Lia Clifford looks wistfully at her classroom in St Molua’s NS, Ardagh Pictures: Bridie Murphy Photography
THIS time of year primary school children normally can’t wait for their summer holidays, but due to Covid-19 they are looking forward to getting back in the classroom.
The photo on the far right is of seven-year-old Lia Clifford outside St Molua’s National School, Ardagh. The poignant photo was taken by her grandmother, photographer Bridie Murphy.
“My granddaughter was constantly mentioning that she missed her school and her teacher and her friends. Lia was very anxious to see the place again. So one evening I treated her to a trip to the school.
“The range of emotions she went through surprised me. From the excitement of pointing out her classroom to me and her chair in the exact place that she had left it, to sadness on showing me the usual spots she played in with her friends,” said Bridie, who tells stories through photographs.
“Lia made me aware of how much children are missing the school routine so I set out to capture that emotion in order to have a record to look back on in years to come,” said Bridie.
The Leader asked Lia what does she miss most about school?
“Being able to play with my friends and my cousin Yvonne,” said Lia.
Does she ever think she will give out about going to school again?
“Well, probably on the first day back because I hate first days and Mondays. We have to do loads of work on Mondays!” she smiles.
Lia says she will be excited and a little bit scared on her first day back in September because “I might have to start over and do first class all over again and I really don’t want to do that!”
“I shouldn’t have to because I have all the work done. We get so much work now. We have to do schoolwork and homework every day!”
Bridie also took a picture of sisters Ellie and Mai O’Sullivan at their primary school in Carrickerry. Ellie is in sixth class and leaving her five classmates without saying goodbye, while Mai started in junior infants last September. Ellie said not being able to finish school with her friends is very hard.
“It’s a milestone we are missing out on. It’s going to be very strange as out of the six students in my class there are only two of us going to the same secondary school and I am the only girl going,” said Ellie.
These experiences are shared by thousands of boys and girls across the county.