HUNDREDS of people turned out in Bruff at the weekend to commemorate 156 years of education at Ard Scoil Mhuire secondary school which is due to close due to lack of funding.
The school has been run by the Faithful Companions of Jesus order since 1856.
In a special commemoration event on Saturday, past pupils, parents and teachers took a trip down memory lane to celebrate the contribution of the nuns to the area and to relive some of their school memories.
“While it was tinged, with sadness it was more a day of thanksgiving and good memories. There was lots of reminiscing. There was a happy feeling around - people had such happy memories of the place,” said Sr Geraldine Lennon, principal of Ard Scoil Mhuire who has been teaching home economics and religion at the school for the past 34 years.
“We had a lot of past pupils back and local people as well. There was a huge crowd and we were very, very happy that so many people made the effort,” she added.
A special mass was held in the local parish church followed by a display of old and new film footage capturing life at the school.
“The mass was beautiful and then we had our service in the cemetery. Our commemorative book sold out immediately so we will have to get a reprint of it. A woman in her 90s felt that she should come back to represent the people in their 90s,” added Sr Lennon.
In 2009, the FCJ order announced that it was no longer able to commit the level of funding required for the school on an ongoing basis, and, therefore, would no longer be able to remain as trustees.