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Friday 6 December 2019

Remembering Ann with a fitting tribute

At the opening of a new reading garden in memory of Ann Keating: Brendan Howlin TD, former teacher in the school, who opened the garden; Tina Fortune, who did the artwork; Liam Keating, Ann’s husband; Liam Turner, school principal; Catriona Larkin, Ann Keating’s daughter; and her children, Daniel, Cillian, Anna and Shauna Keating
At the opening of a new reading garden in memory of Ann Keating: Brendan Howlin TD, former teacher in the school, who opened the garden; Tina Fortune, who did the artwork; Liam Keating, Ann’s husband; Liam Turner, school principal; Catriona Larkin, Ann Keating’s daughter; and her children, Daniel, Cillian, Anna and Shauna Keating

Pádraig Byrne

Ten years after her untimely passing, a beloved teacher at the Faythe School has been immortalised with the unveiling of a new reading garden at the school.

Generations of pupils will have fond memories of Ann Keating standing at the top of the classroom, brilliantly bringing to life the words of authors like Roald Dahl as she read to the class and it was therefore a fitting tribute to a fondly remembered educator.

Since Ann's passing, a mere year after she called time on a 34 year teaching career, her husband Liam and their four children often discussed ways of marking her contribution to the school. Meetings followed with school Principal Liam Turner and eventually, they settled on the idea of a reading garden.

Given the vagaries of the Irish weather and the fact that books and rain don't mix, the idea required some outside the box thinking. A corner of the school's breakfast room was identified and local carpenter Lee Walsh came on board, along with artist and former pupil of Ann's, Tina Fortune.

In welcoming Ann's family and former colleagues back to the school, Principal Mr Turner pointed out that when Ann started teaching at the Faythe, the average class size was around 47 pupils, and yet she managed to instil a love of reading and books in all her pupils.

Speaking about his late wife, Liam said that she loved every single day of her career at The Faythe School and he was delighted to mark her memory in a meaningful way. He hopes that the reading garden would provide a 'small oasis of calm' from the everyday bustle of school life and the current crop of students could sit, lie, slouch and simply enjoy reading as generations had done in his wife's time.

A former colleague of Ms Keating's, Labour leader Brendan Howlin recalled that while Ann started in the Faythe in 1975, he started the following year and was assigned the classroom beside her. He pointed out Ann's passion for instilling a love of reading in pupils and hoped that the garden will perpetuate her legacy for future generations at the school.

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