Monday 5 December 2016

Proclamation Day: 'once in a generation' occasion for schools around the country

We're looking for the best videos of kids reading the Proclamation today! Send them to us at contact@independent.ie or on Twitter with the hashtag #IndoSubmit

Ralph Riegel, Katherine Donnell, Caroline Crawford and Greg Harkin

Published 15/03/2016 | 02:30

Students of Grange National School, Fermoy, Co Cork : Max O'Connor, Grace Hickey, Millie Cahill,Darragh Howard, with school Secretary Ursula Gubbins preparing for their Proclamation Day events. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney
Students of Grange National School, Fermoy, Co Cork : Max O'Connor, Grace Hickey, Millie Cahill,Darragh Howard, with school Secretary Ursula Gubbins preparing for their Proclamation Day events. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney
Teacher Eilis Treacy teaching principal and her 5th and 6th class at St Brendan's NS Eyrecourt, Co Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes
Kaelan Geng, Charlie Martin and Declan Gbinigie, all in fourth class at Scoil Eanna in Galway. Photo:Andrew Downes
Pupils with a gramophone in Proclamation Day exhibition at Desertserges NS, Enniskeane, Co Cork.
Peter Savage, Grandson of Martin Savage who fought in the 1916 Rising here with the Great Great Grand-Nephews of Martin Savage, Jack, Adam and Leon Savage, holding a picture of Martin Savage at Ransboro National School, Ransboro, Co. Sligo, yesterday. Photo: James Connolly

It will be a day of song, music, drama, poetry and art in the country's 4,000 schools and third-level colleges as they celebrate Proclamation Day, commemorating events of Ireland in 1916 and creating a vision for the country in the future.

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The major highlights of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme include the day being marked across the education sector with the raising of the Tricolour, the reading of the 1916 Proclamation by a student, past pupil or special guest, followed by a reading of the school's own Proclamation for a new generation. Students will then showcase their own contribution to the day, whether in the form of music, theatre, poetry, art or other displays.

Arts Minister Heather Humphreys described Proclamation Day as a once in a generation occasion and a culmination of months of work by teachers, parents and pupils, who had "so eagerly embraced the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme".

Did your child play a part in history today? We're looking for the best videos of kids reading the Proclamation- send them to us at contact@independent.ie or on Twitter with the hashtag #IndoSubmit and we'll feature the best!

A great celebration of Irish tolerance

By Ralph Riegel

Teacher Eilis Treacy teaching principal and her 5th and 6th class at St Brendan's NS Eyrecourt, Co Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes
Teacher Eilis Treacy teaching principal and her 5th and 6th class at St Brendan's NS Eyrecourt, Co Galway. Photo: Andrew Downes

One rural school has vowed to turn Proclamation Day into a celebration of tolerance and inclusiveness for modern Ireland.

Principal of Grange national school in Cork, Catherine Reidy, said the event had successfully captured the imagination of all youngsters and deeply involved them in a festival of Irish culture.

Kaelan Geng, Charlie Martin and Declan Gbinigie, all in fourth class at Scoil Eanna in Galway. Photo:Andrew Downes
Kaelan Geng, Charlie Martin and Declan Gbinigie, all in fourth class at Scoil Eanna in Galway. Photo:Andrew Downes

"The students felt it got them involved in the whole centenary programme and everyone is really excited about the events planned for today," she said.

But she stressed both teachers and students were acutely conscious of the need to ensure the day was inclusive and non-militaristic.

Pupils with a gramophone in Proclamation Day exhibition at Desertserges NS, Enniskeane, Co Cork.
Pupils with a gramophone in Proclamation Day exhibition at Desertserges NS, Enniskeane, Co Cork.

"Everyone wanted the day to be inclusive and respectful towards all cultures and backgrounds," she said.

Ms Reidy said this was important because Grange, like a lot of other schools, has people from UK backgrounds and it was important to involve them in the centenary in a respectful and inclusive fashion. The rural school also has people from other ethnic backgrounds, so she said it was important to help them feel involved as well.

Peter Savage, Grandson of Martin Savage who fought in the 1916 Rising here with the Great Great Grand-Nephews of Martin Savage, Jack, Adam and Leon Savage, holding a picture of Martin Savage at Ransboro National School, Ransboro, Co. Sligo, yesterday. Photo: James Connolly
Peter Savage, Grandson of Martin Savage who fought in the 1916 Rising here with the Great Great Grand-Nephews of Martin Savage, Jack, Adam and Leon Savage, holding a picture of Martin Savage at Ransboro National School, Ransboro, Co. Sligo, yesterday. Photo: James Connolly

"Our day will involve reading the Proclamation of Independence, students then reading their own proclamations, as well as events like tin-whistle playing, art, poetry and some Irish singing," she said.

Young journalists dig out stories about their school in 1916

By Katherine Donnelly

The pupils at St Brendan's National School, Eyrecourt, Co Galway, are well used to publishing their own monthly newspaper.

This time they had to go back a little further than the past four weeks. But digging out some interesting information for a special 1916 supplement was second nature to the young journalists.

The 'Eyrecourt Examiner' is unique in Irish education, written and produced by fifth and sixth class pupils, under the direction of principal Eilis Treacy.

As part of their Proclamation Day commemorations, the 'Eyrecourt Examiner's' special supplement looked back on the history of the school, including inspectors' reports from 100 years ago. One dating from a visit on March 24, 1916, followed an examination of cookery: "The dishes cooked were satisfactory but too many were done at the same time. Answering and written work were very good.

"Suggestions: Only one kind of dish to be prepared at a time, eg four soda cakes, then four cornflour moulds."

All of fifth and sixth class are on the newspaper team. According to the principal: "At the beginning of each year I advertise the positions and they must all apply in writing. This year we have two chief editors, four sub-editors and the rest are reporters and photographers."

Producing the paper also gives the students an introduction to business. Advertising space is sold at the rate of €20 for a full page and €10 for a half page. The paper sells for €2 and pupils pay the school for the printing costs.

They maintain a spreadsheet to monitor profits, which are spent on "team-building" outings. Last year, it was a bootcamp and an end-of-year kayaking session followed by a meal.

Gaeilge, freckles, and bacon and cabbage: what 10-year-olds say it means to be Irish

By Caroline Crawford

Speaking Irish, playing Gaelic sports, freckles, and eating  non-spicy food all make the list of what makes us Irish.

Schoolboys in Galway marked the 1916 centenary by creating a video on what being Irish means.

The students in Scoil Éinde in Salthill spent three months studying what life was like 100 years ago, as they prepared for Proclamation Day.

For nine-year-old Declan Ghinigie, whose parents come from Nigeria, speaking as Gaeilge is the most important thing.

"I love learning Irish and getting to speak it.

"It's important because 1916 gave the country freedom so they could speak Irish," he said.

Kaelan Geng (10), whose parents come from China, said he enjoyed learning about life in 1916. He said: "It's important to learn how things were different when Britain ruled Ireland.

"Now, we can speak Irish and things are better for people."

The video has gone global with 8,500 views and responses from Africa, Europe, North and South America, Australia and Asia. Students are hoping to hit all continents by St Patrick's Day.

"The students really thought about what it meant for them and, after studying about mass emigration from Ireland, they wanted to see how their message could spread around the world," said fourth class teacher Niamh Hickey. "We're just waiting on someone to send us a hello from Antarctica."

The students also took part in their own elections, highlighting the importance of having a vote.

Rolling back the years to life a century ago

A community trawled through its attics so that pupils in the local school could wind back the clocks and imagine how it was living 100 years ago.

The 18-pupil Desertserges National School, Enniskeane, west Cork, has transformed into a living museum for Proclamation Day. It has an old school desk, leather satchel, a working gramophone, workmen's tools and bathroom items among the historical artefacts on display in a special exhibition.

Pupils will add to the atmosphere by dressing up in costumes depicting the era, and the school is throwing open its doors to share the spectacle with the local community.

The Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Dr Paul Colton, is marking Proclamation Day by visiting Desertserges NS and a number of other schools in the diocese, starting in St Brendan the Navigator NS, in Bantry.

He said the small rural schools' programme for Proclamation Day "really captures something of what our nation has become 100 years on from 1916. Their commemoration begins with prayers in Irish, English, Russian, Latvian and Albanian, the birth languages of the children."

Nephew of Rising Volunteer to raise the Tricolour

The nephew of a Rising Volunteer will raise the flag at his grandchildren's school today on his birthday.

Peter Savage (76) is the special guest of Ransboro National School near Strandhill, Co Sligo.

His uncle, Martin Savage, was interned after surrendering to the British at the GPO in 1916.

He was shot dead by the British during the attempted assassination of viceroy Lord John French in December 1919. Three of Peter's grandsons are pupils at Ransboro.

"It's going to be a very special day for our family," said Peter.

"The sacrifice made remains as much a part of our family as it was 100 years ago. It's my 76th birthday and this one will be the most special of all of them."

His grandson Adam has completed a magnificent school project on the life of his famous great grand-uncle.

"It's a very proud day for Ransboro National School and especially for my family," said the nine-year-old.

"It is sad too, though. My uncle didn't make it. But I'm looking forward to seeing my granddad raise the flag at our school. It is very special."

School principal Siobhán Clarke said her 229 pupils had learned a lot from the Proclamation Day experience.

They have made 482 pottery Easter lilies, one for each life lost during Easter Week 1916.

Irish Independent

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