by Kate Heaney
A FASCINATING history of the Manorcunningham area, collected by pupils of Scoil Phroinnseas Naofa, Magherabeg over more than 20 years is published in a book which will be launched next Thursday, June 1 at the school.
‘Our Place, Our Space, Our Location’ is a collection of stories and personal reflections which captures the local history and heritage of the school and surrounding area. They have been recorded by current and former pupils over a twenty-year period. The book has been produced in collaboration with the local Raymochy Historical Society.
Collecting the stories began at the beginning of this Millennium when the Irish Independent newspaper ran a nationwide series of competitions for primary schools on themes around local heritage and buildings of significance in their local communities.
This was done under the guidance of former school principal Bridin Farren who retired last September after 33 years there. The new principal is Barry Meehan.
Raymochy Historical Society’s publicist and board member of the school, Anne Carroll talked to Bridin and between them decided the material should be published rather than languish in a cupboard in the school.
Speaking to the Donegal News this week Anne explained how the pupils from the year 2,000 undertook several projects in the Independent.
“The pupils were richly rewarded for their efforts with successes in 2000, 2001, and 2005 with the school winning more than £20,000 used to benefit pupils in the school.
“The projects did capture a huge volume of information relating to the school itself, the local townlands, local folklore, the Ulster-Scots dialect, the hiring fairs, local buildings and organisations. These together form a treasure-trove of local information,” Anne said.
The caliber of their work was readily recognised by Raymochy Historical Society who encouraged the school to make the information more widely available and they helped with its publication.
‘Our Place, Our Space, Our Location’ details that the school opened on April 25, 1955 receiving a transfer of pupils from Balleighan and Drumoghill National Schools.
It records the names of the first twenty-five pupils and recalls a time when the school’s two classrooms were heated by open fires without electricity or a telephone.
It lists the names of past principals and teachers, and records the names of the local families who attended the school, some of them involving four generations of the same family with photographs.
The book launch will take place at the Magherabeg National School, Manorcunningham, next Thursday, June 1, at 11.00 am.
“We jointly invite everyone to come along and join the celebration of this milestone.
“Tea and refreshments will be served and the book will be available to purchase on the day.”
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