A CORK school has honoured three of its most famous past pupils through a commemorative garden unveiled by An Taoiseach earlier today.
The North Monastery Secondary School undertook the project in memory of the Republican Lord Mayors of 1920 – Tomás Mac Curtain, Terence Mac Swiney and Donal Óg O’ Callaghan.
The garden is the brainchild of the school’s History Club and was constructed under the watchful eye of teacher Shane Ryan. Launched by the An Taoiseach Micheál Martin, the project formed part of the school’s year-long programme to commemorate the historic events of 1920 and their connection with North Monastery.
Supported by the Cork City Council Commemoration Fund 2020, the project shone a light on the schools’ talented students. Among them was transition year student, Eric Sheehan, who designed a specially commissioned sculpture of the three Lord Mayors.
Students of the Polish School hosted in the North Monastery each weekend also had the chance to meet with An Taoiseach. The school is funded by the Polish Government to support Polish culture and language for second-generation Polish children resident in the region.
Dr Aodh Quinlivan, who penned “The Forgotten Lord Mayor – Donal Óg O’Callaghan 1920-1924” as part of the City Council’s 1920 Commemorations Programme was in attendance at the launch.
The school’s principal, Grace O’ Sullivan said the event was very exciting for the children involved.
“The Taoiseach commended them for working through Covid, staying in school and keeping each other safe,” she said. “He was very open to communicating with the students and engaging with them. He spent time and listened to them which was really important as so much of the time kids are kept in the background. He also took a lot of time to speak with the children from the Polish school and discussed the importance of preserving their culture and keeping the language alive. He managed to tie it in nicely with the commemoration garden as keeping our own heritage alive forms such a huge part of these events.”