Celebrating 150 years of Drumbaragh National School were Cllr Sean Drew, Noel Dempsey, Michael Finnegan, chairperson of the board of management, and principal, Sarah Clarke. Photos: Seamus Farrelly

Special celebration of 150 years of Drumbaragh NS

Drumbaragh National School has been celebrating its 150th year of teaching generations of young minds and sporting heroes.

The school was the brainchild of John Sweetman, a local man who valued education so much that he built a school to teach the children of those who worked on his land. Remarkably, part of the original building of 1872 still stands today and was beautifully portrayed in a painting by local artist Patsy Fitzgerald, who kindly donated the piece to the school.

To mark this sesquicentennial achievement, a special celebratory school Mass was held on 3rd June last with current parents and pupils, former principals, teachers, boards, parents and pupils, and some locals in attendance. Former Minister for Education and Meath West TD, Noel Dempsey, was invited to address the gathering and spoke of the Ireland that our ancestors were living in 150 years ago.

The special school Mass was celebrated by Fr David Bradley, accompanied by the sound of the school choir. Michael Finnegan, chairperson of the board, addressed the congregation reflecting on the strong foundations laid, and the bright future that lay ahead. After a school chorus of ‘Happy Birthday Drumbaragh’, refreshments were served, as people took a trip down memory lane inspecting class displays of then and now.

In recognition of this unique achievement, Cathaoirleach of the Seanad, Senator Mark Daly had presented the children with an Irish flag. This very flag was flown from the building, in Co Waterford, where the first Tricolour was flown in 1848 by Francis Meagher. The flag and its certificate of origin are now on display in the main hall.

The board of management thanked Sarah Clarke, current principal, for her hard work and perseverance in organising the day and having the school looking so well; all the teachers and staff who contributed to the celebrations and to the pupils who were exceptional on the day and every other day. Thanks were expressed too to the board of management which supported the organisation of this special event in Drumbaragh.