Wednesday Newsletter Mí naNollag/December 12th 2021


Mí naNollag/December 12th 2021

Picture courtesy of Irish Times 

Dear Parents/Guardians/Families and Colleagues, Dia dhaoibh! 

It is the Third Sunday of Advent already. During the storms of this week, we celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which remembers the conception of Mary herself, in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. This is God’s own Advent, the Father preparing the way for his Son, by preparing a perfect vessel, Mary. When the Angel Gabriel announces the incredible news (as in Luke’s Gospel), Mary’s response is interesting. It isn’t initial submission. She questions, she challenges the Angel and only when her honest questioning is satisfied, then does Mary give her ascent: ‘May it be done unto me, according to Your word.’ Mary’s advent has begun… and it’s one of trust in the Almighty. 

All of us in one way or another feel the questioning, the confusion Mary must have felt. That phone call we didn’t expect, the letter that came out of the blue, the diagnosis no test could have predicted. Faced with such events, we too question, perhaps even challenge God, and ask, how can this be? But it comes down to one phrase, the one that I think convinces Mary, and changes the course of history, The Angel Gabriel declares that nothing is impossible with God. All argument after that is fruitless. Doubt vanishes, and reason submits. Faith surrenders. There is simply nothing more to be said. Nothing is impossible with God. 

CAR PARK: Since nothing is impossible with God, maybe we can therefore hope that the car park issues can be resolved immediately! 

Please, please be considerate to all users of the car park. Please do not block the car park for others. There are just a few who continue to flout this basic respectful instruction. When you drive in to the car park and cannot see a designated place to park, please park elsewhere. Do not wait out in the middle of the car park, but in a parking space if there is one available. There is ample space in the 1916 Memorial Car Park. Children from Second Class and upwards are well able to walk safely and independently using the safe-way paths and zebra crossings in order to access that car park. When you block the car park, it affects many people simultaneously and increases the chances of your children or others’ children being put in danger’s way. Nobody wants that to be the case. 

Important Reminder for Children: Children, please walk on the path when coming and going to and from the school. Also, children, please walk on the path in the car park, as it is safely marked out for you behind the bollards. 

At Assembly tomorrow we will light the third candle (coinneal)on our Advent Wreath, which is pink and symbolizes joy. It is known as the “Shepherd’s Candle,” and is pink because rose is a liturgical colour for joy. The third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday and is meant to remind us of the joy that the world experienced at the birth of Jesus, as well as the joy that the faithful have reached the midpoint of Advent. 

While Storm Barra disrupted our school life this week, we were happy to discover that the worst damage around the school was to our school garden. We can replace the large section of the destroyed wooden fence and replant some uprooted young trees, but we cannot replace people who could have been injured had we remained open. In some schools, staff live on the campus of the school, in which case it is very possible to open the school at such times. Our school has a very wide catchment area for both staff and pupils and for everyone’s safety, after hours of early morning consultation with the DES, Met Éireann, the Garda Síochána, School Principals from all over North Wicklow and beyond, and the Chairperson of the Board of Management, Ms. Judy O’Toole, I made the decision to close the school on Wednesday. I never thought that Principals would need to be not alone managers but meteorologists, virologists and even futurists! 

We had a very enjoyable time (bhaineamar an-taitneamh as) on Friday afternoon for our Christmas Carols and Songs (carúil Nollag) around our beautifully lit up Christmas tree (crann Nollag ildaite) at the Junior Yard of the school. We were delighted to be led in the singing by one of Ireland’s outstanding 

singers and artists, Mary Coughlan. Mary is a national treasure, whether she appears in Dublin, London, Edinburgh or New York. She was accompanied by another wonderful musician on accordion, Dermot Dunne, who left a busy schedule of lectures at the TU Dublin Conservatoire of Music in Grangegorman to be with us. We all assembled outside as a whole school for the first time since mid-March 2020. (Each class was arranged two meters apart and it was very well managed by our Teachers, SNAs and two members of the Parents’ Association). We sang our hearts out in that December air and really got into the mood for Christmas, particularly when Third Class Orange began on percussion! Thank you to the Parents’ Association from Mary, Dermot and all of the staff who enjoyed delicious mince pies, teas and coffees afterwards! The following are some links that you may find interesting: 

Mary’s song, Family Life, the first song on her beautifully resonant and meaningful recent album Life Stories 

Dermot’s interview for Between the Lines last year: Special Christmas edition of series, Between the Lines, a chat with accordionist and Conservatoire lecturer, Dermot Dunne. The series, marking 130 years of the Conservatoire, explores Pedagogy and the Irish Arts scene: Full interview available from And one of my favourites, Dermot playing with the RTE Chamber orchestra, Il Postino 

Santa Post Box: the post box for Santa Claus will remain outside the front door until Wednesday 15th December. It doesn’t matter what age you are, you are eligible to post a letter to Santa in this box. Final time for posting is 3.30p.m. that day. Remember to clearly state your name and class in your letter or on the envelope. 

Christmas Plays: a number of classes are working on some Christmas plays/concerts for you to enjoy. Filming continues this week around the school and we will email the finished products to you before Christmas. Ask your Class Teacher for an update on their productions. 

Our beautiful life-sized Crib (created by SNA Eva) has been moved indoors due to the elements this week but you are very welcome to view it through the front window of the school and take some time to reflect there if you wish. 

The Parents’ Association held their first meeting at the outdoor classroom at the school on Monday morning. 

They will distribute the Lost Property on Tuesday, 14th December, outside the front door of the school. The Parent Reps have contacted you with an itemized list of contents and all necessary details. They will be operating from 9.30 at the front door courtyard and again at 3p.m. Please check your Parent’s What’s App messages for the correct times for distribution. There is no 

charge, but a small donation box will be available should you wish to donate a few pennies! The PA have organized the Annual Christmas Jumper Fundraiser Day for this coming Friday, 17th December. Please try to recycle last year’s jumpers as we do not want anybody going to extra expense. A donation of €2 per child/family is suggested to be given to the teacher and this will be passed on to the PA. 

• A reminder that Christmas holidays will begin on Wednesday, 22nd December at 12 noon. We return to school on Thursday, January 6th, 2022. 

Cello lessons: a number of you have contacted us about availing of cello lessons after Christmas. There is still time to register your interest. We have a school cello and may be able to rent more instruments if there is enough interest. Simply email the office or telephone the school to let us know. 

Face Masks and Coverings: 

It has been widely accepted by the school community during the course of the global pandemic, that public health measures are put in place to protect the health and safety of the school community as a whole, that they are consistent with national health policy put in place by Government and that they should be followed. 

The wearing of face masks/coverings from Third to Sixth Class is a temporary public health measure, which will be reviewed in February, in the interest of protecting children and the school staff and the school community. Throughout the pandemic, the education sector has consistently drawn upon public health expertise for the protection of the entire school community. Thank you to all of the children from 3rd to 6th Classes who are following the public health mask wearing guidelines. Thank you to the parents who have engaged with me in relation to their child’s needs in regard to the matter of mask wearing at school. To those of you who have not yet communicated with me, I would appreciate if you would please contact me as soon as possible on the matter. We can engage pragmatically and sensitively together to explore any particular difficulties arising for your child. 

As always, thank you all for your support and kindness. 

Go raibh maith agaibh as ucht bhúr gcineáltais. 

Míle Buíochas, 

Slán agus Beannacht, 

Ann Marie 

Ann Marie Bourke 

(Acting Principal) 

P.S: Pictures of Tree Planting and other items postponed to Next Issue of Newsletter