The Irish in America

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Summer Maths at Kylemore

A special to our Irish readers:

Our friend Kim Moran from The Connemara Maths Academy would like to share an exciting new summer maths program. See below for details…I can’t think of a better place in Ireland to brush up on my math skills, and have a little fun along the way!

Kylemore Abbey in 1995 (photo R. McCormack)

Kylemore Abbey in 1995 (photo R. McCormack)

This Summer become Fluent and Confident in Mathematics at the historic and stunning Kylemore Abbey through a unique residential programme of creative and outdoor pursuits.

Summer School Kylemore Abbey 2014

Dates: Sunday 22nd – Sunday June 29th 2014 (7 Nights)

The Kylemore Abbey Summer Residential programme (7 Nights) is open to Irish Senior Cycle students aged from 14 – 17 years old. There are a limited number of places for international students who must demonstrate an appropriate level of English. Students must fall within this age range before June 30th 2014 in order to be considered for the programme.

Accommodation arrangements: All lessons, rehearsals, media technology based projects and workshops will take place at the Abbey while the physical activities will take place at Killary Adventure Centre some minutes away. Girls will be accommodated in the Abbey while boys will be staying at the beautiful Killary Adventure Centre. The boys will be bused to Kylemore Abbey every morning for breakfast and will be taken back to the Killary Adventure Centre at 9.30pm at the end of each day.


Killary Adventure Centre, minutes from Kylemore Abbey,
where the physical activities takes place.


There are four main elements to the Curriculum:

1. Outdoor Activities:

Rock Climbing at CMA Klyemore Abbey Summer Residential

Rock Climbing at CMA Kylemore Abbey Summer Residential

Students will participate in a range of activities at the Killary Adventure Centre, a short distance from the abbey. The mathematics behind these activities are explored in the workshops, so for example, in the Zip Wire activity, students will discover how it works, including elements of trigonometry, geometry and algebra.

2. Mathematics: 

The fundamental concepts behind each of the 5 strands on the Leaving Certificate syllabus are dealt with in exciting, interactive and dynamic ways while students will have the opportunity to see these principles in action in real world scenarios, whether it be through one of the related physical activities or through one of the media technology based projects, so that a real, meaningful and long lasting relationship is formed between each concept and student.

Geometry of the Apple Logo. At CMA, Mac computers, iPads and apple creative software are at the centre of our mathematics core curriculum.

Geometry of the Apple Logo. At CMA, Mac computers, iPads and apple
creative software are at the centre of our mathematics core curriculum.

Regardless of whether a students is taking the Higher, Ordinary or Foundation level, the key fundament concepts are relevant to all levels. These courses are designed to reinforce understanding  while laying down sound foundations. Students will be organised in age appropriate and relevant levels in some of the classes, while having ample opportunity to  mix with their colleagues in the social programme and through the technology based projects.

Students with particular interests, hobbies and skills are encouraged to share these within the media technology and music projects, workshops and physical activities where relevant and productive to do so, and of course, only with the prior consent of these students.

3. Music and Media Technology Based Projects

Music Technology

mixing desk

Students will explore the maths of music technology from Sine Waves to Loudspeaker and Microphone design and will be able to apply their mathematical knowledge in the production of a piece of music. All mathematical concepts covered are relevant to the Senior Cycle syllabus while embracing the new Project Maths curriculum.

Visual Representation of a Sound Wave. The mathematics of sound such as Sine Waves and Trigonometry are explored in music technology based applications.

Visual Representation of a Sound Wave. The mathematics of sound such as Sine Waves

and Trigonometry are explored in music technology based applications.

Sine Wave Generator - a audio exploration of Sine Waves

Sine Wave Generator – a audio exploration of Sine Waves

Media Technology

Deciding what makes a good photograph through the application of mathematics while also exploring how digital technology works is part of the curriculum. Students have the opportunity to create digital visual media content with digital video cameras and SLRs and content can be edited in the Mac Mini suite with Final Cut and other Apple software packages. The finished products will be presented at an exhibition at the end of the week before the Sunday concert.

lights, camera, action

Students have access to a digital camera to create digital media,

to be edited on the Mac mini suite.


All students will receive a complimentary iBook packed with visually stimulating and interactive content including 3D animations, audio-visual rich media and tutorials of each of the key concepts covered during the week. This will be an invaluable resource for students when they return to school in September.

Students receive a complimentary interactive multimedia Key Concepts iBook.

Students receive a complimentary interactive multimedia Key Concepts iBook.

Students will also have the opportunity to build their own Multi Media Interactive Digital iBook which will include all their academic work including projects and other evidence based learning, while also including a visual record of their out door pursuits. Students will have at the end of the week’s programme, a completed and published iBook which they can share with their parents, family and friends and they can keep as a souvenir of their stay at the Connemara Maths Academy Kylemore Abbey Summer Camp.

Complimentary Customised iBooks are given to students who also have access to iPads as part of the technology based learning environment.

Complimentary Customised iBooks are given to students who also have access to iPads

as part of the technology based learning environment.

Students will have access to an iPad which they will use during workshops and project work, and on which they will be able to view and use the customised ‘CMA Key Concepts iBook’. When they leave, they will be able to download this iBook to their own personal devices.

Music Performance:

Music Performance at CMA

All students will participate in a whole school choir and ensemble, and rehearsals will take place everyday in preparation for a concert on the final Sunday afternoon, to which all parents and friends are invited to attend. There will also be an exhibition of the media technology based projects prior to the concert. Students who play an instrument, dance or have any other performance related skills are very welcome and encouraged to take part in the ensemble.


Pricing Table

For more information please visit Connemara Maths Academy.

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Day Eight of Irish American Favorites: Family Photo

First Communion of Margaret McCormack - 1951

I know, I know…you’ve seen this photograph before. It’s right up there on the top of the website, and I have used it on my business cards and other materials. I think it is a great photo – maybe even the quintessential Irish-America family photograph.

Andy&Mary; Mike&Katie

Andy&Mary; Mike&Katie

Three generations of McCormacks gathered (with in-laws) to celebrate the 1951 First Communion of my Aunt Maggie – Margaret Mary McCormack. The “old guys” are in the back row – my great-grandfather Andy McCormack in the classic trench coat and his brother Mike, standing a couple of people over on Andy’s right. The brothers immigrated to the United States from Ballyedmond, County Laois in the latter part of the 1800s.

Can you spot the native Irish speaker in the photo? That would be Mike’s wife, standing behind Maggie. Katie Hannon hailed from Gorumna Island, Connemara, Galway. Mike and Andy married sisters, but Andy’s wife, Mary, passed away years before this photo was taken.

My Aunt Eeny is with her Auntie Nellie (seated in front of Andy), while my dad is kneeling in the corner, looking exactly like I always imagined he would in the 1950s, in jeans and a striped t-shirt. My Grandma Agnes sits next to Maggie, pregnant with my Aunt Mary. My Grandpa Bill is on the far left, with his hand on his niece Martha’s shoulder.

Aunts, uncles, and cousins round out the group. It is incredible to see these people together, looking so happy and healthy.

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if some of the people in this photo surface later this month as favorites all on their own.


DAY 10: Gorumna Island and the McDonaghs

Gorumns_RMcCormackI find myself saying “One of my favorite…” a lot when I talk about Ireland because it is impossible to have just one favorite anything, especially in Ireland. How could you say you prefer the soaring sea cliffs of Donegal’s Slieve League to the gorgeous patchwork fields of Tipperary? It proves as pointless as comparing apples to oranges — or Ulster to Munster. Each is stunning in its own special way.

With that in mind, Gorumna Island in Connemara, County Galway is one of my favorite places in Ireland. The rocky and desolate landscape should encourage quiet introspection. That is, until you meet Michael and Joseph McDonagh. The brothers aren’t loud, but they are full of questions, stories, and opinions. They are as knowledgeable about current events in Ireland and the world as they are about family lore and genealogy.


I am related to the McDonaghs through my great-grandmother Mary Agnes Hannon, who emigrated from this part of Connemara in the late nineteenth century and married Andrew McCormack. Click here to read my post about our 2009 visit to the McDonaghs.’

Gorumna_RMcCormackI smile when I remember Michael McDonagh that afternoon we visited. He kept disappearing into the other room and coming back to with a book, newspaper, or photograph to show us.

It seems like the McDonaghs are related to everyone, and they are very proud of their connection to the diaspora. At one point, Michael snuck out and returned, beaming, holding up a Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins) baseball jersey. Apparently a relative of Joe’s had visited and gave the brothers the jersey as a present. Even Joe has connections to the McDonaghs, on his mother’s side.

Gorumna is absolutely gorgeous, but the McDonaghs are what make it an Irish fave.

Photos: Regan McCormack


Gathering Spotlight V


The Gathering is hitting its stride with this week’s featured events. Take a look at what’s happening and book your tickets to Ireland! As usual, there is a little something for everyone – peat, art, traditional music… Continue reading