Learning in Liscannor

Clare Champion, Friday, 9th April 1999

Thirty years ago, the parish of Liscannor was home to no less than four primary schools - at Moymore, Ballycotton, St. Brigid's Well and Liscannor. Today, Liscannor School is the sole survivor in its magnificent setting overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent to the ruins of Liscannor Castle.

The school was built in 1961, replacing the old school which stood on the site of the present Community Hall. It takes its name from St. McCreehy, a sixth century monk who lived locally. In fact, the ruins of his church still remain in a local graveyard.

The present staffing level is that of a three teacher school but this will increase to four in the coming school year due to the fact that the pupil population has reached ninety-three. The Board of Management has applied to the Department of Science and Education for additional accommodation of a permanent nature. Negotiations are still ongoing with the Department but the Board of Management is hopeful of a satisfactory outcome.

For the past five years the children of Liscannor National School have had access to a shared remedial teacher which is regarded as an absolute necessity in today's world.

The ninety-three pupils (fifty-one boys and forty-two girls) are mainly drawn from a rural catchment area. As a trend in recent years, tourism has caused much expansion in the area and the surrounding hinterland. A number of families have settled in Liscannor from abroad and from within Ireland and this has naturally impacted on the schoolgoing population.

While the three Rs remain the cornerstone of educational focus within the school, the children are involved in a variety of pursuits and activities. Throughout the year, they have been participating in concerts, swimming, quizzes, competitions (a pupil's artwork was exhibited in the National Gallery), musicals and television (last year the children starred in RTE's 'Ear to the Ground').

Annually, the pupils exchange projects with other schools in foreign countries under the direction of an American educational organisation called Creative Connections. This organisation links schools from all corners of the earth, Liscannor being the first in Ireland to connect with other schools worldwide.

Computers have been part of school life since the early nineties and the pupils have been learning a foreign language, French, for almost ten years. There is a strong emphasis on sporting activities, especially football. Many past pupils have gone on to represent their county at underage and senior level. Some have had the honour and distinction of representing their country at international level in soccer and athletics.

Liscannor National School appreciates and remembers past pupils, teachers and parents and it exhorts and encourages present pupils to develop a respect for themselves and for others.

John Mongan busy at the
computer in Liscannor N.S.
Ciara Russell takes a break at Liscannor N.S. as
her friends Fiona Considine and Maedhbh Burke look on.

Photographs by John Kelly, Clare Champion.

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