Full Lives and a Key Role in the Community

Clare Champion, Friday, 30th April 1999

Plans are already in train to mark the fiftieth anniversary of St. Augustine's National School at Kilshanny in 2002.

Although small, this two teacher school in the parish of Lisdoonvarna-Kilshanny plays a vital role in the local community and aims to enable each of its pupils to live a full life as a child by providing an inspiring and stimulating classroom environment. According to Principal, Mary McNamara, this means that everyone, regardless of ability, is given an opportunity to participate fully in all school activities. She explains, "We hope that this experience will equip the children to go on to live full and useful lives as adults in society".

For the thirty five children of Kilshanny National School, the core curriculum goes hand in hand with activities like crafts, music and dancing and sports that range through karate and swimming to handball and hurling.

Pupils and teachers, Mary McNamara and Blathnaid Laffan, are also proud of their achievements on a variety of other fronts, from elocution and quizzes to other competitive outings. Their annual Christmas concert gives youngsters a chance to explore the world of drama and to display their musical and dancing talents to their families and the wider community.

Over the past four years, they have likewise made a name for themselves through their involvement in Operation Co-operation, a can recycling project under the direction of Liam Kirwan. In fact, they've captured the award for collecting the most cans per pupil on no less than three occasions.

St. Augustine's was built in 1952 to replace the old school of Kilshanny which now serves as the community hall. In the sixties, falling numbers necessitated an amalgamation with Gortown National School and St. Augustine's had a staff of three teachers until the seventies. Today, in addition to its full-time staff of two teachers, it has the services of a shared remedial teacher. In the nineties, technology has become a part of school life and to facilitae this, an unused classroom has, with the help of FÁS, been converted into a computer room and library.

Mary McNamara also makes the point that children and staff are fortunate to have such a well maintained environment in which to pursue their educational brief. She explains, "This is in no small way due to the commitment and involvement of parents, boards of management, past and present, successive managers and, of course, the school caretaker, Jimmy Tierney".

Noelle Kinnane, Paul Callinan, Moira Murphy,
Thomas Kennedy, Cillian McNamara and
Loinie Mattingley in the School Library.
Michael McNamara, Siobhain Thynne, Katie
O'Loughlin, Pauline Kennedy and Yvonne
Madigan working on the school computers.

Photographs from The Clare Champion.

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