A Cultural Mix in the Spa

Clare Champion, Friday, 14th April 2000

The diverse culture of the Lisdoonvarna area provides an enriching experience for the one hundred and twenty pupils of St. Enda's Primary School. Because a number of parents are non-nationals or from different parts of the country, the children get a taste of different languages and traditions from all over the world.

The youngsters, who come mainly from the spa itself and the surrounding townlands, range in age from four to thirteen and are looked after by five mainstream teachers and a shared learning support teacher. Two of the staff, Anne Harrington and Mary Whelan, are themselves past pupils and they are joined on the staff by Eilis O'Donoghue of Ennistymon, Brigid Crawford of Cloonanaha and principal, John Hehir, of Mountscott, Mullagh. The only non-native on the staff is Mary McCormack-McBride of Donegal who has recently settled in Fanore, having had teaching experience in different parts of the world.

From 9:20am til 3:00pm, from Monday to Friday, the school is a hive of activity. The staff and pupils involve themselves in all areas of the curriculum and are deeply engrossed in the new ideas and philosophies of the 'New Curriculum' which is set to be introduced in all primary schools shortly. Subjects such as arts and crafts, music and P.E. are part and parcel of primary school now and in Lisdoonvarna these subjects are firm favourites with all the children.

The pupils look forward to swimming lessons in Lahinch; basketball league games at lunchtime with Brigid Crawford; football, soccer or ground hurling in the school yard with the 'Master' or coach, David Keane. Singing and music on a Wednesday with Archie Simpson goes down a bomb and French lessons after school time are also well supported.

The school is at present getting involved in the Green Schools Programme. The initiative will involve the children in planting flowers and plants and recycling and disposing of waste in a proper manner. Parents, teachers and members of the community will help the children and foster in them an appreciation of the environment.

Last week workers from the Community Employment Scheme dug a hole in a grassed area in front of the school. The children stood amazed, wondering what the hole was for. As the hole got deeper and the pile of mud got bigger, the ideas of what it was for multiplied. Of course a simple explanation is that a time capsule is being buried there on Monday, April 17th and Minister Sile de Valera will officiate. The FAS office is busy at the moment collecting items for the capsule and the school children are getting pieces ready for the burial as well. It is hoped to unearth this capsule in fifty years time. By then there should be a new teaching staff in the school and the present pupils will be mostly grandparents!

6th class pupils, Anthony Geraghty and
Rory Healion listening to principal, John
Hehir, during a history lesson.
Enjoying themselves in class at Lisdoonvarna
N.S. were Peter Mooney and Edel Geraghty,
1st class.

Photographs by Eamon Ward, Clare Champion.

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