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Pupils pour personality into brightening up Clare school

Caherea National School has completed a unique mural showcasing the talent and interests of its students as part of the Artist In Schools scheme.

The idea arose during a meeting of an established student council, a recurring desire becoming apparent to make the school a brighter place.

The wall in front of the school was plain grey concrete blocks and seemed an obvious candidate for improvement.

Principal Maolíosa Quinn applied for the Artist in Schools scheme with that wall in mind, and funding was secured swiftly alongside a correspondence with local artist, Marie Connole.

Maolíosa said: “Marie did brainstorm sessions with the pupils in both classes, so the whole school was involved. They came up with their interests and hobbies; the younger students wanted things like rockets and planets while the older students have passions for music and sports.

“We also focused on elements important to the locality, so there are images of Irish dancers, musicians, sports, fishing and farming.”

National heritage is also layered throughout the mural, which features the Irish tricolour and Bunreacht na hÉireann.

The students learned throughout the process about the translation of the document into Gaeilge by Micháel Ó Gríofa on behalf of Éamon De Valera.

There is also a reference to Noel Hill, a local concertina player who is well known for his contribution to traditional Irish music in the area.

Maolíosa commended the process, saying that it was appropriate to include unique and meaningful aspects such as that.

The mural was completed over four weeks due to the poor weather, with Marie visiting during the evenings to dab colours on specific bricks, while during the day the children could follow those instructions to get work done throughout their school day.

Maolíosa added: “Identity is huge for us. What’s lovely about the project is that it originated from the children, the images there are their images, things they wanted on it. When they come in and see it, it fills them with a lot of pride.

“But also, it is the first thing visitors notice when they come to the school, and it brings about a pride for the children in the school they’re attending. They’re delighted with it.”

by Conor Clohessy

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