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Tulla school unlocks history as time capsule is opened

THERE was plenty of nostalgia in the air on Wednesday last when past and present school pupils got together in Tulla to open a time capsule that had been under lock and key for a quarter of a century.

The capsule had been stored away in Bank of Ireland since February 1996 as part of the 20-20 Vision project to mark the European Nature Conservation Year 1995. Past pupils of fifth and sixth classes who attended the Convent of Mercy in the ‘90s, and put the capsule together under the guidance of Sr Eileen Callinan, gathered at St Mochulla’s this week to revisit their childhood visions for the Tulla of 2020.

As anticipation grew in the packed hall at St Mochulla’s Principal Brian Culloo set the scene with a description of the key moments of 1995. He raised a cheer among current day pupils for his references to the beginning of the comedy ‘Fr Ted’ and Clare’s All-Ireland hurling victory.

Coincidentally, two current members of teaching staff, Rita O’Keeffe and Lorraine O’Loughlin, were pupils of the convent in 1995, before its amalgamation into of St Mochulla’s. Rita told The Champion she had predicted that people would be flying around in spaceships by 2020. “My own children are having a great laugh at that, at the moment,” she said. “Coming back to open the capsule is a great idea. It’s a lovely way to get us all back here, I haven’t seen some of the girls in years so it’s great.”

As the capsule was opened, Sr Eileen read the contributions of Síle Minogue, Shirley Conway and Sarah Walsh who predicted the rise of computers in schools, ‘private phones’ for school children and ‘pocket televisions’.

“Back in 1995, I remember telling the Bank Manager John Fleming, who looked after the capsule for us, that I wouldn’t be around for the opening, but I am delighted to be,” Sr Eileen remarked. “The girls who put the capsule together were very lively, had a great work ethic and are responsible for a few of my grey hairs!”

Fr Brendan Lawlor blessed the capsule and all in attendance and the school band performed to a very impressive standard.

Mr Culloo anticipates that current pupils might create their own capsule and look ahead of 2025: “We have an idea that the current fifth and sixth class might do something similar and we’ll see where that will be in 25 years time.”

Sr Eileen will now document the contents of the capsule and send a report to the National Library of Ireland (NLI). Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the NLI said of the project: “The Library is Ireland’s memory-keeper – a kind of time capsule of Ireland’s story which is being added to every day. We protect and care for more than 10 million items, and for more than 20 years this has included the schools time capsule registration forms.”

The time capsule will be on display in Tulla every year as part of the Cnoc na Gaoithe Festival.

About Fiona McGarry

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Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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