Friday the 21st of June 2013 marked an end of an era for me …… my youngest son finished primary school. Both my boys attended a small Gaelscoil in Ballygunner, Waterford called Gaelscoil Phort Láirge. When my eldest started there in 2002, the school consisted of four small class rooms and four prefabs, today it boasts beautiful new buildings, many classrooms, library, hall and all the latest equipment.

Gaelscoil Phort Láirge began in 1984 by Treasa Ni Eachthighearnn in the basement of a house in Viewmount. Treasa was a fabulous character, she was originally from county Tipperary, used to be a nun and taught in many schools. She loved the Irish language, Irish music and Irish dancing. She was very involved in local choirs, played the organ for all occasions in Crooke church and retired in 2009.

Sadly Treasa passed away last December, it was a huge shock to everyone. She never married or had family of her own but the school, the staff, some parents and of course all the students were very close to her heart.

My two boys enjoyed their time in the school that Treasa built. They got to enjoy a lot of simple pleasures that could only happen (and still do) in a small country school. Every morning started with the ringing of a hand held bell and the whole school lined up in assembly saying prayers and singing songs.

When they made their first communions, there was a celebration in the scouts hall (and later in the school hall) for all the children, parents and families after the ceremony. The school sports day was originally held in the school yard with many parents helping out and Treasa blaring traditional music from a loud speaker. And every year, on the last day of school before the summer holidays, an ice cream van would visit and give every student a 99.

It was a sad day on Friday, all the other classes in the school lined up in the school yard clapping and chanting “Rang a Sé” as sixth class left the school for the final time. Thank God the weather was sunny, I managed to hide my tears behind dark sun glasses (like many other parents).

So, no more egg & spoon and sack races ….. here’s to many more years of “We get too much homework” and “Do I have to study?”. Roll on secondary school, the terrible teens and the college years. Oh, the joys 🙂 (I wouldn’t have it any other way 😉 )

A caricature I created for Treasa for a retirement card in 2009

A caricature I created for Treasa for a retirement card in 2009

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