Our Local Trail
On Thursday, 16th October, Ms. Cahalan’s and Mr. Dolan’s 5th classes set off by foot on our ‘Local Trail’ of Ballinasloe. After studying our locality in the classroom for many weeks in history and geography lessons, it was time to investigate the evidence with our own eyes!
Our first stop was Creagh Cemetery, where we met our tour guide Johnny Johnston. We learned about Celtic Crosses, Matt Harris, The Land League, iconography, yew trees and much more. We visited the ruins of the first and second Mass Houses in Creagh dating back to the 1700s, which housed the bell that we now see in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Creagh.
From there, Ms. Cahalan and Mr. Dolan provided a talk on St. Brigid’s Hospital. Many of the features of this beautiful building were discussed, such as the Gothic-style Gate, the Roman numerals, the clock and compass, the high wall, the gate houses and the male and female wings.
We then had a surprise tour of Hutchinson Davidson & Son Solicitors grounds by Norbert Colbert. The children thoroughly enjoyed crossing the old bridge from what was once the border between Roscommon and Galway. Thanks to Róisín’s mum, Ellie Finn, for facilitating and co-ordinating this visit for us. We then had lunch in ‘Páirc na nGael’ opposite the Marina, and the children got a chance to do a tree trail here.
We proceeded to St. Michael’s Church where we did a silent walking tour, observing the famous Harry Clarke stained-glass window, featuring St. Patrick and St. Rose of Lima. We also examined the Aumbre, hidden key on the gold and enamel-plated tabernacle door, the Harry Clarke accredited mural, the green Connemara marble, the gargoyles, bell tower, spire and steeple.
Next, we set off ‘On Shank’s Mare’ to the Duggan Park to meet our tour guide, Seán Tully. This was thoroughly enjoyable and Seán spoke to the children from the stand, where the children got an opportunity to ask lots of questions about the construction, ownership and uses of Duggan Park through the decades.
The final stop was ‘The Famine Remembrance Park’, or ‘Bully’s Acre’ as it is more commonly known as. Seán again provided us with an insightful talk on the Gorta Park, informing us that over 3,000 people are buried from the time of the Famine in the 1800s. This provoked lots of discussion among the pupils and many questions were asked of Seán in relation to the nearby workhouse.
The bus transported us all back to school at nearly 3pm where everyone was crestfallen after the day. The children were given some time on the following day in school to complete their Trail booklets. Thanks to Mrs. Bleahene who travelled with us for the day.