Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh, one of the largest gaelscoileanna in the State, will tomorrow see the official opening of its new 720-pupil capacity school in Knocknacarra.
The school which currently serves 600 pupils, and employs 30 teachers and three special needs assistants, as well as other support staff, will be opened by Seán Kyne, the Government Chief Whip, Aire don Ghaeilge, don Ghaeltacht agus do na hOileáin, and Fine Gael TD for Galway West. Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh is also marking its 25th anniversary.
Following an investment by Government of almost €7 million, this co-educational, all Irish primary school consists of a two-storey building with 24 classrooms, a library and resource room, special education rooms, and a general purpose hall.
“The enduring popularity of the school demonstrates not just the commitment and dedication of the school team to education but also the clear desire for gaelscoileanna,” said Minister Kyne.
“The opportunities for Irish language speakers, both at home and abroad, in the EU institutions for example, have never been greater and Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh is inspiring a love of the Irish language among thousands of young people in Galway.”
Principal of the school Dairíona Nic Con Iomaire said it was in the autumn of 1993 that the school and the naíonra opened its doors, in temporary accommodation, for the very first time.
“It was the first of many steps and highlights on our long road to securing permanent accommodation for the school. In 1999, the school and the naíonra moved into a newly constructed 8 classroom school on the Cappagh Road.
“In 2013, the Department of Education and Science decided that a new school was to be built for us and in January 2018, the school moved into our fine newly constructed school building in Millers Lane. This new school, which is one of the largest Irish medium primary schools in Ireland, is capable of accommodating up to 720 pupils. That is quite a contrast to the 20 pupils that we started with 25 years ago. As part of this new building there are 24 classrooms, a large assembly hall , support rooms, library , offices and associated playing areas”.
“This new school building, which represents the first phase of the development of Campus Mhic Amhlaigh, helps us as a school community not only to keep pace with the school’s needs but it also enables us to further support the broader development of the Irish language in what is the only suburban Gaeltacht in Ireland.
The Chairman of the Board of Management, Seán Ó Leidhinn said this is an historic day for the school and indeed for the Knocknacarra community.
“I have no doubt that the founding and development of Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh is among the most significant and fruitful developments in fostering the Irish language in the Knocknacarra area. It required a massive investment of both time and energy.
“I wish to take this opportunity to sincerely thank my fellow Board members, Parents’ Committee members, parents, staff and pupils for their continued support, understanding, patience and cooperation over the years, particularly during the most challenging periods. I would also like to acknowledge the valuable contribution made by previous Boards of Management and Parents’ Committees who have worked tirelessly over the years to bring this project to fruition and in doing so realising our vision.
“However, the work does not finish here,” he continued. “There are other developments planned with the development in the near future of “Ionad Gaeilge - Áras Mhic Amhlaigh” on our school campus.
“The primary purpose of the proposed development is to provide pre-school (naíonra ) and after school facilities for the school community and also to further support the broader development of the Irish language in the area.”