Mother of four Anne ready to take on the world

TWO years ago, mother-of-four Anne Nagle decided she was going back to school after she could have “wallpapered her walls” with the number of rejections she got when she applied for a new job.

She had left school two weeks before her Inter Cert exams, and after working as a waitress for a while, decided she had nothing to lose by going back to school and trying again. Not even the people who laughed at her decision to go back to school at 39 could put her off.

“There were people who laughed at me and couldn’t understand why I wanted to go back when I had a husband, four children and a roof over my head. But I can shake that piece of paper at them now and tell them I have achieved it.

“I’m going to take on the world now, and leave my mark,” a delighted Anne from Brendan’s Place, Killarney, said yesterday.

Her success was all the more sweeter because it was shared with her 18-year-old daughter Samantha, who also got her Leaving Cert results yesterday. They have studied together for the last two years and are destined for third-level education.

Anne, who got an A1 in history, B2 in English, B3 in maths and geography, and D1 in business, has been accepted by Tralee Institute of Technology to study social care. Samantha has enough points to secure her first choice of an arts degree in University College Cork.

“We’re definitely closer after these last two years of studying together. I’ve got to know her a lot better. If I hadn’t done the Leaving Cert I wouldn’t know her as well as I do now,” Anne said. Although she was thrilled with her results yesterday, she admitted it was a tough couple of years.

Her husband John and other daughters Elaine, 23, Rebecca 14, and Danielle aged nine could not be prouder of their mother, and Anne said she could not have done it without them.

Last night, though, it was all about Anne and Samantha’s success in the Nagle household.

IT was the thought of staring out the window at a bleak, Kerry winter with nothing to do that spurred 65-year-old Eugene Carton to go back to school after a 50-year break.

“I retired two years ago after working from the age of 14 and the thoughts of looking out at a Kerry winter, the vacuum of doing nothing, I couldn’t handle it. I don’t play golf, the garden is done and I always had this thing about seeing what this schooling was all about,” he said.

Yesterday he saw that desire fulfilled with Bs and Cs in English, geography, history and business studies, and a D1 in biology. He said the two years were hard at times, particularly all the homework, but said “it was all very interesting and who wouldn’t be without knowledge like that”.

His wife Mai, children Katherine, 40, 39-year-old twins Thomas and Jimmy, Áine, 34, and 27-year-old Eoghain gave him “all the encouragement in the world”.

Eugene is the only one out of his class of 11 not to go on to further education, but he said there had been nothing done around the house for two years and he had a lot of catching up to do. “I’ll definitely do a night-class though, but I’m not sure what in yet.”

Lisa Kavanagh, the Waterford Rose of Tralee, really did the business yesterday. “I got my 445 points,” the 18-year-old announced with unbridled joy.

“I needed between 330 and 380 to do the bachelor of business studies degree course in the Waterford Institute of Technology.

“So, I know I’m well above the mark and I know I’ll definitely be offered it anyway. So, I’m going to go for it.

“It’s made the week even more special for me. It’s taken a lot of the pressure off me; it was hanging over me for the whole summer. I’m delighted now.”

After the Rose contest, Lisa would like to do a masters degree and, perhaps, lecture on business. For now, the focus is on living every moment and having fun in the Rose of Tralee contest. Lisa publicly thanked Mary Ryan, vice-principal at Presentation Secondary School, Waterford city for sending on her results to Kerry because of the demands of Lisa’s Rose commitments meant she couldn’t collect them herself.

More in this section

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence