Jan rewinds clock back to 1989 to mark Limerick school opening

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O'Sullivan with Adam Chappell who was in junior infants when the time capsule was buried and his daughters, Hazel who is in 2nd class and Emily who will be joining the school next year. Picture: Adrian Butler
MORE than 25 years after witnessing Limerick School Project students bury a time capsule as a councillor, Jan O’Sullivan was back as Minister for Education to see it opened.

MORE than 25 years after witnessing Limerick School Project students bury a time capsule as a councillor, Jan O’Sullivan was back as Minister for Education to see it opened.

The Labour minister was in the multidenominational school this Monday to help it mark 25 years in operation and reveal the contents of the capsule.

Although suffering the ravages of time, items recovered included photos and notes from some of the original 56 students who started in the fledgling Limerick School Project, located initially at Red Cross Hall.

“It is a lovely way to mark the 25th year and I was actually there at the opening and I remember Minister Mary O’Rourke coming down,” Minister O’Sullivan told the Limerick Leader.

“The school has grown hugely since then. It was a great idea at the time to hide the time capsule and I am really looking forward to the opening of it today to see what is inside and what has changed after 25 years.”

Minister O’Sullivan was given a huge welcome by an excited student body and principal Orla McCoy said there was “great excitement” in the school.

“We were afraid we would not be able to find it because the Red Cross Hall is in a different state than it was in the past - but we had a fact finding mission and we salvaged some stuff from the time capsule, it wasn’t exactly as we hoped, very well preserved,” explained the principal, who has been teaching at Limerick School Project since it first opened.

“But we salvaged some stuff and we will be able to make a great history lesson out of it. We intend to bury a second one this year and we have learnt our lessons about preservations.”

Among the items recovered from 1989, Ms McCoy explained, were crisp packets, to represent the children’s favourite snack, chalk as the children 25 years ago thought that the schools of the future might not have chalk, and wool to represent the school’s knitting club.

The school now boasts some 221 pupils with nine teachers and is located in a purpose built building on O’Connell Avenue that it moved to in 1996.

Minister O’Sullivan noted that “Educate Together schools now are very numerous around the country, but at the time, when this one opened, there weren’t very many at all.

“It took a lot of effort on the part of the parents of the time to get it open and I think it is significant that the Minister of Education at the time came down to open it as well. Certainly it has really established itself in Limerick.”

Mrs McCoy said reaching the milestone of 25 years in operation was “significant”.

“It is and we have come to a lovely building with the help of the parents and we couldn’t have survived without them basically,” she said.

“It was really a joint effort and it was fantastic, that is why we are here today.”

The event was one of several that the school will host during the year to mark the anniversary, with a student reunion in April. It will also host a The Magic of The Musicals show in the Lime Tree on February 17-18.