News from Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna

The following are the latest news snippets very kindly put together by teacher John Simms and shared to CEIST.

Salters Festival of Chemistry

On the 7th May four first year students travelled to UCC to take part in this year’s Salters Festival of Chemistry. The day consisted of two scientific challenges as well as a talk on forensic science and a science demonstration.

The students that took part were Jane O’Loughlin, Aisling O’Connell, Conor Clancy and Arthur Collins. They were accompanied to the event by John Sims.

Mary Immaculate students take top awards at SciFest

SciFest was held at GMIT on the 15th May. Mary Immaculate Secondary School sent six projects to the event. Secondary school pupils from counties Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Clare and Tipperary took part in the competition submitting a total of 50 projects.

The North Clare school was very successful at the event taking home two awards. Aisling O’Rourke took the top award at the event by winning the SFI Discover Best Project Award. This award was won for her project entitled “an examination of rock pool fish communities on shores north and south of Galway Bay”.

Maghnus Hartigan was awarded the Intel Award (Best Physical Sciences or Technology Project). This was for his project entitled “Mouse's Ears: The development of a computer mouse that senses the user’s subconscious reactions”.

The other projects competing were: Órlaith Bowen - Predator effect on the behaviour of Mytilus edulis and Littorina littoria, Tess Casasin Sheridan and Aoife Doherty - Why are the beaches in Clare different colours?, Patrick O’Rourke - Sport and alcohol, is it too close a relationship? and Lizzy Roche and Olivia McGann- Variations in Carlina vulgaris from different regions of the Burren.

Pictured above Dr Des Foley, Head of School of Science GMIT, Aisling O'Rourke, Donna McCabe (SFI) and George Porter, Scifest. 

2014 Awards Ceremony at Mary Immaculate Secondary School, Lisdoonvarna-Fifth Student Awards

The Principal, John O’Loughlin, told the gathered student and staff body that ‘the awards ceremony is designed to encourage and challenge each student of Mary Immaculate to be the best possible person he or she can be’.

He thanked the tremendous dedication and generosity of the staff when it came to the promotion and support of co-curricular and extracurricular activities. He congratulated the entire student body, especially those being nominated and those receiving an award.

He thanked especially John Sims, Acting Deputy Principal for co-ordinating the Student Awards and Sally McMahon for secretarial support.


The school is proud of the very good attendance rate of its students. Full attendance of the following students was acknowledged:

First Year; Dara Kenneally
Second Year: Liam Nilan, Róisín O’Donoghue,
Third Year: Keith Dowling, Maghnus Hartigan, Pádraig Kelly, Ben Kenneally
Fifth Year: Maria Beuselinck, Nicole Davis Danaher, Cronan Howley, Aisling O’Rourke,
Sixth Year: Angelo Heart


As a Mercy/CEIST school we are always aware of those who are much worse off than us. The following students were thanked for their extra effort in relation to raising much needed funds for Trócaire:

Arthur Collins, Conor Clancy, Claire Reilly, Tess Casasín Sheridan, Thomas McCormack, Colm O Brien, Sean Kelly

Focus Ireland:

With the extent of homelessness increasing across the country year on year it was appropriate that the effort of our First Year students in raising awareness and money for Focus Ireland was acknowledged: Certificates of Appreciation were presented to the four First Year representatives on behalf of all their classmates:
Joshua Roche, Isabelle Walsh, Fearghal Burke, Ellen Dobbin Catto.

Classroom Assistants:

There is a group of students who each morning since last September helps arrange and set up the classrooms for class:
Isabelle Walsh, Jane O’Loughlin, Theo Martin, Ken Scheunemann, Owen Kelly, Liam Nilan, Amy Costello, Claire Costello, Scion Flanagan, Tara Flanagan & Conor Casserly.

Student Council:

As part of our school community we value student input, opinion is sought and respected and students are empowered to participate in the life of the school.

First year: Isabelle Walsh, Michael Garrihy, Ellen Dobbin Catto, Joshua Roche
Second Year: Richie Johnson, Aidan McNamara, Olivia McGann, Ailbhe Hughes
Third Year: Cathal Guerin, Dilse Guerin, Eala Mardell, Joseph Mcgann
TY: Charlene Smyth, Austin Moloney
Fifth Year: Annie Xiao, John Clancy
Sixth Year: Keelan McMahon, Katie Connole, Mason Roche, Catherine Guerin

BT Young Scientists:

The school continues to strive for excellence in all spheres especially in the academic. We promote quality and excellence in teaching and learning. We are very pleased to honour and acknowledge students who have achieved excellence in Science. This year we had another very successful BT Young Scientist competition with the school bringing home 5 awards. Those who partook in the 2014 BT Young Scientist were:

Órlaith Bowen, Aoife Doherty, Tess Casasín Sheridan, Lizzy Roche, Olivia McGann, Maghnus Hartigan, Stephen O’Connell, Rhianna McMahon, Keelan McMahon, Patrick O’Rourke, Aisling O’Rourke & David Sims

Salters’ Festival of Chemistry:

Four first year students took part in this competitive and practical activity featuring a scientific investigation chosen by Salters Institute and one chosen by University College Cork.

Conor Clancy, Arthur Collins, Aisling O’Connell & Jane O’Loughlin,


This was held in GMIT in May. Our school won the Best Project Award (Aisling O’Rourke) and also the Intel Award (Maghnus Hartigan)

Participants were: Órlaith Bowen, Patrick O’Rourke, Lizzy Roche, Olivia McGann,
Tess Casasín Sheridan, Aisling O’Rourke & Maghnus Hartigan.

Northern Ireland Young Scientists:

In June 2013, students from Mary Immaculate participated in the Northern Ireland Young Scientist competition. Four awards were won by the students at this event.

Participants: Claire Costello, Ross Duffy, Katie Flanagan, Dílse Guerin, Maghnus Hartigan, Ben Kenneally, Myra McNamara, Eala Mardell, Rebecca O’Callaghan, Ellen O’Loughlin, Eimear Thynne, Órlaith Bowen, Martyna Buynowska, Deirdre O’Connell, Keelan McMahon, Aisling O’Rourke & David Sims

British Science Association Crest Awards:

There are three levels of award: bronze, silver and gold.

Bronze Award: Claire Costello, Ross Duffy, Katie Flanagan, Dílse Guerin, Maghnus Hartigan, Ben Kenneally, Myra McNamara, Eala Mardell, Rebecca O’Callaghan, Ellen O’Loughlin & Eimear Thynne.
Silver Award: Órlaith Bowen, Martyna Buynowska & Deirdre O’Connell
Gold Award: Keelan McMahon, Aisling O’Rourke & David Sims

Young Environmentalists 2013:

2013 was the first time we participated in this competition.
Finalists: Eala Mardell & Rebecca O’Callaghan
Highly Commended: Myra McNamara & Eimear Thynne

Young Environmentalists 2014:

Finalists: Deirdre O’Connell, Ashley Garrihy, Rowan Johnson, Suchadar White, Shane O’Donoghue, Joanna Kowalczyk, Ryan Burke, Stephen O’Connell, Tomás Cullinan, Tristan O’Callaghan & Crebhan Hughes.
Literacy Awards:
Helen Bradshaw, on behalf of the English Department and as part of our School Improvement Plan (SIP) said that ‘as a result of the Drop Everything and Read Programme (DEAR) students have gained more confidence in their literacy and oracy abilities’ She went on to say that ‘this has led to greater participation in local, regional and national competition and is borne out by our many successes and reasons to be proud this year’. Helen went onto to quote Lily Tomlin, a famous American actress and comedienne who once said, “If you read a lot of books you are considered to be well read, but if you watch a lot of TV you are not considered well viewed!”

English Short Story Awards:

First Year: Jane O’Loughlin, Conor Clancy, Ellen King, Dara Kenneally, Lara Norrish, Isabelle Walsh
Second Year : Róisín O’Donoghue, Grace Cassidy, Joey Fitzgerald, Richie Johnson, Owen Kelly
Fifth Year: Jonathon Whelan, John Clancy, Riona Burke, Aisling O’Rourke

English Debaters Award:

Conor Clancy, Ellen King, Thomas Hartigan, Erin Urquhart, Lara Norrish, Lucy O’Growney

BSTAI- CIMA Secondary Schools Business Quiz Award:

The importance of business was recognised in the award to the team that reached the semi-final of the BSTAI-CIMA Secondary School Quiz: Amy Costello, Katie Flanagan, Niamh Kelly, Jack Sheedy
Awards were also made to the team that reached final:
Maghnus Hartigan, Ellen O’Loughlin, Lauren Crowe, Ben Kenneally.

Féile na hÍnse:

The school has an abundance of talented musicians and singers. The following were awarded for their success in Féile na hÍnse:

Amhranaíocht – Popghrúpa

Ciaran Mac Eoin, Ava Ní Fhlanagáin, Brónagh Ní Choinsidín

Grúpa Cheoil

Áine nic an Rí, Séan Mac Fhlannacaidh, Ellen Ní Lochlainn, Eimear Ní Theimhin, Niamh Ní Cheallaigh, Lauren Ní Chonchró, Miile Nic an Rí, Sinéad Ní Lochlainn, Ellen ni an Ri, Róisín Bí Dhonnochú, Isabelle Ní Bhreathnach, Saoirse Nic Conmara

Sports Personality of the Year:

This is awarded to the student who in the opinion of the staff involved in sport deemed to be an all-rounder, good leadership qualities, putting the team first over personal glory, watching out for and defusing tension or rancour and generally a positive influence on those around him/her, capable of bringing the best out of fellow team members.

Sports Personality of the Year was awarded to Liam Tierney.

Junior and Senior Student of the Year:

Each of the students nominated in this category showed a willingness to be individual, caring, respectful, and generous with their time, courteous, able to form healthy relationships with fellow students and their teachers and other staff members. They are in effect all round students involved to the best of their ability with study and also in extracurricular activities, at all times representing the school with honour and pride.

Those students with 3 or more nominations for Junior Student of the Year were:
First Year: Conor Clancy, Ciara Costello, Ellen King, Jessica Kelly, Lucy O’Growney, Jane O’Loughlin, Melissa Roche & Isabelle Walsh
Second Year: Grace Cassidy, Joey Fitzgerald, Owen Kelly, Niall McCormack, Liam Nilan, Katie O’Brien & Róisín O’Donoghue
Third year: Gary Connole, Keith Dowling, Olivia Leneghan, Myra McNamara & Ellen O’Loughlin

Junior Student of the year is: Keith Dowling.

Those students with 3 or more nominations for Senior Student of the year were:

Transition Year: Neasa McCormack & Deirdre O’Connell.
Fifth Year: John Clancy, Sean Hegarty, Cronan Howley, Sinead McCormack, & Kanjana Sriwang.
Sixth Year: Órla Burke, James Gray, Catherine Guerin, Róisín Kelly, Keelan McMahon, Amy O’Brien & David Sims

Senior Student of the year is: David Sims.

Pictured above Senior Student of the Year David Simms.

Pictured above is Junior Student of the Year Keth Dowling receiving his award.

Principal’s Award:

The Principal’s award is normally given to a student for his/her contribution to school life over the length of time they have been in school. It is awarded to a student who has tried his/her best and made the most of their time, talent and gifts whilst in school.
Previous award winners were:
2009 – Darren O’Gorman
2010 – David Crowe
2011 – Cormac Fahy
2012 – Mark O’Donnell on behalf of the Leaving Certificate Class 2012
2013 – no award

This year’s award winner is Róisín Kelly.

She tried her best in everything she did both in class and out of class. She was most respectful of each and every one of her teachers over the past six years. She participated in many if not all extracurricular and co-curricular activities: Young Scientist, Speech and Drama, Féile na hÍnse, Business Quiz, Student Council, Peer mentor and on the field of play.

She got involved and volunteered to help out whenever the need arose. She is a person who is not afraid to swim against the tide and live out her faith in school and in the community, in her parish and with the local youth club. As a member of our Faith based school she is an exemplary role model for each of us in her quiet, determined, gentle and humble way. Róisín is an all-rounder, popular with her classmates, and staff and is blessed with bucketfuls of intelligence, integrity and kindness.

The Principal reminded Róisín that as a First Year student she wrote that she “wanted to be a fashion designer when she was older, she wished for world peace, was afraid of spiders and said that ‘A real friend is someone that is always there for you’ .

Pictured above is School Principal, Mr John O'Loughlin presenting Principals Award to student Róisín Kelly.