Category Archives: Transition Year

Back to the Vault

Let’s have another challenge from the vocabulary vault. This time it’s back to word roots. See how many words you can form from the root ‘voc’. In the comments below do three things – write the meaning of the root, say what language it originates from and then list all the words you can find with this root. You will have to be able to explain the meaning of every word you write. As always, please complete the task before noon on Sunday. Enjoy! Remember: ‘VOC’.


King Lear Challenge November 2014

Wednesday 5th November

Fifth years, the time is here for you to show your talents and your love for Shakespeare. Over the next four weeks start preparing a dramatisation of a key moment in ‘King Lear’. You may work alone or in pairs or small groups. Excellence is the standard. There will be an award for the best soliloquy performance and an award for the best drama performance. Here are some guidelines to get you started:

Soliloquy (alone 18 – 22 lines)


Drama (2 – 4 characters about 40 – 50 lines)

You have complete freedom to choose from anywhere in ‘King Lear’ but here are some suggestions:

Suggested soliloquies or speeches:

Act 1.1 Lear – ‘Peace Kent’ speech

Act 1.2 Edmund – ‘Thou, Nature, art my goddess’ speech

Act 1.2 Edmund – ‘This is the excellent foppery of the world’ speech

Act 1.4 Lear’s three tirades against Goneril – choose 22 lines (incorporate natural pauses/breaks)

Act 2.3 Edgar’s soliloquy

Act 2.4 Lear ‘O reason not the need’

And more…

Suggested dramas:

Act 1.1 The love test – Lear, Cordelia, Regan, Goneril ‘Meantime….my sometime daughter’

Act 1.4 Goneril reduces Lear’s train – Lear, Goneril, Fool ‘Enter Goneril….Enter Albany’

(Two long speeches by Goneril – one of them can be read)

Act 1.5 – All – the Fool and Lear

Act 2.1 Edmund and Gloucester ‘Persuade me to the murder of…I’ll work the means to make thee capable.’

Act 2.2 Kent is stocked – Cornwall, Kent, Regan, Gloucester ‘Fetch forth the stocks…A good man’s fortune may grow out at heels.’

Act 2.4 Lear is angry because R and C refuse to see him – Lear, Gloucester (Fool) ‘Deny to speak to me…buttered his hay.’

Act 2.4 R and C finally meet Lear – Regan, Lear ‘I am glad to see your Highness…you taking airs with lameness.’

Act 3.2 Storm – Lear and Fool ‘Blow winds…enter Kent’

Act 3.7 Gloucester’s blindness – Regan, Gloucester, Cornwall, (Servant) ‘Enter Gloucester…Exit one with Gloucester’

And more…

Choose your scene. The ones in bold are particularly dramatic. Start preparing now! Get props and suitable costumes if you can. Work on tone of voice, movement, sound effects. Practice, practice, practice!! Have fun and be experts. Invite your parents to attend if they wish! There will be prizes galore!

Vocabulary Vault: More Treasure

Read, read, read. There is no better way to improve your store of vocabulary. You can also improve by checking out what is revealed on the blog here.

This week there is a different challenge. Below is a list of three sentences, each with a word or two missing. A selection of words is provided for you to choose from and fill in the gaps correctly.The questions are taken from an SAT preparation website. In the comments, all you have to do is write the number of the sentence and beside each number write the letter of what you think is the correct choice. Good luck and use a dictionary or thesaurus if you need to!

As always, the challenge must be completed by Sunday noon. 🙂

1. Today Wegener’s theory is ____; however, he died an outsider treated with ____ by the scientific establishment.

A. unsupported – approval
B. dismissed – contempt
C. accepted – approbation
D. unchallenged – disdain
E. unrivalled – reverence

2. The revolution in art has not lost its steam; it ____ on as fiercely as ever.

A. trudges
B. meanders
C. edges
D. ambles
E. rages

3. Each occupation has its own ____ ; bankers, lawyers and computer professionals, for example, all use among themselves language which outsiders have difficulty following.

A. merits
B. disadvantages
C. rewards
D. jargon
E. problems

Vocabulary Vault: Gem 1

The VaultIt’s the first day when gems and treasures will be released right here (on the Blog) from the boundless Vocabulary Vault. Keep reading all around you to raise your standard and to facilitate your access to and interaction with words.

Today we’ll start with a word root. You will see a word root here and your task is to state the meaning of the root, the language of origin (if you know it) and most importantly as many words that contain that root in some shape or form. You can make your contribution by posting a comment below. You have until noon on Sunday to add your contribution. All comments will be published before class on Monday and we will look at everyone’s contributions in class. So put your verbal skills to the test and add as many words as you can that contain the root ‘rupt’. Good luck!rupt2

Poetry Aloud 2014

It’s time to start memorising and practising the effective recital of poetry. Here are the details of what’s required if you wish to enter this worthy and rewarding competition:

Two poems to be spoken by each student – one chosen by student from the prescribed anthologies and one poem prescribed for their category.


The Rattle Bag edited by Seamus Heaney & Ted Hughes (Faber & Faber, 1982)

Lifelines: Letters from Famous People About Their Favourite Poem edited by Niall McGonagle (any edition)

Something Beginning with P edited by Seamus Cashman (O’Brien Press) 


Junior: 1st and 2nd Years

Your chosen poem – not less than 14 lines (not more than 35-40)

Prescribed poem – TBC

Intermediate: 3rd and 4th Years

Your chosen poem – not less than 18 lines (not more than 35-40)

Prescribed poem – TBC

Senior: 5th and 6th Years

Your chosen poem – not less than 23 lines (not more than 35-40)

Prescribed poem – TBC


Regional Heats: End Oct (Venue to be confirmed – probably NLI)

Semi Finals: End November in NLI

Final: Early December in NLI


Winner from each category receives €300 and books for school library

Overall Winner receives a further €200 and the Seamus Heaney Perpetual Trophy

Runner up in each category will receive a book token


For more information and the latest 2014 competition details keep an eye on

Or see your English teacher 🙂

The Vocabulary Vault

Welcome to the vault

Words, words, words!! The more of them we know, the more we can make sense of the world and the more easily we can be understood. Our ability to engage and interact with the many wonders and mysteries of the world, (be they laws of science, works of art, areas of natural beauty or our fellow walkers of the earth), will be immeasurably enhanced if we add to our bank of words.

Welcome to the Vocabulary Vault. This is the place where you will find ways to access new and exciting vocabulary. There are many treasures and delights waiting as you enter the vault on a regular basis. You will be mesmerised by the jewels that you will find if you look hard enough. One thing is guaranteed – every time you leave the vault you will have increased your wealth manifold. You will also be burning with the desire to re-enter the vault.

Where will you find this powerful Vocabulary Vault? You already know the answer to that!! It is everywhere. We are surrounded by the written and spoken word. We cannot escape it. You choose how deep inside you want to go. You choose if you want to a passenger or pilot in your journey through life. You choose if you want to be able to connect with the marvels of this world. You choose if you want to improve your tools of self-expression. You choose if you want to understand more fully the experiences and insights of  both friends and philosophers. The Vault helps you to do this. 

Red_and_blue_pillPick up a book, a newspaper, go to an online article, write a poem, a story, a letter. Immerse yourself in the magical world of words through all available means. You will be captivated. You will never look back. You must decide whether you will choose the red pill or the blue pill. Will you choose to embrace the fullest experience of the world or will you settle for the illusion of bliss through ignorance? Take the plunge and surround yourself with all the exciting opportunities that an ever-extending bank of words can provide. Read, read, read!

Once a week, the Vocabulary Vault will reveal a gem here that will add to your treasure store. Every Friday a challenge will be presented. It may be a sentence with a word missing and a choice to be made. It may be a word root looking for as many words that can be created from it. You may then respond to the challenge by contributing a comment. You may agree or disagree with someone else’s response.words have power

Good luck out there in your efforts to understand and be understood, to listen and be heard, to know and be known. The tools of your empowerment are simply waiting to be used. 

Lenny Abrahamson at Dalkey Book Festival

Dalkey Book Festival 2014 takes place from 19th until 22nd June. There are many literary figures that you may be interested in going to see, such as Joseph O’Connor, Salman Rushdie, John Banville, Apres Match, Sebastian Barry and many, many more. However, the person that is of particular interest to us at the moment is Lenny Abrahamson, director of ‘Adam and Paul’, ‘What Richard Did’, ‘Frank’ and, of course, ‘Garage’, one of the six films on the syllabus for Leaving Cert 2015.

Here is a wonderful opportunity to hear him  in person. He will be speaking to Sinead Gleeson about the films he has made and adapting books for screen, including his forthcoming film of Emma O’Donoghue’s best-seller ‘Room’.

This interview will take place at 12:30 on Sunday 22nd June at the Festival Marquee. Tickets cost €10 and can be purchased on the Dalkey Festival website.

photo of Lenny Abrahamson

Apple Macintosh advertisement – 1984

The Superbowl is just as famous for its advertisements as its football. In 1984, Apple Macintosh aired this advertisement for its new computer. When the advertisement was shown, Apple was in conflict with IBM to win control over the Personal Computer market and they fought hard to gain the advantage.

Ridley Scott, director of ‘Alien’ (1979) and ‘Bladerunner’ (1982), had the artistic vision for this advertisement and it cost $1.6 million to produce.

Aesthetic Use of Language in advertising

The new advertisement for St. Patrick’s day is an excellent example of how information can be used to enhance the aesthetic use of language. There are many facts and figures which are paired with beautiful images and James Vincent McMorrow’s haunting rendition of ‘Higher Love’. This potent combination makes us proud to be Irish and certainly tugs at the heart strings.

What do you think?



Poetry Slam with the Transition Years

TYs had one of the highlights of their year today when Stephen Murray from Inspireland came to the school for a Poetry Slam workshop.

Stephen had a natural way with the students and allowed them to tap into the creativity that they never knew they had. He gave them the confidence in themselves to write poetry about their own lives and experiences while pushing them to express themselves in a way that was both resourceful and innovative.

Follow this link to read some of their original poems: