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Slán le Múinteoir Séamus

Le Nora Uí Nuanáin

This week makes the end of an era for Gaelscoil Charraig Uí Leighin as Múinteoir Séamus de Lóndra retires after 32 years teaching there. When he arrived in 1991 there were less than 10 teachers on the staff which now has 35 teachers. Since then Séamus has taught as a class teacher, a resource teacher and for the last five years as principal.

During these years, since 2019, Múinteoir Séamus oversaw the growth of the school to its capacity of 24 classes, trying to make space for more prefabricated classrooms, all the while managing the building of the new modern school in the wonderful Gaelcampus which opened in September 2021. Amid all of this there was the challenge of the two academic years of COVID19 and all the implications of home schooling and online teaching. As schools were allowed to open again, the Gaelscoil was on the move and although the new school was not complete Múinteoir Séamus had the task of moving the entire Gaelscoil throughout the summer, all the while supervising the continuing build. Amazingly the new Gaelscoil building was ready to open for the first day of the new term.

Seamus Landers addressing pupils at Gaelscoil Carraig Ui Leighin during a ceremony to celebrate his retirement as Principal. Picture Adrian O'Herlihy

Pods of children, group alerts, antigen tests and air filters followed as part of school life and Séamus took this all in his stride, as he guided his staff and protected the school community. Thankfully school was back to normal for his last full year as Principal to allow for the more joyful aspects of school life like Christmas concerts and coffee mornings, welcoming in the extended community into the school.

Along with the announcement of his retirement, two other members of staff had also done their time. Siobhán Ní Chuana, Vice Principal retired in August, having said her goodbyes to the children and staff before the summer holidays having taught alongside Séamus for all of his years in the school. Billy the caretaker had finished up in May. Both Billy and Siobhán returned last week to say their goodbyes to Múinteoir Séamus. They were accompanied by Fr. Charlie Nyhan, Majella Uí Chrualaoi, Chairperson of the Board of Management, Trudy Caffrey Coiste Cairde, Donnchadh Ó Cróinín, Principal of Gaelcholáiste Charraig Uí Leighin, retired teachers Múinteoir Máire and Múinteoir Nóirín and former teachers Múinteoir Aisling and Múinteoir Niamh who travelled up from Kerry for the day. Séamus’ own family attended the celebrations: his wife, children, brother and sister were entertained by the children from first to sixth class who sang and the staff banna ceoil performed. Earlier on, the infant classes focused on the theme of animals representing Múinteoir Séamus’ love for the farm. Although there were sad moments during the day, it was one of celebration and laughter. Many of the teachers on the staff had taught with Séamus for years and several had been taught by Séamus himself.

Gaelscoil Charraig Uí Leighin is now in the capable hands of the new principal Caitríona Uí Liatháin. Caitríona was a pupil of the very first class in the school and is delighted to be able to carry on the vision of the late Múinteoir Bríd Úna Ní Mhaoileoin, who was principal from the school’s beginning in 1985 until Múinteoir Séamus took over the reins. We wish Múinteoir Caitríona all the very best in her undertaking. Go n-éirí go geal léi.

Retired Principal of Gaelscoil Charriag Ui Leighin, Seamus Landers pictured with his wife Emma, at a ceremony at the school recently to celebrate his retirement. Picture: Adrian O'Herlihy

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