AN HISTORIC landmark in the history of education in Abbeyfeale will be celebrated this weekend when St Mary’s Boys NS marks its 100th birthday.
A reunion of past and present pupils at the school this Sunday will also mark the start of a new chapter in the school’s history, when its recent extension is officially opened.
Julie O’Brien of St Mary’s NS said that the location for Sunday’s ribbon cutting will capture the significance of the day: “We’ve never had a stairs before, and now we’ve got two! We decided to have the ribbon cutting at the bottom of the stairs”.
This Sunday’s ‘gathering of old and new’ has seen invitations extended to all past pupils of the school, and the event will celebrate its enduring lineage in the local community.
The day will begin with Mass at the local church at midday, which will feature a performance by the St Mary’s Boys NS choir. Afterwards, a reception will be held back at the school in which members of the public will be invited to take a look around the new school extension, which has seen a new first floor built on top of the existing school building.
The school’s ‘buy a block’ wall containing the names of the individuals and businesses that donated to the development project will also be officially unveiled.
At 2pm a special recital will take place, featuring musical performances from past and present students. Following the close of events at the school, the annual Palm Sunday walk to the Holy Well in Kileenaugh, Dromtrasna will take place as normal.
Buses will ferry people from the school to the start of the walk, which will be followed by a barbecue and an ‘oiche ceoil’ in the Fr Casey’s GAA clubhouse.
St Mary’s Boys NS first opened its doors in 1913, and moved to its current site in 1975. The extensive redevelopment works, which also saw the construction of a new reception area and new classroom spaces, was completed last year.
A dedicated Abbeyfeale committee has a number of events in the pipeline to mark The Gathering this year, including this Sunday’s event.