Thursday 23 November 2017

The Leaving was harder than college finals

Classroom confidential with Cathy Belton

Cathy Belton in Red Rock
Cathy Belton in Red Rock

John Costello

Cathy Belton took a break from playing Patricia Hennessy in TV3's soap Red Rock to tell us about her school days and why Maire Geoghegan Quinn made such a big impact.

Where did you go to school?

For secondary I went to Dominican College, Taylor's Hill, Galway and my primary school was Scoil Chaitriona, Renmore, Co Galway.

Were you a Goody Two-Shoes or a bit of a Nightmare on Elm Street?

[Laughs] I was a hard-working average student. But I could be a bit of a daydreamer. I suppose I was a bit of a shy kid but I found myself as I got older.

What is your first memory of school?

How I loved my uniform. I wore a blue pinafore, light blue shirt and navy cardigan. I thought it was fantastic [laughs].

What teacher made the biggest impression on you?

Maire Geoghegan Quinn was my teacher in primary school and she was wonderful. She really helped us learn how to communicate and express ourselves.

In what way?

Well, as part of one lesson, she said to me: "I am a person and I cannot walk. You are going to teach me how to walk." I told her: "You just have to put one foot in front of the other." She replied: "What is a foot?"


The lesson was all about the power of communication and how you need to be patient in getting your point across.

What was your favourite subject?

I fell in love with English.

And what started that love affair?

Romeo and Juliet. It was such an adventure. I couldn't get over the edginess and boldness of it. I had never heard language like that before.

What is the naughtiest thing you ever did?

We thought it would be great craic to turn our jumpers, shirts and ties back-to-front. I remember being very disappointed that when the teacher arrived to class, she was very unimpressed.

What would you change?

The Leaving Cert was a stressful time and I think it is for everyone. I found the Leaving Cert harder than my finals in college. There must be a better way.

Irish Independent

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