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Going from strength to strength, the Kayak Le Cheile club has opened a brand new shed for its vessels.

Ennis school’s kayak club continues to make a splash

WATER way to start the day at Scoil Chríost Rí in Cloughleigh with the recent launch of the latest addition to the school’s Kayak le Chéile club.

The club is continuing to make a splash with the addition of a brand new kayaking shed right next to the River Fergus.

The new shed was opened last Wednesday with Rang a Trí pupil Junior Power cutting the ribbon. The building was then blessed by Fr Ger Jones, before Rang a Sé pupils led the assembled guests up river for an hour- long paddle. 

Sixth class pupils also unveiled their recent Kayak le Ceol recording, which saw the class work with artist-in-residence, Fiona Leenane, to compose and perform a kayaking routine to music. 

Teacher Joe Garry explains that Kayak le Chéile was formed two years ago at Scoil Chríost Rí and since then kayaking has become an integral part of the curriculum offered with ranganna IV-VI getting out on the Fergus.

Aided by funds from the Dormant Accounts fund and through Clare Sports Partnership, the club has now purchased 10 single kayaks and two double kayaks along with all associated safety gear.

As well as getting the students out on the water, to date five courses for parents have been completed at Introductory and Level 1. 12 staff members having completed Level 1 training, five Level 2, and two are presently preparing for the Level 3 award.

The club is presently working with Clare County Council engineers to improve access from the school to the adjacent slip way and the school is planning on having a kayaking week in mid June.

As well as marking the launch of the new shed, the school also hosted a presentation by Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board to 11 mothers of Kayaking Beginners and Canoe Ireland Level 1 Certificates.

Some parents took part in a series of Outdoor Education Activities and received their completion certificates as well.

Mary Flanagan, Adult Literacy Organiser at the College of Further Education and Training, Clonroad Campus, says, “There was such a positive feel good atmosphere about being out and about in the fresh air and on the River Fergus and Lake Ballyalla.

“Some sea kayaking was completed as well as abseiling, caving, hillwalking, and body boarding. Some of the group progressed onto swimming lessons. 

“Working in partnership meant these courses could happen, alone none of those involved could have succeeded in providing these.

“The Burren Outdoor Education and Training Centre provided skilled, encouraging and experienced Outdoor Education Tutors, while funding came through the Further Education and Training College, Ennis Campus while Scoil Chríost Rí provided the link to parents with the Home School Community Liaison Coordinator supporting the work from the start. 

“There is great interest in continuing to take part in Outdoor Activities as a result and all the benefits it brings for mental and physical health, role modelling for children and having fun.”

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