Goodbye and good luck to Seamus!

Seamus rings the school bell for the last time. Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin
Seamus rings the school bell for the last time. Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin

Sinead Kelleher

There are few people who have given more to Realt na Mara National School than Seamus Shaughnessy, who has spent his entire teaching career in the rural school. But his ties to the national school go back well beyond that as it is the same school where he himself went to school.

Seamus is originally from Cromane  so he was more than delighted to return home from St Pat's teaching training college to a job in his home parish. He began teaching there in 1977 and this year ended his 42 year teaching career with a huge party at the school  on Saturday night.  Much has changed since Seamus began his own school career and also since he returned to Cromane to begin his teaching career, most notably a new school building and something that Seamus is very proud of.

The original school was built in 1866 and following a strong community campaign a new school opened in 1986 - 100 years since the first school opened.  At the time this was a huge step forward for the school which up until 1986 had no indoor plumbing or carpet or any modern facilities. It was thanks to the O'Sulllivan and Joy family who donated the land for the new school that the project came to fruition and Seamus and the school team are forever grateful for this. They have also since donated land to the school for further development.

Saturday night saw past and present teachers and members of the board of management along with the local community and Seamus's friends and family gather  at the school to mark Seamus's retirement and his years of dedication to the school.  Seamus even planted a tree to mark the moment and so future pupils can remember him. Seamus says he is looking forward to his retirement and plan is to just enjoy life.

"I've been practising all summer for it and I am getting good at it now,"  he quipped.  "I have no real plans but I made the decision to retire to just smell the roses."  Seamus  thanked everyone for the party on Saturday night and the kind gifts and speeches made on the night to thank him for his years of service. "I am very grateful and humbled by it all," he said.