Glenstal Abbey school has its first influx of female pupils

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

Noirin ni Rian with some of the students from Moyross at Glenstal [Picture: Michael Cowhey]
The ABBOT of Glenstal, Mark Patrick Hederman, revealed before Christmas that they will admit female pupils in the future.

The ABBOT of Glenstal, Mark Patrick Hederman, revealed before Christmas that they will admit female pupils in the future.

He said they now favour a move towards co-education.

However, not even the abbot could have expected it to happen so quickly!

Twelve sixth class pupils from Corpus Christi National School in Moyross put on a concert in Glenstal Abbey.

The music and dance project was started by Glenstal Abbey resident and renowned singer, Nóirín Ní Riain, and principal of Corpus Christi school, Tiernan O’Neill last year.

They teamed up with the BA Voice and Dance course in the University of Limerick.

Ms Ní Riain taught the girls from Moyross in their school and in UL with the degree students.

She says the whole point of the project is to demonstrate to the sixth class girls that they too can achieve their dreams.

“We are always saying that to them - in 10 years time they will be on the other side.

“They would be the ones standing up looking down at a group of young pupils and helping them,” said Ms Ní Riain.

“They very much connected with the girls in the university and it gave the UL students an experience which is more than academic. They really bonded,” said Ms Ní Riain.

Indeed, at a time of the year when the pressure is on with upcoming exams it gave the students something else to concentrate on.

“It is a busy time but it showed them that there is more to life than academia,” said Me Ni Riain, class teacher Clara Conway and the UL students’ time and effort paid off.

The 12 sixth class girls put on a show that wowed audiences in two concerts performed in Glenstal and their school.

“They were fantastic. There was gospel songs, contemporary music, Sean-nós, traditional Irish, dance, hip hop and songs they composed themselves. They are incredibly talented and we want to showcase that to a wider audience,” said Ms Ni Riain, who is already thinking about next year’s collaboration.

As well as improving the pupils singing and dancing skills it also improves their confidence.

“The fifth class girls who were involved last year were understandably a little bit shy. They wouldn’t be use to performing in front of a crowd.

“I spoke to their teacher Clara Conway and she said it had made a huge difference in the fifth class girls who are now in sixth. It gave them great confidence. There was certainly no shyness this year,” said Ms Ni Riain.

She wished to thank Tiernan O’Neill and Clara Conway from Corpus Christi School; Dr Oscar Mascarenas, director of the BA Voice and Dance course and all the students for their time and input, and Fr Cuthbert for the use of the library in Glenstal to put on the recital.