Saturday, March 30, 2013

Good Good Friday

Had a very interesting Good Friday, with two crucifixions!
I had arranged to meet a friend for breakfast, so we walked down to a local cafe and had delicious French toast with berries, yummy!
                                                         (photo from
My cousin (I think I've mentioned her before, opera singer) offered me a ticket to the St. John Passion in the National Concert Hall: she was performing in it. Her Mum, who is my 1st cousin, was using the other free ticket, so it was a chance for us to meet up and catch up.
 We had a sandwich and coffee beforehand, and a lovely chat. She showed me video on her phone of my 87 y/o uncle, her Dad, dancing to Ceili music in his kitchen. He is passionate about Ceili music, and seeing his face light up as he danced (with his walking stick) was hilarious!
This photo of the Passion rehearsal was on the facebook page of the NCH:
My cousin is 2nd from the left in the front, with her legs crossed! I always find it funny that they wear jeans in rehearsal, then look so completely different when dressed up!

The St. John Passion was fabulous: I don't want to use the word enjoyable in relation to a religious event, but I loved the music and found it quite emotional.

I had to rush off straight after the concert, as I was playing with the band in a little church on the outskirts of the city. It's an African community church, in an industrial estate unit, and the contrast with the Concert Hall was immense! They had a few Gospel choirs, very lively music, and a very graphic enactment of the Passion, including a crucifixion (rope, not nails, though they did hammer several times on the ground to mimic the nails going in, and the "victim" did yell very loudly).
We played some beautiful hymns, and the congregation were really appreciative of our music, even though it was totally different to their own.

Eventually got home about 10.00! It was probably the most eventful Good Friday I've ever had!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring, is it?

Can't believe this! We've had SNOW for the last few days here!

Some of it has been quite heavy, and on higher ground it is sticking.
Makes no difference to some of us (Son and I!) as we're on Easter break anyway.
Poor plants have bravely continued to push through, denying the cold, wintry conditions.
And seeing this rhubarb brings thoughts of summer days, crumble and cream, Mmmmm!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Friday Five: Inchydoney

My quickie post today will be really quick.

1. Was at a function on Monday and met up with a past student and her two beautiful babies. Really enjoyed chatting with her, and reminiscing.
 Someone in school today was saying it makes her feel old that some of her past students are married. Sssh! I am now teaching the 18 y/o daughter of a past pupil! How did that happen? I keep telling them I was very young when I started!

2. I still have some of that awful cold/flu left in my head. Have been going for NST. It's a very interesting treatment- not supposed to cross legs, use electric blanket, drink coffee. Must stand up and move every half hour, I'll be back in a minute!

3. Someone posted on Facebook tonight that snow is headed our way. I love snow, but not in March when I'm looking for sun.

4. I was so tired when I got home today that I fell asleep on the sofa, woke at 20.00!! Family were in and out of the (open plan) kitchen, making dinner, eating etc and I never heard a thing! I need to go to bed now, just hope I haven't ruined my sleep.
Just cos I hate to post without a photo, these are of the beach in Inchydoney, Cork, taken last summer, grey sky but beach still beautiful. Just hope I haven't posted them before!

5. I'm playing in a Mother's Day concert on Sunday. Should be fun. Must look at music tomorrow! Mother's Day here is different to the USA.
Enjoy your weekend!
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Monday, March 4, 2013

In favour of Special Schools

Here in Ireland, the government's policy on children with special needs is "mainstreaming". They go to their local school, and have supports in place to meet their special needs. They are close to their home, their family and their friends. They are "integrated" in their local school and local community.

Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

Except that, it doesn't work for some children. And because it's policy, these children are getting a bad deal.
For some, they are the child who is "DIFFERENT", who has no friends, who stands out, who can't fit in, who constantly has an assistant with them, who can't relate to the other kids, who wonders "why am I different?", who gets called names, made fun of, pointed at, who doesn't understand the classwork, who can't do the homework, who falls behind in their work.

None of this is made up, it's stuff that children in my school told me has been their experience of mainstream education. Not all children experience this, but many do, and many stay quiet. It's only when it reaches crisis point that a special school is considered.

I've seen so many children come to our school, looking so stressed and anxious on arrival, you want to reach out, hug them, and tell them that now they're here, everything is going to be ok. They will not be that "different" kid any more, they can relax and know that they are in the right place.

Within a week you would barely recognise their faces. They settle in unbelievably quickly, relax, enjoy their schooldays, begin to understand schoolwork again, make friends. Again, I'm quoting what they have told me, a few months on.

The myth that they will be "close" to their family and friends is often that..a myth. They often don't have friends. They often feel completely isolated.

It breaks my heart that so many children experience this, and that often it is left too late to move them to a special school. Today, I spoke with a mother, and she told me how she didn't want her child to be different, didn't want to send her to a special school, but that she had to put her daughter's needs first. Her daughter has now been in our school for 8 years, and she couldn't be happier. She knows she made the right decision, and she wishes for other parents that they knew how good it can be.

I'm not insinuating that a special school is for all children, or that it solves all problems. But nor do I think that mainstream schools are suitable for all children with special needs. And in these recessionary times, when cutbacks mean that supports are being withdrawn, children are increasingly falling through the net and suffering.

In some cases, a special school is the right place for a child. Sometimes, a child just needs to be where there is expert help, where their peers also have special needs, and where they're not the "different" one. We all deserve the chance to shine.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Abandoned village of Port

 Welcome March! You came just in the nick of time, when I was fed up of this winter, and needed the promise of new growth!
Apparently March is Irish-American Heritage Month, so happy IAHM to you all!
I want to share a wonderful Facebook page with you;
for anyone interested in photos of Ireland, they post the most wonderful photos, like this one

"The abandoned village of Port is an eerie place, hidden away from the world and almost off the map. It’s a ‘famine village’ which would once have been a thriving fishing port, spectacular in its isolation and beauty. There are fantastic views of the mountains and out over the Atlantic from here. Sheep are the only things you’ll see now in the fields of peat that dominate the landscape." (from

It's been an uneventful week here, work to home, work next day, that kind of thing.
I'm linking with
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 today, and this is my 5 minute post!
Just back from visiting Jessee, and her post reminded me that we had one interesting event at school. One of the girls wasn't feeling well, and lucky for me naturally I directed her to the office, where the secretary would look after her. No sooner had I exited that office than she threw up, projectile, all over the place! halleluah that I wasn't there, even the thoughts of it makes me nauseous!