Open Day at The Convent

Open Day at The Convent - Saturday, 14th June.

The doors opened at 11am yet the people were there from 10.30! Past pupils flocked back to their Alma Mater from all over the North and beyond to pour over items from their time at school and to reminisce over old photos.

Visitors signed in, according to their year group: 1955-1990 were best represented. They found their names and those of classmates in old registers, helped identify people in photos and provided information on the whereabouts of Head Girls and others.

The tours of the school were extremely popular and a poignant pause on the route was at the new little Garden of Remembrance, dedicated to the memory of pupils and staff whose lives were cut short during their time at the school.

One lady talked her friends through the pictorial display of the devastation caused by the Big Fire in 1964 when the chapel wing was lost. She had been a boarder in the school at the time. Coincidently, a visitor to the exhibition was a fireman who had assisted in putting out the blaze!

Another lady drove down from Belfast, spent hours exploring the artefacts and chatting to old friends and left with seven copies of The Gazette so that she could give her friends a copy of the supplement: “Saint Catherine’s College - Celebrating 40 Years”.

Satisfied visitors left armed with three publications: a book of stories pertaining to the Grammar school; An Illustrated Commentary on the Official Opening of the Secondary School in 1956 and a copy of The Ulster Gazette with the 16 page pull-out on Sacred Heart Education in Armagh since 1851.

Grateful thanks to the Editor, John Hooks, for his guidance and support in compiling this social history which will be cherished in many homes for years to come.

Pictured with Principal of St Catherine’s College, Deirdre McDonald, are staff & students who were responsible for the creation of Le Jardin du Sacré Coeur, the Garden of Remembrance dedicated to pupils and staff who passed away during their time at the school.

Sr Nora Smyth rscj is pictured at the grave of Primate Dixon, Archbishop of Armagh, 1852-1866. He helped the nuns to build the convent and requested to be buried in their little cemetery on Mt St Catherine. Barney Herron, former Principal of Primate Dixon P.S. Coalisland and Monsignor Raymond Murray were contributors to the new information panel erected at the site.

Exhibition at Saint Catherine’s College, Armagh

Exhibition at Saint Catherine’s College, Armagh.

It is 40 years since the congregation of the Sacred Heart in Armagh took the enlightened and daring step of amalgamating the Convent of the Sacred Heart and the Sacred Heart Intermediate School to form Saint Catherine’s College.

In October, there was an exhibition in the school to acknowledge the contribution of the sisters of the Sacred Heart to education in Armagh and to celebrate 40 years of all-ability education. Such was the success of this event that it will be re-run on Saturday, 14th June due to public demand. The school will be open to visitors from 11am – 4pm.

The exhibition will have, as its centre-piece, the original 1851 Convent Register which records the names of the first pupils who attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart in post-famine Armagh.  Photographic displays cover the 40 years of Saint Catherine’s College and additional images will capture something of the separate lives of the Convent Intermediate School and the Convent Grammar School with its prestigious boarding department. 

School publications, items that survived the convent chapel fire in 1964, newspaper clippings, and framed photographs will also feature.  Of special interest to the wider Armagh community will be the availability of convent registers going back to 1959 and a selection of Mount Saint Catherine’s bound registers which were retained from the 19th Century. Other fascinating original items will allow previous boarders to look back at the records the nuns kept of daily events in the boarding department.

Those who attend the exhibition and it is open to all, will receive a commemorative booklet of stories to mark the Daichead Bliain Ag Fás (Forty Years a-Growing.). Also available will be a booklet of photos celebrating the opening of The Sacred Heart Intermediate School in 1956 – the first voluntary intermediate school in Northern Ireland! There will also be guided tours of the school buildings and grounds throughout the day.

Armagh Schools’ Peace Project

Planning a Brighter Future  - Armagh Schools’ Peace Project


St Catherine’s College host successful inter-schools’ project.


As part of a Comenius project undertaken by the network of Sacred Heart schools, pupils from four Armagh secondary schools participated in an art workshop discussing how different communities could build a more peaceful future in Armagh. 

During the one day workshop, sixth form students from St Patrick's Grammar, Royal School Armagh, City of Armagh High School and St. Catherine's College produced a piece of work encompassing their hopes and aspirations.


The students showcased their Peace Poster in the Mall where they met European Principals from the Sacred Heart Network of Schools to explain the aim of their peace project. 

Their artwork is currently being transferred onto postcard format and the postcards will be available from local tourist outlets in the summer.


Mrs Deirdre Hegarty, Sacred Heart Goals Co-ordinator in St Catherine’s College, was delighted with the outcome of the project and expressed her gratitude to all involved for their input.


The Armagh Schools’ Peace Project participants showcased their Peace Poster in the Mall. The Sixth Form pupils from four city secondary schools are pictured here with their Art teachers Mr Paddy Mohan, Miss Ruth Mc Dowell and Mrs Deirdre Hegarty (Project Leader, St Catherine’s College). Mr David Cunningham, Principal, City of  Armagh High School also attended the event as did Mrs Margaret Martin, Sacred Heart Network Coordinator, Mr Peter Gildea, Principal, Mount St Catherine’s P.S. and visiting Principals from Sacred Heart Schools in Dublin, Roscrea, Scotland and Malta.

Form class groups in St Catherine’s College each bought a global gift from Trócaire as part of the focus on Social Awareness, this year’s Sacred Heart Goal in the school. Pictured presenting a cheque for £1,440 to Miss Gemma McCourt from Trócaire are representatives of classes who raised the most money. Also in the picture are l/r: Mrs Roisin McKeever (Head of RE), Miss Gemma Gildernew ( RE Dept.) and  Mrs Denise Moore (Vice Principal).

Year 10 Class winners of the “Young Chef of the Year 2014” Cookery Competition, held in Saint Catherine’s College, are pictured here with their Home Economics teachers. The overall winners were 1st Phoebe Sherick & Gintare Stanciute  (Tandoori Chicken), 2nd Megan Hamill & Feithlinn Morgan (Chicken Curry), 3rd Sinead McGlinchey (Stuffed Chicken).

Number day in St Catherine’s College was a resounding success this year as always & organiser Kieran Gallagher was well pleased with the response from students and staff alike. How many Maths teachers can you count in this picture?

The eminent obstetrician, Professor Jim Dornan (centre right) and political editor and author Eammon Mallie (centre left) addressed students at St. Catherine’s College on the life Skill improvement which Drama can provide. Professor Dornan was accompanied by his niece Hedi Stewart (back row) who runs a drama school in North & West Belfast. The event was organised by Mrs Mary MacGinty (centre left), Head of Drama in the school. Also pictured is Mrs Deirdre McDonald, Principal (centre) and Mr Ciaran Connolly (right) Head of Science.

Saint Catherine’s College GCSE  French students are pictured here with their “correspondants” from Lycée Saint Paul, Orléans, who spent a week in Armagh in March. The return visit to France will take place in October. Also pictured are teachers of French and English from both schools.

This group of students from Saint Catherine’s College and St Patrick’s Grammar School participated in the annual Spanish Exchange to Granada in Southern Spain. They spent 9 days with Spanish families practising and improving their language skills. The students also had the opportunity to visit some schools and other places of interest. They were accompanied by Mrs Emma Sheridan, (centre) Head of Spanish, St Catherine’s College and teachers of Spanish from other participating schools.

Seachtain na Gaeilge

Seachtain na Gaeilge in St. Catherine's College.


Maighréad Uí Mháirtín, former Principal of St. Catherine's College, launched the school’s annual Seachtain na Gaeilge. This is a national event which gives Irish speakers everywhere the opportunity to use and promote the Irish language and culture.


The week began with a presentation by the Year 13 Irish language committee on Seachtain na Gaeilge to all Year Groups and distribution of 'Gabh le Gaeilge' pocket cards to encourage pupils and staff to try out a 'cúpla focal' during the week. 'A' level pupils were given a greater insight into the history and work of Gael linn later in the day when Réamonn Ó Ciaráin, the regional manager visited. 

The Armagh Rhymers provided a musical and mythical touch to events with their vibrant presentation on Brian Boru to Year 8 pupils. Year 8 and 9 pupils were later treated to a touch of Gael Factor by a very gifted and talented bunch of boys and girls.


At the heart of the week was the annual Irish Mass celebrated this year by Monsignor Ó Muirí and, in keeping with our school goal of social awareness, the Irish language committee organised a cake sale on Thursday, the proceeds of which went to the HUG project.


The week culminated in Maighréad Uí Mháirtín presenting An Fáinne Óir to five Year 10 students and a Líofa badge to some of our administrative staff who undertook the challenge of preparing for a simple conversation in Irish. 

On Friday 14th March pupils in An Sruth Gaeilge had a very energetic start to the day when they participated in Rith 2014, a national relay over 9 days, in support of the Irish language. Finally, our Year 9 and 10 pupils danced the afternoon away at a céilí and enjoyed a special guest appearance by J.J. Ó Dochartaigh, Ireland's answer to Avici, who joined us from St. Joesph's Convent Donaghmore. A thoroughly enjoyable week was had by all in preparation for Lá Fhéile Pádraig.


Presentation of An Fáinne Óir  at Sruth na Gaeilge, Coláiste Chaitríona - Comhghairdeas to Eimhear Ní Dhuibh, Faileann Gaynor and Katie Nic Conmidhe on achieving their Fáinne Óir last week. A special word of thanks goes to An Máistir Séamus Mac Dhaibhéid (Deputy Principal) who conducted the exam and to MaighréadUí Mháirtín who presented the students with their badge and certificate. Also pictured (back left) is Bean de Bléine, co-ordinator of Sruth na Gaeilge.




This year saw the establishment of the first ever Irish language committee in St. Catherine's College. A special word of thanks must go to Coiste na Gaeilge for all their hard work in helping to make Seachtain na Gaeilge a huge success. Back row L-R Alison Caomhánach, Ammie Nic Conluain, Bean de Bléine, Bonnie-Louise Ní Dhrisceoil, Caoimhe Withers, An Máistir Mac Dhaibhéid, Kirsten de Faoite. Front row (L-R) Demi Nic Giolla Aoláin, Eimhear Ní Dhuibh, Maighréad Uí Mháirtín, Katie Nic Conmidhe, Faileann Gaynor and Áine Nig Uidhir. Comhghairdeas libh a chailíní!                                                                                                                               


The Armagh Rhymers brought a musical and mythical touch to Seachtain na Gaeilge in St. Catherine’s College with their vibrant collection of traditional stories through song and dance. They are pictured here with students from year 8, co-ordinator of Sruth na Gaeilge, Bean de Bléine (left) and The Irish Language Development Officer  Síle Uí Dhuibh (right).


Ulster Champions! - These Year 10 students at St. Catherine’s College won the Ulster Final of the Gael Linn Quiz “as Gaeilge” held in January, beating 22 teams nationwide!  l/r: Emma Rath, Caella Casey, Maeve Mc Aleavey and Nicole Kerr, all 10G.  Comhghairdeas libh a chailíní!

Professor Karen Corrigan (Newcastle University), Professor Antonella Sorachi (University of Edinburgh) and Professor Alison Henry (University of Ulster) led the recent Staff Development Seminar held in Saint Catherine’s College, Coláiste Chaitríona, on recent research into the benefits of multilingualism. They are pictured here (middle row) with staff of Sruth na Gaeilge and other delegates at the conference.

Past pupil of Saint Catherine’s College, Professor Karen Corrigan, Newcastle University, is pictured with some of the newcomer and other pupils who are assisting with her research into bilingualism. Front row l/r: Alannah McQuade 9M, Liveta Kivytiate 13R, Evelina Bilvinaite 13B, Niamh Bullock 9M. Back row l/r: Shakira Shahid 13R, Diana Mezanec 13G, Bobo Chui13G, Sophie Taylor 9M.





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