Principal of Scoil Bhride NS, Murial Wall-Coughlan took the Leinster Express on a tour of the bright new 32 classroom building where new Junior Infants are settling in to school.
The biggest primary school in Laois has a brand new 32 class building this September, and today 96 little Junior Infants came along for their first day, some with tears, some with smiles.
Scoil Bhride NS in Knockmay, Portlaoise has a total of 763 boys and girls, and coming back to school was staggered all this week to allow everyone time to adjust to their spacious new two storey building.
Today it was the turn of Junior and Senior Infants and First Class to start lessons.
The Principal Murial Wall-Coughlin was busy overseeing everybody settling in to their classrooms.
"Tomorrow is the crunch day, when everyone comes back together. It is a beautiful building. For the first time in 30 years we are all under one roof. Before this you were out walking in the rain. It is wonderful to have a staff room were everyone can go, our old staffroom was made for eight people but we have over 60 staff," she said.
Outside, parents Matt and Magda had dropped off Maximillian, 5.
"So far so good, he didn't cry, he's shy so we expected worse. The school is great, very beautiful," Matt said.
Little Scott Brophy, 5, had shed tears, when he came to school with his parents, both his nannies and little brother Shane.
"Ah terrible it was, he was crying, it's hard for the first day, maybe tomorrow will be a little better," said his nanny Kathleen.
The Portlaoise parish school though brand new is already beyond capacity, with a resource room and a library doubling up as extra classrooms. It has Deis status as it is classed as in a disadvantaged area, meaning every little child gets a free healthy lunch and extra supports.
"We are trying to get the number of classes down to 32, but there is actually a queue of people every day for the last few days to enrol their children, even a two year old has been enrolled. I suppose when they see a lovely new building, everyone wants to be a part of it," Ms Wall-Coughlin said.
Construction work is still underway at the school. A special needs unit with capacity for 12 will be finished by the start of October, after which the playground will be completed.
See photos in next Tuesday's Leinster Express.