Jun 28 2012
Archive for June, 2012
Jun 28 2012
Landmark Day for Official Opening of Dualla NS
Friday, June 15th was a day that will be forever etched in the illustrious history of Dualla NS. The School Community worked religiously behind the scenes for many months prior to the ‘Big Day’. This involved huge sacrifices on the part of many and the sense of community spirit was very evident on the day. People came from all over the world to celebrate this unique occasion with us. Former pupils, Past Teachers and Principals, Former Board of Management Members & Chairpersons and many Parishioners with strong links to the school all returned in unison to reminisce on the past and to admire the new and modern Learning Environment that the new school now provides. The poor weather conditions did not deter our many guests, many of whom travelled significant distances to be with us. Nothing was going to impact on our Special Day. It was a day of friendship, rejoicing and thanks. It was a landmark day in the history of education in our parish.
Dualla NS welcomed its first pupils to the school in May 1861. We moved into our new school on June 13th, 2011 which was exactly 150 years after the first children entered the school. Throughout the history of the school, the sense of community spirit & generosity have been forever entwined in the very fabric of our existence. Our fundraising effort secured one quarter of the necessary finance to fund this ambitious project. Our Board of Management applied successfully for a Grant under the Devolved Grant Scheme, which guaranteed the remaining three quarters of finance required. When the new school was being built, we relocated to the Parish Hall across the road. Thanks to our school community, we succeeded in turning this old building into a school for the year. The children really loved their new home. They enjoyed eating their lunch outside on the benches, playing tennis in the tennis courts and even the odd ‘cooking class’ with our Comenius Teacher Anita! The staff enjoyed having a kitchen for the first time ever and we even had an office! It was symbolic that we found ourselves in the Parish Hall for the year. The Parish Hall housed many of our former Principals over the years including Andy Finn, James Sheridan and more recently Liam Ó Duibhir, so it was appropriate that we spent the 2010/2011 school year in a building that has so many nice links to our proud past.
On the day of the Official Opening, we allowed the children to have a “Lie in!” and rewarded them for their good behaviour with an 11.30a.m. start! The later starting time gave the boys sufficient time to get their hair done! Our former pupil and Munster and Irish Rugby star Denis Leamy had dropped into the school around 11.00a.m. to wish the children well for their “Big Day”. When the children arrived into school, they were summoned to the Junior Classroom and much to their great surprise; they were greeted by Denis Leamy. Denis thanked them for their loyalty and support during his playing career and he presented a signed Munster Jersey to 1st Class pupil Sinead Kennedy. The next item on our Agenda was the Creation of a Time Capsule. The children from both classrooms put things that had special significance for them into our Time Capsule. Some items put into the Time Capsule included a Confirmation Scrapbook, The Official Opening Booklet, Sir’s Speech Cards (Far too many!!), Junior Room News Stories, Sliotar, School Newsletter, Alive O Religion Book along with many other items. 2nd Class pupil Ciara Gahan was given the job of locking the Time Capsule. The objective would be to open it again in maybe fifty years time on the next significant milestone day for the school.
Our many guests started to arrive from around midday onwards. As the official starting time of 1pm approached, the weather began to deteriorate. Our Sound Engineer for the day Eamon Quinlan had many challenges to contend with on the day as we were waiting until the very last minute before deciding on an inside/outside location for the School Blessing. To his great credit, Eamon remained calm throughout and catered for our every need in this department on the day. Our original plan had been to have the School Blessing outside but the poor weather dictated that the blessing would now take place inside. Our excellent MC Rosie Gahan stamped her authority on proceedings and the children then put our contingency plan into place and formed an orderly Guard of Honour along the main school corridor! Our guests then began to filter out of the classrooms and we had our Official Blessing in the school’s entrance hall. Having the Blessing inside actually enhanced things and added to the intimacy of the day. After the Prayers of the Faithful and Readings, the school was blessed by our local parish priests V. Rev. Joe Egan, P.P. and Rev. Peter Brennan, C.C. We then moved outside and took great pride in witnessing youngest pupil in the school Kathlyn Lahart and one of our oldest past pupils Michael O’ Connor cut the ribbon to officially open our new school. Soon after, Sr. Margaret Finn and another of our oldest former pupils Michael Heffernan then unveiled our school’s new plaque much to the delight and cheers of the large gathering.
We then moved inside into Classroom 2 for some more formalities. Fr. Brennan commenced proceedings and thanked everybody for making such an effort to be there with us for our special day. He referenced the strong emphasis the school community places on the links between the past and present. Engineer and Project Manager John Brennan of ABN Midlands was next to speak. From a consultant’s perspective, ABN’s John Brennan described the staff of Dualla NS as being “extremely easy clients to gain instruction from”. He highlighted the “determination and pragmatism” of the Dualla NS Board of Management as crucial ingredients to the success of this project. John concluded by praising the Board of Management for having the “vision and courage to aspire to designing a building that would meet the medium and long term needs of the school”. School Principal John Manley was the next speaker. Mr. Manley began by referencing some of the school’s illustrious history. He spoke with great pride of how the school community placed such significant emphasis on the virtues of generosity and goodwill. John proceeded to welcome some very important guests. He spoke of his great pleasure at meeting the daughters of former principal Andy Finn; Sr. Margaret and Sr. De Pezzi. He welcomed the family of Michael Sheridan. Michael is a son of former Principal James Sheridan. John Manley also acknowledged the significant contribution that his predecessor Liam Ó Duibhir had made to school life in Dualla. The Builder John Ryan Con and Engineer John Brennan ABN Midlands were acknowledged for their commitment to the project. The “meticulous” approach of Engineer John Brennan was also lauded. The Parents Association received great praise for being “vibrant, consistent, loyal and creative”. The contribution of the 2007-2011 Board of Management and Parish Committee was then highlighted. Mr. Manley spoke of the “unique skill sets & unique talents” that the individual Board Members had brought to the project. He spoke of the immense gratitude the school felt at being “the beneficiaries of Parish funds” as part of the fundraising process. The Official Opening Committee were next to be commended for the large chunks of their spare time that they had devoted to the project. Joan Kennedy was then acknowledged for the attention to detail she had exhibited in designing the Official Opening Booklet. Mr. Manley then thanked Joan Kennedy and Ann Hughes for preparing the singing and Irish Dancers. Fr. Joe Egan and Fr. Brennan were then recognised for the “immense contributions” they had made to the school. Sacristan Kathleen O’ Donnell and Caretaker Tom O’ Donnell also received a notable mention for the positive impact they have made to school life in Dualla NS. Staff Members Mary McElligott and Ann Marie Devane were next to be commended by the Principal. Ms. McElligott’s creative talents were espoused and Ann Marie was acknowledged as somebody who “immerses herself in all aspects of community life”. Mr. Manley reserved the greatest praise for the children of the school; “Like their ancestors before them, are people of the very highest calibre”.
Fr. Joe Egan concluded the speeches in his own inimitable way. He acknowledged the help of all those from the past and present who had contributed to the project in any way. Along with some of the other notable events in the parish over the years, Fr. Joe suggested that the Opening of a School supersedes everything else in a Parish. He talked of how the opening of a new school “opens up vistas and journeys for future generations”. Fr. Joe referenced the special impact a school has on “formation of character, teaching of truth, learning of justice and living out the Christian love”. He signed off by saluting the past and present that make up the School Community.
We were then treated to some beautiful singing by the children. Songs such as ‘My God’, ‘Let It Be’ and ‘May the Road Rise to Meet You’ were belted out with great gusto and pride. The Student Entertainment concluded with a Riverdance – Like Irish Dancing performance from sisters Jennifer & Hannah Hughes alongside Leah Ryan. They held the captivated audience in the very palm of their hands.
Our evening concluded with an informal gathering in the school. One of our parents Michael Brosnan kindly loaned us a marquee for the evening. On the day before the Opening, we had gone swimming only to return to the school to find the marquee had been blown down to our pitch! Needless to say, On Friday evening we were thankful it was still in situ for our Evening Barbecue! We were treated to some delicious food and light refreshments. The children had their faces painted and soon the school was full of people who looked like cats, tigers, dogs, etc.!! This was arguably the best part of what was a momentous day for all associated with the school. It afforded us the opportunity to sit back and reflect on what had been an extraordinary day and an exceptional couple of years. We rejoiced in soaking up the wonderful atmosphere and the enjoyment of each other’s company. As is the Dualla way however, nobody was losing the run of themselves and things wrapped up around 10.30p.m. For the children & staff, it was “back to school on Monday”. It was a day that we spent the best part of three years preparing for. Now that it has passed, we would love to do it all over again! (Maybe Just the Official Opening Part though!!). For those fortunate to be there, the day merged the illustrious history of the past with the creative talents of the present. The Board of Management of the School could only but marvel that all the dreams and aspirations of the School Community had finally been realised. A Milestone Day indeed. Míle buíochas.
Jun 22 2012
This Sunday will be a very proud day for Sarah Hickey and her family. When Sarah runs out on to the Páirc uí Chaoimh sod, she will become the first player in the history of Dualla NS to play for the Tipperary Primary Game Camogie team during a championship match.
We hope her parents Denis & Mary and brother Stephen have a great day in Cork.
All associated with the school are very proud of Sarah.
Also, we will have particular interest in the outcome of the Senior match. A Tipperary victory will see 6th Class pupil Jack Moloughney line out in the Munster Final.
Say a prayer!
Jun 20 2012
Ann Marie collected our new Bean Bags in Tipp Town today. We’re delighted with them.
Classes will be allowed to relax on them when reading as part of D.E.A.R Time (Drop Everything And Read).
4th Class got an opportunity to chill out in the new Learning Space today!
Jun 19 2012
The official opening was a great occasion. In the morning, Denis Leamy came in and gave us a signed Munster jersey. We then put in things for the time capsule. I hope people in fifty years time will like things that were important to us. Then lots of people came in the next hour. After a lot of meeting and greeting, we went on to the ribbon cutting and after that Fr.Egan and Fr.Brennan blessed the school. There were prayers of the faithful said by parents and children and then we went inside for some speeches from Fr.Egan and Mr. Manley then all of the children sang songs for all the guests. Leah, Hannah and Jennifer all Irish danced for us. Then the adults had food in room 1 and the children had food in the lunchroom.
At around 7pm, there was a barbeque with burgers and hotdogs. Everyone enjoyed it and it went on for a long time!
The opening day was a very special occasion which will be etched into Dualla’s history forever and was a day I will never forget.
Jun 19 2012
On the Official Opening Day we didn’t have to come in to school until eleven thirty so we had a bit longer to get ready and they had time to put up the marquee for the opening of the school.
When we came in to school we went down to miss’s classroom to put stuff in to the time capsule and Ciara Gahan locked it and then we sat down and talked for a few minutes.
Denis Leamy came in to miss’s classroom and presented a Munster jersey the school and he said he saw the Ireland jersey hanging up on the wall in the corridor then we got a photo taken with the jersey and Denis Leamy.
People started arriving a few minutes after Denis Leamy left and when everyone was there we had the Official blessing then we all moved in to room two for the speeches. Fr. Brennan, John Brennan, Mr. Manley and Fr. Egan were saying the speeches. We had singing and dancing after that.
After all the speeches and blessings we had food and drinks. It was really nice food. Then we went outside and played for a while and then got a few photos taken after all the things were over everyone went home for a while.
We came back to the school at half past seven for the barbeque and we went out to the marquee for a burger or a hotdog and then we got our face painted. I got my face painted as a dog and Aisling did too. Nicole and Hannah got a ghost painted on their faces and then we went outside and played a game. After a while we came inside and played Sardines with a few people and some men were watching a match on the whiteboard.
The Opening Day and the food was great. All the cakes looked lovely. It was great to see all the past pupils at the Opening Day. My favourite part of the day was the barbeque because we got hotdogs and there was face painting. It was a historic day to everyone there. I hope everyone had a great day because I did.
By Ava Ryan
Jun 18 2012
We’re still on a high after Friday’s Official Opening. Here are some more photographs from the day courtesy of Dermot O’ Halloran. Enjoy!
Jun 18 2012
This morning, we have been looking at Leatherback Turtles as part of work on our Class Novel: The Wreck of the Zanzibar. We learned the following:
Leatherback Turtles are nearly extinct – Aisling.
There are leatherback Turtles in Ireland-Brendan
Most of them are in the Indian Ocean – Jack
The Leatherback Turtle’s weight is 2,000 pounds- Sarah
Leatherback Turtles usually lay on their backs.-Declan.
It is sometimes called a lute turtle-Cormac.
The Leatherback Turtle’s Flippers Are 2.7 Metres Long. – Chloe.
The Leatherback Turtle can dive to greater depths than 3,000 ft! – Leah
The Leatherback Turtle eats 1,000 lbs each day! – Sinead
The Leatherback turtle is one of the biggest turtles in the world – Augustine
The Leatherback Turtle has a softer shell than other types of turtle- Katie
A leatherback turtle has oily skin-Páraic
The Leatherback turtle is the largest sea turtle-Hannah
It has a tier shaped body-Eoin
Jun 17 2012
Duíche Áille, “land of beauty,” is one of the Irish translations for Dualla, the other being “The land of cattle”, presumably because of its fertile limestone land where cattle thrive. There is no doubt that Dualla is indeed a land of beauty. On the approach from Cashel, the first view you get of it is from the hill at Ballykelly. Much of the area spreads out before you in a valley of its own. The village itself nestles between the Kill Hills to the east with its ancient settlements of forts and the famine village, and the beautiful wooded Mount O’Meara to the rear.
This is where I was so lucky to find myself teaching after moving from the hustle and bustle of London almost thirteen years ago with our young family. To this lovely area characterised by a sense of confidence and self-assuredness.
The school was a two classroom school, staffed with just the master and I, I being referred to as the mistress. Our small school had a large playing pitch to the rear, which was, as in every school, zealously guarded by the older kids, with access only sanctioned to new kids when they graduated to “the Masters Room.” A grassed area to the front served as the junior children’s football pitch, with a slab of concrete for hunts or skipping or whatever games were fashionable at the time.
Bordered on one side by the grave yard, which acts as a great reality check for me at times when I get a bit hot under the collar about silly things, and on the other side by our very patient neighbours who turn a blind eye to children running in their garden to fetch straying footballs, the odd shoe and a whole bunch of tennis balls and sliotars. To the front, a row of cherry trees which are bowed slightly due to the prevailing west wind which sweeps down the hill from the rear of the school.
The building itself had two small classrooms, children’s toilets to the front in a porch which was extended forward to facilitate them, and an adults’ toilet with a little sink complete with cold water. The boiler house out back and a bicycle shed were used for storage. That was our lot. Our lunches were taken on a large table in the yard, eaten as the children ran about. A bunch of local crows however, took particular interest in our lunch routine and often becoming the beneficiaries of unguarded lunch boxes, sometimes to the relief of some kids too busy playing or those with poor appetites.
Our school, though old, remained in very good condition thanks to the active, hands-on parents’ association, our board of management and the generous funding from our parish. Our walls and floors were revamped and freshened regularly with paint and varnish. Updating of plumbing and electrics ensured the best was provided for the children. A portacabin was purchased to provide space for visiting teachers. Not to be outdone by the building frenzy, we also decided to convert our bicycle shed to a lunch/art/science room, a marvellous addition, but much to the dissatisfaction of the local crow population and some of our picky eaters. There was no escaping those lunches now.
However, despite our best efforts the building remained difficult to heat and maintain. The traditional thick walls made it difficult to get adequate sunlight in to some areas, making it quite dark. These walls also seemed to suck in the generated heat and they would stream with dampness in cold weather, making it necessary to wash the black mould from them regularly. Keeping posters or artwork on the walls became a battle of wills, to which I eventually conceded defeat. We were also a favoured overwintering destination for successive generations of mouse families which caused quite a stir on occasions. One particular mouse was regularly seen bouncing athletically, in and out of the children’s pigeon holes in search of food, much to the bemusement of the children, who learned to keep calm and controlled if they wanted to watch such displays without alerting the mouse to his audience. A lesson in animal behaviour maybe.
Despite intense lobbying and a sustained campaign by successive boards of management, the Celtic Tiger came and went and we remained without a new extension until eventually our letter landed in an alternative grant scheme pile, and we were approved for funding for two new classrooms.
Seeing our numbers rise consistently however over the previous five years, we had a dilemma on our hands. Go with two classrooms and hope to get a further extension when necessary, or grasp the nettle and build three rooms, making our grant stretch by cutting out the extras to achieve the three. We went for the latter and together with an incredibly tight rein on our spend and the huge generosity of our parish, the board of management have achieved its aim, to provide our parish with a wonderful modern school. Indeed it was not all plain sailing. Many meetings went into the late hours. Parents moved the whole contents of our school in trailers, boots, vans etc. twice. Once to the temporary building and again to the new school. They dug out percolation areas, stored furniture and equipment, cleaned the new building, and offered their expertise and help. They were there all the way.
Opening my article, I referred to Dualla as a place characterised by a sense of confidence and self-assuredness. An area where many families have been lucky enough to remain for generations, and where many of its young people return to bring up their own children in familiar surroundings. This stability and continuum give its people this self-assurance, making a confident people, rooted to place, not overly impressed by the smoke or mirrors of modern society. This is the place to which I was lucky enough to bring my young family to be educated and I am glad to say this sense of confidence and self-assurance has rubbed off on them also.
Friday the 15th of June will be a very proud day for all of us as we open our new school officially in Dualla. It is a chance to congratulate each other on a huge achievement, a chance for past pupils and families to come and see what we managed to do with the lovely school they preserved and maintained until we were lucky enough to be granted funding to improve it. A new school building is a wonderful asset to the esteem of a community, but it is the community which access the school which give it its character and atmosphere, and though we changed to a modern new building that lovely atmosphere of our old school remains unchanged in the new.
Jun 17 2012