Magical Day at McHale

Posted by Ms. Thomas On April - 11 - 2019

On Friday, March 29th 2019 the children in first, second and third class went on a very exciting trip to the McHale factory in Ballinrobe.

When we arrived we were met by our tour guide and we were all very excited. We went to the board room and we got to look at a video about the history of the company. It was very interesting! After that we had a tour of the showroom and we learned all about the balers and different machines. We have done lots of work on inventions and science this year and it was great to see real inventions and how they are made in real-life. We learned that different materials and pieces are put together to make the machinery. They even use robotic machines to make the balers!

When we came home we typed a story about our trip on our Chromebooks.

We were very lucky to have the fantastic opportunity to see real-life inventions. We had a magical, fun-filled memorable day!


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  1. Well done Caroline and the kids for visiting local business and seeing the real world. Some day one of you maybe the next entrepreneur.

Engineering & Science Rang 1-3

Posted by Ms. Thomas On March - 14 - 2019

We have been very busy here in first, second and third class in Gortskehy with Science and Engineering lately.

We sowed seeds in the classroom. First class sowed cress, second class sowed runner beans and third class sowed baby carrots. We are having great fun watching these grow.

We completed a project on The Leaning Tower of Pisa and we learned lots of interesting facts. We learned that it is a Romanesque building, and that poor foundations caused it to lean. It was designed by engineers. It is a huge tourist attraction and over 1 million people visit it every year. We used our Chromebooks to create a slide show in pairs. We cast our projects to the board and we enjoyed looking at each others work. We created our own version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in art class using match sticks and cotton buds.

We have some big Manchester United supporters here in Gortskehy! We recently looked into the Munich Air Crash for history. It  was a terrible event for Man United. We worked as journalists and wrote newspaper articles about the tragedy. We wrote about the slippery runway and how the aircraft had difficulty taking off, resulting in the accident. We learned that Sir Bobby Charlton survived the accident and played many more matches for Man United. We worked in groups and created a presentation on our Chromebooks and we shared it on the board. Finally, we put our engineering hats on and created models of the aircraft using recycled materials and our imaginations!

During Engineers Week (March 2nd-8th 2019), we put our engineering hats on again! We used our imagination and our knowledge of the world and how things are made to create 3-D drawings. We had to think practically and use our problem solving skills to create these structures. We made everything from baby play gyms, to playgrounds, to underground drills, to water-parks, and lots more wonderful things.

We really enjoyed our recent work as engineers in the middle room. It allowed us to develop our creativity and problem solving skills. We had to share our ideas and work together as a team to come up with our amazing creations. We really enjoyed using the Chromebooks to create our projects and loved incorporating technology into our learning.

Who knows, we may have the next budding engineer in our midst here in Gortskehy – Watch this space!

A snapshot of rang 1-3 at work

A snapshot of rang 1-3 at work


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Gortskehy’s Young Inventors

Posted by Ms. Thomas On December - 19 - 2018


“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein


We had great fun with our creativity and imagination celebrating science week in the middle room recently.

We learned all about Alexander Graham Bell and his wonderful inventions. We worked in groups to complete a mini project on his life.

We then decided that we were going to become inventors and design new things ourselves!

We worked together to come up with ideas. We then made a draft of our ideas on paper. We collected recyclable materials at home and brought them in to share with each other. We worked in pairs to create our wonderful inventions. We used our imaginations and we came up with things like robots that can do our homework, drones that can see everything, time machines, ice cream makers, electric bins, day and night tubes, a car that can drive itself and lots more interesting things!

We really enjoyed this project and learned a lot from it.

Who knows, maybe one of us will be a famous inventor like Alexander Graham Bell in the future!



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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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Lava Lamp Experiment

Posted by Ms. Donnellan On February - 1 - 2018

Last Friday our middle room had great fun making lava lamps for science. We did this by mixing oil and water in a plastic bottle. We watched and observed that the oil floated to the top. This is because oil is less dense or lighter than water. We then added food colouring of our choice followed by a fizzy tablet and watched our creations work.

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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 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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