I went home to Gurteen a few hours ago for a Retirement Function in honour of Maura Murray who taught me when I attended Mullaghroe N.S. I don’t think she taught me for long since she came to the school in 1974 and I left there in 1976 to go to St Nathy’s.
I think I was in Maura’s class for a few months of 1974 but my memory of National School is not too clear. I was a bit worried about that until someone pointed out that it’s good not to have specific memories since this means the whole school experience must have been good! I have to say I was happy there and retain contact with a good few people who were there around the same time as me. It was lovely to see my other two teachers there as well – my aunt Eilish Shannon and the Principal teacher of our days – Teresa Toolan.
Whatever about having clear memories of school I have good memories of Maura and have known her and kept contact through the years and was really happy to be part of her farewell celebrations. I snapped a few photos but from a distance with a phone camera so they’re not very good. Others took better photos with better cameras so that side of things will be recorded.
There were a few speeches (I said a few words) and these, naturally enough, praised Maura. One of my neighbours (Anne Clarke) spoke on behalf of the first group of pupils Maura taught and her words were excellent. I was amazed how much she remembered from those days. I don’t think anyone was left in any doubt that Maura’s influence in her life was and remains significant. It was lovely to hear her speak so fondly of her memories of school, her first school tour and much more. I’ve no doubt this meant a lot to Maura. Well done Anne (she told me she reads this blog from time to time!) Liz Hunt, a member of the Board of Management of Mullaghroe N.S., spoke too and introduced a pupil from Maura’s most recent class. She went on to make the point that from the first group to the last, Maura taught 345 pupils over those thirty-seven years.
At the end of the evening some of the children played music for us and it was heart-warming to hear them and see them enjoy themselves so much. The final piece of music was left to a few of the locals and I decided to record it. It was introduced by Junior Davey (Bodhran player) as the Kilmovee Jig and features Seamus O’Donnell and John Dwyer (on flutes) and Maureen O’Dowd on keyboard. He mentioned a second tune that would be included but I didn’t catch the name.
Well done to all involved. It was a lovely gathering. I hope that Maura long remembers this night and knows that she will be long remembered by the 345 and their families. God Bless her now and always.