Friday, October 19, 2012

Mark Pollock Lecture

Mark Pollock is an adventure athlete and motivational speaker. Mark is also blind and paralysed from the waist down.

Mark is Northern Irish, was on the National Rowing team and went to Trinity. When he was in his final year at Trinity, aged 22, Mark began losing his sight because of detached retinas, in the space of two weeks he had completely lost his sight. However Mark did not let this slow him down and he threw himself back into sports; he raced across Antartica, did 7 marathons in 7 days and fought his way back onto the National Rowing team. During this time Mark had also become an increasingly popular motivational speaker.

However in 2010, Mark fell from a 3 story building, resulted in paralysis from the waist down. Mark is now trying to walk again through both the use of physiotherapy and robotic legs. Mark's lecture focused on being different, being ambitious and being brave.

In order to support Mark's therapy and various other associated charities, a charity run will be held in several locations on November 14th, 2012. See for details.

Friday, October 5, 2012

'Witness' Review

'Witness' is a film directed by Peter Weir, it was released in 1985 and was well recieved. The film is about an Amish boy who witnesses a corrupt police officer commiting a murder, he is the sole witness. The investigating officer, John Book (Harrison Ford) then uncovers a ring of corrupt officers and attempts to bring them to justice but unknowingly, his boss is the ringleader. Book fears for his life and that of the Amish boy, Samuel so they are forced to go into hiding in their Amish community in Philadelphia. We also discover that Rachel Lapp, Samuel's mother, recently lost her husband and Samuel's father. Throughout the film, a relationship develops between Rachel and John, but once the corrupt officers have been caught, John must return to his own life and so must Rachel. I felt that the story was very well written and thought-out on the most part, however I felt that the ending was disappointing as the relationship between Rachel and John is such a key component of the storyline.

I felt that Harrison Ford's portrayal of John Book was very good and I felt as if he really immersed himself in the character. Also I thought that Lukas Haas performed very well as Samuel Lapp in what was his first major motion picture.

The film really highlights the huge difference between our lifestyle and that of the Amish community's and their life probably hasn't changed since this film was released, whereas our lives have changed dramatically because of advances in science and technology.

I think that this film would be enjoyed by a wide range of people ranging from teenagers to old people.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Irish Society for Autism Lecture

Last week we had a lecture from Denis Sexton of the Irish Society for Autism. Denis spoke of his son, John. John is 27 years old, and was diagnosed with Autism when he was two years old, John attended a school specifically for Autistic children. John is also non-verbal.

Mr. Sexton spoke of how often, Autistic children become obsessed with specific things, Autistic children can also be quite intelligent and it is suspected that Einstein was Autistic.

After Mr. Sexton's retirement from teaching, he became heavily involved in the Irish Society for Autism, he now sits on the charity's board and regularly speaks on behalf of the organisation.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Chernobyl Children International Lecture

On Tuesday the 18th of September, we recieved a lecture from Siobheal Nic Eochaidh, the 2011 Dublin Rose in the Rose of Tralee and her escort. They were part of a group of Rose of Tralee contestants who recently went on a trip to an orphanage in Vesnova, Belarus. Even thought the disaster occured in Chernobyl it greatly affected those living in Belarus, and many children are born with disabilities. In Belarus, if a child is born with any disability, they are immediately sent to an asylum, this includes every disability, even something as managable as ADHD. The group spent most of their time playing with the children and looking after them. The group managed to raise over 25,000 euro for the asylum. As soon as a child reaches the age of 18, they will be moved to an adult asylum, where peadophiles and rapists are also detained. Chernobyl Children International was set up in the wake of the disaster by Adi Roche, an Irish woman. The charity tries to raise funds for these children, lobbies the Belarusian government on their laws and organises trips to Ireland for the children.

Friday, September 14, 2012

You are more likely to die in an earthquake if you live in a developing nation

Zoltan Zinn-Collis Lecture

Last Tuesday we had our first lecture of the year. The guest lecturer this week was Zoltan Zinn-Collis, a Holocaust survivor. At the beginning of the war, Collis was a young boy living in Slovakia with his mother, father and siblings. His mother was a Protestant and his father was Jewish. One day an S.S. officer arrived at the family home and asked Collis' mother to sign an anollment as her husband was Jewish, she refused. Collis' father thought it would be best to hide out for a few days in the woods, after a few days he returned home to replenish his supplies. He was spotted and was reported to the S.S. A few days later, the S.S. officer returned and once again asked Collis' mother to sign an anollment, she refused. The family were told that they had fifteen minutes to pack their bags. The family were brought to the local church and gradually more and more local people began to arrive. In the morning they were transported to the train station where they boarded cattle wagons. While on the train, many people died, including Collis' baby sister, her body was thrown over a wall by an S.S. officer. When they arrived at the camp the group was separated into those that could work and those that were to be exterminated, the men were also separated from the women and children. Conditions in the camp were tough and many died. After a few months Collis was moved to Bergen-Belsen with his mother, sister and brother. His father is suspected to have died at Ravensbruck Camp in 1944. Residents of the camp lived in barracks', bunk beds were stacked three high, one for each family. On the 15th of April 1945, Collis' mother died in Bergen-Belsen, the very same day that the camp was liberated by the Red Cross. Zoltan was adopted along with his sister by Bob Collis, the leader of the Irish Red Cross.+

Friday, September 7, 2012

Aran Islands Trip

On Monday the 3rd of September, we had to be at school at 7 o'clock in the morning so that we would make our 1.00 p.m. ferry from Ros a Mhíl to Inis Moír. While we waited we were separated into two separate groups, half of us would stay at Mainistir Hostel and the other half would stay in Kilronan Hostel. I stayed in Mainistir which was a 20 minute walk from the village. Once we arrived on Inis Moír we placed our bags on a truck and we began our walk up to our hostel. On our first day we did a hike up to the highest point of the island to what is believed to be the smallest church ever built. We then walked back to the town and had our dinner in a local hotel. After our dinner we had a small break before we began our table quiz. The next day we enjoyed a five hour cycle around the Island, taking in Dun Aonghus, the ring fort that is built on a cliff top, the Worm Hole, which is where the sea has eroded into the rock and created a pool, it was the venue for this year's Red Bull Cliff Diving competition and finally we visited the Seven Churches. We then had our dinner in the hotel, this was followed by a ceile in the town hall. The next morning we packed our bags and checked out of our hostel. We then used our free time to explore the town, we visited the famous Aran Sweater Market, where you could purchase a variety of souveneirs and knitted goods. We then got on the ferry and travelled home.