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Rome 2004

by Niamh Daly, Claire Timon, Rachel Corrigan, Sinead Geoghegan and Aoife Lattin.

Well what can we say? Rome has been a fantastic experience. It was much better than we expected. The people and the places were wonderful not to mention the handsome Italian boys. Ciao bello!

There were many great laughs-including Ms. McCool sticking her head out the window only to hear our private conversation with Carlos and his crew. On another occasion Ms. Reilly, showing admirable diligence, paid us a visit at 2.30am just to check that all was in order in room 306. It was!
We all got dressed up for dinner at the Chef Express at the Termini Station. It seems that the 'mini' has not quite hit the Termini fashion scene yet. Ms.Murray was looking particularly trendy in her dolly shoes. This was not the poshest of restaurants, although it did serve its purpose. We were not very impressed at the beginning but it seemed to 'grow' on us as the week went on.
Everyone got along like 'a house on fire'. The teachers were 'sound as a pound'. We could not have picked a better bunch ourselves. Valentina, our guide, was so interesting! She made every story come to life and even went so far as to make some insightful observations on the social habits of the young Italian male. Fascinating!

Sister Christina was the very best group leader anyone could ask for. She took such great care of everyone. Thanks to all the teachers for creating such a terrific atmosphere throughout the whole trip. We will never forget it. Ciao for now.

Rome 2004
by Karina Dooley and Emma Regan.

On the first day, having deposited our luggage at Hotel Lazio, we went to the Trevi Fountain. It gets its name from the three roads (the tre vie) that meet in the middle of the 'piazza'. This is one of the main tourist attractions in Rome. The entire wall of a palace has been turned into a baroque fantasy of gods and goddesses set among rocks and a rushing cascade of water. There is a giant statue of Neptune the sea god, in the centre. The plentiful water supply comes from Agrippa's Aquaduct, the Aqua Vergine which was built in 19 B.C. In1762 the Trevi was completed in its present form.

When we first saw it, we thought that it was strange to have so decorative and detailed a fountain tucked into such a small space among back streets. Now we think that this aspect actually adds to the overall effect.

We all made wishes by firstly throwing a small coin over our right shoulder in the hope that we will return to Rome someday. Secondly, we threw a coin over our left shoulder and made a secret wish. The Trevi Fountain is really spectacular and very well worth a visit!


Rome 2004
by Aoife MacIntyre

The world famous Colosseum was my first taste of Rome. As I entered, I found my mind wandering, imagining what it was like for the gladiators who fought with their lives on the tip of a sword! The Latin word for sword is gladius. Although ruins are all that are left of the magnificent first century B.C. amphitheatre, you must challenge your mind to picture what actually went on there all those centuries ago. I was helped to do just that by the movie 'Gladiator'. Only ruins remain of the 70,000 original seats. From the outside it looks quite impressive. It is a gem in this beautiful ancient city. Rome is a city of many stories and each building tells its own. Just like the Colosseum, the Roman Empire fell into ruins. Having lasted from 752B.C. to the 5th century A.D. it went from one of the greatest empires the world has seen to nothing. Of course, Rome's influence is still seen today in the history, architecture, literature and art of Europe.

Roma 2004 by Aimee Travers, Eimear O'Rourke and Rachel Byrne.

So…..Italy. What's that all about? Well, in our experience, over friendly Italians, fascinating history buildings art and sculpure, extensive walking and good ice-cream.

Our journey begins at the Trevi fountain. We were already wishing we'd be back. We threw coins into the fountain which was really beautiful; and interesting with Valentina's running commentary. However we were grossly misled (yes, you Ms.Murray) about transport back to the hotel; there was none, but it gave us the opportunity to work off all the ice cream we had just eaten.

The following day, we were up bright and early for a tour of ancient Rome. We began at the Colosseum, where all the Latin students knew lots having spent three enlightening years in Ms. Murray's class where we learned most of what we were supposed to know, were highly interested and listened all the time.
We continued to the Palatine Hill, which involved far too many steps for our liking, but was worth it when we got to the top. From the summit, there was a clear view of the Circus Maximus, while wandering amongst the ruins of the Imperial palace.

After lunch (with a very amusing Italian) we headed for the Forum. We walked along the Via Sacra and finally saw all the temples and buildings we had written about for the past three years! The Temple of Vesta, the Arch of Titus, the Rostrum, the rebuilt Senate and the Temple of Romulus. It was amazing to finally see it, and fascinating to think that we were wondering about the ruins which formed the power centre of one of the greatest and most influential empires the world has known.

Then we returned to the Colosseum, where queues were infinitely shorter, largely because we skipped them. Again, we were highly impressed.
We visited the 'Wedding Cake' and sat on the steps while everyone got their photos taken. Exhausted, we went back to the hotel where the crazy Italians were still screaming 'Bellissima'.

Unperturbed, we arose the following morning to visit the Vatican. However, the queue was huge, every time we got to a corner we hoped it was the last but to no avail. We were in within an hour.

We sat in the gardens and listened to Valentina, then continued through Gallery Museums to the Sistine Chapel. The Chapel was phenomonal. It was divine. Everyone has seen pictures, but they can't possibly do it justice. It's really amazing. You can't possibly see it in ten minutes (ahem!) but we tried.
After lunch, we visited St. Peter's Bascilica, the biggest in the world. We also visited St. Peter's Crypt, the Vatican Grotto. On our way out, people tried to get photos with the Swiss guards ( yes, you Paula!) but to no avail. We dropped by the Pantheon, without being robbed, though we had a near fatal run in with some psychotic bus driver.

Rachel was terrified (it's a real fear) when pigeons flew into the Pantheon, and the teachers were very concerned about Mass if it rained.
That evening, we went to see La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi in the Chiesa All Saints, Anglican Church, on the Via del Babuino. The orchestra were superb, particularly the percussionist. The more elderly tenor was exceptionally good, with perfect pitch and control. The soprano had a beautiful vibratto, and control rivalled only by the mezzo-soprano, who was brilliant. It was a fabulous performance and the acoustics of the Church only added to it. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and an excellent evening.

The night concluded with some teachers seeing us in our jammiis- AGAIN! So not the professional image we were trying to project!!!
Thank you, it was a great trip!

National Chamber Choir Composition Project Gala Concert

Since the beginning of last year, the 6th Year Music Students have been participating in a Composition Project run by DCU and the National Chamber Choir. We are delighted to announce that the composition by Michelle Picardo, The Gingerbread Man, was selected for performance at the annual National Chamber Choir Composition Project Gala Concert on Thursday 11th March. All of the students were awarded with certificates of participation and a commission was awarded to one composer at the end of the concert.

The Hidden Cost of Chewing Gum

By Eimear O'Rourke and Fiona O'Connor

Our project, 'The Hidden Cost of Chewing Gum', sets out to investigate the problems surrounding chewing gum in Ireland. We looked at these problems from economic, social and medical points of view.

In regard to economic costs of chewing gum, we contacted county councils, city councils and borough councils around the country to establish whether or not chewing gum related problems are nationwide occurrences, or if the problem is confined to Dublin City. We also asked the different councils to complete a survey on chewing gum, a copy of which is included later in the project. This survey investigates different aspects of chewing gum related problems but deals mostly with economic aspects, such as how much money is spent each year in each specific area, on chewing gum removal.

The results of this survey suggest that although chewing gum related problems are widespread, they are more severe in cities and large towns. On average, councils spend €14,250 on removing chewing gum, with some spending an amazing €54,000 per annum.

We also looked at the economic cost of chewing gum to private establishments, in the form of hotels, restaurants and concert venues. In addition to this, we investigated the problem specifically in relation to young people, who are seen to be the main offenders, by surveying both students and principals in schools, to evaluate the problem there.

To establish the hidden cost of chewing gum on society, we investigated how chewing gum affects the general public. The spectrum of chewing gum related problems ranges from chewing gum on hair, clothes and bags to walking in chewing gum on public streets. We evaluated public opinion on chewing gum through random sample surveying, which produced some surprising results, such as the overwhelming majority of people don't think the proposed tax on chewing gum would improve the problem. The full results of this survey are included later in the project.

We investigated the medical effects of chewing gum through research and scientific experimentation. One of the key questions here was : is it safe to swallow chewing gum? We conducted an experiment using sheep oesophagus and diastase to examine the effects on the digestion system. The results of this experiment are available later in the project.

Another topical question about the medical effects of chewing gum on the human body is: are the ingredients and additives in chewing gum harmful ? To find out we consulted medical dictionaries and literature on additives and E-numbers. We concluded that there is no harm done by the vast majority of the ingredients, but also found some disturbing facts about two of the additives, aspartame and malitol.

In conclusion, we recommend that awareness is raised on the subject of chewing gum related problems, specifically on the subject of chewing gum removal. Would people continue to drop their chewing gum on the ground if they knew it was costing €54,000 to remove? We suggest an advertising campaign to promote awareness of this problem. We include a sample poster board advertisement, targeting young people, who are, according to our research, the main offenders, so to speak, in this matter. Further conclusions and recommendations can be found below.

Conclusions and Recommendations:

Throughout our project, 'The Hidden Cost of Chewing Gum', we examined chewing gum and its effect on the world from medical, economic and social aspects. Some of what we found was shocking, and what struck us most was the sheer ignorance surrounding the problems caused by chewing gum.

Medically, we conclude that although chewing gum will not damage the digestive system, it can cause problems for small children. Dr. David Milov MD, from Nemou's Children's Clinic USA, where 'dozens' of cases attributed to swallowed chewing gum have been isolated, suggests that children should not be allowed to chew chewing gum until old enough 'to appreciate the risk involved in swallowing'.

However, on this point we must disagree. Through extensive research on the ingredients in chewing gum we must conclude it is not advisable to chew chewing gum, let alone swallow it. Ingredients in chewing gum, such as BHA (E320) Aspartame and Acesulfame K, have been linked to literally hundreds of serious side effects. Chewing gum may just cost the consumer 50 cent- but can you really put a price on your health? We recommend that people do not chew chewing gum, regardless of the fact that some dentists advise sugarfree chewing gum after meals, as it is beneficial to teeth, but utterly detrimental to the human body.

Economically, we conclude that the hidden cost of chewing gum to our economy is astronomical. In Ireland alone, over €413,250 is spent every year on chewing gum removal, and councils around the country are still dissatisfied and believe more awareness, more enforcement of the law, and more money is needed.
We recommend that the proposed tax on chewing gum be enacted as soon as possible. We calculate that €4 million stands to be collected from this tax. This could supply every city council with two chewing gum removal machines, each costing €7000, and each county council with one machine, and pay a gross salary of €40,000 for a machine operator all equaling €2,054,000. This would leave €1,948,000 to pay for an aggressive advertising campaign specifically related to chewing gum, costing €1,500,000, still leaving €484,000, a significant sum, to be put towards an environmental fund, which could pay for more litter wardens to enforce the laws in place.

When considering the hidden cost of chewing gum to society, we must look at the cost to all establishments frequented by the public, and the public's perception of chewing gum and the problems it causes. The cost to privately owned establishments appeared to be more customer and employee dissatisfaction related than actual financial cost. Our proposed advertising campaign would help to rectify this problem. Our surveys of the general public also supported the need for more awareness about chewing gum related issues, as 46% of people surveyed felt that chewing gum is not a problem in society. Would they feel the same way if they knew it is costing the country €413,250? Or if they had to try and remove it, like hotel and school cleaning staff? Again we recommend that awareness is promoted on this topic- we believe public education is the only answer to this problem.

One of the weaknesses of our surveying was that, regrettably, we were unable to complete surveys in more remote areas of the country. Although we are confident the data we have collected is accurate, ideally we would like to have surveyed more people around the country to make the results more representative of the country as a whole.

However, we believe that this project as an invaluable resource for the Department of Finance, and similar authorities around the world. Our findings prove that a tax on chewing gum would provide a solution, and the basis of a cure, in the form of aggressive advertising, to the chewing gum problem.

A cure, so to speak, is enforced in Singapore, where the government have banned chewing gum completely. We, on the other hand, don't believe a total embargo would work in Ireland. Singapore is often seen on the world stage as a nanny state on the international stage, and this is not an image Ireland would wish to project. Instead, we recommend increased awareness promotion and a tax on chewing gum. We hope our project will prove interesting to everyone and provide new, sometimes shocking, information on 'The Hidden Cost of Chewing Gum'.


Congratulations to Eimear and Fiona on a wonderful project. Here is a list of the prizes they won at the Young Scientists Competition

1.1st prize in the Social and Behavioural Sciences category.

2.Special Prize- Safefood award presented by the Food Safety Authority.