Divine Intervention Gave Ogonnelloe a New School

Clare Champion, Friday, 21st April 2000

Ogonnelloe N.S. opened its doors to pupils for the first time in November 1995 following the closure of Ballybrohan N.S. This followed a 15 year campaign to have a new school built in the area to cater for a rising population as well as the fact that the old school had consisted of a stone structure together with two prefabricated buildings - all of which were unsuitable for modern school life.

Just when it seemed there was no possibility of a new facility coming on stream, divine intervention took a hand. At 2:20p.m. on Thursday, 17th December 1992, one of the pre-fabs had its roof ripped off in a violent wind. The 25 pupils in 3rd and 4th classes and their teacher had a narrow escape. The following January saw half the school housed in the parish hall, which had to be renovated over the Christmas recess. The school remained divided until 1995 when the school became one again in its present location.

Ogonnelloe, among other things, it is famed far and wide for its idyllic landscape and the location of the school certainly is the envy of many. It is situated on the main Killaloe Scariff road with St. Bearnagh behind and Lough Derg and the Arra Mountains in front. The surroundings are very pleasant with the school involved in developing a landscape plan which entails planting hundreds of trees and shrubs over a period of years.

The school has a permanent staff of three teachers and a shared learning support teacher. The infants are under the guidance of Mrs. Brid Vaughan, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd class teacher is Mrs. Mary Hogan, the longest serving member of staff. The principal, Damian Heaney, a native of Belfast, is in charge of 4th, 5th and 6th classes. The Learning Support Teacher is Miss Nuala Hehir, who joined the staff in 1999. The majority of pupils go to the two local Community Colleges at Killaloe and Scariff but past pupils can also be found in Roscrea, Thurles, St. Flannan's, Villiars, Munchins and St. Mary's, Galway. All senior pupils have French taught as an extra curricular activity.

Ogonnelloe has more to offer than just the academic. All pupils engage in swimming at the leisure centre, Killaloe and are coached in basketball. Thanks to the Parents Association and Board of Management, a tennis court has been provided and all pupils are coached in the skills of tennis. Hurling and camogie, of course, is the main activity for most of the boys and girls of the school. Ogonnelloe has participated in camogie and hurling under the auspices of Cumann na mBunscoil since 1981. Some of the past pupils are currently playing for Clare at various grades, most notably David and Colm Forde.

The school has won six primary schools titles over the past years.

Jake Lennon and Anthony Mooney in Senior Infants. Paul Healy playing tennis at Ogonnelloe N.S.

Photographs by Eamon Ward, Clare Champion.

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