The students and staff at Gaelscoil Phortlaoise celebrated Seachtain na Gaeilge with the official opening of their new school at Summerhill, Portlaoise.
As the bagpipes played out, all gathered outside in the schoolyard for the opening ceremony on Thursday March 13.
The students played the guitar and sang as gaeilge for the parents, staff, and all who had gathered to celebrate the occassion, after which Príomhoide Dominic O Braonáin spoke.
“Today is a celebration of the fact that we have finally achieved permanent accommodation,” he said.
Since the school opened in 1998, it has had five different locations.
Muinteoir and former príomhoide Siobhán Uí Chuinn said that this was now their ‘baile buan’, or permanent home.
“Relocating was not easy, ach ní neart go cur le chéile! Our unity is our strenght!
“This wouldn’t of happened without the huge amount of work put in by the parents, staff, Foras na Gaeilge and Gaelscoileanna. We all worked together, work tirelessly, to make our dream a reality.
“Our dream is to allow these children to make their native language their living language,” she said.
Muinteoir Uí Chuinn then unveiled the plaque which was erected to mark the special occasion.
Fr John Byrne, Portlaoise Parish Priest, was present at the ceremony to say a few words. The students read out the Prayers of the Faithful, and Fr Byrne then finished with the Ár nAthair.
The students then presented Muinteoir Uí Chuinn with flowers for all that she has contributed towards Gaelscoile Phortlaoise over the years.
The ceremony officially ended with the cutting of the ribbon by Príomhoide O Braonáin, and the bagpipes played out one last time with a beautiful rendition of Amhrán na bhFiann.
The parents, students and staff then went inside to the halla for refreshments, and the students performed an array of songs as gaeilge once more.
Ranga 1, 2, and 3 played some traditional music on the tin whistle, and Ranga 4 and 5 showed off their guitar-playing skills.
After a lively burst of ‘Óró sé do bheatha abhaile’, Ranga 6 ended the occasion with their version of Avicci’s Wake Me Up as gaeilge.
Príomhoide O Braonáin said that the school has gone from strenght to strenght.
“We have come together as a gaelic family, to celebrate our culture and language.
“Our previous locations were not ideal, like the prefabs, which were damp, with maintenance problems, and no play area.
“Here today we have 16 classrooms, a library, a computer room, a multi-purpose halla, and we hope to develope a green field area soon,” he said.