To complete our Christmas concert in @Garrymore the pupils sang Daidí na Nollag, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Do You Hear What I Hear?, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Merry Christmas Everyone. The children performed so well and we are all very proud of them.
Over 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 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.
Through 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.
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.
Other 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.
William 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!
Last week, we celebrate Creative Schools Week (4th – 8th November). This was an opportunity to showcase, celebrate and share our creative work that is being undertaken in the school this year to date. Our key focus within Creative Schools is Music.
This year, our 4th, 5th and 6th classes are taking part in the “Ceilí Ukulele” programme which is run by Music Generation Mayo.
Céilí Ukulele is designed as a 28-week programme over the academic year, with weekly lessons of 60 minutes’ duration. Over the course of a full academic year, students will aim to learn 15+ songs & 20+ melodies on the ukulele, as well as honing their performance skills through regular group practice and performance. Each week, our specialist Music Generation Mayo musician-tutor, Keif, visits the school to provide whole-class tuition designed to engage and excite students about playing the ukulele and singing accompanying songs.
We have completed 8 weeks and have learnt so much already.
Here is a video of our talented pupils performing a song accompanied by the ukulele:
Fifth Class (2019/20)
Today we celebrate World Bee Day – 20th May 2019
Did You Know?
- Irish Bumblebee populations are in decline.
- One third of our 99 bee species are threatened with extinction from Ireland. This is because we have drastically reduced the amount of food (flowers) and safe nesting sites in our landscapes.
- In response this decline and threat of extinction, the National Biodiversity Data Centre coordinated the implementation of the an All Ireland Pollinator Plan( 2015-2020) along with 68 other government and non-government organisations as partners to support the plan.
The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is about all of us, from farmers to local authorities, to schools, gardeners and businesses, coming together to try to create an Ireland where pollinators can survive and thrive. Here at Gortskehy, we are committed to playing our part and making our school bee-friendly.
The middle room studied the Junior Pollinator Plan with their teacher, Ms. Thomas. They learnt all about bees and their important role as pollinators. They also learnt about the life cycle of the bumble bee & what we can do to help our bees survive and thrive.
Our school Pollinator & Green School Teams drew maps of the current school grounds. This was done to identify areas where we can take action to help pollinators. Lots of good ideas that we hope to put into action were noted by our pupils on the walkabout:
- Plant bee-friendly plants in our garden beds.
- Leave narrow strips around our pitch for wildflowers
- Mow our lawn/pitch less frequently – to allow dandelions and clover to grow – food sources for our bees.
- Reduce pesticides – only use it for clearing slippery areas/paths. Only weed by hand.
- Plant a herb bed – they are an excellent source of food for pollinators.
These maps will be updated to include all the pollinator areas we will develop around our school. We will monitor and report on bee activity and update our plans annually.
Here are some photos of our pupils planting bee-friendly plants, flowers and herbs in our new Sensory & Biodiversity garden.
For more information on what you can do to help the bees – please visit http://pollinators.ie/
“Being active, staying fit, Gortskehy always does its bit!”, Cathal Tierney, 5th Class
We have been very active in Gortskehy recently for our @activeflag.
We held a competition during November for the children to come up with our active school slogan. The children came up with fantastic ideas. Congratulations to Cathal Tierney, fifth class for coming up with the winning catchy slogan! We had a competition for the infants to draw and colour an active picture. They really enjoyed it and had great pictures!
Great slogan Cathal – WELL DONE from @activeflag👍
— Active School Flag (@ActiveFlag) January 8, 2019
On November 19th we started taking part in the ‘Active Break Every Day Challenge’. Each class had an active break every day. We had a running break, a dance break or an exercise break each day. It really helped us to energise ourselves and concentrate and focus better on our work. We had so much fun during these breaks that we have an active break every day at school now. It helps us to stay healthy!
On the day of our Christmas Holidays we had a Christmas Disco. Each class got to perform a dance in the dance off! It was a really active way to end the term at school and we had a fantastic time dressed up in our Christmas jumpers.
We are going to be taking part in the Operation Transformation 10@10 initiative in January at school and we are looking forward to the challenge!
Fourth Class (2018/19)
Well done to everyone who kindly contributed to the Team Hope Shoebox Appeal. Such a kind and generous act, this will bring so much joy to the children who open their special delivery from the boys and girls of Gortskehy this Christmas. This appeal is such a worthy cause as Team Hope give your Christmas Shoebox gifts right into the hands of some of the world’s most vulnerable children – many of whom will receive no other gift this Christmas. For some it’s the first gift they’ve ever received. Thanks also to Veronica for distributing the pamphlets and collecting the shoeboxes from our school.
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving” Mother Teresa