Congratulations to the combined team of Cloghans Hill, Gortskehy, Lehinch and Robeen on winning the McCartan Cup this month. It was great to welcome the cup back to Gortskehy after so many years. Special thanks to Pat Hession and Brendan Murphy for their role in preparing the team.
Congratulations Maura Gilmore on winning our two U2 tickets today! Thanks to everyone who entered. This was our first live broadcast event and we’re really proud of Amy, Lexie and Evan in sixth class who presented so well. Thanks also to James Heaney and Garrymore GAA for the use of their drum. A recording of the draw which took place live here at 2pm can be viewed below.
Entrants: Catríona Uí Bheirn (x 2), Maura Gilmore (x 2), Cathy Fitzpatrick, Patrick Langan, Margarita Corscadden, Lynda Hession (x 2), Darragh Beagan, Michelle Gannon, Patrick Burke (x 2), Micheál O’Hehir (x 2), Paul McGurnaghan, Suzanne McDonald, Caroline Connolly (x 2), Bridget Curran, Lorraine Corcoran (x 2), Declan Smith, Marie Hession, Mairéad Delaney (x 2), Niamh Murray, Carol Doherty (x 2), Martin Morris, Margaret O’Connell, Laura Reynolds, Edmund Kavanagh, Dave Loftus, Fergal Kent, Jennifer Jordan (x 2), Michelle Harley (x 2), Patrick Hagan, Colette Flaherty, Patricia Jennings, Monica Dix, Robert Fergus Madden (x 2), Yvonne Francis, Gareth Murphy, Siobhán Mangan Heaney, Margaret Nimmo, Michelle Flynn, Sarah Ryan, Michael Dolan, Dominic Ó Braonáin, Laura Commins, Sandie Hession, Mary Lydon (x 2), James Minogue, Fintan Jennings, Pauline Jennings, Olivia Tierney (x 2), John McDonald.
Vasco da Gama
In the middle of the 15th century, Portugal was the leading seafaring nation in Europe. There was great rivalry between Portugal and Spain for the control of trade with India and China. At the time it was believed that the Atlantic ocean and the Pacific ocean were landlocked. Christopher Columbus believed the East Indies (the lands of South and Southeast Asia) could be reached by sailing west across the Atlantic. In 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain provided money to fund Columbus’ plans. He discovered the Americas in 1492 and thought he had reached Asia.
Vasco da Gama from Portugal was actually the first European to reach India by sea. His first voyage to India took two years (1497-1499). This was the first time Europe and Asia were connected by an ocean route. Today we visited the monastery of St. Jerome in Lisbon which is the final resting place of this famous Portuguese explorer. Many roads and buildings are named after Vasco da Gama in Portugal. We saw the Vasco da Gama bridge in Lisbon which is the longest bridge in Europe. It took three years to build (1995-1998) – eighteen months of preparation and eighteen months of construction. It spans the river Targus which is the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula at 1007km long.
Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos)
Standing at 171 feet (50 meters), this monument is a tribute to the success of Portuguese explorations in an era known as The Age of Discoveries, which began in 1415 and led to the creation of Portugal’s empire.
On our trip to Lisbon we visited Belém Tower which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is Lisbon’s most famous landmark and built to celebrate Vasco da Gama’s expedition. It was built as a lighthouse and fortress near the shore of the river Tagus which flows into the Atlantic Ocean near Lisbon.
Lisbon Interactive Science Museum, Dinner and Disco
We visited a science museum which had lots of interactive displays and even a “flying” bicycle. It was the first time for all of us to cycle 16m from the ground! We joined a workshop on space in the laboratory which explained why Mars is red. The iron in the dust on Mars reacts with oxygen to create a red, rust colour. The sky looks red because storms carry the dust into the atmosphere. We learned about the daily challenges facing astronauts aboard the International Space Station – washing, exercising without gravity, using velcro to attach items such as shoes to the walls. Conor demonstrated an experiment to show how objects travel faster in a vacuum. In the evening all the pupils and teachers went to a restaurant. After the meal a DJ played some music and everyone danced until 11pm. You can view some clips from our day in the video below.
We had a great day today. First, the parents took the children to the school and they sat in on a morning lesson. It is a big school with over 500 pupils. Then we had the official opening ceremony and each partner presented their school and were entertained by the school music club. We were then given a walking tour of the building before all of the pupils from France, Italy, Croatia, Portugal and Ireland were split into groups and all got to make a rocket, satellite and photo frame at different stations. Lunch was in the canteen and then we went to visit nearby salt mines where we were given a tour and afterwards had some ice cream. At the local council building we were welcomed by the mayor and had our photos taken for the local newspaper. We wore our uniforms because we were meeting the mayor. Afterwards we went for a walk in the local park and had some fun which you can see in the video. Tomorrow we go to Lisbon where we will visit a science museum, historical buildings and some of the shopping centres. We will go to a restaurant for dinner tomorrow evening where there will be live music.
A few hours ago we arrived at Lisbon airport. We were met at the airport and taken to Rio Maior where the host families were there to greet us. We didn’t expect it but it’s been raining heavily all day and for the past few days. The pupils were great and we didn’t have any problems along the way. We have an exciting week ahead. Everyone gave Sian their best wishes as it’s her birthday today! 🎂
“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 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.
Sixth class (2016/17)
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.