Shock at sad death of Clerihan school principal

The village of Clerihan has been devastated by the sudden death of John Walsh, principal of St. Michaels national school, on Monday.

The village of Clerihan has been devastated by the sudden death of John Walsh, principal of St. Michaels national school, on Monday.

Mr. Walsh, a highly regarded figure in the Clerihan community, died at his home at Derrygrath, Clonmel on Monday afternoon.

He is survived by his wife Mary and daughters Lisa, a pupil at St. Michaels NS, and Aisling, a student at Presentation Secondary School in Clonmel.

Removal takes place at 7.30 on Wednesday from Costigans funeral home in Cahir to Ardfinnan. Requiem Mass will take place on Thursday morning at 11am in Ardfinnan and Mr. Walsh will be buried afterwards at the cemetery in Grange.

A caring and compassionate man, Mr.Walsh will be remembered for the transformation of St. Michaels NS which experienced a huge rise in pupil numbers as the population of the village increased rapidly in the late nineties.

The original two teacher school was built in 1944 and some years after arriving as school principal in the early nineties, he played a key role in the planning and acquiring of investment for a new school which opened in 1996.

He then oversaw the expansion of the new school, transforming the four classroom school into an eight classroom school as numbers grew.

St. Michael’s not only catered for the needs of the village but also attracted pupils from a wide catchment area.

Mr Walsh took great pride in the achievements of school pupils, particularly on the GAA field, where the school excelled in Cumann na Bunscoil. The strength of Gaelic games in the school was one of the primary reasons why the new GAA club established in the village thrived.

The administrative principal took a great interest in the development of every pupil and often would have provided advice to past pupils. He enjoyed welcoming back past pupils to the school to congratulate them on their achievements such as football starDeclan Browne and others who excelled in sport.

He had a strong and progressive working relationship with the Boards of Management that served the school over the years.

Fr.Tom Breen, a former PP in Clerihan, paid tribute to John Walsh this week.

He said the energy and time that he gave to the community was wonderful.

“He was a highly regarded man, a lovely man and people are devastated by his death which was such a huge shock to everybody in the community. He had a great staff and Board of Management at the school and what was achieved there is a marvellous credit to him,” said Fr.Breen.