St Patrick’s National School in Limerick celebrated the historic occasion with a special re-enactment walk yesterday.
Dressed up in period costumes, teachers and pupils walked from the original girls’ primary school behind St Patrick’s Church on the Dublin Road, which had first opened in 1865, to the present school building, which opened exactly 100 years ago.
The Defence Forces also marked the occasion by presenting the flag and Proclamation to the school as part of the 1916 commemorations.
“This exact walk was done on February 1, 1916 when teachers and pupils walked from the old school to our present school building,” said principal Donal O’Gorman.
“It’s a massive day for the school. Our only disappointment: we were supposed to have a horse-drawn cart but the stormy weather unfortunately put a stop to that.”
Although the National Schools Board was founded in 1831 to provide primary education in Ireland it was not until 1865 that the first national school opened in St Patrick’s Parish and was located to the rear of St Patrick’s Church.
In 1916, the teachers in the girls school included the principle Mrs Seoirse Clancy (Molly Kileen) the wife of George Clancy who was mayor of Limerick in 1921, and after whom Clancy Strand is named.
He was shot and killed at his front door by the Black and Tans on March 7, 1921.
“Our school is steeped in history. Our sixth-class teachers Sinead Clancy’s grand aunt Margaret Byrnes, was one of the children that transferred up from the old school on this day 100 ago so she is doing that same walk 100 years later,” said Mr O’Gorman.
More than 400 people were invited to yesterday’s event which also saw school lollipop woman Jeanette McCarthy don 1916 attire under her high-visibility jacket.
“Everybody got into the spirit of the occasion and we certainly turned a few heads of motorists during the early morning school rush,” said Mr O’Gorman.