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Saturday 10 December 2016

Pupils take a barefoot step back in time

Published 24/02/2012 | 05:00

YOU could be forgiven for thinking you'd stepped back in time as children got into the spirit to celebrate an important anniversary for their school.

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Donning old clothes salvaged from attics and in their bare feet, the pupils of Lissivigeen National School, on the outskirts of Killarney in Co Kerry, got a taste of what it felt like for their grandparents and great-grandparents attending their school.

Although it moved into a new building in 1968, Lissivigeen celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2011 but only got a chance to formally mark the occasion yesterday.

Principal and former Kerry footballer Mike McAuliffe is only the sixth headmaster to serve at the school in its 150-year history.

"They resurrected old shirts borrowed from grandparents, skirts and shawls and some even decided to come in their bare feet," Mr McAuliffe told the Irish Independent.

"There's an old photograph on the wall taken in the 1930s and they got the inspiration for their clothes from that. It was a DIY job. Nothing was bought; it was all down to the creativity of the children and their parents and they really enjoyed it."

Children had been studying the history of the school and their community in the run up to the celebrations and had interviewed local man Jackie 'The Farmer' O'Sullivan, who turns 100 on Holy Thursday and enrolled in the school in 1920.

More than 400 people attended a special celebration in the hall last night, where the school's six principals were represented.

Local woman Maureen O'Reilly spoke on the occasion on behalf of her grandfather and father, who were both named James P O'Reilly, and were the second and third principals of the school. The first was Peter Fleming, a father-in-law to James P O'Reilly Snr. The fourth principal, Tadhg O'Sullivan, was represented by his son and chairman of the board of management, Sean O'Sullivan.

Retired principal Bernadette Noonan also attended along with Mr McAuliffe.

Irish Independent

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