October 2022 in 3rd & 4th Class

Posted by Ms. Thomas On October - 29 - 2022

October was a busy month in 3rd and 4th class. We began the month immersing ourselves in a STEM project based on rivers. We studied the journey of a river, to discover it has three parts. It has an upper, middle and lower course. We learned all about the source, tributaries, and mouth of a river. We learned about the River Shannon in Ireland and the amazing Amazon River in South America. We even created our very own model of a river. We used sand, stones, tin foil, food colouring and water to create it. We placed sand and stones at the edges of a tray, and ran the tin foil in a meandering way through it. We diluted water with blue food colouring in a jug and poured into onto the tinfoil. However, we discovered this wasn’t an accurate model of a river as it wasn’t flowing. We came up with a plan to punch some holes with a pencil at the ‘mouth of the river’ and it did the trick. Our model river began to flow out into the sea, imitating a real river.

We then turned our focus to building a bridge to cross the river! We put our engineering hats on and worked in groups to design a bridge that would work. The aim was to ensure our bridge designs would hold a toy car for 30 seconds. We used a variety of materials to create our bridges, One team used building blocks, another used Lego, we had another group using cardboard and recycled materials, one using lollipop sticks and sellotape and we had an edible bridge made from ‘Pringles’. We used team effort, discussion, reason and problem solving to design and create our bridges. It was an exciting experience for us and allowed us to work as an engineer for a short while!

The history of Halloween came in a timely way for us and we discovered that Halloween dates right back to the time of The Celts. We focused on our scary Halloween stories first, where the children drafted, edited and redrafted their stories. We drew illustrations to go with them and we digitally added them to our typed version. The children really enjoyed using their imaginations and the writing process.

We rounded of the month with some very enjoyable Halloween pumpkin paintings and a haunted village craft scene!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Halloween from all of us in 3rd and 4th class!


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Gortskehy investigates ‘The Garrymore Story’

Posted by Ms. Thomas On October - 11 - 2022


The children in 3rd and 4th class have a profound interest in GAA and their local GAA club, Garrymore. We decided to   use our interest to inspire a local history project in September. We dedicated the month to becoming historians and set about researching the foundation of the GAA and how Garrymore club came to be.

We discovered that Gaelic games date right back to the time of Cú Chulainn, when they started to play a sport with a ball and a stick, later to become known as hurling. We studied documents and articles from the famous meeting in Hayes’s Hotel when the GAA was founded on November 1st 1884. We learned about ‘seven men in Thurles’, Croke Park through the years, famous matches and of course our own football loving county, Mayo. We used recycled materials to construct our very own model of Croke Park. Working in teams, the children created the different sections and we put it together to create this masterpiece.

    Croke Park Construction

We then turned our focus to Garrymore. We researched the local history records we could find. We were amazed to learn that Garrymore started off as Ballyglass with a black and yellow jersey. The reason for changing the name to Garrymore was to make it possible to play all the Roundfort parish players and it was Tom and Paddy Murphy, who came up with the name Garrymore. The locals played football in the fields and moved the sticks they used as goalposts from field to field. We learned that the spirit of the locals brought the club to where it is today, a spirit that is ever evident in the locality. We discovered that many of the children in our school have relations who played for Garrymore. It was lovely to associate with history on a personal level for the children.

We were eager to source the oldest surviving player form Garrymore and we used local knowledge, and information for Garrymore GAA to help us. We were delighted to make comtact with Frank Kavanagh, who turned 94 in September and Martin Prendergast who will be 94 in December. We looked up our old school roll books and discovered that Martin Prendergast went to school in Gortskehy NS. The children wrote letters to them and talked about school life today and Carras underage football. It made the project special to be able connect with Martin and Frank.

Letter Letter

busy at work Busy at work

We were privileged to welcome a special visitor to our classroom as part of the project. Billy FItzpatrick, a native of Ballyglass, who played with Garrymore from the day it was established. He shared stories with us about his school life as a child and how it differs from today, about playing in fields in Ballyglass, and about his time playing for Garrymore and Mayo and how he always had a football with him as a young fella. The children were very interested to hear his tips about becoming the best footballer you can be, and I am sure they are at home practising their skills with both feet! We played a game of football for him and he assured us the future is bright for Garrymore and Mayo! We would like to thank Billy for his very kind gift of some new Gaelic balls for our class, which the children will treasure. Billy helped us bring our history project alive with his first hand account of the early days in Garrymore. I am sure the children will forever remember the day, Billy Fitzpatrick came to school.

Billy Fitzpatrick comes to school Billy Fitzpatrick comes to school Billy Fitzpatrick comes to school Billy Fitzpatrick comes to school Billy Fitzpatrick comes to school Billy Fitzpatrick comes to school

History came alive for us in 3rd and 4th class this September as we worked on this local history project. We are very proud to be connected with the wonderful story and spirit of Garrymore GAA club.

Garraí MórGarrymore

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  1. I am Martin Prendergast’s daughter Evelyn. We have received all of your lovely letters and have read over them all with Martin. He is delighted with each and every one of the letters and has answered all of your questions with great memories and with great clarity. Your letters have put the biggest smile on my dad’s face this week. My sister and I will help dad write a letter of reply to you over the weekend. We hope to visit your school soon to show you his favourite medal which he won with Garrymore and to perhaps have a look at your wonderful projects. Garrymore and Ballyglass hold a very special place in our hearts and we have heard many stories over the years of Dad’s very happy days in Gortskehy National School. Thanks so much on behalf of my family for connecting with Martin just before his 94 birthday which he will celebrate on October 25th 2022.

Claremorris History Tour

Posted by Ms. Donnellan On November - 9 - 2018

On Thursday the 8th of November as part of our Digital Schools Cluster Project the senior room visited Claremorris for a local history tour led by Colmán Ó Raghallaigh. The tour began in Claremorris Train Station where the children had a very informative tour and were lucky enough to walk over the footbridge. Following this we walked a short distance to view the monument erected in memory of many famine victims. Next we returned to the bus and headed to another part of the railway line. Colmán pointed out the railway line to Galway that is no longer in service. It is hoped this line will open again in the future. We then headed off to view the old famine workhouse. Many of the children were surprised to learn this was an old workhouse. The Famine is a topic we have covered in a lot of depth over the last view months and we are currently reading some novels based on this time in Ireland. Our previous knowledge on this topic helped the children understand the significance of the workhouse and having one located so near. Following the closure of the workhouse we learned the building was then used as a bacon factory. We returned to the bus again and headed back towards the town centre. Colmán gave us with a very informative talk on the history of the current library building used as a church in olden days. The children were fascinated to learn this was a building that was hit by lightning twice in the past. This information suggests that the old saying may be something of a myth. Our final visit was just across the road to the stunning St Colemans Church. As a special treat Colmán organised for the children to visit the gallery which is used by the church choir. Here the children were treated to a stunning view of the church and alter. The children got a close up view of the organ, one of the largest organs in Ireland. The final part of our tour included a look at the stunning stain glass windows and a description of the images that appear on them. Colmán was extremely knowledgeable and answered all of our questions. It was a very enjoyable day.







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St. Brigid’s Day

Posted by AmyH On February - 10 - 2017
Naomh Bríd
Naomh Bríd by Amy & Sian.

On the first of February we made St. Brigid’s crosses. They were made with rushes. Every class got a turn making them.

Saint Brigid was named after a goddess. She was born in Dundalk. She died in Kildare. Her feast day is on the first of February. Her name in Irish is Naomh Bríd. Her saint names are St. Brigid of Ireland or St. Brigid of Kildare. She is one of Ireland’s patron saints along with St. Patrick and St. Columba. She helped a lot of people and animals. She was very kind and loving. There are many stories of St. Brigid. Here is one of them.

One day while Brigid was cooking steak for dinner a hungry dog came by and smelled the food. He went to where Brigid was cooking. She gave him a steak even though she knew her father would be mad at her. The dog left and Brigid prayed that her father wouldn’t be angry. She looked in the pot and a new steak had appeared. God was helping her because she helped the dog.

Saint Brigid's crosses in the senior room.
Saint Brigid’s crosses in the senior room.
Crosses with the Senior Infants.
Crosses with Senior Infants.
Crosses with Junior Infants.
Crosses with Junior Infants.
Saint Brigid's crosses with the middle room.
Saint Brigid’s crosses with the middle room.
Crosses made by the middle room.
Making crosses in the middle room.
Making some crosses
Making some crosses.
The girls making crosses.
The girls with Ms. Dooley making crosses.
Sian and Amy with their Saint Brigids crosses and project.
Sian and Amy with their Saint Brigid’s crosses and project.
The lads with their crosses.
Eoin, Evan and Conor with their crosses.

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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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