14 -16 March, 2022.
Our Flag Day journey began in early January, when our teacher, Mr Walker, looked to form a student organising committee. After several meetings, an online survey was conducted. The answers would inform the committee’s thinking, understanding and planning apropos how we might develop the idea of Flag Day in Good Counsel College.
As well as informing us that there were 18 nationalities in our school, the survey afforded interested students an opportunity to help with the initiative. A committee of eight suddenly became a group of 35. A great start!
One of the first decisions made was to purchase a flag for every nationality represented in the college. Same have not only brought a splash of colour to the walls of the Assembly Hall, but act as the ‘trumpeting’ banners of a new Ireland, an Ireland, to quote Thomas Francis Meagher, ‘clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood’.
Kacper Wisniewski created welcome signs that incorporated the flags and languages of the 18 countries. One was placed at the point of entry to each of our main buildings.
In response to the question, ‘what my flag means to me’, students were asked to submit a one word answer. A four metre high outline of the map of Ireland was drawn on the wall of the Assembly Hall. The many hundreds of cards submitted were used to fill the space to great visual effect.
Students who fancied themselves as the next Seamus Heaney, James Joyce or Louis le Brocquy, were invited to submit a piece of poetry, prose or a poster, with the theme, ‘what my flag means to me? The college generously sponsored the prizes.
- Congratulations to the winners of our Flag Day poster competition.1st place went to Joseph Thomas. Joint 2nd place went to Andrew Murphy and Assam Ali Bhatti.
- Congratulations to the winners of our Flag Day poetry/prose competition. 1st place went to Jamie Doyle. Joint second place went to Lar Fitzharris and PJ Mackey.
Flag Day in Good Counsel College started on Friday, 11 March, when Daniel O’Grady eloquently introduced the event and its meaning.
From Monday, 14 March to Wednesday 16 March, at 10:40am and 2pm, a student introduced his flag and its meaning to the school community. These ‘brave’ souls included: – Shane Kehoe, who spoke about the Irish Flag, Assam Ali Bhatti who discussed the national flag of Pakistan, Joseph Thomas who introduced the national flag of India, Connor Byrne who discussed the national flag of South Africa, Patryk Kwinta who spoke about the national flag of Poland and Ms Marisa Dinsmore (staff) who introduced the national flag of Spain.
Our History teachers were invited to deliver a flag themed class during the three-day celebration.
On Wednesday, 16 March at 11:20 am we had our flag raising ceremony. Representative bodies from the school community were invited. They included the School Council, Unitas Leaders, Meitheal Leaders and members of staff. Aidan Kehoe introduced proceedings by reminding us of the meaning and significance of the occasion. Mr. Jon Reville (staff) led our musicians (Luke French, Eoghan Bates, Cormac Cooper, Tommy Murphy, Donnchadh Slater and Joe Murphy) in a sombre rendition of the ballad ‘Boolavogue’. Cormac Cooper sang Amhrán na bhFiann, while Dara Furlong and Jonatan Kulesza raised the Tricolour, An trÍdhathach. Our musicians then played a final piece, ‘The Lilting Banshee’.
Michael Power and Adam Stafford spoke about the origins of the Tricolour, Thomas Francis Meagher and his significance in Irish History. Callum Barron concluded proceedings by reminding those gathered ‘that the Irish Tricolour remains a statement of intent … holding aloft our aspiration to be a peaceful country, where people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, genders and sexual orientation, are understood, respected and included’.
Our Flag Day celebrations concluded with a First Year Flag Day quiz in the afternoon. Praise must go to the committee members who organised the teams, the tables, the questions and the scoring. We’d like to say a special thanks to Eoin Dowling for doing such a splendid job as quiz master, to Callum Barron who kept the scoreboard ticking-over while under immense pressure, and to Connor Byrne, Adam Stafford, Adam Arthurs, Michael Power, Cormac Cooper, Dara Furlong Conor Folan, Nicholas Doyle and David Harney, who ensured that answers were collected, corrected and new answer sheets disseminated with alacrity.
Finally, we would like to thank the staff, the students and in particular Mr Walker for instigating the project and guiding our students on this wonderful journey!
Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir.