Tuesday, 10 December 2013

You look good for a rotting corpse that's thousands of years old, congratulations.

A couple of weeks ago (yes, weeks, I am perfectly aware that I have not been paying as much attention to this blog as I probably should and my sincerest apologies for that) we visited the Yeats exhibition, the National Gallery and the National museum.
First we went to the Yeats exhibition in the National Library of Ireland. I, personally, was very excited for this as I like Yeats a lot. I was looking forward to hearing about his life and his family. 

I knew some things about Yeats before this trip but I learned some pretty fascinating things about him, too. I learned that he had two sisters called Lillie and Lollie (yeah, no, don't ask) who were embroiderers and a brother, Jack, who was an artist. It was a very artistic family.
I liked hearing about his relationship with Maud Gonne. He was pretty keen on her.

After this we went to the National Gallery to look at some art. I have no artistic ability whatsoever but I still really enjoyed it. We looked at some art by Jack Yeats to fit in with the whole Yeats-Trip thing. My favourite painting by him was Grief:
The reason I like this painting so much is because you have to really look at it to see what it means. It seems that the Yeats family was big into hidden messages. 

We also looked at the Opening of the Sixth Seal by Francis Danby.                                                                                                                 
 I suppose one of the reasons I like it so much is because of the story behind it. Apparently, at the time it was painted (1828), it was so terrifying that some people fainted when they saw it. When it was in a gallery, a man was so angered by the painting that he slashed it with a knife. If you look closely you can see the slash. 

After the very exciting trip to the gallery, we went to the National Museum to look at the bog bodies because we had been studying Seamus Heaney in school, who wrote a poem about the bog bodies (The Tollund Man). Seeing the bog bodies made me feel a little bit ill, especially when I realised that we were looking at real people who were murdered. I had a bit of a moral dilemma here: On one hand I was thinking that this was for a good and educational purpose. However, I was also thinking that these people deserved a little bit more than this, that maybe they'd appreciate a proper burial instead of being kept in a glass box for many years. 

Despite this moral dilemma, I had a great time and this was one of my favourite outings of the year. I think everyone had a good time, too.
Well, until next time.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Science, Science, Everywhere

This Tuesday, our year went to Tallaght IT for a science talk as part of Science Week. The talk was called Extraordinary Science (except they spelled it like Xtra-ordinary which made me uncomfortable). The speaker had an English accent and, seriously, you should have heard the gasp that erupted around the room when everyone discovered it.
The first experiment he showed us was an experiment that was done by Galileo off the Leaning Tower of Pisa: Galileo dropped two balls of different masses off the tower to prove that their time of descent was independent from their masses. The speaker demonstrated this with two bottles, one filled with liquid.

Another experiment he did was with a home made spud gun. He got two massive pole things and pumped one full of potato and fired the potato across the room. This was to demonstrate the spring of air. It was very cool, but he fired it at us and, considering the fact that I hate potatoes quite a bit, I wasn't too happy about this. Still very cool, though.

And then he made something explode. I may have shrieked. He didn't just explode something for fun though, it was to show the difference between hydrogen and helium. He told us to guess the gas inside a balloon. It was lighter than air, so we figured it had to be hydrogen or helium. Then he told us that helium is an inert gas, meaning it is non-reactive, and hydrogen is reactive. So, he did something funky to it and it exploded with a very loud bang. Therefore, it must have been hydrogen. Cool stuff, right?

It was a very interesting day, and I learned a lot. After the talk we stopped off in Liffey Valley to get some food, which certainly helped. We returned to school with high spirits and I for one felt a little bit smarter than I did when I had left. I think everyone enjoyed it as much as I did!

Science Week logo 2013

Friday, 15 November 2013

School on a Saturday, I may be crazy

Last Saturday was our school's open day for the incoming first years. I think it's safe to say all who were involved sold the school pretty well.
I was part of the music department, along with a load of other people. Ms. G. talked to all the students about what the music department offers and all the extra curricular activities (such as choir, orchestra, etc.) while people played background music. It was all really well organised. I think what really sold the music department, though, was the cup song. We handed out cups to all the incoming students and the people who were helping out led the song. Here's the original if you want to hear it!

The open day ended early, so we all got out some sweets as a reward for all our (kind of) hard work. Afterwards, I went with a friend to the UCD open day, and I gotta say I found it very impressive. I wanted to skip fifth and sixth year and go straight to college, but unfortunately I believe that is, well, impossible.

I really hope you enjoy being updated on my rather mundane life. More news (if you can call it that) next time!

Friday, 18 October 2013

"Laser guns are expensive. Do not break these, and do not frighten the locals."

*I apologize for how long this took to publish. I really need to stop mistaking the "save" button for the "publish" button. Excellent work, Caoimhe.*

Well, after last week I am exhausted.

The week began when I got up at six in the morning to catch a bus at seven to Carlingford. It was a tad chaotic, what with people forgetting bags and some people arriving late and the like, but we set off on time with high spirits.The two hour bus journey wasn't so bad, as I brought snacks! We also passed some lovely scenery. When we arrived we were greeted warmly by the staff and were brought straight out on activity. Then things really started to get interesting!

The first activity was probably my favourite: laser tag! We walked up a mountain (which took about forty five minutes. Speaking as a very unfit person, this wasn't so much fun. But when we got there it was so worth it.) to a forest carrying these giant laser guns. When we got there, we were split into teams, taught how to use the guns and after rather a lot of talking were finally told we could go shoot at each other.

Okay, so I wasn't the most useful person on the team. I found a really great hiding spot behind a wall thing though, and that one time I shot someone was exciting. Although, my (very loud) celebrations gave away my hiding spot and I was shot like twenty times but we won't talk about that. Our team won that round, and that game was one of my favourite moments of the entire trip. After that, we played capture the flag which usually doesn't interest me, but you'd be surprised how enthusiastic I am when laser guns are suddenly introduced. We won, again. And then we walked back down the hill, feeling exhausted but happy.

That afternoon we did a lot of activities. One that really sticks out in my memory is the one where we had to bring a log thingy across a log path and put said log thingy into a bucket. But we had to build the log path with the log thingies as we moved forward. Sorry for the terrible explanation but it was a great game! Another activity we did was this spider whatsit, where we all had to get through this spider web (made out of ropes, not an actual spider web) but two people couldn't go through the same hole. We had to lift people through the ones at the top, which was difficult because you had to not drop the person but also try not to be kicked in the face. We also played a maze game where you weren't allowed to talk during the game (some people found that impossible) and numerous others.

After some R&R, we were brought out on a night walk, which, I have to say, was a crazy experience. We were brought up to where we played laser tag and blindfolded, then told to walk! We made our way around the forest, with nothing but a rope to guide us. The instructors started to spray us with water, which I have to say freaked me out a bit and, in my mini freak-out, I clutched my friend in front of me far too tight, which she didn't enjoy too much (sorry, Kyra). I also felt something furry on my face which I sincerely hope was just a glove and not some tiny animal.

That night was amazing. I got (questionable-tasting) Chinese food and went back to the room I was sharing with my friends. Although we were exhausted, we still didn't manage to shut up until nearly one. I slept in a bed full of gummy bears and sugar because of a contest we had earlier, which was not comfy at all.

The next day was completely mad. First we did archery, which I was terrible at. Really, really awful. I had fun missing the target completely, but I think my friends enjoyed laughing at my failure more than I enjoyed failing. After archery we went zorbing, which was one of most hilarious and painful things I have ever done. So what you had to do was get into this giant plastic ball that covered from about thirty inches above your head to your knees , then bump into each other and try and knock each other over (I was used as the example to show people in my group how to get in and out of it, but I got stuck in it so I wasn't really a good example). Now, I'm not exactly tall. I couldn't knock anyone over but I was fantastic at tumbling around the place, if I do say so myself. However, after a while I began to feel a bit of motion sickness coming on. It didn't help that in those things it was nearly impossible to breathe or see out, so I also felt a bit claustrophobic. It was quite painful when people bumped into me and I'd go flying and my glasses are a little banjaxed after it all but I'm still in one piece, so it's all good. It really was one of the best activities there, though.

The last activity we did was kayaking, which I probably would have enjoyed more we weren't doing it in arctic conditions. Well, that might be a little bit of an exaggeration but it was freezing. Also, I couldn't wear my glasses while doing it and without them I am thoroughly blind so I was just concentrating on not hitting people with my paddle throughout the activity. We started off by doing warm-ups with the paddle, which was hard for me because I have the worst hand-eye coordination known to man but I didn't hit anyone and I think that's an accomplishment. Then we got into our kayaks and set off. I was sure to get a double with my friend, because there was no way I could have kayaked by myself for so long (if you've got no upper body strength and you know it clap your hands). We stopped at this square floaty thing and a trampoline in the middle of the lake, which was really cool! We all clambered on to the float and people took turns swimming over to the giant trampoline. I was determined not to go into the freezing water, but that didn't matter because I wasn't up on the float for very long before I was pushed in. Everyone was all "no, the water's not that cold, come on," to which I responded through chattering teeth with "...oh yeah.... t-totally n-not c-cold at all," but I think my lack of tolerance for cold was given away by the fact that, after trying to act like it wasn't bothering me in the slightest, I curled up into the foetal position while still in the water and started singing Baby It's Cold Outside. Sadly I didn't make it over to the trampoline that looked super fun, but I enjoyed catching hypothermia. 

On the bus home, the atmosphere was, well, something else. I was surrounded by friends, some of whom I was close with before the trip, but others who I probably wouldn't have even spoken to if it wasn't for Carlingford. Mrs. L. told us that Carlingford was going to be a bonding trip and she couldn't have been more right. Some things happened in Carlingford that I'll remember for a very long time, such as the laser tag and the night walk. 

I know I should probably finish this off considering how long it is, but I can't end it without thanking Mrs. L. and Ms. O'C. profusely for a wonderful trip and everyone at the Carlingford Adventure Centre. So, thank you! It was a really great trip, and I had a blast.

Until next time!

Friday, 20 September 2013

So Wednesday was interesting. Every Wednesday we have workshops, and this particular day we had three: Positive Party, a confidence workshop, and another where we learned how to give a massage.

The massage one was very useful. I really enjoyed getting a massage, but the person I gave one to looked in pain. That's not really how you want a massage to go! This one was the last one we did, so it was great to go home feeling relaxed.

The confidence building workshop was great. The guy who ran it, Austin Dunne, was really friendly and charismatic which is the type of person you want to run a workshop like that! We all had to tell each other our most embarrassing moment as part of it so we all got a good laugh with one another. I think I'll remember what I learned in this workshop the most as it really gave some good life tips, and encouraged everyone to be themselves and care less about what people think.

The other one we had, which was actually our first one of the day, was Positive Parties. I left this one till last to tell you about because it was probably my favourite. If you want to check it out the website is http://positiveparties.com/. As you could probably tell, it was basically about staying happy and not letting anyone ruin your good mood. The woman, Denise, also told us of good ways to manage stress. One of these ways was to listen to positive music! Unfortunately I don't know many positive songs, but here's one that is great to dance to!

I hope you enjoy the song. Bye for now!

Monday, 2 September 2013

So Far So Good!

The first week is always the hardest. I have to say I'm glad it's over, because now I can relax and enjoy TY!
The first day was nerve wracking, as I found out my TY class and who all my teachers were. My biggest fear was not being in a class with my friends, but luckily I am! I like my timetable, I like my teachers and I really think TY is going to be great. By the end of the first day, I was very tired but extremely happy. I was excited for school the next day, which was different! 

The next day was just as good as we were assigned projects and were told about the trips we'll be going on. I wasn't expecting to be jumping in to projects so soon, so it came as a surprise! In religion I am doing a project with my friends on the sixth Millennium Goal, which is reducing the spread of HIV and Aids. I am also doing a project on Wexford for geography. Our class is taking a trip to the Yeats museum in November and another to Castletown House sometime soon. I'm very excited to be going to the Yeats museum, as I've been meaning to do that for a while but haven't had a chance. In about two weeks we're going to Carlingford Adventure Centre, which should be interesting. 

I'm starting work experience in a few weeks. My first placement is in a music shop, but I haven't got my other placements yet. I'm hoping to get my others in either a recording studio, a film studio or a charity of some sort, maybe the ISPCC or Bernardos, as I would really like to work in places like that when I'm finished school.

I guess that's it for now, but expect more updates soon!