Saturday 18 November 2017

'Diplomatic' pupils help give 90-year-old Gaelscoil a facelift

Craig Hughes

IT IS the oldest Gaelscoil in the country, and perhaps a little bit of experience helped in diplomatic negotiations for a new extension.

Scoil Bhride Gaelscoil in Ranelagh in Dublin is over 90 years old and has a fantastic location. But since it overlooks the Canadian Embassy, any building work can be a somewhat delicate issue.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn confirmed this yesterday, alluding to a call to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa to assauge any fears they might have had about the construction work.

"After promising that the children would not compromise the national security of Canada or steal any state secrets, they agreed," he joked.

And the children sang Canadian Leonard Cohen's classic 'Hallelujah' -- in Irish, of course -- for their neighbours and the assembled guests.

Principal Triona Ui Mhaoldomhnaigh addressed the gathering of proud parents and happy children, thanking them all for their hard work in bringing the project in on time and under budget.

The country's first Gaelscoil was founded in 1917 by Louise Gavan Duffy, one of the few women to participate in the 1916 Easter Rising.

Building of the extension began in October and while it caused severe disruption to school life, the 390 children didn't miss a single day.

"There has always been a great spirit in the school. Some of our students have been moved around two or three times during the course of the building but everyone just got on with it, they've all be fantastic," Ms Ui Mhaoldomhnaigh said.

She made her speech in both Irish and English, and Mr Quinn, for one, was thankful for that.

"Nil Gaeilge maith agam," he admitted before regaling his audience with the tale of his epic road, ferry and currach journey to the Aran Islands some 54 years ago.

The trip even inspired him to change the spelling of his name to the Irish way -- Ruairi.

The major structural make-over was the first building work carried out on the school in over 40 years, with prefabs used for extra students previously.

Irish Independent

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