January Newsletter

Dear <<First Name>>

We are in the midst of one of the busiest periods of the year, with Transition Year students back in class, Junior Cert students completing their Classroom Based Assessments, and Leaving and Junior Cert students preparing for their mock examinations, which begin next week. All of this after what this newsletter reveals to have been a very busy January indeed. Almost exactly a year after returning to the office of Headmaster, I want to salute and thank the entire school community for the shared efforts, support and encouragement which make this such a wonderful job to have. I hope that our school community will continue to grow in the coming months - growing not only in numbers, but in depth, relationship and care. How we treat one another in this school family will be a particular focus of attention over the coming weeks and I pray that our efforts will bear fruit.

Fr Martin Browne OSB
Recent News
Speech and Drama Success at Féile Luimnigh

We are very proud of our U13 and U15 Speech and Drama performances at Féile Luimnigh on 23rd January. Among the winners, pictured above: Teak Williams (1st Year), Jose Gonzalez Carrete (2nd Year), Brendan Collins (2nd Year), Tommy McNamara (1st Year) and Paul O'Kane (1st Year).

Junior House Trip to Paris
by Donncha Ó Murthuile (1st Year)

The Paris trip was great! We left at quarter past midnight, so everyone was really tired. When we got there, we went to Sacré-Cœur, the second most visited monument in Paris and the highest point in the city. We then went on a coach tour. Afterwards, we went to La Tour Montparnasse which is the nineteenth tallest building in the European Union and then went to have supper at Express 27. The next morning we went on a long bus ride to Versailles and also visited the gardens which were amazing. After that we set off to the Arc de Triomphe, the view from the top was incredible; you could see the Eiffel Tower and many other landmarks. When we finished, we got to go shopping on the Champs-Élysées which was really busy. Then we went on a walking tour of a lovely part of Paris and visited The American Cathedral. We got picked up and went to the Eiffel Tower, it looked awesome! After the Eiffel Tower, we went to Pizza Hut for supper. Then back to the hotel and had some free time. For the last day, we went to a museum called the Musée d'Orsay. There were a lot of beautiful paintings and sculptures, and the architecture of the building was incredible. We then went on a boat ride and saw the Pont Alexandre III and many other wonderful things. When we finished the boat ride, we made our way to the airport and flew back to Dublin. The trip was nonstop but it was great fun and we saw so much. It was around 2:00 am when we arrived back in Limerick, so everyone was exhausted, but we all had a really great time. I want to thank Fr John for organising such a fantastic tour. 

IAMTA Junior Problem Solver Quiz

Well done to those who represented the School in the IAMTA Junior Problem Solver Quiz in NUI Galway on 24th January:Aonghus Cooke, Gearóid Corrigan, Zaac Dooley, Luke Johnson, Darragh Lehane, Conor McCormack, Fionn O'Donnell, Oisín Portley, Diego Sun, John Twomey, and Eoin Ward.

We had three teams compete in the applied mathematics quiz. After a tiebreaker for 3rd place, we narrowly missed out on some silverware.

TY History Tour of Galway
On Tuesday, 28th January, a Transition Year group went on a tour of medieval Galway with Br Colmán and Mr Ross. The trip explored the history of settlement from the twelfth century to the present day and examined how the city's situation at a strategic crossing point on the River Corrib combined with access to Atlantic seaways contributed to its prosperity from the mid-fifteenth century to the present day. Mr Frank Coyne of Aegis Archaeology met the group and showed them around his excavation of the city's medieval Watergate at the Spanish Arch, and Bishop Brendan Kelly, Br Colmán's former history teacher, greeted them at the Cathedral. Highlights of the trip included a visit to St Nicholas's Church, discovering how the 'Hole in the Wall' pub got its name and seeing where the first Mayor of Galway hanged his own son in order to protect the city's reputation for impartial justice. The next outing will be to Clonmacnoise in March as part of a programme looking at the cult of St Patrick and the spread of Christianity in Early Medieval Ireland.
Rugby Round-up
The SCT and JCT had the final pre cup outing against St Gerard's on Saturday 11th January. They were hosted under lights in Energia Park in front of a large crowd of parents and supporters. A close affair saw the SCT up 7 points to 5 at half-time, thanks to superb finish by wing Darragh Hanly. A sweeping move from the touchline to touchline saw him break free and scamper away for a fantastic team try. In the second half, the game opened up with some expansive attacking rugby by both teams. However, in the final quarter, St Gerard's pulled away and claimed a hard-fought victory. The JCT had a more difficult evening. Despite playing some of their best rugby of the season they couldn't stop an excellent St Gerard's team from building momentum and taking control of the fixture. They battled hard until the end but succumbed to a well-drilled and organised opposition. 

This year's restructured cup format saw Glenstal's SCT drawn in the first round against Ard Scoil Rís. Despite a narrow loss against them earlier in the season, the team felt confident that an upset would be on the cards. Having prepared well in the lead up to the game there was a good buzz in the camp. The game started well and Taylor Gleeson settled Glenstal nerves with a fine penalty from 45m out. However, a failed exit saw Ard Scoil capitalise on a sloppy penalty to draw the game. At half time Ard Scoil lead by a narrow margin but the game remained in the balance. Despite a Glenstal fight back with another try from Darragh Hanly Ard Scoil held out their lead to win the game. 

The JCT were in action the following week with the hopes of the school riding on their shoulders. The game was played on a particularly foggy afternoon in the Markets Field in Limerick city. Despite the conditions, the JCT rose to the task, and for the first 20 minutes put in a fantastic display. They controlled the set-piece and dominated a number of mauls in the opposition 22m. However, the Castletroy defence held strong and cleared the danger. Captain Kieran Roche lead from the front with massive performances and winger William Cahir-Whelan was an ever-present threat in the counter-attack. Castletroy proved to be a worthy opponent and having seen off the Glenstal pressure capitalised ruthlessly. Glenstal worked tirelessly and never gave up but were out-muscled by the time the final whistle blew. 

This week, Seniors looked to right some wrongs and get back to winning ways. They had the opportunity to do that in the annual Barrington Plate fixture against Villiers. They opened strongly and dominated the fixture from the off. Captain Aidan Booth was in fantastic form, touching down on multiple occasions. Free from pressure, the boys played some lovely flowing rugby and looked to attack from all areas of the pitch. Villiers rallied in the second half and broke away to score a well-worked try. However, Glenstal were too strong and claimed the victory on the day retaining the Barrington Plate. With a very young team finishing on the pitch, this bodes well for the coming season. 
Munster Schools Debating Competition

Our Senior Debating Team competed with distinction in the Munster Schools Debating Competition on Wednesday 29th January 2020. Well done to all on a great performance.

Delbarton Exchange
by Liam O'Sullivan (TY)

Argo is a fantastic movie. It’s hard for me to imagine a better beginning to my week than by seeing it for the first time. The dreaded flight had suddenly become a six-hour cinema session. I was loving it and not even in America yet.

Another epiphany of happiness would overtake me before we landed as the New York City skyline sprang into view. I’m sorry to tell you that, unless you have been, you won’t be able to relate to the overwhelming awe at its sheer scale. It is bigger than you think. After a quick photo op and a Delbarton goodie bag, we were on the short drive from the airport through to Morristown, New Jersey where we would set up camp for the next three and a half weeks. The homemade cuisine and warm welcomes from our hosts couldn’t have made us feel more at home.

Day two began with a bagel breakfast. Thanks to an early night, a result of the flight, we were up early for our tour of Morristown. The weekend was spent visiting the mall, Delbarton campus, Fort Nonsense, the wonders of Walmart, historical Jockey Hollow, and, most notably, Five Guys (burger and fries). We were also lucky enough to take part in the ritual of an American football rivalry weekend with none other than the Abbot of St Mary’s himself and plates of homemade cookies.

The spirit of the States must have smiled upon us as we were gifted an extraordinary two-day snow weekend extension. Perfect timing to take advantage of the American Netflix and dispel that last bit of jet lag. 

When Wednesday rolled around I must say that I was impressed with Delbarton. Glenstal could learn a thing or two. WiFi on all day, unlimited desserts, daily free period, hoodies, soft drink dispenser, and despite having double the students it had half the lunch line thanks to more staggering. Not to mention the frighteningly hospitable students and staff. However, credit to Glenstal, a slightly more organised atmosphere in Delbarton would make me hesitant to swap it.

Erasmus to Ampleforth

Our Erasmus Plus group recently spent a week at Ampleforth. This was their final trip as part of the Erasmus Programme exploring the Industrial Revolution and was a great learning experience for all involved. A more detailed account of the trip will be included in next month's newsletter.

Check Out our New School Video!
The 'Live In' 2020

The 'Live In' (Taster Experience) for students entering 1st Year in 2021 will take place from Monday 1st June to Wednesday 3rd June 2020. If your son is not already registered, please apply now via to ensure he receives his invitation to the 'Live In' in the coming weeks. 

The 'Live In' simulates the boarding routine here of shared meals, dormitories, classroom work, games, music, art and other recreational activities, including exploration of the grounds. It will give prospective students a sample of life as it is experienced in Glenstal Abbey School and an opportunity to meet with other potential students.

Please help spread the word! If you have family or friends with sons due to start secondary school in 2021, please tell them about the 'Live-In' and encourage them to sign up.

Upcoming Events
Mid-term Break

The mid-term break will begin on Friday 14th February at 12:40 pm. School will resume on Monday 24th February.

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