Gaelscoil Neachtain to greet first pupils

New pupil �is�n Mac �omhair kitted out in his new school uniform. (3108sj100)
New pupil �is�n Mac �omhair kitted out in his new school uniform. (3108sj100)

The Interim Board of Governors of Gaelscoil Neachtain say they are “looking forward” to receiving children next Monday to the new Gaelscoil in Dungiven, approved in May of this year by Education Minister John O’Dowd.

The school will be located temporarily on a site located on the grounds of St Canice’s Primary school, said chairperson of the Gaelscoil, Nodlaig Ní Bhrollaigh.

“The school has been accommodated by St Canice P.S. and St Patrick’s College and there has been great co-operation over the summer between the schools in finding accommodation and facilities for the children of the Gaelscoil. We are delighted to be up and running and we look forward to the new school year and to welcoming the children on the first day of term,” she said.

The initial enrolment is 65 children and the uniform of the school “reflects the gaelic heritage of the locality”, said Ms Ní Bhrollaigh.

“The school crest is made up of an image of a window of the old Priory in Dungiven as the school is named after the first abbot of the Priory, a Scottish-born Saint called Saint Neachtain. The Priory was a centre of learning and students from across Europe came to receive tuition there. Tartan is incorporated into the uniform with a tartan tie, as a reference to the famous ‘Dungiven costume’ which included trousers made of tartan, woven in the Donegal style, unearthed in 1956 near Flanders, Dungiven, now on display in the Ulster Museum. The Dungiven Costume was thought to date to c.1600 and was perhaps originally the property of O’Cahan soldiers.”

Ms Ní Bhrollaigh said the School will be the first Irish medium school under the control of the Western Education and Library Board.

“The stand-alone Gaelscoil will provide a full immersion environment and will encourage the use of the Irish language throughout the school day to enhance the educational potential of the children and facilitate the learning process and appreciate the Irish language as a valuable and living heritage,” she added.