CULLEN'S official opening of its multi purpose primary school has brought a great advancement to the educational resources of its hinterland.
That summarized a proud and exciting day last Saturday - the culmination of the €820,000 magnificent school situated in the heart of the village improves accessibility to pupils, staff and the community. Fittingly, the dawning of a new chapter was greeted by favourable weather and bright sunshine added to a highly impressive ceremony that lured a big attendance to the village.
The new Chuilinn Uí Chaoimh school opened its doors last September and replaces the older school at the top of Lislehane hill, which was in operation since 1938.
Proceedings opened with mass and afterwards Cullen Pipe Band performed joyous tunes on a parade to the adjacent new school as blue and gold balloons were released into the skyline before former Board of Management chairman Gerald O'Keeffe cut the tape to officially open the school.
School principal Hannah Kelleher explained how an application for a new school was submitted to the Department of Education and Science under a board of management headed by Fr. O'Leary in 2006. Cork North West TD Michael Moynihan prepared a meeting with then Education Minister Mary Hannifan to advance Cullen's cause.
"We were particularly fortunate here in Cullen as we had a local son, Batt O'Keeffe, become Education Minister. He ensured that our need for a new school was kept to the fore and thus we're here today on this happy occasion", she said.
The new school comprises four classrooms with ensuite facilities, two resource rooms, storage area, staff room, offices, general purpose room and a servery with a play area, basketball court, football pitch and car parking facilities outdoors.
"The highly commendable commitment of Cullen NS to physical activity and sport for all of its pupils, at a time when the physical fitness of our youth is very much of concern, is evident by the importance placed on provision of sporting and fitness facilities in the school", said Ms Kelleher.
The school principal paid tribute to Cullen GAA for their support in caring for the school field. Additionally, the school promotes an awareness of healthy eating, euro saving stamps in conjunction with Rathmore Credit Union, public speaking, participation in the Primary Science Awards and achieving two Green flag awards.
"Through IRD Duhallow we have been enabled to engage with the local Cullen website where, along with our own school website, we upload events and news of our endeavours. The new environment of the school will allow children explore new opportunities to avail of an enhanced educational experience", said Ms. Kelleher.
Thanks were extended to the Design team including architect Joe O'Sullivan; Quantity Surveyor Martin Long of Henley, Cavanagh and McGowen; Christy Leahy of Matt O'Mahony and Associates, mechanical and electrical engineers and MMD Construction.
"Cullen NS is testament to the dedication of all our staff and the commitment of the board of managements and parents.
"Vision, determination, inclusion and commitment are hallmarks of Cullen School community. Together, we make a formidable team," concluded Ms Kelleher.
Chairman to the board of management Patrick Murphy said it was a momentous occasion which came after trojan work in procuring land and developing a state of the art educational facility.
"Regarding the former school, many people over the years were concerned about the danger posed by the heavy traffic on the N72, the Mallow -Killarney Road. Now, we're situated in a secure location, ensuring ease of access to our Church and the village's amenities from the Community Centre and GAA field", he said.
Guests and parents were entertained indoors with captivating performances from pupils showcasing the songs, music and dance talents to confirm Chuilinn Uí Chaoimh's current generation of school children are the new keepers of traditional and cultural talent.
Amongst the attendance at the opening were former Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe, Michael Moynihan TD and Maura Walsh, manager IRD Duhallow.