Like every other primary and secondary school across Ireland today, 15th March 2016, we had a ceremony to raise the Irish Flag at our school, remember those who fought in 1916, celebrate our Irishness and read our proclamation for 2016. It was a cold but bright day as we, parents and the community of Rathgarogue assembled outside.
Every class treated us to a display of our Irish culture. Junior and Senior Infants kicked off the occasion with their rendition of 'Oró sé so bhetha bhaile', 'Leipreachán ina shuí faoi gcrann', 'Sing a song to Bridget', an 'Irish Blessing' and 'Lá le Padraig'. First class danced the 'Seige of Ennis' and recited 'An tseamróg'. 2nd class performed their 1916 Rap. This was a clever rap based on the idea of The Three Little Pigs that recounted the events of 1916 penned by their teacher Eamonn O'Connor for the occasion. 3rd class performed a medley of the well known 'Molly Malone', 'Fields of Athenry', 'Danny boy' and 'I'll tell me ma'.
4th class performed a play retelling the event of The 1916 Rising written for the occasion by their teacher Imelda Hanly and Conor Rossiter played the Banjo. 5th class danced the 'Rakes of Mallow' while Richard Murphy played it on the accordian. They sang and performed 'Grace' on the tin whistle with Matthew Murphy taking solo verses. It is the well known song about Joseph Plunkett and his love for Grace who he married hours before his executation for his part in the 1916 Rising. Finally 6th class rounded off the day with their wonderful tin whistle renditions of 'The Harp', 'Spancil Hill', 'Bonny, Bonny Scotland', Planxty Irwin', Baidin Feidhlimi' and the 'Kerry Polka'. Eoghan Doyle and Diarmud Somers added colour to the sound by playing the banjo with them. Eoghan, Katie Murphy and Fiona Lyng played solo tin whistle in 'Baidin Feifhlimi' as well.
At 12 noon the Irish Flag was finally raised by our special guest Mr Derry Fitzgerald with the help of Brian Dillon, Cora McGrath and Conor Kavanagh. Derry is a past pupil of Scoil Naomh Áine, Rathgarogue. He is now 87 years old and a wealth of knowledge about local history. He was only one of three from his class to attend secondary school. He has lived and farmed in Gobbinstown where he lives with his wife Maisie. He has aways been active in the local community. We were very privilidged to have him join us to raise our flag on this wonderful occasion.
After Derry spoke about the history of 1916, Sean O'Neill spoke briefly about his grandparent's and granduncle's involvement in the 1916 Rising and brought in a display of the medals awarded to them. Finally extracts of the original Proclamation were read and then 6th class representatives read their own 2016 Proclamation to the crowd. It was written by Jessica Sutton, Shane Dillon, Fiona Lyng, Dylan Moran and Aoife Murphy. A framed copy of it was then presented to Acting Principal Ms Elaine O'Connor to round off the proceedings. 'Amhrán Na Bhfiann' brought the celebrations to a close.
A special thank you to all the staff of Scoil Naomh Áine for their hard work and preparation. It that made this a wonderful celebration of a very special and historic day.