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Home » News » All fun and games as Barefield National School launches major expansion of outdoor facilities
Pupil Aoife Moore during the official opening of a new ball wall, running track as well as the launch of their 125th Anniversary Book at Barefield National School.

All fun and games as Barefield National School launches major expansion of outdoor facilities

LESSONS in fun really are child’s play at Barefield National School which last week officially launched a major expansion of its outdoor facilities. A new playground, ball wall and walking / running track has been added to the local school while an astroturf pitch was previously installed.
The new facilities were developed as part of a €120,000 project with Deputy Principal Peadar McMahon telling us they have been a big hit with the pupils of the school.
“The playground, ball wall, walking / running track and astroturf are just fabulous. All of the students are absolutely delighted, it’s gone down really, really super with them,” he said.
The development has been an ambition of the school for a while, and last year they were successful in securing planning permission from Clare County Council.
Mr McMahon outlines, “The idea had come up at various boards of management meetings over the years, it was first mentioned in 2015.
“The present board of management really got stuck into it two or three years ago and our former principal John Burns did a huge amount of work researching and costing. When he retired two years ago our new principal Ger Ruane did huge work getting onto suppliers and builders and we just went from there. Once we got it started we had it up within the year.”
He praised the various sponsors, the school community, fundraisers, parents and all of those who supported bringing the project to fruition.
The facilities are certainly proving themselves to be popular with students of all ages. “They are used before, during and after school. The walking track is great as it’s a place for children who might not be into playing soccer or basketball to play and chat with their friends.
“With the playground, we were wondering how the senior pupils would take to it, but they have been as enthusiastic nearly as much as the younger ones. And of course the junior and senior infants absolutely love it.
“We have a timetable for lunch breaks so every class gets to go out. We have a rotation system where all the classes can avail of all the facilities, and teachers are free to bring them up and down as well. It’s brilliant that even on a wet day and the kids can’t get out during their break that if there is a five or ten minutes when the weather is better the teachers can tell them to drop their books and go out.
“This is fantastic as these days we hear so much about mindfulness and mental health issues so to have this and to be able to get out in the fresh air and clear the head is just fabulous.
“Hurlers and footballers are at the ball wall every lunchtime, and they just love it, we painted on some goals and targets for them. Our ASD class is brought up every morning to the playground first thing and they are up on the slides and swings which is just brilliant. Some of the children throughout the school have SNAs and they need movement breaks so it’s great to have these facilities.” The school’s pre-school and afterschool also avail of the new outdoor amenities.
It’s not just the students who are enjoying the benefits, with Mr McMahon telling us local GAA club St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield has utilised the ball wall for training.
Invited guests visited the school on Friday for the official opening with a blessing carried out by Fr Tom Fitzpatrick. The event also launched a new book commemorating the last 25 years of Barefield National School. Assistant principal Gillian Moore and her committee oversaw its publication which is a follow up to a book released in the late 1990s marking 100 years of the school.
The school is now looking ahead to the future, with plans to add a new classroom and support room. Mr McMahon confirmed that the project is gone to the design team and it is hoped that it will be in place by September next year.
“It’s onwards and upwards from here,” he concluded.

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