McManus family connection comes to an end as Green Flag raised at Glenbrien NS

Published 08/07/2014|05:34

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At the retirement party in the Amber Springs Hotel for teacher Eileen Porter were, from left, Sean Porter, Evelyn Porter, Coolgreany NS principal Matthew Meleady, Eileen, Francis Porter and Isaac Porter, and, in the back row, other members of Eileen’s family.

The McManus family connection to the primary school in Glenbrien has come to an end after 66 years.

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Principal Padraig McManus has retired from the post in which he was successor to his late father.

Cavan native Joe McManus arrived at the old schoolhouse in the village in 1947 with his wife Joan (née Doyle).

Accommodation came with the job and Padraig was one of a family of six who grew up on the spot.

He still recalls hearing the sound of metal skittles being played on the road in the village, at a time when most of the houses there were thatched.

He also attended lessons conducted by his father before departing for St Peter's College and, eventually, teacher training in London.

His first appointment was at a school at Sydenham in the south east of the city where he was working when sad news came from home in 1976.

His father had died unexpectedly and he returned to Ireland, taking up a position at Glenbrien NS in 1977.

Padraig has been there ever since, apart from a career break during the 1990s when he spent five years in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah.

The school he joined in 1977 had around 120 children on the roll, all crammed into a building that was built in 1887.

The extension added in 1939 did not run to indoor toilets, while the high windows ensured that the young scholars could see little of the outside world.

He became principal in 1983, later supervising the move to more modern premises in 1992.

He takes pride in the fact that he managed to convince the Department of Education to include a general purpose room big enough for PE sessions and concerts in the plans.

Nevertheless, the local community had to find substantial funds for the project.

'I am leaving a lovely school,' muses Padraig, who now resides in Gorey, as he hands over to newly appointed Fiona Cleere.

Gorey Guardian

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