Thursday, April 12, 2012

My time at Scoil na nÓg, Trabolgan

My previous post about being "anti-Gaelic" reminded me about my time as a student in 6th class in Primary School. Up to 5th Class I had attended Carnew National School, but in an effort to improve my Irish I was sent to Scoil na nÓg in Trabolgan near Cloyne in Co Cork. I was 11 years old, and it was September 1971. I have visited Trabolgan only once since I left and it has long since been converted to the more well-known Trabolgan Holiday Village.

Image link to Houstorian.
Recently I came across the Housetorian blog, which has an article on Trabolgan Country Estate, written by Annemarie Foley. In the article she quotes one of my own posts Irish School in Trabolgan and Sleeping with a Tenor about my time there sharing a room with the singer Ronan Tynan. The article is an excellent history of the house and estate, and it features several photographs that brought back some memories. 

The house in the photo above was used for the school. The classroom that I sat in was in the room with the three windows on the extreme right of the photo. On the extreme left was the dining room for the about 60 boys that attended the school - I think that it was there that I tasted chips for the first time! In the middle, behind the pillars at the door (which thought were a lot bigger) was the entrance hall - we used to play bowling in this hall. If I remember correctly, there was a plaque on the front wall to the right of the main doorway commemorating Patrick Pearse. In the photo below you can see the woods behind the house which was a paradise for young boys - I have fond memories of my time there.

Image link to the Irish Historical Picture Company.
Did it improve my Irish? Yes it did! When I left in June 1972 I was presented with a Fáinne Nua as a fluent Irish speaker. However, once I went to secondary school it all went downhill - within five years I was barely able to converse in it (Grade C in Ordinary Level). My Fáinne Nua also disappeared as I rather stupidly lent it to a boy named Ruane from Mayo in secondary school who "lost it".

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