Father takes bull by horns in bid to save daughter's school
A father has donated a €3,000 bull to his daughter's school because he is determined to do whatever he can to keep it open.
Glinsk National School in north-east Galway approached parents for raffle prizes in order to raise much-needed funds to carry out maintenance works.
But principal Marty Ward admitted he was stunned by the response from parents.
Des Joyce, whose eight-year-old daughter Ava attends the school, responded by donating a 15-month-old pedigree Limousin bull.
"We did it for the survival of the school. It's under pressure. We were talking about what we could raffle and I said I'd put up a bull. It's something different and it's got people talking," he said.
"My daughter is a student there and we've two more due to go. It's also the school I went to. We want to keep it open."
The animal, aptly named Hero, has started a frenzy of sales for the raffle tickets, with many of the rural dwellers eager to get their hands on the €3,000 worth of pedigree bull.
Parents are even set to take Hero to the local mart in Castlerea in order to drum up further interest in the raffle.
Mr Joyce said ticket buyers were more than a little surprised when they see the raffle prizes.
"They do get a surprise, I suppose they're not expecting to win a bull, especially when the tickets only cost €10. We decided to keep the ticket cost low so people might bite small and bite often," he added.
A Limousin bull would have expected to make in the region of €3,000 last year, according to Mr Joyce. However, that's not the only top prize donated by families. Another local couple donated a trip to Lanzarote valued at €1,500.
Mr Ward said he had been stunned when the offer of the bull was first made. "Over the years the community of Glinsk has prided itself for its community support and that's exactly what they are doing now with these prizes."
The school currently has 48 pupils, a drop of 100 from 1983 when it first opened. Numbers and enrolments at the school have been dwindling which has also been affected by a small number of families emigrating.
Tickets for the raffle, which takes place on May 3, can be purchased at www.glinskschooldraw.com.