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! 🎂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.