Newsletter Christmas 2009

Principal's Message

Maths Week
Transition Year Round Up
The Doll’s Christmas Party
School Completion Programme
The History of Derry
Home School Community Liason News
Skin and Blister
N.C.A.D. Mentor Programme
Discover DCU
Student Council Update
A Career in Biomedical Diagnostics?
Drop Everything & Read
Science Week
Paired Reading
Shop 'till You Drop
Anyone for Tea
Super Deluxe Library
Pink Day raised over €930 for the Marie Keating Foundation

In the day-to-day business of school life, it is difficult to keep track of all the activities taking place in the school. This newsletter provides a wonderful record of curricular and extra-curricular happenings in the school community. It is amazing how quickly this time of year comes around and how much we have filled in to the term that is coming to a close. September saw us celebrate the great success of the Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate students of 2009. Huge credit should go to the girls, their parents and their teachers.

The Leaving Certificate students have gone on to take up their places at Third Level in a range of courses, as diverse as Accountancy, Teaching, Nursing and Theatrical Make-Up. We wish each of them well. We are always delighted to hear about their exploits once they have moved on to college and to their careers. Many of the girls drop in to see us or we meet them when out and about. Former pupils who wish to get in touch can drop in or contact Ms. O'Leary who keeps track of past pupils.

Despite these recessionary times we have continued to make improvements to the building and the facilities available to the students. Since the summer break all of the toilets in the school and the changing rooms of our PE hall were completely updated at a cost of €188,000, provided through the Summer Works Scheme. New seating was provided in the school hall thanks to the ongoing fundraising efforts of the Students Council and the Parents Association. We are extremely grateful for all their efforts. The girls tell me the study hall/canteen now looks very 'High School Musical', though I am not sure how delighted I am with that!!!

Another five interactive whiteboards were installed this autumn, thanks to the hard work of the Art, Business, Music and Special Education departments. Fundraising activities for those boards included Bag Packs, Car Washes and every raffle imaginable as we strove to reach the target. We were also blessed with a generous donation from the parish council of St. Brendan's Church and I want to thank the parish for that. As in all schools, fundraising is essential and whatever small contribution parents and students can make is always welcome. Currently the History department is working hard to have its own interactive board, with Jacob and Edward from the Twilight book series featuring strongly in the campaign. Nobody could accuse the fundraisers from Mercy of lacking imagination!

While fundraising for our own school and facilities has been ongoing, the students and teachers have not forgotten local and national charities. Among those to benefit this term have been the Marie Keating Foundation, North Dublin Dog Rescue, Irish Autism Action and the DSPCA. We also kept the flood victims from other parts of the country in mind with a 'Welly' collection at our recent Christmas Carol service.

The school canteen is now fully operational and students can avail of freshly made, healthy and very reasonably priced sandwiches and soup each day. As the year progresses we hope to provide an even wider choice for the girls - all at prices aimed to beat the recession!!

In the weeks that have passed since August we have celebrated our opening of the school year Mass. Advent ceremonies took place for all students and our annual carol service was, as usual, hugely enjoyable.

Maths Week and Science Week got students wracking their brains, as did the Credit Union quiz, in which three teams from Mercy competed. Two of the First Year classes have completed their paired reading programme. The whole year group enjoyed a fun activity day with their mentors and form teachers in Westmeath in November. Other students have visited Derry, Wicklow and Louth. In the next term they will head further afield with visits to Poland and Paris. We have welcomed Spanish students for an extended stay and over 30 of our own girls have been acknowledged through the DCU Achievement Awards. Our links with DCU and NCAD continue to benefit our students.

Students have been involved in quizzes and drama, with debating and public speaking to come. Our volleyball, soccer and basketball teams continue to enjoy success and we have upcoming finals to look forward to. In addition, our Transition Year students entertained people in Nazareth House with some excellent carol singing.

As this year draws to a close I want to pay tribute to the entire staff of Mercy College who do all in their power to ensure success for each of the students in their care. The importance of education is highlighted now more than ever and it is only by working as a community - students, staff and parents • that the girls will achieve their potential.

I want to wish all members of our school community, their families and friends every blessing this Christmas, and a happy and healthy 2010.

Maths Week

Maths Week took place this year from October 10th to 17th. As usual many special activities took place to celebrate and highlight Maths as part of our school life. The whole school took part in The Maths Week Quiz, questions (see below) were posted every day in the foyer and the winners were Kaela Hutton from first year, Sarah Fitzpatrick and Ilham Abdullah from second year, Rebecca Amet and Jadine Brennan from third year, Nicole Casey from 4th year and Jennifer Warren from fifth year. For the Juniors we had the Maths treasure trail which provided great lunchtime entertainment. Students used their Maths skills to decode clues which lead them round the school. Congratulations to all who took part in the treasure trail, especially the winners, Shannon Gaughran, Nellie McDonagh and Anne Malone. Finally we put a special showing of "Stand and Deliver", a film about an inspiring Maths class. So let's start counting the days till next year's....

Why don't you have a go!!!!!
Q1: There are ten candles on a birthday cake. Three are blown out. How many are left?
Q2: % F on a H (e.g. There are 26 L in the Answer: 26 letters in the alphabet)
Q3: Johnny's mother had 4 children. The first was April, the second was may and the third was June. What was the name of the fourth child?

Ms E. Byrne

Transition Year Round Up

Purple Gorilla
The students of 4.2 set up a very successful mini company. The idea was a tuck shop which was widely agreed upon by students and staff members. On the 9th November the greatly awaited tuck shop finally opened for business. Part of our strategy was to undercut local shops and to sell our products at little break and lunch break.

From the start, we were extremely busy and during the first week we sold out of our stock in two days!! We had to go to Musgraves on four separate occasions. We raised over e300 for charity and nearly e1000 will go into buying much needed equipment for the school. The business department will get a new laptop, that will be connected to the interactive whiteboard, which was financed by the last year mini companies. Many thanks to our customers, the staff are now on diets for Christmas!!

Orlaith Keenan and Lisa Kelly

Fighting Words
On the 1st October 4th year students were invited to attend a Creative Writing workshop in the city centre. Roddy Doyle set up this work shop and it is called Fighting Words. The workshop caters for all age groups, from 8 to 88. In fact anybody who is interested in expressing themselves through creative literature is very welcome. The centre is extremely popular and we were fortunate that both 4th year classes were invited to attend. We learned many fun aspects of creative writing and we learned to express ourselves in a very positive way. The centre is run by volunteers and the atmosphere on the day was brilliant. Who knows what the future holds? One of our own students could be the next Stephanie Myers or JK Rowling!!

Christina and Beth

What a fantastic way to keep fit. We never realised how many muscles you use, the day after, we ache all over, but it was worth it. Not only did it keep us fit, it also helped us to learn some movements of self defence. We learned how to punch properly and how to get our heads out of a headlock and how to throw a person who is about to attack you. It was great fun and we would like to thank our instructor who made it a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience.

Jenny Kennedy and Nicole Durkin

Fun Fun Fun
The trip to Carlingford was an amazing experience. Carlingford is a very beautiful town surrounded by water and mountains. The activities were brilliant. The first night we arrived and went to the old castle and played games. The next morning we went canoeing which in itself was a learning experience. We went into a cave and saw a mythical waterfall which was very beautiful. During the evening, we went into the forest where we were then blindfolded and we had to use team work to get back to the hostel. With all the sounds, we scared the life out of each other! The following day, we went to the High Rope Activity where we were put in to harnesses and had to climb. Thankfully nobody fell off!! Our final activity was to build a raft, test it in the water, thankfully none sank. Many thanks to our teachers Ms. Rooney and Ms. Harrison

On Wednesday, 11th November, the 4th years went with Ms. Moran and Ms. Dowling to the CSI experience. When we arrived we were each given a number. Each number lead to different crime scenes. There were three crime scenes, each one had different settings and storylines. After spending sometime assessing the crime scene, we moved onto the labs where we submitted our evidence. This led us to further clues. We filled in sheets as we were going around and at the end, when we visited the autopsy room, the sheets helped us find our answers. We then submitted a report and if we completed it correctly and solved the murder, you were given a certificate. It was great fun and we could all visualise ourselves in the CSI series!!

Nicole Durnin

Carol Singing
We visited Nazareth House on Friday 4th December to sing Christmas Carols for the residents. We had a great time and we hope that everybody enjoyed our efforts.

Marie McCarthy


The girls of Mercy College Coolock have been very busy on the sports front in Term 1.

Girls of all years have been taking part in lunch time and after school training sessions in Football, Volleyball and Basketball.

U 16 Football Team
This year Mercy College has entered teams in the F.A.I Dublin Schools Football League. With a lot of the girls playing club football outside school the panels of girls on each squad is very strong. The school has a U-14 and U-16 team taking part. The U-16 team had a great win in their first outing against Ardscoil La Salle winning 8:2 and should hopefully do well after Christmas. The new 1st Year students have also been very active they are currently taking part in a local 5 aside competition. They are unbeaten so far. It is also very promising to see many 1st year girls playing on the U-16 team as well. The school is also very fortunate to have Tony Hatton helping with the coaching of all football teams.

On the basketball front girls are training every Tuesday and Thursday with Coach Mark Ingle. The senior girls are unbeaten this season and now are into the Dublin final. The 1st and 2nd year girls are training for their competitions which start after Christmas.

Senior Vollyball Team
Volleyball is going from strength to strength in the school. Girls train at lunch time and after school on Mondays. The school's first senior team made it to the All Ireland quarter final this term and will also be taking part in the schools cup after Christmas. This team has developed great skill and all girls are senior again next year. The U-16 cadette team has also qualified for round 2 and is training well. The 1st and 2nd year girls have played some challenge games and won all so far. Their competitions will commence in February.

I would like to thank all those girls who are actively involved in lunch and after school sports and encourage them all to keep up the great work in the New Year. New girls always welcome to any sport so why not in the New Year get involved in Mercy College Coolock Sports.

Miss E. Fitzgerald PE Teacher



On the 18th November, the 1st year students and some of the more adventurous teachers went on a trip to Lilliput outdoor adventure centre in Westmeath. Needless to say it was raining!! When we arrived after a long two hour journey, we were split into groups with about 20 in each group. We did bog hopping, canoeing, orienteering and forest games.

Bog hopping was some adventure. We had to go through obstacles that were situated in the bogs. Needless to say our clothes were destroyed. Our parents needed a lot or washing powder to clean our clothes!! The canoeing was equally enjoyable and you had the option of getting into a 1,2 or 3 person canoe. Orienteering was also very mucky. Thankfully, all students arrived back safely and nobody got too lost. We also played man-hunt or in our case woman hunt in the forest. For lunch we got a very appetising bowl of soup and buttered bread. Needless to say there wasn't a drop of soup left!! Before we got home we had a shower and got changed. Ms. Doherty was left picking up clothes that were left behind and she spent the next few days looking for their owners. We had a brilliant time and we would like to thank the 6th year prefects, form teachers and our year head Mr O' Mahony.

Aoife Martin


Hola, soy Maria Jesus y he venido a pasar aqua en Irlanda 10 semanas. Me ha gustado mucho la experiencia. He conocido a nuevas ninas, nuevas formas de vida, costumbres. El colegio tambien me ha gustado much, todas las ninas son muy simpatico y he aprendido cosas nuevas.

"the family that I was staying with was very nice, they had a boy Ben that was very kind. I very much enjoyed this time in Ireland, Merry

Christmas to everybody"

Maria Jesus, first year


The Doll’s Christmas Party

The girls from Willow and Cezanne performed their annual Christmas play for parents and staff. Many thanks to Rosemary, Grainne, Angela and Catherine for their creative contribution to the production

Ms. Niland


On Wednesday 25th November, our class held a cake sale in aid of the D.S.P.C.A. The cake sale was held in the Home Economics room during the lunch break. There was a great variety of cakes on sale, apple tarts, chocolate marshmallows and we even had jelly and icecream always a favourite. We raised 100 euros. Thanks to everybody who helped.

Ciara Keogh
2nd year Bizet

School Completion Programme

Breakfast Club
This is going very well this year. It is open to all students and runs every day from 8.00-8.45 in the parent's room. Students can have toast, cereal, apple juice, milk, fruit, yoghurts etc., Attendance has been extremely high, with Monica serving breakfast to an average 50 students a day. Many thanks to all our volunteers

Homework Club
This takes place from Monday to Thursday from 4.45-2.45 in the Hall. It is open to all 1st and 2nd year students. Students can have a sandwich and drink before starting. If the student is having difficulties, the supervising teacher will help. Homework club will re-commence in 2010 on Monday 11th January.

Drama Club
The Drama Club had its first showing of "One Last Swish" on Friday 11th December. Parents and 1st year students were invited along to attend. It was a great success. This was only possible due to the help given by the Drama students from Colaiste Dhulaigh, Liam and Sarah. There will be another production in the new year and new members are very welcome.

Trumpet Lessons
SCP are sponsoring trumpet lessons for 1st and 4th year students organised by Ms. Doherty. These take place after school and are given by a music student from DIT. It has proven to be a great success and it is a delight to hear the sound of the trumpet throughout the school.

Hip Hop
We are hoping to start lessons in January 2010. This will take place after school on Friday, the classes are open to all students, however places are limited.

If you are interested in any of the above lessons and activities just pop into my office which Is just located beside the Language Lab

Linda Devitt

The History of Derry

The senior History students took a trip to Derry in October. Everybody thought that it was a very enjoyable day and a great experience. We left the school at 7.30 am and arrived in Derry at 11. We visited the Apprentice Boys Museum and were given a guided tour. We were shown all the rooms where the meetings took place and we were given background information on the Apprentice Boys. We then went up to the top of the museum where we could see the Catholic and Protestant areas of Derry. We then visited the Foyle Side shopping centre and had our lunch. We went on the tour of the Walls of Derry. We toured Derry city and visited monuments. We had a wonderful tour guide and had a great day despite the rain!!




Work & Play Down Wicklow Way
Third year students enjoyed a trip away to Avon Ri activity centre. The morning was spent studying the fauna and flora in the woodland, which is part of the Junior Certificate course. The afternoon was spent doing activities such as wall climbing and canoeing. All the fresh air left everyone exhausted but happy.



Home School Community Liason News
Maedh Daltún, HSCL Co-ordinator

It has been a very enjoyable first term for me as the new Home School Community Liaison Co-ordinator in Mercy College. Many thanks to all those parents who have made me feel so welcome in their homes. I have had the privilege of meeting many first-year and other parents on home visits and in school during leisure courses they have attended, 'paired reading' and at parent-teacher and other meetings. Here is a flavour of some of the HSCL activities which have taken place during the first term:

Parents have taken part in many different courses in the following areas: Art, Computers, Cookery and Flower Arranging. These courses have provided parents with the opportunity to meet other parents, learn new skills and enjoy social occasions in the school.

A production of Team Educational Theatre's Skin and Blisters play by Audrey O'Reilly was staged in the school. (Read more about it below.)

As part of the transfer programme which takes place in Mercy College, many families of first year students have received home visits to gauge how students are settling into their new school and to provide parents with any additional supports they may require.

Many meetings have taken place with outside agencies who give support to the school. These have included meetings with the Northside Partnership, Coolock Library, the Money and Budgeting Service (MABS), the Regional Education Network and the School Completion Programme Co-ordinators to name but a few.

If you would like to take part in any of the free courses available for parents in the school, help out in the first year paired reading programme or arrange for me to visit you in your home, please feel free to call or text me on 087 6550995.

2nd Year Play - Skin & Blisters
On the 11th November, Team Educational Theatre Company came to Mercy College to stage a production of Skin & Blisters for 2nd year English students. The play's aim was to prompt young girls to recognise that how they perceive themselves can often be influenced by external factors such as family labelling, media bombardment, peer pressure and social status. By understanding and questioning these factors young women may recognise that, no matter what their circumstances, they have a choice in how they process this information and most especially on how they choose to perceive themselves. The play was delivered through the Home School Community Liaison scheme to a selection of girls' secondary schools around Dublin, Sligo and Donegal.

The morning began with the hour-long production, which the girls all agreed was excellent. The play was about a girl called Ella who was about to start a new school and was very nervous. She wasn't 'the pretty one, the funny one, the popular one, that was Kelly, her big sister. Kelly and Ella were always together and talked all the time. There was only one problem, Kelly was dead. Ella quickly became best friends with a girl called Maria who was happy in her own skin. In an effort to win the approval of her other new 'cool' pals, Ella cruelly betrayed Maria, her only real friend. Ultimately, Ella's journey took her to a personal crossroads where she had to choose; whether to subject herself to the certain turmoil of trying to be what she thought she 'should be' or to have the courage to face up to the uncertainty of discovering who she really was.

The play was followed by workshops conducted by the four female actresses with the students. During these workshops, the actresses and students explored areas of difficulty that girls might experience around the issues of peer pressure and body image.

Two second-year students from Mercy College, Jessica Lally and Amy Roe, went on to represent the school at a week-long drama placement with Team Educational Theatre Company from the 23rd-27th November in their rehearsal rooms in Marlborough Place. Jessica and Amy, along with 16 others from girls' secondary schools around Dublin, created their own play and performed it to some of their friends, parents and teachers. Their production was excellent and they both agreed that the experience was a very beneficial one.

We look forward to welcoming Team Theatre back to the school in the future. Many thanks to Ms. Rooney and Ms. O'Leary, who accompanied the girls to the play and the workshops and met up with members of the theatre company during the planning stages of the tour. Thanks to Michael O'Donohoe and Linda Devitt of the School Completion Programme for their assistance and support on the day. Thanks also to Ms. Dwyer for supporting Jessica and Amy at their production in Team Theatre's rehearsal rooms.

Audrey O'Reilly

Skin and Blister

During the 23rd - 27th November, we went on a workshop given by Team Theatre Education Company. Their Company put on a play in the school for 2nd year students. The play was interesting and looked at body image and pressures on teenage girls. The workshop that we attended looked at different types of difficulties faced by teenagers. It was very enjoyable and we made friends with people from other schools. At the end of the week we put together our own play. We filmed it all in one day. We would like to say may thanks to Ms Dwyer and Ms Daltún

Amy Roe and Jessica Lally 2nd year


During September all 5th and 6th year Art students went on a visit to BrÍ na Bóinne otherwise known as Newgrange. This trip brings you back in time to 3500bc?. The visitors centre is set up to bring you through the living conditions of the stone age people, how they lived, hunted and constructed their homes and monuments, like the passage tombs of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. The depth of knowledge, building methods and how they collected the variety of stones needed to construct these monuments is fascinating. The students were very surprised at the extent of their knowledge, resources and creativity. We then had a visit to the mound itself where they recreated the Winter Solstice?..On the shortest day of the year, 21st December the sun shines through a gap over the entrance to Newgrange along the passage and into the burial chamber. There it lights up the chamber. The sun's rays, slowly retreat from the mound as the sun continues to rise. Again an amazing experience. To witness this over 3000 years ago must have been stunning. The students had to complete a worksheet on the day and then write an essay. A visit to Newgrange is worthwhile and something we would definitely recommend.

Ms Kearns and Ms Cassidy

N.C.A.D. Mentor Programme

Hong Kong
I wrote back in May about my wonderful trip to Hong Kong. I had a great experience from start to finish and I honestly did not want to return home. From the moment I left Dublin Airport, the fun began. The long 16 hour flight from Dublin to Hong Kong allowed me to get to know the other 10 people that were also going on this trip of a lifetime. During my stay there, I saw many tourist attractions including the Giant Budda, The Peak and Noahs Arch. In the evening, it was amazing to see all the lights. The city was incredibly vibrant with an abundance of smells, herbs, spices and food that I was too afraid to eat!! You cannot beat home cooking. Needless to say a lot of shopping was done despite the extreme heat of 45 degrees. We just had to dodge in and out of shops to cool down. Overall it was a fabulous and memorable trip and I would recommend Hong Kong to anybody.

Amy O'Carroll 6th year




Discover DCU

Six 5th year students spent a very informative morning in Dublin City University in early December. They discussed course options and the transition from secondary school to third level. A very interesting day was had by all.

Ciara Redmond 5th year
DCU Awards

Student Council Update

The Student Council kicked off to a lively start in September by discussing the new lunchtime "sandwich" menu. The Council did a survey of student views on the new food in the canteen and all the classes were delighted with the developments. Soup is now available as another option. Amy O'Carroll (Head Girl) gave the Council an account of her amazing trip to Hong Kong. She also visited some Geography classes to tell of her experiences. Finally the Student Council 4th annual walk raised an incredible €2300. The walk had to be cancelled due to the heavy rain in November. The walk will take place early in the New Year. Many thanks to students, parents/guardians, friends and neighbours who gave so generously to the school despite the current economic activity. Discussions are ongoing about how the money will be spent. Remember fellow students the Council represents YOU so feel free to make suggestions to your class representative.

Ms. Conneely


Our annual trip to Powerscourt Waterfall was very enjoyable. Hopefully, we finally know erosion, deposition and meander!! The weather was kind to us and of course we loved jumping on the rocks. The worksheets provided were helpful and made us focus on exam questions. Finally, it was good to be out in the fresh air seeing "geo" in motion

Ms. Conneelly and Ms. O'Regan

A Career in Biomedical Diagnostics?

Three senior students Amy Delaney, Naomi Lester and Sarah Murphy rose to the challenge of exploring this career by attending a workshop in the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute in DCU from 5th-7th August. "We had an amazing week" was the feedback from the girls following their participation. Topics covered included infectious diseases, immunology and spectroscopy. They also enjoyed a number of hands on activities such as making their own lava lamps and staining bacteria. The research carried on at the Institute focuses on the development of next generation Medical Diagnostic devices. This exciting and cutting edge Scientific career is worth more than a passing glance, and hopefully more students can explore it in the future.

Deirdre Teeling (Guidance Counsellor)

Drop Everything & Read

The importance of reading was recognised by everyone in Mercy College during October. Everyday for a week, everyone stopped whatever she/he was doing, and just read.

This was reading for pleasure and the silence around the building was golden!

Science Week

Students enjoyed a "Health Check-up". Fourth year students looked very much the part in their white coats as they measured temperatures and blood pressure for their peers.

A trip to the CSI exhibition and a fun quiz allowed as many students as possible to take part. The winners were Aoife Redmond, Ciara Redmond, Amy Delaney & Amy O'Carroll.

Paired Reading

School & Community continue to work together in this initiative. Many members of the local community generously give up their time to read with our first year students. It is a very enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

Volunteers always welcome!

Shop 'Till You Drop

Second years hit the shops, but this time the book shops to select books for a "Reading Challenge" initiative which is coming up next term.






Anyone for Tea

On the 1st of December parents of Lee held a Coffee morning in the parents’ room. There was an abundant supply of tea coffee and delicious cakes for everybody. There was also a lot of crafts on sale and we sold out very quickly. We also had a raffle and the first prize was won by Jacinta in the office, many congratulations. A lot of money was raised and we would like to thank everybody who contributed.

Natasha Rickaby and Kelly Corr

Super Deluxe Library

This new school year saw the opening of a totally revamped library. The library is now full of new and modern books thanks to the students at UCD, Ms Quinn, Ms Harrison and Laura Dignam. We also have new computers that were kindly donated by Mr and Mrs McMahon. We would also like to thank them for their help in the never ending cataloging of books. The new library is also set to start up a DVD library allowing students to borrow new DVD's at a reasonable cost. We would like to ask for any donations or unwanted books or DVD's. Holly and I would also like to give the biggest thank you of all to Ms O'Hanlon who works around the clock to ensure the students have the best possible library.

Emma Lally

Pink Day raised over €930 for the Marie Keating Foundation







Edited by: Paula Downes
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