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After 19 years on road Gaelscoil gets €3.15m home

August 29, 2013

A Gaelscoil that started out in a dancehall 19 years ago moved to a permanent home in a ¤3.147 million purpose-built school in Clonakilty, Co Cork, yesterday.

There were high-fives from local priest Fr Eddie Collins as the children of Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin climbed the steps to the new building.
Principal Carmel Nic Airt, who started out with 17 students on September 1st, 1994, has overseen classes in a former Church of Ireland teacher’s residence, a mobile home, a holiday home and a bank.
“This is the culmination of 19 years’ effort. It’s what I’ve worked for, and what I’ve wanted, and to think it’s happened is so gratifying.”
Ms Nic Airt, who collected the keys to the new school on Fernhill Road just 24 hours previously, praised the co-operation and leadership of the Department of Education.
“They are a much maligned body who really have stood behind us right from the very beginning,” she said.
‘Tabtop’ facilities
The Gaelscoil is home to a gateway technology project which has equipped 40 students in fifth and sixth class with interactive “tabtops” linked to a TV screen that replaces the traditional whiteboard.
Part-sponsored by Intel and German electronics company Grundig, the tabtops are a cross between laptops and tablets and will phase out the need for heavy schoolbags.
“The teachers need never raise their voice again; just send a message to a particular child that might not be co-operating, with no need to disturb the class,” Ms Nic Airt said.
Some 200 students took part in a march from the school’s former rented premises at Clarke Street through the town centre to arrive at their new school for a formal flag-raising ceremony yesterday.
The 265 pupils and 25 staff will have the use of 12 classrooms, three autistic spectrum disorder rooms including an early intervention unit, four support rooms and a general hall as well as playground areas.
Wish list
“If somebody told you ‘sit down and write a wish list for a school with everything you could want’, this is that and more, because there are things here that I would never have dreamed of,” Ms Nic Airt said.