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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Middle Room School Tour & Summer Fun

Posted by Ms. Donnellan On June - 18 - 2018

The middle room visited the Pure Skill Sports Centre in Galway last Friday the 15th of June for their annual school tour. The children took part in many activities including hurling, soccer, golf, rugby, basketball, Gaelic football, cricket and tennis.   We had a great day out followed by some lovely lunch.

In addition to our tour we have really enjoyed the summer weather over the last few weeks. We raised four little caterpillars to help them become beautiful butterflies. We observed them closely each day, and made sure they had enough food. When they were strong enough we released them beside our bug hotel. This was a really interesting process to see and helped us fully understand the life-cycle of the butterfly. Seeing this come to life was a really fun experience. We also made time to take in a local nature walk. Here we spotted many plants and animals.

Thank you everyone for a great year. We hope you all have a brilliant summer!

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Spring has Sprung

Posted by Ms. Donnellan On April - 27 - 2018

Over the last few months the middle room have learned all about the season of spring. The kids are aware that this is a season of new life each year. New grass, new flowers and trees coming alive with the leaves turning green once again. We have gained lots of information on the life cycle of the frog and butterfly, creating some beautiful art to accompany this.

Some very exciting news is that we have adopted some caterpillars. We will look after these very well until they become beautiful butterflies. When they are strong enough they will head off to enjoy all that spring and summer have to offer. We’ll keep you all posted, but for now here is a little snippet of some of our spring art and our new caterpillars.


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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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