Bartle is still teaching at 80!
One of Ireland's longest serving teachers marked his 80th birthday at the weekend - with old pals.
Bartle Woods was hailed in Monastery Boys NS in Ardee, where he taught from 1978 up to his retirement at 65.
But not content with that commitment, he has been teaching Irish music to the students for the last 15 years!
Liam Hennessy was the new principal at the time and was beginning to develop a distinctive culture and ethos for the school. Renowned artist Paddy Lynch was deputy principal at the time and was ably assisted by fellow teachers Pat Madigan, Anne McCoy, Margaret McCahey, Rose McGrane, Vincent Hanratty, Margaret Clarke and Miriam Hanberry.
Bartle was appointed Deputy Principal in 1992 and also acting principal in 1993. In 2002 Bartle decided to officially retire at the tender age of 65. Bartle continued his long standing practice of teaching traditional music to the boys which continues to this day.
He tutors the boys in tin whistle and accompanies them on the fiddle at key school events such as Confirmation, Green Flag ceremonies, School Concerts and much more.
Indeed Bartle has only missed two Confirmation ceremonies in 39 years and has performed with his group of boys for Cardinal Tomás O'Fiach, Cardinal Cathal Daly, Cardinal Seán Brady, Bishop Gerard Clifford, Archdeacon Jim Carroll, Canon Eugene Sweeney and Archbishop Eamonn Martin. He was also a prolific athlete in his day and often ended the school day by running numerous laps of the school field! He continues to coordinate the long jump during the school Sports Day in June each year.
Bartle was presented with a token of appreciation from all the staff and Principal Mr McGee quipped that "you can retire officially from Monastery NS but you can never leave!"