Local Bias in Corofin Curriculum

Clare Champion, Friday, 24th December 1999

Scoil Mhuira Naisiunta, Corofin, which currently educates 104 local children, is located overlooking Atedaun Lake (the lake of the breezes) and the River Fergus in the townland of Kilvoydane, beside the remains of the Corofin Union Workhouse built in 1853.

The school was built in 1959 after being housed for 9 years in the local parish hall. The previous school, which is now the home of the Murphy family, is located beside the bridge and, happily, Scoil Mhuire has all the school records dating back to the 1870's.

Prior to that era the local school was located in the outhouses at the back of Richmond House where one of the staff for a time was the famed Michael Cusack from the neighbouring parish of Carron. A very famous school manager was of course the Rev. John Murphy, a great friend of Daniel O'Connell, M.P., who played a key role in O'Connell's election for Clare in 1828.

Another famous figure in Corofin lore, Mr. Naoisi Cleary, was principal of the school until 1979. After his retirement from teaching, Naoisi founded Sinsearlann an ChlŠir, the Clare Heritage Centre. Luckily, through the use of video, today's pupils can still enjoy listening to Naoisi telling stories about his beloved Corofin.

There was also a Church of Ireland Primary School located in Church Street, but it is closed for many years. The present day school has five permanent staff members, Ms. Geraldine O'Loughlin, Vice Principal, Ms. Myra Shannon, Ms. Caroline McCarthy, Ms. Agnes McCarthy, who works as a shared remedial teacher between Corofin, Kilnaboy, Inchovea and Carron schools, and Mr. Declan Kelleher, Principal. The school has an active Parents' Association chaired by Mr. Gerry Hanrahan and an equally active Board of Management which is chaired by Canon Pat Taaffe.

The school follows the curriculum laid down by the Department of Education and a number of extra curricular options are organised through the Parents' Association. In the absence of adequate funding levels for the school from the Department of Education, the Parents Association has supplied many badly needed items of educational equipment through the organisation of creative events such as the recent very successful walk led by Eddie Lenihan along the old West Clare Railway Line from Rath Church to Willbrook. Other events included a walk and talk led by local historian, Michael McMahon, along the unfinished Famine Road at the east of Mullaghmore Mountain.

Also in the absence of secretarial and caretaking support from the Department to the school, the local Development Association helps out the school through the community employment scheme.

The school's curriculum contains a strong local bias in terms of the use of local legend, environmental studies on the nearby Burren and incorporation of the numerous historical sites into the local studies programme. The local Burren National Park Rangers also make a greatly valued input into the school's nature and wildlife programmes. The school's civics programme is also assisted by the local Garda Sergeant, Brendan McDonagh.

The school has a very active choir directed by Ms. Myra Shannon and recent highlights of their activities included singing in St. Columba's Church of Ireland, Ennis, at the Confirmation services of two of their fellow pupils.

The school and its community of children, parents, teachers and management look forward with enthusiasm to the challenges of the 21st century.

Stephen Keane, Samantha Clery, Garry
Tierney and Muirne Kelleher, 4th class,
at work on a project charting 40 years
of Corofin School.
Nina Linnane and Eoghan Linnane, 6th
class, busy at work in Corofin School.

Photographs by Eamon Ward, Clare Champion.

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