The hard work and determination of a rural Laois community to build a new two classroom school. spearheaded by since retired principal and former GAA President Liam O'Neill, was rewarded this week.
On June 16, Minister for Education Norma Foley officially cut the ribbon at Gaelscoil Thromaire, with Bishop Denis McNulty performing a blessing.
The new school in Trumera near Mountrath, is a rarity. It is said to be the only Irish primary school to 'convert' to become a gaelscoil, back in 1998, and one of the few to get a new two classroom building in modern times despite only having 35 pupils.
The €800,000 building also has a large resource/ library room led by Special Ed teacher Colm Mc Donnacha, ensuite toilets off each class and a multi purpose pitch.
Proud retired principal Liam O'Neill told the Leinster Express that he has “no doubt” that establishing it's Gaelscoil status back in 1998 has saved it.
Liam spoke at the opening as Gaeilge, recalling how the previous one room school was ironically planned in Queen Victoria's era in 1837 to promote English speaking.
Sited in a community of just 150, Gaelscoil Thromaire gets pupils from as far as Portlaoise because it offers education through Irish in a rural small school setting.
Principal Áine mhic Aodha Bhuí welcomed Minister Foley.
In Irish, she said that the community is proud and grateful for their new school.
Minister Foley spoke also fully in Irish about the vital role that small schools play in the community and the importance of supporting local schools.
“Tá Gaelscoil Thromaire ag dul ó neart go neart (going from strength to strength),” she said.
School board chairperson, Mairéad Bn Uí Nualláin, expressed the Board of Management’s thanks to the parents of the school community, in particular John O’Connor for the pivotal role in the construction.
“I implore all of you here to seriously consider the choice of school for your child, and let pride of place and parish. Our school is the beating heart of the community. Let us ensure it endures into the future,” she said.
Parents and past pupils attended the opening, with pupils singing Peigín Litir Mór and Óró 'sé do Bheatha Bhaile, Music Generation students on tinwhistle and a virtuoso performance from Ellie Mahony on violin.
Also present were Minister of State Seán Fleming TD, Brian Stanley TD and Carol Nolan TD who was acting principal for the three years when Liam O'Neill served as the GAA President.
Ted Brophy was welcomed too, as the oldest past pupil still living in Trumera and a fluent Irish speaker.
Fr Joe Brophy is PP of Mountrath Parish who provided the school site.
“It is a lovely community day, a hope filled day for the future. My wish is that anyone who comes here as a pupil has happy memorable time here,” he told the Leinster Express.
Lily Bennett from Raheen parish taught for 42 years at Trumera NS.
“It is a very happy school, in a lovely locality, the parents couldn't be nicer or more cooperative. I regarded the children like my own. It's marvellous to see the new school and I wish the new people every success, I hope they are as happy as I was in the old building,” she said.
Also on display was the Cumann na mBuscol Hurling Trophy won by the boys and girls of 2nd to 6th classes.
All enjoyed refreshments thanks to Parents’ Council, staff and past pupils.
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