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Essie is acknowledged as she says goodbye after 36 years teaching

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(Back, from left) Catherine Byrne, Marian Breen, Essie Morris, Fr Michael Byrne, Mark Kelly (principal), Anne O’Dowd, (middle) Dylan Tyrrell, Mark Smith, Anne O’Brien, Emma Byrne and (front) Abigail Crean and Conor Sinnott at Bree NS

(Back, from left) Catherine Byrne, Marian Breen, Essie Morris, Fr Michael Byrne, Mark Kelly (principal), Anne O’Dowd, (middle) Dylan Tyrrell, Mark Smith, Anne O’Brien, Emma Byrne and (front) Abigail Crean and Conor Sinnott at Bree NS

(Back, from left) Catherine Byrne, Marian Breen, Essie Morris, Fr Michael Byrne, Mark Kelly (principal), Anne O’Dowd, (middle) Dylan Tyrrell, Mark Smith, Anne O’Brien, Emma Byrne and (front) Abigail Crean and Conor Sinnott at Bree NS

enniscorthyguardian

There were emotional scenes in Bree National School recently when teacher, Essie Morris, retired after a glittering career stretching back 36 years.

A number of presentations were made to her by staff members, pupils, the Board of Management and the Parents' Association.

Remarkably, Essie spent her entire teaching career in Bree National School and when speaking to this newspaper about her life in the classroom she said things have changed considerably since she first took up her teaching appointment in September 1984.

'It was my first job and I got it after coming straight out of Carysfort College,' she said.

She was appointed to her role by the late Fr Aidan Kavanagh, who passed away shortly after her appointment.

When she started the school was very small and the other staff members at the time included Principal, JJ Fitzgerald, David Sheehan, Catherine Byrne, Mary Egan-Byrne, and the late Breda Dawson.

'There was the school building and two pre-fabs when I started and I was given a room under the stage in Bree Community Centre, which was made into a classroom,' said Essie.

She has fond memories of the centre's caretaker at the time, Tony Greene, who she said was very good to her and the pupils in her care.

During her time in Bree she was appointed Principal, however, she preferred teaching and soon went back to the classroom.

'The children in Bree are exceptional and always were,' said Essie.

'The parents are also fantastic and very supportive,' she added.

'It's a really fantastic place to teach.'

Acknowledging the support she received from within the community she praised everyone involved with the school and also Byrne's Shop in Bree and local groups like the ICA and the GAA.

From 'talk-and-chalk' to whiteboards teaching has changed immensely over the years but it's all been positive and now Essie is looking forward to spending more time with her husband, Paddy, and her family.


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