Video of our Senior Room Play – The Trial of William Joyce

Posted by Máistir Ó Beirn On December - 21 - 2019

Germany CallingOver the past couple of months the pupils in the Senior Room have been exploring local, national and international history from the 1920s to 1940s with a particular focus on World War II. This play is about William Joyce who was born in America in 1906 but brought up in Ballinrobe from the age of three. His family owned a pub called ‘Joyce’s’ in Ballinrobe and were pro-British.

The Trial of William Joyce - Lord Haw HawThe play outlines the story of how William Joyce went from acting as a courier for the Black and Tans during the War of Independence to being awarded a Cross of War medal by Hitler. Joyce had a show on Nazi radio called Germany Calling which was listened to by over 6 million people in Ireland and the UK. After World War II Joyce was captured.

The first scene of our play is set at his trial in the Old Bailey Court, London, 1945. He was tried as a traitor to the British Crown. The lawyer charged with his defence is Mr. Slade and the lawyer for the prosecution is Mr. Byrne. Some lines used in the play are from actual court transcripts.

Swing DancersThrough a series of ‘exhibits’ or flash-backs, the play depicts the swing era – roughly from the late 1920s to mid 40s – which was the time in which William Joyce grew up. While the teenage Swedish climate advocate, Greta Thunberg, was announced Time Person of the Year in 2019, the Time Man of the Year in 1938 was Adolf Hitler.

The following scene depicts the rise of the German Army in the 1930s (Erika was a famous marching song of the wehrmacht) leading eventually to the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, declaring war on Germany following the invasion of Poland in September, 1939.

Next, the prosecution introduces an actual recording of William Joyce celebrating the fall of Belgium and Holland on his Nazi radio programme, Germany Calling.

Jpyce's pub, Ballinrobe.

Then, we are taken back to Joyce’s pub in 1939 where talk is all about Ballyglass club, as it was known then, changing its name to Garrymore. This made it possible to field players from Roundfort Parish and Tom Murphy, Alyssa’s (fourth class) and Gavin’s (third class) great-grandfather was the first chairman. By 1939 Mayo have won their sixth league title in a row and have drawn against Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final. The replay will be held just over a week after the outbreak of WWII.

Joyce's Pub, BallinrobeOther talk in Joyce’s pub reflects worries about rationing, paraffin and  porter! The final scene in a Ballinrobe kitchen hears the announcement on wireless (radio) by the then Taoiseach, Éamonn deValera, that Ireland will stay out of the war and remain neutral.

The judge in the Old Bailey is not impressed with the amount of drink shown in the defence’s flash-back and Mr. Byrne, William Joyce’s defence counsel, moves to safer ground by introducing Delia Murphy, a contemporary of William Joyce, as a character witness. Delia Murphy went to school in Gortskehy and was a singer of  international renown. During WWII she helped Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, in the Vatican, save the lives of 6,500 Allied soldiers and Jews, as her husband, Dr. Thomas Kiernan, was the Irish Ambassador in Rome at the time. Delia Murphy and her friends, represented by the pupils, sing the Spinning Wheel as a lament and longing for a loved one away from home.

Lili MarleneWilliam Joyce himself leads the final song and most famous of WWII, Lili Marlene. It’s a German love song of the Second World War that was translated into many languages and wherever it was sung the soldiers on both sides loved it.

Will the singing influence the judge in any way? You’ll just have to watch the video below and see!


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The Grow in Love programme is the new religious education series from Veritas. It is a colourful and fun way for children and families to learn about faith, both in school and at home. It will replace the Alive-O programme in every Catholic primary school in the country.

It includes illustrations to accompany every story with online videos and weblinks for further study. Our school was chosen to dramatise the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. The following video is the result of much practice and will form part of the Grow in Love national video database.

The pupils in the senior room performed their roles extremely well and we are very proud that their achievement will be viewed in schools nationwide for many years to come.


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Video: Senior Room Play – An Saol in Agrabah

Posted by Sian On January - 21 - 2018

This is a story trí Ghaeilge of life in Agrabah, a land ruled by a feared Sultan, anxious to have his daughter Jasmine married. His chief advisor Jafar is tasked with finding a suitable prince. Scene 1 features local stall traders, princess Jasmine, Aladdin, who is wanted for stealing, and the palace guards. Scene 2 reveals a very demanding princess Jasmine, her ladies-in-waiting, the Sultan, queen and advisor Jafar. Scene 3 shows Aladdin in prison where the Genie also makes an appearance. The final scene has a little surprise and reveals our happy ending.

The children will perform the play in Castlebar on February 13th as part of Féile Scoildrámaíocht Mhaigh Eo.

Senior Room Christmas Play 2017

Senior Room Christmas Play 2017

Sincere thanks to @GarrymoreGAA for the use of the hall and to everyone who donated prizes for the raffle and supported us on the night.

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  1. Mary Lydon Mary Lydon says:

    Well done to all the teachers and pupils from Gortskehy on your Christmas play. A great night. And not forgetting Santa and Rudolf.

Thumper’s big visit and “The Shocking Truth”

Posted by Ms. McDonald On April - 6 - 2017

While 5th & 6th Class were having a ball in Lisbon on their Erasmus trip last week back home here in Gortskehy we were quite busy too, learning loads and having fun while doing so!! We had a very cute and cuddly visitor called ‘Thumper’ to our school. He particularly liked to cuddle up with some of the infants! Here is a short video, some photos and the amazing artwork the children created afterwards.

Thumper the rabbit

Thumper the rabbit

Darragh and Thumper Cormac and Thumper Faye and Thumper Jayden and Thumper Aoife and Thumper Holly and Thumper Thomas and Thumper Jamie and Thumper Holly and Thumper Aoibhínn and Thumper Enda and Thumper Cian and Thumper Grace and Thumper Gavin and Thumper Niamh and Thumper Eoin and Thumper Alaois and Thumper Eóghan and Thumper Alisha and Thumper Glen and Thumper Sorsha and Thumper Fourth class and Thumper Fourth class and Thumper Alex , Jessica and Thumper Alex , Jessica, Josh and Thumper Alex , Jessica, Josh and Thumper

Also last week, Alex, Michael, Josh and Jessica in 4th Class were extremely busy making puppets and writing scripts for their play “The Shocking Truth”. Characters included Balker, Buzz Ally, Bloop & Neil Armstrong!! The play centered around the story of a journey to space in which a girl ‘Buzz Ally’ is the first girl to walk on the moon! We all got to see the finished product on Friday and it was a real treat. Excellent performances all round. Many thanks to Ms. McDermott for all her hard work during the week and bringing in her pet rabbit Thumper to meet us all. View ‘The Shocking Truth’ puppet show below.



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Galway Junior Film Fleadh

Posted by EvanF On November - 28 - 2016

Recently we went for a visit to Galway because our film League of Skeletons was being shown at the Galway Junior Film Festival. We watched movies from other schools and got our picture taken. There were many great films shown. Afterwards our teacher brought us on a walking tour of Galway. First we went to Eyre square.

Eyre Square, Galway.

Eyre Square, Galway.

In 1631 it was a market area. It was officially presented to the city in 1710 by Mayor Edward Eyre but it was named John F Kennedy memorial park when JFK, president of America at this time, made a speech on his visit to Galway in 1963, only a few months before he was shot.

JFK making his speech in Galway in 1963.

JFK making his speech in Galway in 1963.

We went to the shopping centre and saw part of the original city walls. We also saw a building with limestone walls. Then we saw a building called Lynch’s castle. The Lynches were one of the fourteen merchant families who dominated the life of Galway city between the mid-13th and late 19th centuries. That’s why Galway is known as the city of the tribes. On the roof of Lynch’s castle were stone heads of monsters. Their mouths were open so when the rain hit the roof it would flow through a pipe and out their mouths. There was also a statue of a stone monkey. This was there because once when a fire broke out in Lynch’s castle and everyone got out except one infant, Lynch’s pet monkey climbed in the window and saved the child.

Lynch's castle in Galway.

Lynch’s castle in Galway.

We went inside The King’s Head pub and saw the huge stone fireplaces. It is called The King’s Head because when the king of England, King Charles 1, was to be executed in 1649, a man from Galway called Gunning was sent to execute him. This was because English people didn’t want an English man killing the king of England. So with an axe, Gunning chopped off the king’s head. As a reward he was given the King’s Head pub and some land in Galway. The novel, I Coriander, we are reading at school is set in the time of King Charles. It is set just after he was executed.

The King's Head pub in Galway.

The King’s Head pub in Galway.

We then went to Saint Nicolas’ church. Oliver Cromwell once invaded the church with his men. They used the butts of their rifles to deface the statues. Only one statue (where Cromwell’s men tied up their horses) was unharmed. A mark in the floor can be seen where the horses were tied up.

Inside Saint Nicolas' church in Galway.

Inside Saint Nicolas’ church in Galway.

Outside the church is a monument with an engraving of the Claddagh ring. Barthomelew Fallon made the first Claddagh ring in 1700. Next we saw the home of Walter Lynch. Above the door was a skull and cross-bones. This was because in 1649 his own father sentenced him to death because he murdered a friendly Spanish merchant called Gomez who was having an affair with his girlfriend. Lynch was hung out of a window just above the skull and cross-bones. In 1477, Christopher Columbus visited Galway possibly on a voyage to Iceland or the Faroe Islands. We saw the River Corrib. It flows fast and is very deep. It powered most of the industry in Galway many years ago. There were about twenty water wheels built on the river Corrib. We had a great day and learned a lot.

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Our Award-Winning Film

Posted by EvanF On April - 8 - 2016

Before Easter, we went to the Odeon cinema in Limerick. Our film (League of Skeletons) was shortlisted from 400 entries for the Fresh Film Festival. Only 38 were shown in the cinema. We left at 7:15am on a bus. The journey took approximately 2 hours but we were delayed because of road works. On the way, we saw Thomond Park, the home of Munster rugby, and the River Shannon. When we got to the cinema we bought sweets and went to the toilet. We sat down in the cinema. We missed 3 or 4 movies because of the road works. There were many great films and two breaks. We won an award for best CGI effects (computer generated images). We got a plaque and our photo taken. On the way home we went to Supermacs to eat. We had a great day out. Watch our film below:

Fresh Film Award 2016

Fresh Film Award 2016


Megan, Amy and Lexie enjoying the show.


Orlaith and Sian enjoying a bag of crisps.


At break time.


Outside the Odeon cinema.


Micheál Ó Ciaraidh announcing the awards.


A picture of the girls after the awards.


Micheál Ó Ciaraidh having a chat with us.


Megan and Lorna after the show.


Adam and Blaine having a good time.


Gerard in the cinema.


Grace, Lorna and Nicole watching the films.

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Our Primary Planet Advert

Posted by Thomas On March - 1 - 2013

Martin Luther King recording (Joseph & Jamie, 4th class)
RBS commentary (Adam & Lorna, 3rd class)
Lion King trailer (Megan & Grace, 3rd class)

Photos (Justin & Rachel, 6th class)
First presenter (Thomas, 5th class)
Second presenter (Megan, 3rd class)
Third presenter (Joseph, 4th class)
Group at end (Conal, Justin, Enda, Rebecca, Amy, Rachel, Marie, 6th class)

Kim Kardashian animation (Amy, 6th class)
Zaha animation (Justin, 6th class)
Waxwing animation (Grace, 3rd class with help from Justin, 6th class)

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Our award-winning entry for the FÍS Film Festival 2011

Posted by Máistir Ó Beirn On August - 8 - 2011

‘Job Done’, based on a short story earlier in the year by James and Patrick in sixth class, is our five-minute film for FÍS 2011.  We are very grateful to James and Sandra Hession for the use of their home and all the cups of tea!  Best of luck to Patrick, James, Mollie and Toni who start secondary school in September.


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Video of our Christmas Play (2010): Hotel Bethlehem

Posted by Máistir Ó Beirn On December - 23 - 2010

A sincere thank you to the parents for their help with costumes and props, to all the children for their hard work and great performance and to Shane for taking the video.  Happy Christmas to you all.


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