Fostering Irish Language and Culture at Moy

Clare Champion, Friday,  25th June 1999

The end of the school year sees the retirement of principal Úna Uí Rócháin, after almost thirty years on the teaching staff of Scoil Iosef Naofa in Moy. Much loved and respected by staff, pupils and parents, she had made a huge impression on the lives of all she touched.

Úna simply loved all the children she taught and had a magical touch with them. Her philosophy in dealing with children can be summed up in seanfhocal 'Mol an óige and tiochfaidh sí'. In return they showered her with affection. Úna has a passionate interest in our heritage and culture: Irish language, traditional music, song and dance. She has worked tirelessly in the promotion of the Irish language and bestowed on the children a treasure for life. The fruits of her dedication and commitment to our native language culminated in the recognition of Moy as a Scoil Lán Ghaelach in 1981. She has a deep sense of faith and children who attended Moy are blessed to have acquired this gift during their formative years.

Situated at the northern end of Miltown parish, Moy school is tucked away in the heart of the countryside. The teachers are Úna Uí Rócháin, Principal, Gearóidín Nic Chárthaigh, and Déirdre Uí Mháille, with Sandra Uí Chonchúir (temporary teacher) and Siobhán Ní Lafáin (shared remedial teacher). Sue Garrihy teaches football.

Úna Uí Rócháin was appointed to the school in 1970 and was appointed as Principal in 1973. The numbers on rolls remained low for some years but shortly great changes were to take place.

The Irish language and culture were easily integrated as the Moy people valued and treasured the best things in their environment. The word soon spread. Families from all directions with a common interest began to send their children to school in Moy. They were happy with a solid foundation in education in the broadest sense and a good preparation for post primary education.

The aims of Scoil Iosef, Mágh are simple - that the children are happy and co-operate to the best of their ability in learning. They are encouraged to discover, use, develop and share all their talents. With an emphasis on drama and other enjoyable methods of learning, the language and culture became stronger gradually, until the school became officially recognised by the Department of Education and Science as an All Irish School in 1981 - an important lead for County Clare and the first in the country which evolved from being an ordinary school to become an All Irish School. Dr. Patrick Hillery, President of Ireland at the time, acknowledged this achievement by visiting the school and inviting all the children and teachers to Arus an Uachtaráin.

The numbers on rolls continued to increase and a third teacher was appointed to the school in 1989. The Department of Education and Science provided a new classroom, ballcourt and other improvements at this time which were ready for use in 1991.

Teaching methods have changed much in recent years and greater emphasis has been put on certain areas of the curriculum which previously may not have been taken very seriously. Physical Education is seen as one such subject and it is hoped that a general purpose room will soon be built and this will provide many more learning opportunities for the children.

There is a very committed and co-operative Board of Management and a great community spirit in Moy. All parents show a tremendous interest in all aspects of their childrens education and there is an excellent relationship between all the parties involved in the school. A very open approach exists between the parties and communication is the key word. There is a very active youth club in Moy with Tommy White as the longest serving youth club leader in the country.

Canon Mullin, our parish priest and fluent Irish speaker, visits the school weekly and, though a very busy person, always makes time to talk with the children about their interests and takes care of their pastoral needs.

Aine Maire Ni Cheallaigh doing some
mathematics on the blackboard at Moy N.S.
Moy N.S. pupils practice their music.

Photographs by John Kelly, Clare Champion.

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