Bruff teacher heads for South Africa

A BROTHER who taught in schools in Bruff and Hospital has packed his bags and returned to work among the children of South Africa where he previously spent 42 years.

A BROTHER who taught in schools in Bruff and Hospital has packed his bags and returned to work among the children of South Africa where he previously spent 42 years.

Brother Timothy McLaughlin, a member of the De La Salle Order, was a teaching Brother in Bruff in the 1960s and from there he went to South Africa where he spent 42 years.

He returned to Ireland over a year ago to retire, but a return visit to Johannesburg during the summer sealed his fate and he is now back in the country he saw as home, working among the children he loved.

He is still remembered in the town on the Morning Star river and was in touch with old school pupils before he left Ireland.

“I loved Bruff and the people were great. During my time there I got to know Limerick and my sister Ann and her husband Brendan Flanagan from Shelbourne Road in the city lived on the Ennis Road at the time,” he explained.

A number of years previously he spent a period in the De La Salle school in Hospital. “I have many happy memories of my short time there,” he added.

A native of Carndonagh on the Inishowen Pennisula in County Donegal, he recalled to the Limerick Leader that Bruff was a very intimate place to work in. “I got to know everyone and I became involved in the GAA at club and school level.

He recalled with some humour the time he introduced Gaelic football to the town. “Bruff always prided itself in being a hurling area and when I arrived I introduced football in the school and entered the South Limerick Schools football championship.

“Believe it or not we won the title, a first for the school. I was elected Chairman of the football club. When the hurling season for schools came round we were beaten in the first round and I was almost run out of the town. This never happened before and I was bad news for hurling”.

The young Brother set out for South Africa where he worked in various roles from teaching to training school bands as he had a lifelong interest in music.

He is now involved in the formation of Brothers in Johannesburg.

His parting words: “give my regards to everybody in Bruff who knew me, even to those who wanted me out of town,” he laughed.