Craggagh NS Blog

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Visit of The Quaker City String Band to Craggagh NS

We had a brilliant morning following the St Patrick’s weekend festivities welcoming Jim, Jim and Patrick to our school. They are members of the Quaker City String Band.

The Jims played alto saxaphone and banjo while Patrick played the double bass (or “bass fiddle” as he calls it!).

We listened to them playing a few tunes and we also played our tin whistles, accordions, guitars and ukuleles.

It was a very enjoyable morning. Thanks to the three gentlemen for visiting and thanks to our wonderful Tourism Association in Kiltimagh for all their hard work preparing for the festival.

Below is a video from the full band’s amazing performance in the New Year’s Day Parade in Philadelphia:


Nicky Rackard Cup visits Craggagh NS! @adrianhession


We had some very important silverware in Craggagh last week when the Nicky Rackard Cup came to visit!

Mayo GAA Games Promotion Officer, Adrian Hession, accompanied by Mayo hurler, Ciarán Charlton, brought the cup around the classrooms. Each child got the opportunity to hold the cup aloft (the infants in particular enjoyed this!) and ask questions of Adrian and Ciarán.

Ciarán, who is Mr Charlton’s cousin, is a native of Kiltimagh. The town is not exactly a hurling stronghold but at the age of 12 Ciaran began hurling for Toreen GAA club. He was a key member of Mayo’s All Ireland winning team, lining out at midfield for the final.

Adrian discussed the development of hurling in County Mayo and finally showed the children a video of highlights from the All Ireland Final.

We really enjoyed the day, thanks Adrian and Ciarán!

Maigh Eo Abú!!!

We played rounders in McHale Park on Saturday Night! Click for pics:

The children of 5th & 6th class participated in the first ever Cumann na mBunscol Mhaigh Eo rounders exhibition in McHale Park on Saturday night during the Mayo Vs Roscommon NFL fixture.

We formed a Guard of Honour before the game to welcome the Mayo and Roscommon teams onto the field along with the children from the other participating schools.

At half time, we took to the field for a quick game of rounders with the children from Breaffy NS.

It was a great experience for all involved, and we even got to meet some of our heroes from the Mayo team!

“Cheep cheep”

The middle class took inspiration from the infant room’s spring crafts for their art lesson this week.

These new spring chicks are “peckish” and are looking for food.

The children have brought their chicks home, in the hope that they will be well fed!

Spring art in the Infant Classroom

The infants have been hard at work this week creating beautiful spring crafts. 

All of the children from junior and senior infants made animals for the interactive farm in the classroom. Even the first class got involved by making the beautiful trees surrounding the farmyard. 

Can you identify all of the animals?!

The children also made 3D daffodils using cupcake cases. 

Mental Health awareness evening for parents in Mayo Education Centre

Used Clothes Collection

Our Parent Association are again seeking your old clothes for recycling.

Where?  Craggagh Community Centre

When? After 11am Mass on Sunday, Feb 26th and 9am to 9:30am Monday, Feb 27th

All old clothes and textiles wanted. Simply fill as many black bags as
possible with the recyclable items listed below.
 Clothes (clean, dry and reusable),
 Paired shoes,
 Trainers (tied)
 Curtains
 Handbags, Belts
 Bedding (blankets & sheets)

No duvets or pillows please!

Christmas Bulletin


As always, it’s a busy time at home and at school, here’s few of our upcoming highlights:

Tuesday Dec 20th: 12:30pm Christmas Concerts

Please note – there will be a raffle with fantastic prizes including

  • €30 voucher for Mack
  • 2 x €25 vouchers for Supervalu
  • €20 voucher for Finn Footwear
  • €20 voucher for Liam’s Café
  • And much more!

Tuesday Dec 20th: 5pm to 6:30pm Carol Singing, Pennys/Supervalu Castlebar

(Fundraiser for The Irish Pilgrimage Trust)

Wednesday Dec 21st: Trip to Horkan’s – Infants to 3rd Class

Thursday Dec 22nd: Christmas Holidays!

January 6th: Craggagh Social 9pm Community Centre

The Social” makes a welcome return with music provided by Mick Holster, Tom Lyons and friends. A great night in store!

Tickets -€10 each, or 2 for €15

January 9th – School Reopens for new term

***There will be a collection of old clothing by the PA early in the new year***

Swimming lessons for 1st class to 6th class will commence on Friday, Feb 3rd.

New Parent Association Committee

The Craggagh National School Parent Association Committee for the 2016/17 school year is as follows:

Chairperson:                      Yvonne Higgins

Vice Chairperson:            Denis Rosney

Secretary:                           Sandra Loftus

Treasurer:                           Kathleen Murphy

Vice Treasurer:                 Mary McDonnell

We wish them well in their work for the year ahead and look forward to another fruitful year! Thanks also to the outgoing committee members Barbara O Shea and Mags Hession.


Hallowe’en Party! Note date change, now on Friday, Oct 28th

Our PA have organised a spooktacular evening this coming Friday.

At 6:30pm there will be a twilight lantern walk, followed by a disco in the Community Centre at 7pm.

The PA are asking for a small donation of €2, and any home baking would be greatly appreciated. 

It should be a fabulously frightening evening!

From Craggagh to China! Eadaoin is belting out the tunes on The Great Wall! See the video here:

Congratulations to past pupil Eadaoin Ní Mhaicín (third from left holding fiddle), who is currently touring China with Minister for Education, Mr Richard Bruton, TD.

Eadaoin, a senior All Ireland fiddle champion, is representing Ireland with the Meitheal group, who are part of a delegation currently touring some of China’s major cities Beijing and Nanchang.

Last week they attended the China Education Expo.

Eadaoin is in her final year of teacher training in St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.

Not content on sitting back, relaxing and soaking up the culture, our Eadaoin couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a little networking, picking up a few contacts on her travels!

It’s beginning to look a lot like….Hallowe’en! 

Something spooking is stirring around Craggagh this week!

Bats, pumpkins, witches and ghosts are roaming the corridors

There’s lots of spooky art work happening in each room!

Don’t forget, our PA have a very scary evening in store this weekend!

Please note that the date of this event has been changed to Friday, Oct 28th. Same times as below.

Vikings Workshop in @NMIreland Turlough House with @claiomh_ireland (warning – long read!)


The children from 3rd to 6th experienced a wonderful workshop, facilitated by Dave Swift of Claiomh on Tuesday last, Oct 18th, all about Vikings and in particular their clothing and weaponry.

Dave delivered a huge amount of information in a very short space of time so the following is a summary of his main points!

The majority of Vikings in Ireland came from Norway. Dublin, Wexford and Waterford were controlled by Norwegian Vikings. The exception was Limerick, which was established by Danish Vikings. There is very little evidence of Swedish Vikings in Ireland apart from a cave in Kerry.

Viking men generally wore linen tunics, usually blue or green.

Beware the Viking wearing a blue or black cloak, he is intent on murder!


Replica Viking Broach
Money, money, money! A hoard of “hack silver” was discovered in Cushalourt, near Westport, Co Mayo. Vikings wore silver bracelets which they hacked into pieces that were used as currency. We can only speculate as to the provenance of this hoard.



Replica coin (with cross for splitting) and jewellery
Coins were introduced in 995AD. They were engraved with a cross. Why? Because they were devout Christians? Absolutely not! (well, not yet anyway!). The cross made it easier to split the coin in order to give change. (Perhaps this is why we use the word “briseadh” in Irish!)


Biggest trade was in Slaves. Dublin was a major slave trading town. A very large number of Irish slaves went to Iceland.


Replica shackle used on Viking slaves
Married Viking women wore a cloth on her head.


They often wore blue coloured glass beads as jewellery. Amber was highly valued.

It has been calculated that a single monetary unit equated to 26.1g.

Boats – The Skuldelev 2 is one of the largest Viking boats discovered. It was discovered in Denmark but was built in Ireland from Wicklow timber. Viking boats were long and narrow, allowing them to travel up many rivers. They were also lightweight, allowing them to be carried by their crew.



Skuldelev_II Wikipedia.jpg
Skuldelev 2 pic source:Wikipedia


Boats were propelled two ways – sails and oars. Usually 16 oars either side, requiring 32 men. Crew was often double this so crews could rotate.

Boats didn’t have a front or back – rudder could be transferred.

In battles, opposing armies would agree to lash boats together so they could fight on water!

Pictured is a replica of a Viking helmet found in Norway in 1942. The discovery was kept secret at the time as the country was occupied by the Germans.


Replica Viking helmet, complete with chainmail and eye-guard. Made from 4 separate pieces of iron.
It was Iron, polished with beeswax (thus the black colour), the inside was linen stuffed with wool.


A replica of The Isle of Lewis chess set was used in Harry Potter!



Skaldbjorg – The famous Viking Shield Wall!


a screengrab from season 4 episode 7 of Vikings. source:

The Viking shield was round and usually painted red, and sometimes black, yellow or white (unlike the picture above….pedantic historians, look away now!)

Generally made from softwood, which was lightweight. They were not particularly durable. A fighter was usually issued with three as they were not expected to last long.


Dave with shield
The bos (like a soup bowl in the middle) was where the fighter’s hand went.


The handle was copper or wooden.


Back of shield (front of Dave!)
Shields could be lashed to the side of the boat to help keep crew dry!


The Irish were still using this shield in the 12th century, to the surprise of the invading Normans.

There was also a small version of the round shield.


Small sized shield (normal sized Dave!)
There is no evidence in archaeology of Vikings using body armour, although they did wear leather coats, usually under chainmail (byrnie). This was very expensive, and a suit was really heavy – 8kilos!




Dave with typical Viking sword (note small cross guard). He’s pointing to the pommel which helped to balance the sword.


The sword is the quintessential Viking accessory! They usually had a short cross guard, and could be single-handed. The crescent cross guard was not introduced until after 1000AD.


Later type of sword – note crescent shaped cross guard
Langsac in the Viking name for a long sword and Scramasac was the shorter sword.



The Ballinderry Sword is the best example of a Viking Sword. source:

“The Irish were very welcoming with the axe!”

So said the Normans anyway! The axe was also a very popular weapon (and particularly brutal!). Three fine examples were discovered in Lough Corrib in 2013.


“May I axe you a question, Dave?”
Skeggocs were a large, somewhat top-heavy axe, originally used for chopping wood. They were a bit cumbersome in the battlefield and were replaced with a smaller version. The axe was multifunctional and the back of the head could be used as a hammer.


The legendry Brian Boru was killed with a two-handed axe while saying his prayers.

Dave told us about the infamous Battle of Stamford Bridge (nothing to do with Jose Mourinho) in which “The Nameless Norwegian” (I’m sure he wasn’t actually nameless, but his name is unknown!) killed 40 Englishmen with a two-handed axe before eventually succumming to a sword wound inflicted from beneath the wooded bridge. Ouch!

Bows were popular but not quite so iconic. Vikings didn’t like to buried with a bow, they preferred their axe or sword.


The shorter bow (Dave’s left hand) is Viking, the longer one is Norman and is more powerful.
Unlike Native Americans, who used animal guts to string their bow, Vikings used braided linen which was reinforced with silk (evidence of trade with the Far East).


Early Viking bows harnessed up to 80lbs of power. FYI that could send an arrow straight through one man, and possibly a second; nasty!

The most popular timber was yew and the best of this was sourced from the slow growing yew trees of the alps.

As much as 70% of all arrows found in Ireland were “pin” arrows. They were particularly narrow and could pierce chainmail.

1014AD – The Battle of Clontarf

Perhaps the biggest Viking battle the world has ever witnessed had between 12,000 and 15,000 warriors. (The famed Battle of Hastings, 1066, had a mere 10,000…just a little skirmish by comparison, but the Bayeux Tapestry has done wonders for its reputation!) It was here that Brian Boru was killed.

The black raven was a favourite motif of the Vikings and was used on flags.

Hnefatafl (translation: KingsTable) was a Viking boardgame.

Vikings mixed a herb called yarrow with pig fat to create a substance useful for stopping bleeding.

We are very grateful to Dave Swift for his most informative talk and for allowing us to handle samples of Viking weapons and clothing. David’s website is here: Claíomh

Finally, Brendan from the museum staff briefly spoke to us about the current Vikings In Mayo exhibition, called “The Hoard and the Sword”.


The mighty Brendan speaking about the Moy Sword and the Westport “hack silver”.
This exhibition contains a genuine Viking sword recovered from the River Moy and the silver hoard discovered in Cushalourt, near Westport.


The exhibition is currently on display in the National Museum of Ireland, Turlough and is well worth a look.






Board of Management Meeting – Agreed Report 20/10/16

Craggagh National School Board of Management Meeting October 20th, 2016

Agreed Report


  • Re-fencing of school yard is almost complete, thanks to Seán Dwyer, Kieran Keane, John Killeen and Jimmy Murphy for their time and work.
  • Extensive work has been carried out over the summer on the septic tank area.
  • It is hoped to paint the exterior of the school next summer.
  • Training for school staff in use of defibrillator will be organised.
  • Annual Card Game will take place on November 22nd.
  • Annual reviews of Child Protection and Anti-Bullying Policies were carried out.
  • Maintenance is required to some internal walls. This will be addressed before school reopens in January 2017.
  • PA AGM takes place on Oct 24th. PA were praised for their contribution to the school events and activities over the past year.
  • It is hoped to retro fit all classroom tables with baskets. PA will be asked to assist with funding of this endeavour. Also, the repainting of school yard markings.
  • Sympathies were expressed to the O’Boyle family, Ballinamore House, on the passing of Hugh and the Walsh family, Cornanool on the passing of Phyllis.
  • Next meeting will take place in mid-December.

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