November Newsletter

Dear <<First Name>>

Once again, I am pleased to send our newsletter to you. The current term really is flying by. After this weekend break there are only a few weeks to go until the Christmas exams and the very welcome holidays that follow. I never cease to be amazed at the variety and number of events, outings and inputs that our staff make possible for students on top of the normal day to day business of school life. I am very grateful to them. Likewise, I marvel at the variety of areas of endeavour in which our students excel. They can be as proud of themselves as we are of them.

This weekend sees the beginning of the season of Advent. It is a time of hope and expectation before the Christmas feasts. It is a particularly beautiful time in the monastery, with powerfully striking readings and chants. Do please feel free to join us in the abbey church for some of the Advent liturgies if you are visiting, or indeed online via our webcam if you are at a distance.

With best wishes to you and your family,

Fr Martin Browne OSB
Recent News
Positive Contribution to School Life Awards

Just before mid-term, certificates acknowledging positive contributions to the life of the school were awarded to a number of deserving students across all year groups. We congratulate each and every one of the students on their award and offer them our thanks for making Glenstal Abbey School a better place for all of us.

Recipients: Hugo McElligott, Henri Cramer, Matthew Lyne, Hugh Lawler, Joe Gilbride, Ben McCartan, Patrick Leonard, Hugh Nicholas, Odhran Furlong, Diego Sun, Fionn O'Donnell, Pierce O'Neill, Ben Quinn, Zach O'Connor, David Clifton-Brown, Tommy McNamara, Eric White, Hugo Phelan and Anselme Callens.

Heart to Hand Shoebox Appeal
Well done to our Transition Year students, pictured above, who coordinated a shoebox appeal in aid of the Heart to Hand charity. A big thank you to all those who contributed generously to this very worthy cause.
Under 15 Rugby Win
Congratulations to our U15 Rugby Team who beat Presentation Brothers Cork (29-12), away, in a hard-fought contest. The boys emerged with a great win thanks to tries from David Trant (2), Pierce O'Neill, Seán McCormack and nine points off the tee from captain Sam O'Farrell.
Liturgy of Remembrance

A liturgy of remembrance took place at assembly on 19th November. The liturgy was presided over by school Chaplain, Fr. Denis. School Captain Richard Enright read from the Book of Ecclesiastes. The school choir led by Fr. Columba sang to greet the Gospel, and Tim Hyde played guitar during the ceremony. Candles were then lit by students and staff to remember deceased family and friends. It was a meaningful and prayerful event for all participants.

May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Watch Ceremony
Eve's Big Build

Our Transition Year students contributed towards the Eve's Big Build project in Tipperary earlier this month. We are very proud of the boys getting their hands dirty to contribute to such an important cause. Please click on the link below for more information on this charity.

Eve the Warrior Princess
Macchu Picchu Expedition - A Parent's Perspective
by William Lynch

As a parent of a first year/now second year, the prospect of heading off for a couple of weeks to a distant land excited me and provided a perfect opportunity to strengthen the father-son bond. I was honoured to be asked to act as trek doctor to the group also, a role I enjoyed 15 years previously on a similar organised trip to Peru.

We enjoyed two preparatory/training weekends which were led by mountain leader Louise Lawerence, a veteran guide who would accompany us to South America. The first was over the snow-covered Slieve Feilim Mountains and ended at Glenstal. The second was to Carrauntoohil in the Magillycuddy Reeks in excellent weather and an overnight camp at Cronin’s Yard.

All participants performed well and were satisfied with their equipment, clothing and footwear. The briefings provided an opportunity for Q+A on all elements of the trip including itinerary, altitude, sleeping arrangements, transport, food and beverage, risks etc.

Finally, the big day arrived and we jetted from Dublin Airport to Cusco via Madrid and Lima and nobody got lost or left behind! Arriving in Cusco we were greeted by our team of Peruvian guides who were to be our companions for three weeks. Cusco (3399m) is a typical South American city with huge Spanish influence, a large square and imposing cathedral. Most of the streets are cobbled with lots of places to explore or simply hang out and soak in the atmosphere.

Getting acclimatised to the altitude was the first challenge and started as a guided tour of the old city built by the Incas and ended at the statue of Christ overlooking the city with its rambling streets and terracotta roofs.

We rewarded ourselves on our first outing with some of the local cuisine which was excellent and some of the boys really got in the spirit and enjoyed the national dish, roasted guinea pig!

We set off on the next leg of the trip to paint a school and enjoyed the best of Peruvian hospitality and were treated to a cultural extravaganza of song and dance, all the while acclimatizing for the challenge ahead. Our hosts were generous and appreciative and for their visitors provided an appreciation of what can be achieved with so little.

The Salkantay route to Macchu Picchu is much more visually spectacular than the classic Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu which I had experienced years earlier and just as challenging. Our daily trek involved an early rise, a hearty breakfast in the mess tent, breaking camp and assembling the bags which were packed onto mules by our porters. On our backs, we carried rucksacs with spare clothing and waterproofs. There is something spiritual about trekking at altitude, perhaps it’s to do with being closer to the heavens and enjoying the splendour without the intrusions of normal daily life?

The food on the trip never failed to surprise us with variety and nutritional value, particularly as the mod cons of a conventional kitchen were curtailed by the terrain and conditions.

Nothing prepares you for the visual impact of Macchu Picchu and the backdrop of the mountains when you enter the lost city of the Incas. Everyone climbed Macchu Picchu mountain and the views and perspective of the ancient city could really be appreciated.

There was no pressure on time at this stage and many of the group lingered for hours until the UNESCO site closed and we made the descent to the frontier town of Aqua Calentes.

We returned to our hotel in Cusco via train and settled back into the easy groove of life in Cusco, well pleased with our achievements. Cusco was buzzing with excitement as Peru had got to the final of Copa Americas 2019 against arch-enemies Brazil for the first time in more than 40 years and many of our intrepid explorers donned the obligatory Peruvian strip of striker Guerrero No 9! Sadly Brazil won the match and some of us made our way to Paddy’s Bar, the highest bar in the world to drown our sorrows!

This Peruvian adventure ticked all the boxes for me personally and I know has instilled the spirit of adventure in the boys and their parents who went on this trip.  Hopefully, 2020 will bring a new trip to another far-flung part of the world and allow more boys an opportunity to grow and broaden their minds.

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 New Year. 

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.

A Perfect Christmas Gift

Glenstal Abbey
Through the Seasons

Through this collection of stunning images, we get a rare insight into the daily life of the community of the monks of Glenstal. From liturgical celebrations to the buzz of the school, to the silence and prayer of the guesthouses and retreats, and the beauty of the woods, gardens and farm, this book captures a unique way of life. The presence of a praying community gives Glenstal its unique character, and in this book the monks share in their own words the rhythm of their lives as they strive to live according to the Rule of St Benedict and the precepts of the Gospel.

Available from the Monastery Shop

Upcoming Events
Carol Service

The Advent Carol Service will take place on Sunday 8th December at 3:30 pm. There will be a collection and Christmas fair held after the service with all proceeds going towards the Kenya project.

Christmas Break

The Christmas holidays begin on Friday 20th December at 12:40 pm. School will resume on Monday 6th January.

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Glenstal Abbey School
Co. Limerick, V94 HC84

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