation.

CareersPortal National Career Skills Competition

Well done to Robyn Maxwell who won 1st prize in the TY section of Careersportal's National Careerskills Competition for her research into Software Engineering. She won a MacBook Air plus €1000 for our school's TY programme.
The annual awards ceremony took place again this year on 10 May in the Dept of Education & Skills.
Brenna O'Keeffe TY1 was Highly Commended and Niamh Kelly TY2, Ellen Smith TY4 and Ciara O'Brien TY5 were commended!

Art Exhibition

Our Art Department hosted an Art exhibition in Coláiste Muire on Friday 13 May, entitled “Earth, Sea, Sky”.
The project “Earth, Sea, Sky” was created by a class of 2nd year Art students and was run in conjunction with the NAPD.
The Creative Engagement project aims to put artists into schools and encourage students to engage with the Arts. It was designed by art teacher Niamh Hickey and visiting artist Inga Van Doorslaer, who is a felt and fabric artist.
The students began by brainstorming themes, and gradually learned to pare down their ideas by working collaboratively, to 3 main strands of investigation; earth, sea and sky.
They then worked with their teachers on creating 15 original pieces which were stitched onto canvases and hung in a specific composition.
The resulting art work represents many hours of planning, deliberation, experimentation and realisation. It is now installed on the walls of our school and will hang for many years to come.

UL National Essay Competition for Secondary Schools

Well done to Robyn Maxwell TY3 who was awarded 1st prize in UL's Regional Writing Centre - National Essay Competition for Secondary Schools.
The competition involved writing an 800-1000 word essay entitled "Student loans will make graduates flee. Face it, tax is the best way to fund 3rd level". She was presented with her prize, an android tablet, at a ceremony on 24 April in the University of Limerick

Diplomats in the Classroom programme

Diplomats in the Classroom aims to increase awareness, discussion and debate amongst senior cycle second level students on the work of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and on Ireland’s place in a changing world.
Officials from the Department visit schools to deliver interactive workshops designed to engage students on three key elements of Irish Foreign Policy: Our People, Our Interests and Values, and Ireland’s Prosperity.
Coláiste Muire was selected to participate in the programme this year. On Thursday 18 May, Sarah McGrath and Stephen Garry visited our school and delivered the programme to our five Transition Year classes.
Sarah, a past pupil of Coláiste Muire is the Political and Reconciliation Director, Ireland, UK and Americas Division of the DFA and Trade. Stephen is attached to the Policy Planning Unit, DFA.
Drawing on their own personal experience of work in the Department, Sarah and Stephen provided an insight into how Foreign Policy is practiced through classroom based workshops and group presentations.


A travelling German workshop visited Coláiste Muire on 18 May.
A representative from the Goethe-Institut worked with our 1st year German students and engaged the groups in various vocabulary and conversational activities.