What a great event! The Skype call began promptly at 9:30am with the Irish and Montserratian students greeting each other via video chat. Everyone here was dressed in the appropriate colors for St. Patrick’s Day: lots of green, lots of white, and lots of national dress as well (which is a combination of Montserrat’s colors: green, orange, and white). The assembly area was decorated with shamrocks and other Irish-themed paraphernalia.
There was a lot of exchange back and forth as the students took turns asking and answering questions and talking about what their school is like. Students at Gaelscoile d’ide Primary School in Fermoy, Co. Cork told the students at St. Augustine about some of their favorite hobbies, such as hurling (an uniquely Irish sport), and about what a typical day at school is like. They also sang some songs and said some prayers.
The St. Augustine students talked about their Irish surnames—Rhonda Allen spoke by herself about her Irish surname and her interest in cooking. The students spoke some of the Irish they have learned recently, and they also sang some songs.
The dancers did a wonderful job demonstrating what they’ve learned over the past two months! They were focused and took it seriously and the céili dance looked beautiful. It was hard to know what the Irish students thought, but I’ll bet they were impressed! (See video below.)
Then the masquerade dancers demonstrated what they do, with their elaborate and colorful costumes and rousing drums. The dance is definitely similar to Irish dance, but also extremely unique.
Finally, the steel pan orchestra played a few songs. As a novice panner, I can say that these children are really good. It’s not an easy instrument and it takes a lot of teamwork to make it all work together!
Congratulations to all involved, and thank you to Graham Clifford (of the Irish Independent), Mrs. Claudia Skerritt (St. Augustine’s principal), and all the teachers at both St. Augustine and Gaelscoile d’ide Primary School. Hopefully this connection and friendship will continue!
Here are some visual highlights from the morning:
St. Augustine students sit quietly as they wait for the Skype call to begin. They are wearing beautiful colors today!
Graham Clifford of the Irish Independent newspaper sets up the Skype call on his laptop.
The young students wave hello to their new friends in Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland!
Irish dancers take center stage!
Space was tight, but this was the most successful “waves” we’ve ever done!
The masquerade dancers show what Montserratian traditional dance looks like—Teacher Sarah Allen describes it as a combination of Irish and African movements, but emphasizes that it is uniquely Montserratian (distinct also from the masquerade dances of other nearby Caribbean islands).
Herman “Cupid” Francis explains to the Irish students the history of steel pans.
The students give an impressive performance on the steel pans!