Saturday 10 December 2016

More about the Flags for Schools initiative

Published 15/10/2015 | 02:30

Kevin Walsh (4) the youngest pupil holds the proclamation while Samantha Riordan, (12) the oldest holds the Tricolour with principal Evelyn O'Shea at Curraheen National School, Glenbeigh, County Kerry.
Kevin Walsh (4) the youngest pupil holds the proclamation while Samantha Riordan, (12) the oldest holds the Tricolour with principal Evelyn O'Shea at Curraheen National School, Glenbeigh, County Kerry.

In the shadow of the McGillicuddy Reeks, Curraheen National School in Glenbeigh was amongst the first in the country to receive its tricolour and copy of the Proclamation under the 'Flags for Schools' initiative.

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The picturesque 32-pupil school outside the village of Glenbeigh on the Ring of Kerry was first opened in 1909 but this is thought to be the first time it has possessed its very own national flag - a fact celebrated by the children attending the school.

"Two army personnel presented the flag to our youngest and eldest children, Kevin Walsh (4) and Samantha Riordan (12)," explains Principal Evelyn O'Shea who believes the initiative also offers children across the country the chance to meet members of the Defence Forces for the first time.

"A lot of our pupils were so excited to see the soldiers coming here in uniform," she says. "For most it was the first time they had spoken to anyone from the army and they asked them questions about their roles. An officer spoke simply and clearly to our pupils and spent a lot of time explaining the significance of this event and the work that they do, especially with regards to peace keeping abroad."

And fourth class students Darragh Lynch and Leona Clifford (both 10) says the visit helped them to better understand the significance of what happened in 1916.

"We're looking forward to flying the flag outside our school in March next year along with other schools across Ireland," says Darragh, while Leona adds: "By listening to the Proclamation being read out and understanding how to look after and fly our flag we're learning why 1916 was so important for our country. The soldiers spoke to us for well over an hour and it was so great that we could ask them our questions and have them in our school."

Teachers and pupils at the school are also planning to work on a project and exhibition recalling the role the local community played in the events of 1916 and the fight for Independence.

Irish Independent

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