Students Council Visit the Dail

On Thursday June 15th, The Student Council accommpanied by teachers Ms. Carey and Ms. O’Halloran went on a trip to Dublin. It was a very important day as our new Taoiseach had just announced his 31st cabinet the evening before.

They began by exploring St. Stephen’s green and having a quick snack before the first port of call, The National Museum of Ireland. Here they became archaeologists by completing a treasury trail from the Celtic and early Christian Ireland Exhibition. This short lived tour was interrupted by a very important call from the Dáil! It was none other than local T.D. Mrs. Regina Doherty. With a stroke of luck, the newly appointed Minister for Social Protection had received our message that we were visiting and agreed to a very special meeting! Regina met the Students Council and brought them through to a private room where she chatted to the students about their role in our school! She even told them that Mr. Reidy taught her husband in primary school! On our way out they got to meet another VIP, Chief Whip, Joe Mc Hugh who asked them for a photograph!

After this they walked the brief journey to the “Dead Zoo” (The Natural History Museum) where they viewed many stuffed animals both Irish and international. One of the highlights was the huge whale skeleton that was hanging from the ceiling.

After lunch in Merrion Square, Dáil Éireann was the next port of call. T.D. Thomas Byrne met them at the main door and introduced them to their guide, Greg. He showed them the Lower Chambers where the T.D.s vote and discuss issues and legislation that are important to the country. They learnt all about the building and how The Fitzgerald family with their 19 children built the original building for their large family. It was then taken over by the R.D.S. for some years and then purchased by the government. Greg showed them a stunning painting of Countess Markievicz, painted by her husband, who was the 1st elected female representative to the House of Commons, Dáil Éireann and possibly in Europe. He then showed them the very ornate room where the Seanad gathers and they saw the green and red buttons they press under their seats when voting. They then saw the historic Brigade flag from the American Civil War, which was presented by U.S. President John F. Kennedy to the Irish people. They found out the Americans want it back! Another interesting fact was about the proclamation, which they saw in the foyer and when Ilya asked was it the original, Greg informed them the original was eaten by some of the 1916 volunteers as they approached a British army barrier and so they had to destroy their evidence and so ate it! They met Mr. Byrne outside again, who kindly invited them to The Dáil and his secretary kindly took this photo of everyone.

After all that it was time to return back to Ashbourne. Everyone had a truly amazing day out!