World Bee Day 2019

Posted by Ms. Naughton On May - 20 - 2019

@BioDataCentre  @GreenSchoolsIre

Today we celebrate World Bee Day – 20th May 2019 

Did You Know?

  • Irish Bumblebee populations are in decline.
  • One third of our 99 bee species are threatened with extinction from Ireland. This is because we have drastically reduced the amount of food (flowers) and safe nesting sites in our landscapes.
  • In response this decline and threat of extinction, the National Biodiversity Data Centre coordinated the implementation of the an All Ireland Pollinator Plan( 2015-2020) along with 68 other government and non-government organisations as partners to support the plan.

The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is about all of us, from farmers to local authorities, to schools, gardeners and businesses, coming together to try to create an Ireland where pollinators can survive and thrive.  Here at Gortskehy, we are committed to playing our part and making our school bee-friendly.

The middle room studied the Junior Pollinator Plan with their teacher, Ms. Thomas. They learnt all about bees and their important role as pollinators.  They also learnt about the life cycle of the bumble bee & what we can do to help our bees survive and thrive.

Our school Pollinator & Green School Teams drew maps of the current school grounds.  This was done to identify areas where we can take action to help pollinators. Lots of good ideas that we hope to put into action were noted by our pupils on the walkabout:

  • Plant bee-friendly plants in our garden beds.
  • Leave narrow strips around our pitch for wildflowers
  • Mow our lawn/pitch less frequently – to allow dandelions and clover to grow – food sources for our bees.
  • Reduce pesticides – only use it for clearing slippery areas/paths.  Only weed by hand.
  • Plant a herb bed – they are an excellent source of food for pollinators.

These maps will be updated to include all the pollinator areas we will develop around our school.  We will monitor and report on bee activity and update our plans annually.

Here are some photos of our pupils planting bee-friendly plants, flowers and herbs in our new Sensory & Biodiversity garden.


For more information on what you can do to help the bees – please visit

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Recycled Music / Wild about Music Workshops

Posted by Ms. Naughton On May - 17 - 2019

@creativeirl @artscouncil_ie  @mus_gen


We were delighted to welcome Zane Kazotniece-Joyce,  a tutor/facilitator working with Music Generation, to our school.  Zane provided a number of workshops on Recycled Music/Wild About Music to pupils in the Junior and Middle rooms.

Within these workshops, the pupils were actively involved in making musical instruments from recycled materials.  They explored sound and rhythms with different musical instruments and natural materials.

As you will see from the photos below, the pupils thoroughly enjoyed these workshops.  Thank you Zane!


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Our Creative Schools Focus

Posted by Ms. Naughton On May - 17 - 2019

@creativeirl @artscouncil_ie

Our key focus within Creative Schools this year is on Music and Music Technology.

A key aim for our school is to provide students with access to a wide range of contemporary music and sound provision. Pupils participated in Digital Music and Recycled Music workshops during the year.  These workshops created a strong link with experienced practitioners in the area of Music and we are so fortunate to have access to ongoing opportunities with these partners for the 2019-2020 school year and beyond.

More details on the workshops to follow..




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Sonic Explorations – Day 2

Posted by Ms. Donnellan On May - 13 - 2019

Last Tuesday, the 7th of May, as part of the Creative Schools Programme pupils in the senior room took part in the next stage of their sound workshop with Ed Devane. Throughout the day the pupils investigated sound theory and editing sounds on the Chrombooks using materials they had brought to school to create different sounds. Following this the pupils worked with electronic music using an online synthesizer, an activity the class really enjoyed. To finish the workshop each pupil created their own air horn instrument. The class really enjoyed the workshops and have gained a wealth of knowledge on working with sound. We would like to thank Ed for an excellent two days of fun learning.

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Our Sensory & Biodiversity Garden

Posted by Ms. Naughton On May - 12 - 2019

Back in 2018, we decided to undertake a project to develop and create a Sensory & Biodiversity Garden for our school.

A sensory garden is an interactive space that is accessed by all children in the school and wider school community.  It is a garden environment that it designed with the purpose of stimulating the senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell & touch. This stimulation occurs courtesy of plants, herbs and the use of other materials such as wind chimes, tactile panels and different textured surfaces.

Our vision was to create a space that was colourful, interactive and engaging for all our pupils at Gortskehy.


We would like to thank a number of people who helped us achieve this vision –

Thank you to our parents –  PJ Commins, Pat Hession, Fintan Forde and Andrew Heaney along with Justin Commins and Kieran Varley for the removal of the hedging and installation of the fencing posts back in September.

Thanks to Christine Mannion and members of the Rural Social Scheme for their assistance with the installation and painting of our fence railing & gate. To Martin McHale for rotavating the soil in preparation for the raised beds and walkways.  To Brian Naughton for his help with building the raised beds, tactile board and painting.  Thank you to Jamie Hession for his assistance with garden painting and freshening up our Buddy Bench. Thank you also to Melissa Walsh of MW Design, Print & Signs for her enthusiasm and creativity in designing and supplying our vibrant garden signage.

It is wonderful to have the support of our pupils, past pupils,  parents and the wider community in developing this worthwhile project.


The next stage of the project is for our pupils to plant our garden with a variety of plants to appeal to our senses and to enjoy this wonderful space for many years to come.

We have created a short video which gives a snapshot of the transformation of this space  – we hope you enjoy!





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  1. Such a transformation! Well done to all – the children are very lucky.

  2. Tom Heaney Tom Heaney says:

    That is wonderful. Well done all.