Gaelscoil Chluain Meala will make its own contribution to the year of The Gathering with some special events on Friday, October 18.
A school Mass will be celebrated at 1pm at St. Maryâ€™s Church in Irishtown, Clonmel, at which parents and members of the public will be welcome.
Past pupils and their parents are invited to take a trip down memory lane between 8.30 and 9.30 that evening by visiting the school building in Upper Irishtown for a reunion. This will be followed by a Seisiun Ceol at the nearby Careyâ€™s bar in Irishtown.
â€œWe would love people to come back and visit us. Even if they canâ€™t they might let us know where they are by sending an e-mail or following us on Facebookâ€, says principal Treasa Nic Dhiarmada.
The events will be a fitting way to celebrate the rich contribution that the townâ€™s all-Irish primary school has made to education since it opened its doors almost 20 years ago. The Gaelscoil has come a long way since it started in September 1994, when it had just 2 teachers - Treasa and Cait ni Chonbhui - and 45 pupils. It now has 218 pupils and 11 teachers.
â€œThereâ€™s a huge demand for children to be taught through Irish. People have a great love for the native tongue and a lot of past pupils have gone on to study Irishâ€, says Ms Nic Dhiarmada. â€œSome people may not have Irish themselves but they like their children to have itâ€.
A restriction on space means that some children have to be turned down for places in the school every year. â€œItâ€™s unfortunate that this happens but we just donâ€™t have roomâ€, she says.
The schoolâ€™s long campaign for a permanent home came to an end when the Department of Education purchased the building in Irishtown. â€œThe Departmentâ€™s architects drew up some beautiful plans to incorporate the older building into a new extension. Weâ€™re now awaiting sanction for the funding and weâ€™re very hopeful that this will come through soonâ€, the principal added.