Duncan and Hunain – Winners!

Well done to all the students from Franciscan College Gormanston who took part in Poetry Aloud at the National Library today. Each student delivered his two poems with skill and passion. The students did themselves proud.

A very special congratulations goes to Duncan Walker and Hunain Saqib who have advanced to the second round of the competition. They were two of only five students who progressed from our heat.

Here are some photos from our day:


The Gormanston boys at Poetry Aloud.


Duncan Walker – through to second round of Poetry Aloud competition.


Hunain Saqib – through to second round of Poetry Aloud competition.


We would like to say well done to the other competitors today. Each school should be proud of their students.

Thank you, also, to the National Library of Ireland for hosting the event.

Poetry Aloud competition

Tomorrow, 25th October, 11 students from Franciscan College, Gormanston will take part in the Poetry Aloud competition run by the National Library of Ireland.

The students must recite one prescribed poem and a second poem of their own choice from one of the prescribed anthologies. In the Junior Category the prescribed poem is ‘An Irish Airman Foresees his Death’ by William Butler Yeats and in the Senior Category the prescribed poem is ‘Postscript’ by Seamus Heaney. The second poem recited by the students must come from ‘The Rattlebag’, ‘Lifelines’ or ‘Something Beginning with P’.

The students participating and their poems are as follows:

  • Joe Dunne (5th year) – ‘Timothy Winters’ by Charles Causley
  • Sean Hayes (5th year) – ‘Poor but Honest’ author unknown
  • Sami Iqbal (2nd year) – ‘London’ by William Blake
  • Andres Martinez (2nd year) – ‘Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock’ by Wallace Stevens
  • Conor McCormack (2nd year) – ‘Child’s Song’ by Robert Lowell
  • Olamide Okusaga (1st year) – ‘John Mouldy’ by Walter de la Mare
  • Conor O’Sullivan (2nd year) – ‘Dahn the Plug’ole’ author unknown
  • Sean Power (1st year) – ‘John Mouldy’ by Walter de la Mare
  • Hunain Saqib (5th year) – ‘The Tyger’ by William Blake
  • Robert Tully (5th year) – ‘Poor but Honest’ author unknown
  • Duncan Walker (5th year) – ‘Out, Out -‘ by Robert Frost

These students have worked very hard to learn these poems and practise reciting them with passion and emotion. We wish them the best of luck tomorrow and hope that their hard work will pay off!

Romantic Literature

As we prepare to study the poetry of William Wordsworth, it is worthwhile taking a brief look at Romantic Literature in general. Here is a list of some of the poets and writers that you may be interested in researching. Some of them you will be familiar with already.

  • William Blake (1757 – 1827)
  • William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 – 1834)
  • Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)
  • James Fenimore Cooper (1789 – 1851)
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822)
  • John Keats (1795 – 1821)
  • Mary Shelley (1797 – 1851)
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 – 1864)
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882)
  • Edgar Allen Poe (1809 – 1849)
  • Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892)
  • Herman Melville (1819 – 1891)

This video is also worth a look. It gives a brief overview of the Romantic style and themes.


Fantasy Writing Competition

Students at Franciscan College Gormanston are currently composing essays for the John West Fantasy Writing Competition. The theme this year is ‘Under the Sea’ and students are free to explore any aspect of this theme that they wish. They are writing essays about mermaids, sea monsters, underwater aliens, pirates, the lost city of Atlantis and other kinds of deep sea adventures.

As the brochure says:

‘This competition is a fun and exciting way for students to develop their written compositin and literacy skills and feed their imaginations. As well as being essential across all school subjects, literacy skills are a vital part of adult life. This competition is designed to complement the curriculum and can be integrated in the following ways:

  • As a creative writing homework exercise
  • As part of an English unit on fantasy
  • As an extended exercise in drafting, editing, redrafting a proofing
  • through explorationof alternate scientific realities for science class – what if people lived under the sea? What if a meteor hit our oceans? What would happen to our oceans if we were in another ice age?’

Any students researching fantasy and science fiction writing for your essay, you may be interested in examining some of these websites:




Remember that a great way to get inspiration for your writing is to read as much as possible; and the best way to become a great writer is to practice writing as much as possible!

Bloody imagery in ‘Macbeth’

There are many images of blood, murder, torture and physical pain in ‘Macbeth’. Here are some of them:

Duncan to Malcolm
‘What bloody man in that? He can report,
As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt
The newest state.’
(Act I Scene 2)

Captain to Duncan
‘For brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name –
Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel,
Which smoked with bloody execution,
Like valour’s minion carved out his passage
Till he faced the slave.’
(Act I Scene 2)

Lady Macbeth (soliloquy)
‘The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top full
Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood,
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it!’
(Act I Scene 5)

Macbeth (soliloquy)
‘But in these cases
We still have judgement here; that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor; this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice
To our own lips.’
(Act I Scene 7)

Lady Macbeth to Macbeth
‘I have given suck, and know
How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.’
(Act I Scene 7)

Macbeth (soliloquy)
‘I see thee still;
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
Whic was not so before. There’s no such thing:
It is the bloody business which informs
Thus to mine eyes.’
(Act II Scene 1)

Lady Macbeth to Macbeth
”Go get some water,
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie there: go carry them, and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.’
(Act II Scene 2)

Macbeth (alone)
‘What hands are here! Ha! They pluck out mine eyes.
Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand: No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.’
(Act II Scene 2)

Lady Macbeth to Macbeth
‘My hands are of your colour, but I shame
To wear a heart so white.
I hear a knocking
At the south entry; retire we to our chamber;
A little water clears us of this deed.’
(Act II Scene 2)

Macduff to court
‘Confusion now hath made his masterpiece!
Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope
The Lord’s anointed temple, ans stole thence
The life of the building!’
(Act II Scene 3)

Macduff to court
‘Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight
With a new Gorgon: do not bid me speak;
See, and then speak yourselves.’
(Act II Scene 3)

Macbeth to court
‘Here lay Duncan,
His silver skin laced with his golden blood;
And his gashed stabs looked like a breach in nature
For ruin’s wasteful entrance: there, the murderers,
Steep’d in the colours of their trade, their daggers
Unmannerly breeched with gore.’
(Act II Scene 3)

Ross to Old Man
‘Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man’s act,
Threaten his bloody stage: by the clock ’tis day,
And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp.
Is’t night’s predominance, or the day’s shame,
That darkness does the face of earth entomb,
When living light should kiss it?’
(Act II Scene 4)

Ross to Macduff
‘Is’t known who did this more than bloody deed?’
(Act II Scene 4)

Macbeth to Lady Macbeth
‘We have scotched the snake, not killed it:
She’ll close and be herself, whilst our poor malice
Remains in danger of her former tooth.’
(Act III Scene 2)

Macbeth to Lady Macbeth
‘Blood hath been shed ere now, i’ the olden time,
Ere human statute purged the gentle weal;
Ay, and since too, murders have been performed
Too terrible for the ear: the times have been,
That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
And there an end; but now they rise again,
With twenty mortal murders on their crowns,
And push us from our stools: this is more strange
Than such a murder is.’
(Act III Scene 4)

 Macbeth to ghost of Banquo
‘Avaunt! and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee!
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with.’
(Act III Scene 4)

Macbeth to Lady Macbeth
‘It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood:
Stones have been known to move and trees to speak;
Augurs and understood relations have
By maggot-pies and choughs and rooks brought forth
The secret’st man of blood.’
(Act III Scene 4)

Macbeth to Lady Macbeth
‘I am in blood
Stepped in so far, that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.’
(Act III Scene 4)

Second Apparition (a bloody child)
‘Be bloody, bold and resolute; laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.’
(Act IV Scene 1)

Macbeth to Lennox
‘Time, thou anticipat’st my dread exploits;
The flighty purpose never is o’ertook
Unless the deed go with it; from this moment
The very firstlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand. And even now,
To crown my thought with acts, be it thought and done:
The castle of Macduff I will surprise;
Seize upon Fife; give to the edge of the sword
His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls
That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool;
This deed I’ll do, before this purpose cool:
But no more sights!’
(Act IV Scene 1)

Macduff to Malcolm
‘Each new morn
New widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
As if it felt with Scotland and yelled out
Like a syllable of dolour.’
(Act IV Scene 3)

Malcolm to Macduff
‘I think our country sinks beneath the yoke;
It weeps, it bleeds, and each new day a gash
Is added to her wounds.’
(Act IV Scene 3)

Malcolm to Macduff
‘I grant him bloody,
Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful,
Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin
That has a name; but there’s no bottom, none,
Im my voluptuousness: your wives, your daughters,
Your matrons, and your maids, could not fill up
The cistern of my lust; and my desire
All continent impediments would o’erbear
That did oppose my will; better Macbeth
Than such a one to reign.’
(Act IV Scene 3)

Macduff to Malcolm
‘O nation miserable,
With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter’d,
When shalt thou see they wholesome days again,
Since that the truest issue of thy throne
By his own interdiction stands accursed,
And does blaspheme his breed?’
(Act IV Scene 3)

Ross to Malcolm and Macduff
‘Alas! poor country;
Almost afraid to know itself. It cannot
Be called our mother, but our grave; where nothing,
But who knows nothing, is once seen to smile;
Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rent the air
Are made, not mark’d; where violent sorrow seems
A modern ecstasy; the dead man’s knell
Is there scarce ask’d for who; and good men’s lives
Expire before the flowers in their caps,
Dying or ere they sicken.’
(Act 4 Scene 3)

Ross to Macduff
‘Your castle is surprised; your wife and babes
Savagely slaughtered: to relate the manner,
Were, on the quarry of these murdered deer,
To add the death of you.’
(Act IV Scene 3)

Lady Macbeth (sleepwalking)
Out damed spot! out, I say! One; two: why, then, ’tis tie to do’t. Hell is murky! Fie, my lord, fie! a soldier, and afeard: What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?’
(Act V Scene 1)

Lady Macbeth
‘The Thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now? What! will these hands ne’er be clean?’
(Act V Scene 1)

Lady Macbeth
‘Here’s the smell of the blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.’
(Act V Scene 1)

Macbeth (alone)
‘I have almost forgot the taste of fears.
The time has been my senses would have cool’d
To hear a night-shriek, and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in’t. I have supp’d full with horrors;
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts,
Cannot once start me.’
(Act V Scene 5)

Malcolm (to court)
‘We shall not spend a large expense of time
Before we reckon with your several loves,
And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen,
Henceforth be earls, the first that ever Scotland
In such an honor nam’d. What’s more to do,
Which would be planted newly with the time,
As calling home our exil’d friends abroad
That fled the snares of watchful tyranny;
Producing forth the cruel ministers
Of this dead butcher and his fiend-like queen,
Who, as ’tis thought, by self and violent hands
Took off her life; this, and what needful else
That calls upon us, by the grace of Grace
We will perform in measure, time, and place:
So, thanks to all at once and to each one,
Whom we invite to see us crown’d at Scone.’
(Act V Scene 8)

Simply knowing these quotes is not sufficient for a Higher Level essay on ‘Macbeth’. You must also be able to state the role and function of this bloody imagery, write about why it is included in the play and how it adds to the themes of the play.  Perhaps you may like to comment below to practice writing your opinions on these topics!!

Noel Monahan’s visit to Franciscan College Gormanston

What a wonderful visit we had today from the poet Noel Monahan!

Noel spoke with 1st and 2nd year students about his poetry and his life as a poet. He described his idea of ‘wordfarming’ and how he gets his inspiration to write his poetry. We were given the treat of a reading of his poems ‘The Funeral Game’, ‘All Day Long’ and ‘Drumlins’.

Students were encouraged to ask questions and Noel was incredibly generous with his in-depth answers and descriptions.

Noel explained about the poetry competitions run by Windows Publications and we certainly hope that some of our students have been inspired by him to put pen to paper! We will be keeping a keen eye on the Windows Publications website to find out all of the details about this competition. The website is:


Here are some photos of Noel with our students:


Visit from Noel Monahan

The English Department is eagerly awaiting tomorrow’s visit from poet Noel Monahan! He will speak with first and second year students about life as a poet, where he gets his inspiration from and how he approaches the craft of poetry writing.

His collections of poetry include ‘Curse of the Birds’, ‘Curve of the Moon’ and ‘The Funeral Game’.

We will post tomorrow about how things went!

Some key quotes from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ Act I

Here are just some of the quotations from Act I of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ that you should know off-by-heart.

From Scene 1

Tybalt to Benvolio
‘What, drawn, and talk of peace? I hate the word
As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee.
Have at thee, coward.’

Prince to crowd
‘Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word
By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,
Have thrice disturbed the quiet of our streets
And made Verona’s ancient citizens
Cast by their grave-beseeming ornaments
To wield old partisans, in hands as old,
Cankered with peace, to part your cankered hate.
If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives shall pay the foreit of the peace.’

Montague to Benvolio
‘Many a morning hath he there been seen
With tears augmenting the fresh morning’s dew,
Adding to clouds more clouds with his deep sighs.’

Romeo to Benvolio
‘Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love.
Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate,
O anything of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness, serious vanity,
Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms,
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.’

From Scene 2

Capulet to Paris
‘My child is yet a stranger in the world;
She hath not seen the change of fourteen years.
Let two more summers wither in their pride
Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride.’

Capulet to Paris
‘But woo her, gentle Paris, het her heart.
My will to her consent is but a part,
And, she agreed, within her scope of choice
Lies my consent and fair according voice.’

Benvolio to Romeo
‘Tut, you saw her fair, none else being by,
Herself poised with herself in either eye.
But in that crystal scales let there be weighed
Your lady’s love against some other maid
That I will show you shining at this feast,
And she shall scant show well that now seems best.’

From Scene 3

Lady Capulet to Juliet
‘Marry, that ‘marry’ is the very theme
I came to talk of. Tell me, daughter Juliet,
How stands your disposition to be married?’

Juliet to Lady Capulet
‘It is an honour that I dream not of.’

Juliet to Lady Capulet
‘I’ll look to like, if looking liking move.
But no more will I endart mine eye
Than your consent gives strenght to make it fly.’

From Scene 4

Romeo to Mercutio
‘You have dancing shoes
With nimble souls. I have a soul of lead
So stakes me to the ground I cannot move.’

Romeo to Benvolio and Mercutio
‘For my mind misgives
Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars,
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
With this night’s revels and expire the term
Of a despised life, closed in my breast,
By some vile forfeit of untimely death.’

From Scene 5

‘O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night
As a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear –
Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear!
So shows a snowy dove trooping with the crows
As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows.
The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand
And, touching hers, make blessed my rude hand.
Did my heart love til now? Forswear it, sight!
For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.’

‘This, by his voice, should be a Montague.
Fetch me my rapier, boy. What, dares the slave
Come hither, covered with an antic face,
To fleer and scorn at our solemnity?
Now, by the stock and honour of my kin,
To strike him dead I hold it not a sin.’

Capulet to Tybalt
‘And, to say truth, Verona brags of him
To be a virtuous and well-goverened youth.
I would not for the wealth of all the town
Here in my house do him disparagement.’

‘Patience perforce with wilful choler meeting
Makes my flesh tremble in their different greeting.
I will withdraw. But this intrusion shall,
Now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall.’

Romeo to Juliet
‘If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this.
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand,
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.’

Juliet to Romeo
‘Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this.
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands to touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.’

‘Is she a Capulet?
O dear account! My life is my foe’s debt.’

Juliet (aside)
‘My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me
That I must love a loathed enemy.’

Past exam questions on Hopkins

‘There are many reasons why the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins appeals to his readers.’
In response to the above statement, write an essay on poetry of Hopkins. Your essay should focus clearly on the reasons why the poetry is appealing and should refer to the poetry on your course.

‘Hopkins conveys deep personal experience in a style which is both refreshing and dramatic.’
Discuss this statement in its entirety, supporting your answer by reference to the poems by Hopkins on your course.

Folens Sample 2
‘The poems of Hopkins alternate between gladness and dejection.’
To what extent would you agree with this assessment of the poems of Hopkins studied by you? Support your points by suitable quotation.

Folens Sample 4
‘Hopkins uses an odd, startling approach in the exploration of his themes.’
Discuss the poetry of Hopkins with regard to the above statement.

You have been asked to create an anthology of poetry. What poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins would you include? Give reasons for your answer.

One College – One Book: ‘Frankenstein’

The book of the month for Franciscan College Gormanston is Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus’. This book is part science-fiction and part Gothic and was first published anonymously in 1818.

The narrative is introduced by Captain Walton, an explorer who encounters the emaciated Victor Frankenstein. We become as curious as Walton to discover more about the mission that Dr. Frankenstein is on.

The novel has been the subject of many adaptations and hold the imagination captive.

It is available to read free online:


As always, we encourage as many students, parents, past-pupils and staff members to comment here and let us know your opinions on the book.