Video: Treats and tears as class of 2013 starts school

‘I’m staying strong, I’ll be fine. I’ll wait till I’ve closed the door’ before crying, says mum

The Irish Times asked parents and new pupils at St. Raphaela's Primary School in Stillorgan how they were feeling on the big day.


Arms out, spinning in circles while making propellor jet sounds Xavier was in full flight outside Sandymount’s Star of the Sea school in Dublin this morning.

He was the first of some 80 new students t at the school and among the thousands embarking on their educational careers around the country.

Initially, Xavier cried about going in. Then he cheered up and became a plane again. And then he cried when he wasn’t allowed in after the door opened a few minutes early.

“It’ll be a big change for him because he’s a bit young still,” said his dad, David Brennan.

“He’s got a lot of energy, he wants exercise all the time, so hopefully in this school he’ll get lots of it”.

School principal Una Condon, had no doubt that he would.

“We’ll look after that,” she said. “We’ve got nice yard space for them to run around, there’ll be no problems there”.

For the next few weeks the children will have a short school day of about three hours (8.40am to noon) with an emphasis on learning through play.

Ms Condon assured some anxious parents that they had little to worry about.

She said the school operated an open door policy for parents who wanted to come in to see their kids during the day.

A quick examination of the sad faces outside the gates suggested, for some, this option would be taken up.

Denise O’Neill was among the parents wrestling with the day’s emotions.

She said she “should” be able to manage the three hours without her son Dermot.

Another mum, Niamh Moore, was taking comfort from the fact that her son, Rossa, had friends and his older brother, Cúan, at his new school.

Having settled the four-year old in, she then emerged from the classroom suppressing tears.

“I’m staying strong, I’ll be fine,” she said jokingly about crying. “I’ll wait till I’ve closed the front door”, before crying.

In just a few years time, both she and husband Barry, will have to do it all over again with their 18-months old daughter Saoirse.

They were among more than one hundred parents at the school this morning.

While most came and went on foot and by car the Moore’s travelled in a somewhat unconventional manner, on a “box-bike” which is, as the name suggests, a bicycle with a large wooden box at the front.

Niamh and Barry said their children love the bike and prefer it to the car. With four children there will be plenty of school cycles ahead.

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