Mr Pádraig Collery

0033 : Pádraig Collery
(image 0033)

In 1972 Mr. Pádraig MacCathailrí became the new headmaster. It was a seamless progression as he had been Vice Principal for a number of years. His organisational skills, easy-going manner, proficiency in Irish and love of Irish culture were attributes that made him a competent leader.

Pádraig was among the foremost organisers of cultural and sporting activities under the umbrella of the County Limerick VEC, organising and refereeing matches. It was Padraig who selected the colours of the school jerseys.

In the booklet FÁS published in 1980 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the school, Pádraig Collery wrote an article, here follows an extract:

In this brief essay I would like to elaborate a little on Ireland’s culture and tradition.

In recent times we have had some very interesting and entertaining programmes on RTE television and radio, e.g. Irish music, songs and dance, Gaelic drama, Gaelic dramas for young and old, programmes like ‘Trom and Éadrom’ which had a great appeal for our people, showing that these things are part of our own culture which for too long had been neglected.

This particular branch of Gaelic culture was brought to the ordinary people through attendance at Irish night classes which were organised by Vocational Education Committees.

The Irish have the reputation of being fial fláithiúl (very generous) and we in County Limerick conducted our own Gaelic programmes many years ago ever before the advent of TV. By ‘we’ I mean men like Mainchín Seoige, Risteárd Mac Siacuis, Pádraig Ó Cearúil agus Diarmaid Ó Maoláin.

We held what we called Oícheanta Gaelacha in different centres – Bruree, Abbeyfeale, Dromcollogher, Newcastle West, etc. These nights at which some hundreds of adults took an active part, consisted of a lecture, a meal, community singing and céilí.

We catered for a cross section of the community and for all ages and we had some well-known personalities as lecturers – a few names come to mind immediately like Nioclás Breathnach, Ciarán Mac Mathúna, Dr. R.J. Cussen, Fr. Con O’ Sullivan (RIP), who illustrated his lectures on Irish music with his tin whistle, which he played with great skill.

At these Oícheanta Gaelacha, groups from say three centres travelled to a fourth centre and this procedure was rotated from centre to centre and all who were involved expressed complete satisfaction. Irish was the dominant language at all these sessions and almost unknown to themselves everybody used the Irish language to the best of their ability.

We also organised various cultural activities through competitions for choirs, Irish dances, question time, public speaking (Irish) etc.

These activities bring the Irish language into the normal life of those who participate thus showing clearly that with practice communication through Irish becomes very easy.

As long as the Department of Education and many teachers treat Irish as just another school subject like mathematics or geography and forget that Irish is a living tongue, so long will we fail in our efforts to revive it.

P.S. Mac Cathailrí.

Pádraig believed that Irish should not be treated as a school subject only but as a living tongue, where you could laugh through Irish (gáire trí Gaeilge) ~ Gaeilge gan deora.

Patrick J Twomey was promoted to Vice Principal.

Patricia O’Callaghan, Vera Lenihan and Muriel Thomas were teaching here in these years.