Education is as much about people as the academic
subjects taught. And, in our small, rural school in West Clare,
that ethos brings a unique vibrancy and focus to the local community.
St. Cuan’s Primary School was built in 1962 and today has
a roll call of thirty pupils with three teachers: principal, Mary
Roche, mainstream teacher, Mary P. Lynch and resource teacher
Deirdre Kenny Downes.
Children mix at all levels and teachers believe it is a better
mix precisely because there is a greater dependence on one another
in such a small school. Visitors to St. Cuan’s invariably
comment on the intimate family atmosphere, the community spirit
and the personal interaction that is part of the youngsters’
Big days for the children such as First Communion, Confirmation
and the school concert, are days of celebration for the community
as a whole.
Teachers are very conscious of the richness of
Kilbaha’s tradition and folklore. The children come to school
with a knowledge and appreciation of their heritage that has been
taught to them by their parents. The school aims to continue this
education and to foster a love and awareness of their unique background.
The teachers say the fact that the famous Little Ark is housed
in the church adjacent to the school has been a great help in
this regard, generating many interesting projects over the years.
The school itself is named after the local Saint
Cuan. This association provides just one example of the sort of
project regularly undertaken by the children. In fact, it inspired
an archaeological study of the ruins of Teampall na Naoimh by
the children. The trip also took in a visit to a holy well associated
with the saint. Tradition has it that visits to the well cured
a variety of eye ailments.
The partner approach to education is another
tradition alive and well in Kilbaha with teachers pointing out
that parents always lend great support when it comes to extra-curricular
This has resulted in many achievements. A team from St. Cuan’s,
for example, won the local heat of the Credit Union Quiz on five
occasions in the last decade. They also came first place four
years in a row, 1996 - 1999 in the local heat of the quiz competition
run by the Irish Kidney Association. Since then they have featured
in the second and third placings. Their record in the Cadbury
School Quiz is likewise superb. Not only did St. Cuan’s
emerge top of the Clare schools in 1996 and again in 1998 but
they went on to fly the Banner County colours at the national
finals in Dublin where they finished joint third and joint sixth
There have also been substantial achievements
on the artistic front with one pupil taking first place in the
Clare GAA art competition while others were winners at provincial
level in Credit Union art events.
Classes in swimming, music and dancing are also
enjoyed by the pupils. The children partake in the Write a Book
project organised by the Clare Teachers’ Centre every year.
At least four students are presented with prizes each year. In
2001 Leanne Lynch who was in Fifth Class was interviewed on Clare
FM on the Write a Book project based on the fact that she had
featured on the winners’ list over five years in a row,
and on the school’s success and support for the project.
The school has a well stocked library and the
children have use of computers and access to the Internet. In
keeping in line with the ever changes and updating in the Curriculum
it was necessary to build an extension to the school and refurbish
the existing building. This work was carried out in 2002. The
school yard was resurfaced and a basketball Court was also laid
on at rear of the school.