Clon400 in Scoil na mBuachaillí

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Cionnaith O'Súilleabháin, Mayor of Clonakilty reflects on his time in Scoil na mBuachaillí


As Méara Chloch na gCoillte, and a past pupil, I am very proud and honoured to contribute to this very special Scoil na mBuachaillí Christmas Magazine.
My first three school years were at what was then known as "St. Joseph's Boys' National School" - now the much bigger Scoil na mBuachaillí, and my teachers were Mrs. Hilda Harte, (Junior Infants); Mrs. Breeda Crowley, (Senior Infants) and Mrs. Noreen Mihihan, (First Class). Mrs. Minihan prepared us for First Communion, which we received on  a torrential wet Saturday morning (1st June 1974), at 10.00am Mass in the Parish Church. At the end of First Class we "graduated" to the "Masters' School" - now the Parish Centre, where we were educated up to Sixth Class with:- Mr. Pat Collins, (2nd Class); Mr. Michael Dolan, (3rd Class); Mr. Jonh Hayes, (4th Class); Mr. Tadhg O' Neill, 5th Class) and An t-Uasal Concubhair Ó Ruairc, (Rang 6). We were known as "The New Spuds" when we transferred! 



There were 42 boys in my class, and my four younger brothers all followed along the same two schools. 
I recall well the morning our class leaving the "Small Boys School" and being escorted by Mrs. Minihan along the street, through the Church Yard, and in the front gate of the "Masters' School".
We received our Confirmation in May 1979. One of the highlights of my time at National School was being one of the six boys on the School Warden Team that won the first ever All Ireland Junior School Warden Competition in June 1979 shortly before we left the school for good. My eight years at the two Boys National School were happy. I can't ever remember wet summers then! Our games were playing "Hunt"; "Last to the Pole", and then we had the annual "Conker" and "Marble" seasons and there was no School Uniform. In the yard, there was always great rivalry between the "Townies" and "Country Boys" soccer teams who played at lunchtime. Most boys walked or cycled to school in those times. Traffic jams around the school gates were very rare!
Since those times, the two schools have amalgamated into the marvellous "Scoil na mBuachaillí", and the "Big School" is in constant use as The Parish Centre.
snb It is no secret that Scoil na mBuachaillí is known as one of the best schools in the whole country, and to that end I must praise An Príomhoide, Mr. Barth Harrington, and all the Múimteoirí, SNA's, Rúnaí and Caretaker, all of which make up a great team. 
2013 will mark 400 years since Clonakilty was granted a charter, which in effect set up the town. I know the boys at Scoil na mBuachaillí have put a lot of work into researching this and you have created a special website. I've had a sneak preview and as Mayor of Clonakilty I say  "Maith sibh - Well Done". It is a wonderful  piece of work and I hope everyone visits it many times over the next year. As the Mayor of Clonakilty, I represent well over 4,000 people, and I am delighted that Scoil na mBuachaillí, my own "alma mater", and all the other schools are getting involved in the 400th Year. I hope that you all learn a lot about our town, it's history and heritage and the great people past and present from our town. Most of all, I hope you are all very proud of where you live, and proud of your school and your hard-working Teachers, SNA's and Staff. There will be lots of events happening during 2013 to mark the 400 birthday of Clonakilty, and I hope that you will be able to go to some of them at least. I make a special appeal to you all to come along with your families to the opening event on New Year's Eve, when people will walk from four different points at the edge of town and meet each other at Asna Square around 11.45pm. At midnight, we will ring in the New Year and mark the start of Clonakilty's 400th year as a great town and a great community. Early in the New Year, I also hope to make an official visit as Méara Choch na gCoillte to Scoil na mBuachaillí and I look forward to meeting you all then. In the meantime, Rath Dé ar an obair.
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