Longford Lives: Andree Nic Aonghusa starting a new chapter at Gaelscoil Longfoirt

New principal of Gaelscoil Longfoirt says she intends to build on the wonderful success of the Longford town school

Aisling Kiernan

Reporter:

Aisling Kiernan

Email:

aisling.kiernan@longfordleader.ie

Andree Nic Aonghusa, Gaelscoil Longfoirt

Andree Nic Aonghusa gets ready to take over as principal of Gaelscoil Longfoirt in just a few weeks time Photo: Shelly Corcoran

Come September, there will be a new principal in situ at Gaelscoil Longfoirt and she is one who knows the big shoes she has to fill following the 20 year reign of Yvonne Ní Mhurchú.

Andree Nic Aonghusa is the woman appointed to the role and while she comes to the table with a wealth of experience, she has the added bonus of knowing the school having worked there as a teacher from 2007-2013.

A native of Maynooth in Co Kildare, Andree Nic Aonghusa holds a primary degree in French and Irish as well as various other qualifications.

She has gained valuable experience since she qualified as a teacher having taught at a Déis school in Dublin; an all girls school in Mullingar, her six years teaching at Gaelscoil Longfoirt behind her and in the last three years she has been teaching principal at Clontuskert National School.

Her time at Gaelscoil Longfoirt was thoroughly enjoyable and her memories from that time is something that she holds dear.

She is married to James and the couple have a four-month-old daughter, Katie Ann who, naturally, is the apple of their eye!
The couple have been living locally for a number of years now.

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“Life is wonderful at the moment for us and our daughter keeps us very busy I can tell you,” she smiled.

Ms Nic Aonghusa has a great grá for the Irish language and kept in touch with her friends at the Gaelscoil while teaching in Clontuskert.

She says the friends she made there will stand the test of time and together they utilise the spoken Irish word as much as they can.

“It is lovely for us to meet and converse in Irish and we would be in close contact,” she added.

“They kept me abreast of everything that was going on at the school so I am delighted now to be going back as principal.”

One of the most standout features of Gaelscoil Longfoirt is its rich cultural diversity.

There are children coming from all
different
backgrounds at Gaelscoil Longfoirt and it has become
a wonderfully
diverse place to be.

It began from humble beginnings at Harbour Row in Longford town with just 20 pupils in 1997 and now 20 years on there are over 200 pupils at the school.

Ms Nic Aonghusa says that the diversity at the school is one of its most attractive elements.

“There are children coming from all different backgrounds at Gaelscoil Longfoirt and it has become a wonderfully diverse place to be,” she continued, before pointing out that the school boasted pupils from different types of communities.

“It is very rewarding to see the children working together and playing together.

“They don’t see any differences; they just see each other as they are and that is a wonderful thing to witness.

“When they leave the school, they are open to different cultures, understand that being different doesn’t define them and they have knowledge of race, religion and all those other elements that are part of human nature.”

The incoming principal says that opportunities at Gaelscoil Longfoirt were never as readily available as they are now.

These opportunities, she continues will provide pupils with a platform on which to shine not just academically but also in psychological and emotional capacities.

Pupils at Gaelscoil Longfoirt have always been high achievers and not a week goes by without the school winning an accolade or participating at local or national level with pride.

This sense of achievement is something that Ms Nic Aonghusa intends to encourage and develop when she takes over in the hot seat in just a few weeks time.

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“It’s a very busy school and pupils are very involved there,” she continued, before pointing out that different initiatives and projects are always in the offing at the well established Longford town school.

“The staff are very open to introducing new strategies and new projects in the school.

“It is very important that the children are not just interacting in the same way every day; they are always being motivated in different ways and through various projects and initiatives.

“It is great to see the children’s enthusiasm for involving themselves in what is going on around them and then for us, the teachers, to witness the wonderful sense of achievement afterwards is very rewarding.

“There is also a great sense of community at Gaelscoil Longfoirt and this is something that I feel is very, very important.”

No doubt Ms Nic Aonghusa will be coming into the role with lots of ideas and new ways to build on the wonderful legacy that has been left at Gaelscoil Longfoirt.

It is very important that the children are not just interacting in the same way every day; they are always being motivated in different ways and through various
projects and
initiatives.

It certainly is the dawning of a new era at the school as staff and pupils wait for the building of their new state of the art facility in the coming months.

Until then, the focus will be on the pupils and the teachers at the prefabricated building on the outskirts of Longford town close to Slashers GAA grounds, as far as the Co Kildare native is concerned.

She is looking forward to working closely with everyone and with the school’s Board of Management and all the parents.

“There has always been an open door for parents to come in and I am really looking forward to continuing with that when I become principal in September,” she added.

“Having worked with Yvonne Ní Mhurchú who had done a fantastic job building the school up for the last 20 years, I know I have big shoes to fill!

“But I have lots of energy, lots of ideas and I am looking forward to bringing Gaelscoil Longfoirt forward.

“Schools always need to develop, move forward and open themselves up to new ideas and projects.

“I am open to all of this and am aware of the importance of keeping things fresh.

“I think that it is very important for children that when they are leaving school, they have computer and technology skills and that they feel competent using those skills, especially in today’s world.”

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