Quads take first day of school in stride
"A haon, a do, a tri, a ceathair . . . all together now."
There was a quick headcount before John Maher and his wife Mary loaded their quadruplets into the family minibus destined for Ballon national school yesterday.
Carlow's famous quads Jamie, Robbie, Lillie and Johnny didn't shed a tear between them on their first day at school.
But there were plenty of tears across the country yesterday as thousands of boys and girls waved goodbye to their parents.
Unsurprisingly, mums and dads found it harder to let go of their little ones as most infants settled in quickly.
The Maher quads were thrilled to be surrounded by their pals but the momentous day was "very emotional" for their parents, and grandmothers Lily Nolan and Pol Maher.
Their first day was planned with military precision by Mary, but even her organisational skills couldn't prevent a hiccup.
"It's a good thing we left early," she explained.
"We forgot Lillie's schoolbag and had to go back."
Some were more enthusiastic than others, however, with little Jamie waking up at 4.20am, clutching his schoolbag "in the bed, ready to go!".
The first day ended at 12.30pm and homework was Johnny's first priority.
"He had the bag open and was doing his colouring. They couldn't wait to tell me all about their day," said Mary.
Johnny is in the same class as his sister, Lillie, while Robbie is sharing a classroom with Jamie.
"They don't mind at all, they're great kids," said Mary.
Elsewhere, there were touching scenes in one Limerick primary school where four children enjoyed a very special reunion on their first day at school.
Premature triplets Chloe, Rachel and Robbie Widger (4) started at Monaleen national school in Limerick with four-year-old Sam Prendergast, who also arrived into the world ahead of his due date.
All four spent several weeks together in the neo-natal unit of the Mid-Western Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick.