On 15th October 2019, I flew into Dublin for my first school visit at Star of the Sea in the east of the city to deliver one of my favourite maths workshops: CSI: Storyland. This is a great problem solving activity for early years and infants, using data handling, reasoning and numeracy to solve a crime that has taken place in the land of traditional tales.
I had such a warm welcome here from all and was particularly amused to find that the children thought I was a magician arriving with my suitcase full of weird and wonderful resources. The day was a joy from start to finish and a perfect start to my Eire adventure. Luckily I also have a few magic tricks up my sleeve so hopefully my sorcery didn’t disappoint. The workshops certainly went down a storm at Star of the Sea.
At the end of the school day it was time for the long drive south to Co. Waterford for a day of Murderous Maths at Dungarvan College with Year 7’s and 8’s. This workshop is an exciting challenge to solve a fictional murder that happened in England over 100 years ago and the young people engaged at the college with great skill, enthusiasm and bags of character. I always like to make sure I see as much of the towns I visit as I can and it was fab to see some of gorgeous seaside town of Dungarvan on a clear autumn evening. The idyllic Davitt’s Quay has a poignant history in being the site of the first ship of grain to dock in the country from America making it an important trading centre, with ships leaving the port for destinations as far off as Shanghai. Conversely it was also the site of riots of 3000 strong during the Great Hunger in the mid-nineteenth century.
Once my time in Dungarvan College was done, it was a farewell to the south and time to drive back up to Co. Wicklow for my final day of my visit. This was a particularly enjoyable experience for me, not just for the stunning scenery but also because my great grandparents on my father’s side travelled from the seaside Wicklow town of Bray in the early twentieth century, my great grandmother carrying my unborn grandfather in search of a new life in Liverpool. With such a busy day and a flight to catch, it wouldn’t be possible to visit Bray, but at least I could take in the views of the Wicklow Hills during my brief stay in Blessington. ‘Among the Wicklow Hills’ by Christy Moore running through my head the whole time, I’ll admit I did get a bit wistful.
St. Brigid’s in Blessington is a tiny old nineteenth century school with small classes and the friendliest of staff. The children enthusiastically tackled CSI: Storyland and CSI:Bake Off, which is the challenge to solve an attempted murder of a celebrity chef through some dastardly poisoned profiteroles. Yet another superb day for our Maths Week Ireland experience and it was time for me to head to the airport.
It wasn’t over yet though. I realised on leaving the school that I actually had a few hours to kill before I was due at the airport. So I set off into the Wicklow Hills for a late afternoon drive, taking in some panoramic sights and passing through some charming hamlets and towns. I stopped off in the bucolic village of Enniskerry for a sandwich and to fulfill the As Creatives tradition of sending a post card from our exciting destinations. The only one I could find was for Powerscourt House, which unfortunately I’d not had time to visit, but as the shop keeper pointed out, watching the attached mini-DVD would mean it would feel like we had all visited the incredible looking stately home. Extended conversations in all the shops I visited meant that I was now a little pushed for time, so I posted the card and set off for Dublin airport. Taking the most direct route, I was delightfully surprised to pass through my ancestral hometown of Bray as I headed north through dense traffic to my final destination. Arriving at the airport with plenty of time to reflect on my time in Eire, I had a half of Guinness and boarded my flight back to Liverpool.
What a pleasure to be the first As Creatives practitioner to visit Eire, the beautiful Republic of Ireland. I certainly felt the motto “céad míle fáilte” on every step of my journey.
Find out more about our Maths Workshops for primary schools in Ireland here
Find out more about our Maths Workshops for secondary schools in Ireland here