Thursday 21 March 2019

Blathnaid Treacy: 'I met my best friend right in the classroom'

RTE Two Tube and Spin FM presenter Blathnaid Treacy reflects on her first day of school.

Blathnaid Treacy
Blathnaid Treacy
Blathnaid Treacy: My first day at school
From left to right; Mary McEvoy as Biddy Byrne, Grace Barry as Mary-Ann, Mick Lally as Miley Byrne and Blathnaid Treacy as Denise. 'Glenroe' ran from 1983-2001.

I remember my first day of primary school really clearly; getting up early, brushing my teeth, eating my breakfast, getting into my uniform and being taken to school by my mum.

I am the youngest of six so had heard a lot about classrooms, teachers and homework from my brothers and sister so was really excited to get started. I didn't have any nerves whatsoever just curiosity about what was in store.

From left to right; Mary McEvoy as Biddy Byrne, Grace Barry as Mary-Ann, Mick Lally as Miley Byrne and Blathnaid Treacy as Denise. 'Glenroe' ran from 1983-2001.
From left to right; Mary McEvoy as Biddy Byrne, Grace Barry as Mary-Ann, Mick Lally as Miley Byrne and Blathnaid Treacy as Denise. 'Glenroe' ran from 1983-2001.

My mum had bought me a bright pink school bag with a picture of Ariel from The Little Mermaid on it. I absolutely loved it and felt extremely important carrying it when I walked through the school gates, even though there was only a pencil and my lunchbox in it. I felt like a grown up with the school bag on.

I didn't cry when my mum left me at the classroom I was just interested to see what happened in school, and I was looking forward to seeing my sister Anna at break time.

I don't think she was overly emotional either - like I said I am the youngest of six - so I think she was just happy to be finally getting the house to herself for a few hours every day.

Mum fussed over my uniform, which was a hand me down from one of my older siblings, and then waved goodbye.

My primary school was an Irish-speaking school in my hometown of Bray called Scoil Chualann, it was a fairly strict primary school - we all had to take our shoes off and wear 'bróg teach' or house shoes when we were in our lessons but the teachers were really warm and friendly.

Once I had my 'bróg teach' on and was inside the classroom I remember seeing another girl standing on the other side of the room; she smiled at me and we started playing together and talking about toys.

Her name was Holly Cullen and we have been best friends ever since. It's really nice having a friend who you have grown up with; I love the fact that we have been friends since we were four-years-old and have so many great memories together.

Funnily enough, I can't remember my teacher's name (I'm positive my mum will) but she had blonde hair and was very smiley. The classroom was bright with pictures on the wall and a giant blackboard. It's funny how many details of your first day you remember but I suppose it is a formative experience.

Blathnaid Treacy: My first day at school
Blathnaid Treacy: My first day at school

I really enjoyed going to an Irish language school - I went on to study at Coláiste Íosagáin when I was a teenager - so attending an Irish-speaking primary school was a great foundation.

I played the part of Denise Byrne in RTE series Glenroe from the age of three months until I was 13-years-old. I was Biddy and Miley's daughter and working on the show was a great experience, it was such a big part of life going in and filming with the team.

When I started school being on the show wasn't really an issue but some of the parents waiting at the school gates would ask my mum what the upcoming plot lines were and talk about the characters.

When I got into 4th and 5th class I would get teased a little bit about it, people would come in on a Monday and ask me what was going to happen next and what Biddy was really like.

Sometimes people would sing the theme tune when I was at parties but it was all very light-hearted and everyone knew I had five brothers looking out for me so that kept it to a minimum.

I have called back to my primary school since I left - it's where I'm registered to vote - and I always find it fascinating wandering around the corridors and peering into my old classrooms.

The building and playground are filled with so many memories, you remember the place you fell in the yard and grazed your knee, the room you practised for choir, and the place you met your best friend.

When I started primary school I remember thinking everything was absolutely ginormous, the stage in the school hall seemed to stretch on forever and the teachers towered over me but now everything looks so tiny and miniature.

You see the place with a whole new perspective when you're much older.

I wasn't sad leaving primary school, I was really excited to be moving on to the next phase. Plus all my brothers and sisters were in secondary school at that stage and I wanted to see what the fuss was about.

Irish Independent

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