Buddy Bench

Posted by Ms. McDonald On February - 8 - 2018

Friendship…… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.  Muhammad Ali

We are so excited and happy to have received our very own Buddy Bench! This has been a project involving the greater school community, without whose help and generosity, it would not have been possible. Eugene McCartan so generously donated the timber (Larch) and gave of his time cutting and delivering the timber. Claremorris Men’s Shed kindly designed and created the bench for us and lastly but very importantly the Infants all took part in decorating it!

What is a Buddy Bench? Buddy Benches are a fabulous resource used in schools throughout the world which promote positive mental health and emotional well being. It is a physical bench that is in the school yard and If a child has no one to play with or would like someone to talk to, they sit on the bench. This is a signal to the other children on yard that they need companionship. The children learn that it is ok to ask for help and others will come to their aid. Children learn it is not ok to leave anyone out and we treat others always, as we like to be treated ourselves. It is a safe place in a busy playground where loneliness can be dispelled and lifelong friendships fostered. It promotes inclusion for every child in the school. Everyone is valued.

Our beautiful New Buddy Bench!

Daphny, Niamh, Caitlin and Faye

Many thanks to Claremorris Men’s Shed and Eugene McCartan

Great excitement receiving our Buddy Bench today!

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  1. John Fallon says:

    Well done to all, what a wonderful idea. And to our own Roger and Brian who dedicated their time and expertise to the project. Enjoy!

  2. Fair play Eugene J Mc Cartan great community spirit!!

  3. Brilliant idea!! Well done to all involved!!!

  4. Really great idea, it looks brilliant.

  5. Great idea,well done to all.⭐️

  6. Fantastic idea!! Great job everyone !

Video: Space balloon flight

Posted by Máistir Ó Beirn On July - 12 - 2017

Here is a video of our space balloon flight which was launched on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017 from Frank and Mary Clarke’s farm. It reached an altitude of 28km. There are five layers to our atmosphere – Troposphere (up to 20km high), Stratosphere (20-50km), Mesosphere (50-85km), Thermosphere (85-600km), Exosphere (600-10,000km). Our balloon reached the Stratosphere.

Around 20km high ice-crystals are visible and the temperature drops to -51°C. In the Stratosphere the temperature actually increased with altitude to -40°C  as ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is absorbed by the ozone layer. Had our balloon reached the top of the stratosphere the temperature would have risen to about -15°C  before falling sharply again in the Mesosphere. It landed 125km away between Castlepollard and Athboy on the farm of Eamon and Margureite Kelly.

Thanks to Frank and Mary Clarke, our sponsors CMS Distribution and DeCare Dental and chase car drivers Mary Lydon, Jan Wilkins and Angela Walshe.

The video of the flight is 360° so view it fullscreen to pan around. Control the 360 degree fullscreen video on your phone or tablet by moving your device.  To view it on a VR headset visit https://youtu.be/XPfoCtv5NSA or search for “Gortskehy in Space” using your VR YouTube app.


3D Flight Path

3D prediction of the flight path.

Some of the towns the balloon flew over.

Some of the towns the balloon flew over.

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Video: Visit to Clooncormack Woods

Posted by Ms. McDonald On June - 12 - 2017

Clooncormack WoodsWell, the morning of June 9th was a very exciting one for the pupils of Junior & Senior Infants. We commenced our school tour woodland walk through Clooncormack Woods in the company of Eugene and Bernice McCartan who very kindly showed us their fabulous nature trail.

We started our great day out whereby Eugene spoke to us about the trees and showed the children a 300 year old Beech tree. This also had markings of treasure maps on it from the pirates that frequent the woods!!! After this we heard about the Barn Owl and Eugene showed us some nesting sites. These are magnificent creatures that find a safe place like a tree cavity usually over 8ft from the ground to lay their clutch. As the sun sets and the dusk falls each day in the shade of Clooncormack’s canopy, they take flight to go search for food.

Clooncormack WoodsNext we saw the underground sett of the badger found on an incline. There are usually several entry points to the main sett and each territory is controlled by a family of badgers. As they spend a lot of their time digging tunnels and extending their network of setts, I would say this is where they were when we were visiting Clooncormack woods!

Clooncormack WoodsFollowing our tour guide we were led deeper into the woods to an area where the McCartans have created a beautiful picnic area. We all stopped for refreshments and our teddy bears’ picnic. The children enjoyed eating ‘al fresco’ and chatting about the different animals and places they had been to so far. Very close by, Eugene showed us the area where often a pine martin frequents. It was here also that Sorsha was sure she spotted something further up the trail, possible our friend the woodland pirate Micky McGoon!!!

Then we walked along the edge of the woods until Eugene pointed out the den of Mr. Fox and his family. Again, they are nocturnal animals so we missed seeing the fox as he was probably very busy hunting while we were having sweet dreams. The children loved seeing where all our woodland creatures make their homes. It was so peaceful and calm in the woods during our walk that we could hear different bird calls and see different vegetation under the woodland canopy. Eugene has built a log cabin on the perimeter of the woods which the bats use to roost. The bats hunt over the surrounding open fields and the stream to feast on the abundance of insects in this habitat.

The next creature we were all told about was the Otter. The otter is one of our oldest mammals having been found here since the end of the last Ice Age, about 10,500 years ago! There is a rock in the middle of the stream flowing adjacent to the woods that feeds in to the River Robe and it is here that every now and again Mr. Otter leaves his holt to take a rest. Otters are territorial and usually live alone so he has this part of the riverbank all to himself.

Eugene expertly explained to the children in their own language all about our discoveries. Once we reached camp, the children could go to the composting toilet if they so wished, which is a fantastic ecological feature of this wood. Here at the campsite the children enjoyed their hot lunch and had a sing-song! We all saw where Micky McGoon sleeps at night and got our picture taken inside his shelter!! On leaving the woodland we crossed over the bridge and observed the habitat and home of our spiky friend the hedgehog.

To say the children had a wonderful, educational and energetic day does not do justice to the tour we were brought on by the McCartan’s through their fantastic estate. To have such an incredible educational resource and woodland territory so close by is a gift.

The breadth of knowledge and passion for the woodland that Eugene has is astounding and infectious, in that you go away looking at the hedgerows and surrounding countryside differently and with an added sense of curiosity. Thank you Eugene and Bernice.

Please take a few minutes to view the photostory video of our visit, I’m sure you will enjoy it!!


Clooncormack Woods  Clooncormack Woods    Clooncormack Woods

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Gortskehy N.S. star gazing party!

Posted by Ms. McDonald On March - 24 - 2017

“Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Thanks to everyone who came to our star gazing party on the 14th March. Though the sky was overcast at the beginning of the evening,  the cloud cover thankfully dispersed over Gortskehy NS and we all enjoyed a very informative and sociable evening. The session was very kindly led by Astronomer Derek Dempsey of Newport Astronomy Club. He brought two fabulous telescopes with him as you’ll see below in the photos. Fiona Hopkins also came along and used the light meter to measure how dark our night sky in Gortskehy is. By 9pm the meter showed a reading of 20.93 which indicates excellent conditions for star gazing with almost no light pollution.


Derek used his laser pointer to show us the planets Venus and Mars and the North Star. Then the star constellations of Cassiopeia, Leo, Orion and the Plough.


Cassiopeia is one of the most recognisable constellations in our night sky with its distinctive ‘W’ shape consisting of five bright stars. It is very easy to spot and one of the earliest constellations that young children can be shown and come to recognise.

Leo looks like its namesake. A distinctive backwards question mark forms the head and chest, then it moves to the left to form a triangle and the lion’s rear end.

Orion’s belt of three stars is one of the easiest asterisms to find in the sky at night. Orion is useful to any star gazer as one can use him to find a variety of other constellations in the sky.

The Plough

The Plough is one of the most easily recognisable asterisms in the night sky consisting of the seven brightest stars of Ursa Major, the Great Bear. The Plough is well known in many cultures and goes by many names, among them the Big Dipper, the Great Wagon, Saptarishi, and the Saucepan. The asterism is particularly prominent in the northern sky in the summer, and is one of the first star patterns we learn to identify.

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed and helped out in making our star gazing a really educational and enjoyable evening. I hope it’s a seed of knowledge sowed and a memory that will stay with the children for a long time.

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Stephen Coen and the Clarke Cup

Posted by Blaine On June - 7 - 2016

The All-Ireland U21 captain, Stephen Coen, visited our school with the cup last week. The trophy for the winning team is the Clarke Cup which is named in honour of former Kildare Secretary and Treasurer Tim Clarke.  Mayo won the 2016 All Ireland U-21 Final by scoring five goals to defeat Cork.


Stephen Coen with the lads holding the cup.


Stephen Coen with the girls holding the cup.


Stephen Coen with the middle room and the Tim Clarke cup.



Stephen Coen with the infants and the cup.



3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th class football training.

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