LOOKING BACK - The following article was penned by Marie Reilly Keenan, Chairperson of Colmcille GAA Club and delegate to Coiste Chontae Longfoirt concerning her memories of Clonback NS and a short period in Drumlish NS.
‘Any person who received their early education at Clonback NS will appreciate the knowledge and love in which all subjects were taught, particularly our own native tongue. The school was blessed in receiving good teachers in implementing and providing the fundamental and very elementary desire of knowledge amongst its pupils. The curriculum consisted of Irish, English, Maths, History, Geography and Religion. The positive aspects of this curriculum are still recognisable through people’s success in life and their very vivid memory in which past pupils remember the knowledge passed on to them by those who loved and appreciated ‘the learning process’.
Our first class in the morning was Irish and as Bean Ni Laoi always said ‘As Gaeilge mas é do thoil é’. No matter what question was asked or whoever visited the school, the greeting or response was ‘as gaeilge’. All subjects were taught with a great appreciation for our own cultured country, its history and geography. I began my education in Drumlish NS as my grandmother Mrs Tom O’Reilly, Cunnareen, was teaching there. In this school there were four to five teachers, running water and sanitary conditions. As my grandmother retired, myself and the rest of the family went to Clonback. Two teachers were there Mrs Cathy Lee, Aughnacliffe and Mrs Roisin McElroy, Ballinalee now living in Arva.
There was no running water except McNally’s Well or the water pump in Frank Maguire’s land. There were no sanitary conditions either, except for the wooden toilets at the back of the yard. But despite the primitive conditions we learned to laugh, play, cry or argue. Whatever the occasion required. We had our own games that didn’t require any of these high tech equipment of today. Our utmost and basic needs as children were to participate with the very basic knowledge of counting and of course the essential ‘cuteness’ or not to be caught in a certain game. The games included the very popular ‘chain tig’. This involves everyone in the yard. Also ‘Beg of my neighbour’, ‘Mother May’, ‘Hide and Seek’, ‘Tig’ and ‘Four corners’. These games involved co-operation and communicaiton and discipline with one another to be a success. This might not always have followed through but eventually everyone understood the way to play and have ‘crack’.
In those games we had to learn to count, learn to hide in some inconspicuous place and not get caught. They all involved the mind, thinking and how to make a game last longer. The boys had a yard to play in, as had the girls. This was a very strict ruling then. It was a mortal sin for either party to step foot in each others’ yard. Of course the boys had the priviledge of having a football to play the much loved GAA in which ‘our boys’ did us proud.
This was a great accomplishment considering other schools had a male teacher and we had not. But Mrs Lee and Mrs McElroy gave our boys every encouragement and rewarded their every achievement with a party when the ‘cup’ was back each year to the school. When the parish sports began we had the great privilege of preparing for the event in the late Michael McNally’s field. I have great visions of the Chef and YR Sauce bottles around the turf fire, with the precious pot of ‘cocoa’ or ‘tea’ and if the cap wasn’t loosened properly while heating one would end up with nothing. I remember learning to knit with Mrs McElroy. We had advanced to knitting dolls’ dresses. I had green wool beside Eileen McElroy, who was also knitting with green wool. The two of us were getting on well until Mrs McElroy came down to check on our work. But as Eileen and myself engaged in a ‘little chat’ while clicking on our needles, our darling dolls’ dresses had got into a mix up. Eileen was using my wool , that had fallen on the floor, and I got caught up using Eileen’s wool - knitting away to our hearts content. We did not realise this but Mrs McElroy quickly knew there was something wrong. We had a terrible job ripping out the dresses to find the beginning of our work. Naturally there were some ‘pleasantries’ passed between Mrs McElroy and ourselves.
The school day began with prayer and ended with prayer and when one reached the Big Room, the five decades of the Rosary were said each day at nine. I look back on my school days and thank everybody who contributed towards my pleasurable time. This could not be achieved on one’s own. Go raibh mile maith agaibh.’
The opening of the trout season took place on Loch Na Breac, Moyne, on Easter Sunday. Permits for fishing on the lake can be obtained at the usual outlets and cost for adults e50 and junior e15. Please note that fishing is strictly by those having the required permit and the allowance is permitted to three trout per day.
Therese Smith of the Granard Adult Learning Centre has asked us to include the following: ‘Do you need help with reading, writing or spelling or with the computer? If you do please call into the centre or ring 043-6686211 and we will do all we can to help. We offer part-time and evening courses. We are now taking names for courses commencing after Easter 2011. This service is free and confidential and is funded by the Co. Longford VEC, the Dept of Education and Science with the assistance of the European Social Fund as part of the National Development Plan 2007 - 2012.’
Sympathy is extended to Mrs Faith Duignan, Gelsha, Ballinalee on the death of her brother, Aaron Costello, whose funeral was celebrated in the Church of St. John Viani, Ardlea Road, Artane, Dublin on Friday April 1. Sympathy is also extended to all the other members of the Duignan and Costello families. May his soul rest in peace.
North Longford Angling Club have announced that their annual three day fishing festival will commence on Bank Holiday Saturday April 30 and continue on Sunday May 1 and will conclude with Ladies Day on Bank Holiday Monday, May 2. The prize funds total is e3,000. Details: Saturday fishing 11am to 6pm. Sunday 10am to 5pm and Monday 12noon to 4pm. Entries taken at Murtagh’s Lounge on Saturday from 10am. Entry fee e60 per boat with pools optional at e20. Fishing commences at Dernaferst Bridge.
The Dromard GAA Club will honour the Championship winning team of 1969 together with the 1969 Junior Championship winning team of 1970 at a Presentation Buffet Banquet which takes place in the Breffni Arms Hotel, Arva, on this Saturday night April 30. Tickets are e15 and are available at Corrigan’s Service Station, Legga, Moyne Cross Stores or from Club Officials.
Congratulations and best wishes to Dermot and Edel Cadam, Gelsha, Ballinalee on the birth of their baby daughter, Sarah Marie Cadam, who was baptised recently in Colmcille Church.
The numbers drawn at the Lotto held on April 24 were 3, 14, 15 and 25. The prize winners were Enda and Lisa McGahern, Charlie Kavanagh, Brian Brady and Ciaran and Annemarie McKeon. This week the jackpot will be e8,500.
CONFIRMATION AND HOLY COMMUNION
Confirmation takes place in Colmcille Parish on Wednesday May 11 at 12 noon. First Holy Communion will be on Saturday May 28 at 1pm.
DEEPLY REGRETTED DEATH
Harry Coyle, Shanmullagh, Ballinamuck, who died on Friday April 22 at the General Hospital Mullingar was a native of Corrickadorish, Aughnacliffe where he resided before going to Shanmullagh some years ago where he was engaged in farming.
In his 91st year, Harry was out and about until a few days ago and went to hospital the day previous to his passing. A popular figure in both the Ballinamuck and Aughancliffe areas, he is deeply mourned by his nephews Sean Coyle, Shanmullagh, Tony and Gerry Coyle, Corrickadorish, his niece Mary in Dublin, brother in law Patrick Smith, Rathmore, relatives and friends. His remains were removed from his residence to St. Patrick’s Church, Ballinamuck on Sunday where his funeral Mass was celebrated on Monday April 25 and afterwards he was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery. May his soul rest in peace.
NORTH LONGFORD MENS GROUP
Following the Easter Holiday period the above group will resume their weekly meetings in the Dolmen Room, Aughnacliffe on Friday May 6 at 12 noon. New members are very welcome.