Second generation as Gaelscoil reaches 25
Wexford woman Rachel McGrath (29) was one of the first pupils to enrol in a newly-opened Gaelscoil Charman in 1994 and is now reliving the memory with her son Farris having just started in the school as it celebrates its 25th anniversary.
Farris (5) is one of a number of second generation Gaelscoil pupils attending the all-Irish school which opened in the School of Music in Summerhill a quarter of a century ago, later moving to premises in Coolcotts, Pinewood and St. Joseph's before the Department of Education gave the go-ahead for a brand new building in Whiterock North which was completed in 2005.
There were 37 junior and senior infant pupils that year when Rachel and her twin sister Sarah started in the Gaelscoil and today there is a much-expanded roll call of 233 with that first group of pupils having grown up, left school and college and ventured out into the world, having their own children in some cases.
Two past pupils are currently teachers in the school-Sean Ó Corcora and Éabha Dearle.
Áine Ní Ghionnáin who has been principal of the school since the outset said: 'It's wonderful to have the second generation of pupils in the school. When we first opened many of the parents didn't have Irish themselves but now the parents who have been here are able to speak Irish to you. A lot of parents who don't have Irish want to learn it when they hear the others speaking it'.
Some children of non-national parents from the UK, American and North Africa are also attending the school.
'For me, personally, when I meet past pupils, a lot of them like to speak Irish to me. I was in a shop recently where a past-pupil of the school is working and we did all our business in Irish. A lady behind me said it was lovely to hear Irish spoken.'
Gaelscoil Charman is planning a number of in-house 25th anniversary celebrations centred around the living history of the school and the stories and memories of past-pupils.
A video is being produced which will feature past-pupils now resident around the world wishing the school 'Lá Breithe Shona' and a new anthem 'Aintiún na Scoile' has been written while a fun day will be held on October 4.