A Century of Academic Achievement

Clare Champion, Friday,  11th June 1999

A famous "hedge-school" run by Pat Slattery was held in Kilmurry from 1808 to 1845. Around that time the porch of the newly constructed Catholic Church was used as a classroom and the school was officially recognised in 1854.

This great tradition of learning, often under very difficult circumstances, has continued and grown stronger as we face into a new millennium. The present generation of pupils, 67 in all, are enjoying, with their teachers, the best of facilities since they moved from their temporary accommodation in the local Community Hall and Portacabin.

The original school, built in 1891 for 457 7s. 6d. still stands, and having been newly refurbished, should still be serving the educational needs of the community in another 100 years time.

The school has adapted to the quickly-changing scene in education when it purchased the first three computers in 1991 during the Centenary celebrations. At present, the students from Junior Infants to sixth class have individual and group work using the latest technology.

In addition to the academic side of the curriculum, the pupils are carrying on the strong traditions of music and sport which have always enlivened the social life of this part of Sixmilebridge parish. The Kilmurry hurling team of the forties and fifties had some outstanding players who represented their county with great distinction. This year the school hurling team has emerged as winners from their section and have qualified for the semi-final against Gaelscoil Mhicil Ciosog, Ennis. Last year the school camogie team, with just ten girls in the 4th, 5th and 6th classes, won out Div. 4 of the league. When numbers are small, everyone has to play.

Since 1987 and with the great co-operation of parents, all pupils are weekly visitors to Shannon Swimming Pool. Besides learning to swim they have participated in all the relevant grades of competency in swimming from "Swim 1" through to "Swim 5". For many pupils, swimming will remain a life-long pursuit.

The other great tradition in the neighbourhood is traditional music. The Kilmurry Comhaltas Branch was one of the most active in the county and set dancing and step dancing have an honoured place in the hearts and minds of the local people. All pupils in the middle and senior classes are competent on the humble tin-whistle, some to a very high standard, while others have branched out and are playing other instruments.

The great fiddler from Ardane, Francie Donnellan, was the subject chosen by the school when entering "Meet the Musician" project. All the Donnellan children are past pupils of the school and it was particularly gratifying when the project won the primary section. Francie's youngest son, Mark, has inherited his love for the music and is an outstanding exponent of the ancient art himself.

The teachers and pupils are looking forward with great anticipation to the completion of work on the new "Millennium" field which was purchased last November. It should prove to be a great boon to all concerned with a consequent improvement in the skill level of the students in the ancient game of hurling.

Another recent development which will be of particular interest to parents, teachers and pupils, is the acquiring of a 30-mile per hour speed limit for Kilmurry. The Board of Management has made strenuous efforts over the past few years to minimise the great danger to the safety of everybody in Kilmurry school from the ever-increasing flow of traffic. They will be greatly heartened by this news.

The very latest development, following numerous representations over the years, is the news that the school will have the use of a shared remedial teacher from next September. At present, the staff consists of Joe Brady, Principal, Mary Freeman, Ann Marie McGrath and Geraldine Greene (Resource teacher). The school also has the services of a caretaker, Jim Conlon, and Secretary - classroom assistant, Mary Shanahan.

Sarah Cullinan and Christine Skehan  having
fun during tin whistle practice at Kilmurry N.S.
    Vincent McInerney tucks into a bag of
Taytos at Kilmurry N.S.

Photographs by John Kelly, Clare Champion.

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