Delighted pupils welcome back 1995 to their school

by Padraig Conlon

Pupils at a local school got a glimpse into what life was like 25 years ago when they opened a time capsule from 1995.

Loreto Primary School in Rathfarnham, in conjunction with the National Library of Ireland, hosted an opening ceremony of their capsule last Friday (31st), attended by former and present Loreto pupils.

There was great excitement as the local school was the first to open its capsule as part of the culmination of the 20-20 Vision project, which will see pupils in schools nationwide open time capsules which were buried by their predecessors in 1996 over the coming weeks.

The 20-20 Vision project was jointly organised by the UK and Ireland as part of the European Nature Conservation Year 1995.

It encouraged students in schools across Ireland and the UK to think about their environment then, what happened over the previous 25 years, and how it might change over the following 25 years by 2020.

The time capsules give a fascinating insight into how students in 1995 imagined the year 2020, as shown by the contents of the capsule dug up at Loreto Primary School.

The capsule included each child’s vision for 2020; an audio tape of interviews with various people comparing the 1970s with 1995; and another looking ahead to 2020.

It also included newspaper cuttings from the 1970s and 1995; school projects on recycling, global warming, the greenhouse effect, and pollution; photographs of the school and of the participants; video footage of the school and its environs; information on endangered animals; messages to the children of 2020; and letters from people including Gay Byrne, Joe Duffy and Seamus Heaney about their vision for 2020.

Speaking following the opening ceremony, Sr Maria Hyland, the school’s principal, said:

“There was great excitement at the school this morning as the contents of the time capsule were revealed.

“The children were very curious to find out how their counterparts imagined the world in which they now live.

“We were also delighted to welcome back former pupils who took part in the project 25 years ago, and to hear about their memories and recollections of their involvement in the project.”

Students ‘buried’ their time capsules on Thursday, February 1, 1996, with suggested safe-storage areas including local bank vaults; a local library; town or village halls or council offices; a local museum; for the capsule to be incorporated into a mural or sculpture; or buried in school grounds or a local park.

Following the ceremony, Dr Sandra Collins, director, National Library of Ireland said: “The National Library is Ireland’s memory-keeper, a kind of time capsule of Ireland’s story which is being added to every day, and where the information is always available.

“We protect and care for more than 10 million items, and for more than 20 years this has included the schools’ time capsule registration forms.

“Our Learning team, which engages with schools around the country on a wide variety of activities every year, is working with schoolchildren and teachers to offer tips and advice on the process of documenting the contents of their capsules, and on how they can be kept safe and in good condition.”

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