Scoil Dún Chaoin celebrates landmark in its history

Pic: Ted Creedon.
Pic: Ted Creedon.
Pic: Ted Creedon.
Pic: Ted Creedon.

Three decades ago Scoil Dun Chaoin was the subject of a countywide and national campaign which featured protest marches, sit-ins and arrests.

In the early 1970s the then Government announced it was closing the school. Locals objected, saying it would be the death knell of the community. The protesters organised a march to Dublin, meeting up in Naas and walking from there into the city, where they staged a sit-in. It was during the sit-in that Gardaí arrested and jailed a number of campaigners.

When the Fine-Gael/Labour coalition government came into power in 1973, one of their first acts was to re-open the school, which at the time had been closed for almost three years. Then Minister for Education Dick Burke, who would later become a European commissioner, visited Dun Chaoin for the official re-pening.

Many of the people involved in the protest were regular visitors to Dun Chaoin. Others were part time residents. One person who witnessed the Dublin protest was Micheál Ó Dubhshláine, who subsequently came to Kerry and became principal of Scoil Dún Chaoin, where he taught for thirty-three years.

To celebrate the landmark date, everyone who took part in the campaign is being invited to Dún Chaoin to take part in ‘Ceilliúradh 30 Bliain — Scoil Dun Chaoin’ taking place on the weekend of June 13, 14 and 15.

Dick Burke has accepted an invitation to be guest of honour at a special ceremony in the school on Friday, June 13 at 8pm, and recently retired Micheál Dubhshlaine will also be speaking at the event.

A concert featuring Liam Ó Maoinlaí, Tony McMahon and John Saunders, is being staged in the Blasket Centre on Saturday evening, June 14, at 8pm with Pádraig Ó Sé as Fear an Tí.

But music lovers are advised to book early because the centre seats just 120. Tickets cost ?20, which includes the cost of a meal, and can be booked at Ionad an Bhlascaoid.

Locals will already know that Liam Ó Maoinlaí attended the school in Dun Chaoin, as did his brother Colm. Kila band members the Ó Snodaighs were also pupils of Scoil Dun Chaoin, but unfortunately will be unable to attend the weekend.

The concert is being organised by Comharcumann Dun Chaoin and the School Management Board.

Other events being staged as part of the weekend include an exhibition of work by the pupils of the school, a video presentation on the history of the school and an open forum entitled ‘Oscail Scoil Dhún Chaoin’ (the mantra associated with the campaign to re-open the school) in the Blasket Centre featuring, amongst others, Bab Feirtear, Maire Mhac an tSaoí, Colm Ó Tórna, and Breandán Mac Gearailt. Micheál Ó Dubhshláine will be leading a historical walk around the parish on Sunday morning, following mass at 11am in the local church.

The theme of the Exhibition is ‘Share The Feeling’ and includes contributions from professional and amateur artists as well as works from most of the schools around the Peninsula. The Díseart will be open daily from June 10 to 30 and the exhibition is well worth a call for visitors and locals alike.

Meanwhile, the huge mural at the Tracks Road is now almost complete and adds a lot of colour and focus to the Special Olympics effort locally.

A parade through the streets of Dingle is planned for Thursday, June 20, to bid farewell to the South African visitors, and groups or individuals are most welcome to take part.

The Dingle Fife and Drum Band will lead the parade, starting from the Pier at 6.30pm. It is hoped to have a full programme of the Host Town plans early next week.

The exhibition features over 30 fine examples of the artist’s latest work, with the emphasis very much on views of Kerry, both well known and off the beaten track.

Pat lives at Maum na Gaoithe, having in recent years ‘migrated’ from his native Limerick to concentrate on the magnificent Kerry scenery. The exhibition can be previewed on his website at www.patmckenna.com http://www.patmckenna.com. As his previous exhibitions in the area have been sellouts, if you’re hoping to pick up one of his paintings an early visit is advised.

l ANYONE with items for this column can contact Emer Fallon at The Kerryman. Clash Industrial Estate, Tralee, phone 066 7145513, email efallon@kerryman.ie. Items should arrive no later than Monday afternoon.

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