On Monday, the 24th April 2023, students and staff from Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí gathered at the school in Moyderwell for the last time. They said goodbye to the building that had been home for the last 34 years. They then walked from Moyderwell to Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí Campas Nua in Cloonbeg to mark the move to the new building. They were joined by Kerry Education and Training Board Senior Management and Board Members.
The new campus marks the beginning of an exciting chapter in the history of Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí. In 1989 six Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí students took their Leaving Certificate. They were the first group of pupils to take their Leaving Certificate through Irish in Tralee for a long time.
As the group gathered in the new school, Ruairí Ó Cinnéide, Principal of Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí, expressed his joy about the new campus, saying, “The school community and the wider Pobal Gaeilge in Tralee have been looking forward to seeing the completion of this fantastic school. We are delighted to be moving in today. We are sure this facility will create many additional opportunities for our students to achieve their potential in the classrooms, the cultural areas, and in the wonderful sports facilities.
“We look forward to showing off our new home to students from all the primary schools in the area and that they will see that we can offer them excellent opportunities for their post-primary education.”
The new campus gives us the capacity to cater for the increased demand for Gaeloideachas in the town of Tralee and surrounding areas. Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí is a pivotal institution for developing the Irish language in Kerry. Ruairí Ó Cinnéide stated that he hoped the new campus would become a hub for Gaeilge in Tralee and play a crucial role in maintaining and enhancing the strong traditions and Cultúr Gaelach that already exist in Tralee town and the surrounding areas.
Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí currently has 320 students. They look forward to seeing that number increase now that they have the capacity in the new building. The school has a reputation for academic excellence and is renowned for its supportive and inclusive environment. As the students and staff began their first day in the facility, there was a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air.
Ann O’Dwyer, Director of Schools, Youth, and Music at Kerry ETB, added, “Our goal is to provide high-quality education for all of our students in Kerry, and the opening of the new campus supports this. We welcome students from a wide selection of schools around the county, with 35% of current students successfully transitioning from English-speaking primary education. I look forward to seeing the school and the provision of Irish medium education grow in the coming years. I wish the students and staff every success in this beautiful new facility.”
The new building features state-of-the-art facilities, including modern classrooms, science, engineering, and computer labs, a fully-equipped sports hall and gymnasium, a library, and a cafeteria. It also has spacious outdoor areas for students to relax and socialise during breaks. The students and staff of Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí were thrilled to move into their new building. They look forward to making the most of their modern facilities and resources.
In addressing the project’s completion, the Director of Organisational Support and Development, Maria Brennan, added, “The collective work of the buildings team, the design team, and Vision Contracting, since the commencement of the construction works, in March 2021, in spite of the challenges presented by the pandemic and other global events, has been excellent.
“This new school building represents the largest single capital project completed to date by the ETB. We are delighted to see the students enter the school today and wish them every success in the future.”
The new campus is part of a larger investment in education and training across the county, with the Kerry ETB investing approximately €80 million in new buildings and refurbishments. Chairperson Cllr Jim Finucane, spoke about the importance of this investment, saying, “Investing in education and training is investing in the future of our communities. The opening of this new campus is a milestone moment for Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí, Kerry ETB, and the wider community. It represents a significant investment in the education and future of our young people, and we are delighted to be able to provide them with such a fantastic learning environment.”
Kerry Education and Training Board CEO Colm McEvoy acknowledged the work and the commitment that went into the completion of this project, “I wish to thank the Department of Education for their great support with this project. The provision of the new school has steadily progressed over the last decade, greatly assisted by the collaborative work of Kerry ETB, Kerry Country Council and the Department of Education. The acquisition of the site for the new school building to Kerry ETB by Kerry County Council was central in advancing this project. We are delighted to see our students and staff commence a new chapter in the life of Gaelcholáiste Chiarraí toda