Space Workshop with Dr. Niamh Shaw

Posted by Ms. Naughton On November - 26 - 2018

We were delighted to welcome Dr. Niamh Shaw to our school today, 26th November 2018. She is one of Ireland’s leading science communicators and STEAM specialist (merging Science, technology, engineering, arts and maths).  She is passionate about space and has a life mission to get to space as an artist and an explorer.

Here at Gortskehy, we also have an interest in Space, having just completed our 2 year Erasmus project with the highlight being the launch of the helium near space balloon.  Niamh visited our school after the pupils in the Senior room submitted this video in June and Gortskehy NS was chosen as a winner in the ‘Inspired by Space’ competition hosted by Blackrock Observatory, Dublin.

She spent time in the middle room and senior room talking about her experience with space missions, particularly her simulated Mars mission in the Utah Desert in 2017.  She showed us pictures and videos of her time spent as an analog astronaut.  She also spent time in Russia where she experienced her first Zero gravity flight to explore weightlessness on Earth. Fascinating & inspiring stuff!

It was a privilege for our school and pupils to have Niamh visit Gortskehy NS.  For more information on Niamh’s story check out:



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Creative Schools

Posted by Ms. Naughton On June - 20 - 2018

We are delighted to be chosen as one of only 8 schools in Mayo to participate in a national pilot creative schools initiative.

This innovative pilot is a cornerstone of the “Creative Youth Plan”, an initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme, led by the Arts Council and in collaboration with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Department of Education and Skills.

Creative teaching and art education is seen as a key driving force for the continuous improvement at Gortskehy NS. We participate in a wide range of creative art projects in the areas of Art, Drama, Music, Coding  & Film. We look forward to working with the Arts Council on the this exciting initiative in the new school year.

Click here to view the exciting news announced in one of our local newspapers.

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Gortskehy Bug Hotel

Posted by Ms. McDonald On April - 26 - 2018

This week we built our very own bug hotel here at school. The children really enjoyed this activity and learnt more about biodiversity along the way. They all worked hard to find suitable materials and construct an attractive dwelling place for the insects in Gortskehy!

What is a bug hotel? A bug hotel is a manmade structure created from natural and recycled materials to provide shelter for insects.  They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the specific purpose or insect it is catering for. They usually consist of different sections that provide insects with nesting facilities –  offering shelter or refuge for many types of insects. Many insect hotels are used as nest sites by insects including solitary bees. Other insects hotels are specifically designed to allow the insects to hibernate, notable examples include ladybirds and butterflies.

Good materials to construct insect hotels with can include using dry stone walls or old tiles. Drilled holes in the hotel materials also encourage insects to leave larvae to gestate. Different materials, such as stones and woods are recommended for a wide range and diversity of insect life. Logs and bark, bound reeds and bamboo are also often used. The various components or sizes of holes attract different species.

Building a bug hotel will not just benefit wildlife in our area but we will have the pleasure of being able to watch a host of different creatures making their homes and learn all about their fascinating behaviours. A bug hotel offers free accommodation to its occupants. In return, when it’s time to go they’ll be right on site to go about their pollination and pest predation. The good news is a bug hotel costs nothing just a little time and effort. Please watch the photostory attached to see the children creating the bug hotel.


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  1. Great idea, well done everyone! Looks great!

Our Eco Ranger’s project features in the Irish Examiner

Posted by Ms. McDonald On April - 25 - 2018

We are taking part in the Eco Ranger’s primary school programme which is run by Bord na Móna and involves various fun activities with our pupils to discover, learn and connect with nature. Helen O’Callaghan from the Irish Examiner contacted us to find out more and you can read the full article here.

Click on the above image to view a pdf of the full article.

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Video: Eco Safari visit to Clare lake

Posted by Ms. McDonald On April - 23 - 2018

Junior Infants, Senior Infants, 4th, 5th and 6th Classes set off on the bus to explore the natural habitat along ‘The Land of the Giants’ around Clare Lake.. Before we set off, we discussed water safety and the children discussed how we stay safe around a body of water. Even with the damp weather the children were very excited.

We found some minibeasts, lots of natural vegetation and birds! We saw ducks, geese and dogs out for their walk! We found lots of snails. We saw bees and flies particularly near the water’s edge. We found Marsh Marigolds, Daisies, Daffodils, Dandelions, Bullrushes, Yellow Iris, Ivy and many trees including Fir, Birch, Ash and Scots Pine.

The children worked in groups and had fun filling out their Eco Safari journals. The whole experience was again very enjoyable and educational, the children are all great ‘Guardians of the Land’. Please take a minute to view a short video of our Eco Safari below, thanks.


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