Brigid’s new beginning

by Gazette Reporter
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Rain showers were not going to dampen the spirits of students at St Brigid’s National School Castleknock recently when they celebrated the official opening of their new school extension and sports hall, which was dedicated to the memory of the late Brian Lenihan.
The extension was 10 years in the making, taking 18 months to build, so staff, board members and parents were overjoyed to see their vision finally come to fruition.
Students filled the halls of their new school extension waving their school flags in excitement at showing guests their new sports hall.
Not only will the students benefit from the new building, but the local community will also get something out of it, as the sports hall will be a shared resource.
The school’s new library was a sight not to be missed, with its state-of-the-art fittings and an impressive art motif on the wall.
Students also had a project mounted on the walls, featuring the history of their school’s location in Castleknock.
Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin conducted a blessing ceremony before school teacher Tony Hegarty addressed guests, which included members of the Lenihan family, to dedicate the new hall at St Brigid’s in memory of the late, long-serving local TD and former government minister Brian Lenihan.
Tony described Lenihan as being a “visionary” for his community and said he always had a presence, “people listened and hung on every word he said”, adding it was a “privilege and an honour” to dedicate the centre to him.
The official opening was a particularly fitting day to hold the ceremony, as it took place on February 1, the feast day of the school’s patron saint.
However, it wasn’t only a special day for the school, but also for their local TD, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, who told guests it was her birthday.
Delighted to be there, she said there is always a great feeling from the school, that it’s a “happy place”.
She went on to pay tribute to all those involved in making the day happen, and said it was a fitting tribute for Brian Lenihan to be remembered.
The school’s principal, Denis Courtney, said the new school is a “magnificent testament” to the board of management and the people who worked so hard to bring it to where it is today.
Speaking to the Gazette, he said: “There has been a huge build up to it with projects and so much preparation for today.
“I would like to think students did themselves really proud today. There is a huge sense of satisfaction today, we weren’t sure we would reach it and if it would ever come and the fact we have a hall as beautiful as this and such great facilities – we are so delighted,” he added.
Fine Gael Minister Leo Varadkar (FG)  said the ceremony was “beautiful” and that he didn’t think he had ever seen a “nicer one”.
St Brigid’s National School was established in Castleknock in 1865 and now has 912 pupils and 43 teachers.

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