Tony Prunty (Cavan Tidy Towns), Emma Ni Ghealdáin (Munteoir), Paul Lynch (Cavan Tidy Towns), Marie Morgan (Cavan County Council), Niamh Ní Cheallaigh, (Principal), Darren Duffy (Cavan County Council). With pupils Conal O’Brien, Laoibhs Walsh, Ruadhán Gray, Cúan McDonald

Gaelscoil comes up with neat ideas!

Junior Cavan Tidy Towns team from Gaelscoil Bhréifne were last week given supplies to facilitate efforts in maintaining the splendid surrounding of their school. Perched high on the edge of town, but overlooking Killymooney lake the school enjoys a spectacular setting.

“We have an incredible view,” Niamh Ní Cheallaigh, principal, says as she looks out across the verdant landscape that rolls away from the Gaelscoil.

“The lake attracts herons and swans giving the children an opportunity to see fauna they wouldn’t usually see so close to a town setting. We are very spoiled where we are, so it’s important we respect and manage it.

“This was here long before us, so we have to teach the children to respect that. It’s not hard, because they are very aware of it.”

PRO of Cavan Tidy Towns, Paul Lynch, explains the gathering at the Gaelscoil: “We’ve a really proactive relationship with Gaelscoil Bhréifne. This year we are introducing a Junior Tidy Towns team. They will embark on a number of projects during the year.”

Outdoor learning

In their roles as Junior Tidy Towns members the pupils not only keep an eye out for litter, but will also plant wild flower seeds. The aim is to improve biodiversity in the school’s environs.

“They will plant a wild flower meadow in the school grounds. We are also planting window boxes. The pupils will paint them and we will assist,” Paul tells.

Another project is the creation of a number murals based on the environment and education in the school. The most exciting phase is to evolve the potential of the area: “As a long term project we hope to developed the resource of the lake. It’s absolutely beautiful. There is loads of biodiversity there.

“We’re looking at the possibility of developing an outdoor learning area on the shores of the lake. We have talked with Cavan County Council and developers about how to progress this,” the PRO outlines.

Tidy Towns sees the long term benefits of engaging with national school pupils.

“We want to eradicate environmental problems before they begin,” Paul tells. “We want to impart to young people that caring for the environment is everybody’s responsibility. Litter is a problem for everybody, not just the litter wardens.”

The response of the students is readily apparent. “They love this,” Paul observes. “It’s exciting. They have their bibs, their pickers and it’s a real adventure for them. This is about Cavan Tidy Towns helping Gaelscoil and Gaelscoil helping Tidy Towns.”

Principal Ní Cheallaigh recognises the value of the partnership: “Gaelscoil Bhréifne’s numbers have exploded, both pupils and teachers. As a school we are very proud of our Green Flag. In order to maintain that we have to educate the children on environmental matters.”

There are innovative ways the goals of the Green Flag and the Tidy Towns blend.

“We are very interested in recycling,” the Gaelscoil head says.

“We are acquiring an internal sensory courtyard. We hope to used upcycled materials and materials that are sustainable. It teaches children the importance of environmental issues. We have a Cuiste Glás, a Green School committee, from junior infants up to sixth glass. All students participate.”


Principal Ní Cheallaigh has great faith in the ripple effect of such initiatives.

“Once a week a group goes out around the grounds with the SNA and clean up. They want to keep their school environment clean, they take pride in that. If you give young people that responsibility they will take that duty home with them and bring it to play in their own homes and estates,” she concluded.