The news of local teacher Gráinne Nic Robhartaigh’s appointment recently as Príomhoide of Gaelscoil Cois Feabhail was warmly welcomed by pupils, staff and parents of the Gaelscoil and by the wider Moville community.
is the first teacher from the town itself to become principal of the Gaelscoil, which opened ten years ago.
She said: ‘I am really delighted at the welcome my appointment has been given and I would like to thank everybody for their warm wishes. The interest in my appointment has shown me how important the Gaelscoil is in the eyes of the Moville community and how much they appreciate the cultural and educational gift the Gaelscoil can make to a child. It is my ambition as Príomh Oide to provide the very best education and formation possible to every child in the school.
She went on: “The people who established the school ten years ago were not only visionary but brave also. I wish to pay tribute to them, to former principals and to the wonderful work of my current colleagues who have made the Gaelscoil the success-story it is today.
The new principal states that it was her mother’s commitment to the education of all her children that first sparked her ambition to become a teacher. Her father inspired her with his love of the Irish language and culture. He had a scholarly dedication to local and national history, and his passion for the Irish language led him to immerse himself in it as much as possible. ‘I owe so much to both of them,’ Grainne said.
Gráinne feels that her teachers both at the Convent of Mercy Primary School, Moville and at Carndonagh Community College enhanced her developing interest in language learning.
“In addition, I spent all my Summers as a teenager in the Donegal Gaeltacht and I realise now, on reflection, that the experience of being immersed in an area where the language was alive, spoken every day and evolving with the passage of time, had a profound affect on me’.
Ms Nic Robhartaigh was awarded her initial third-level degree by Carysfort Training College, Dublin. Irish was an integral part of her degree. She chose French and Education as her elective subjects.
‘Studying French at third-level meant that I had a modern European language as well as my own native tongue. I have found it useful when abroad to be able to communicate both in French and Irish!’
She went on to secure an MA from the University of Ulster and a Diploma in the Irish Language.
As to her new school and what it has to offer, she commented: “We are a small school, four teachers at present and that has its advantages. We have a dedicated and professional teaching team and together with Mairéad, our secretary, we are passionate about creating an environment where children enjoy learning through Irish. Everybody on campus knows everybody else. It’s a bit clichéd to say that we are like a family, but that is the case. Older pupils look out for younger ones. Little ones are influenced by senior pupils as they hear them speak Irish so readily. In Gaelscoil Cois Feabhail each pupil is valued as each one is unique, gifted in his or her own way. The staff know each and every child. Because we are a small school we can do things together- go on a trip to the theatre, put on a school concert with 100% participation, take a walk and picnic Cois Feabhail. All of these things are feasible for us as a whole school and we make the most of that.”
The new principal concluded: “I want to help as many parents as I can in Moville to give the Irish language back to their children, and, in so doing, to ensure the development of , cultured young Irish people with the power to use their creativity, capabilities and self-confidence to restore the fortunes of our nation.