A RURAL primary school which closed due to falling pupil numbers is set to get a new lease of life following a successful bid by the local GAA club.
St Joseph’s PS in Glenmornan has recently been acquired by Owen Roe O’Neill’s GAA club.
The club hope to transform the old building in to a vibrant and busy community facility which will provide a variety of services and programmes for the rural area.
St Joseph’s PS opened in September 1959 but was officially closed in June 2019 after the Department of Education deemed it not sustainable as there were less than 40 pupils on the roll books.
At that time St Joseph’s, Altishane PS, Loughash PS and St Patrick’s PS all merged to form the new St Michael’s Primary School.
This brought an end to the sound of children’s voices in the corridors of St Joseph’s, but not for long
The local GAA club, Owen Roes, has recently purchased the school building and is looking forward to getting the new facility up and running.
Tony McGonigle, secretary of Owen Roes explained, “As soon as the school became available, the club was very keen to acquire it for the good of the local community, as it was recognised as an important part of our local heritage and community history.
“We have to thank several generous Owen Roes members who helped to make this purchase possible and getting it over the line so quickly.
“The GAA club is a central part of any rural parish, but as Glenmornan is getting bigger, we want to be able to offer a wider range of facilities and activities for the whole community across all age groups,” Tony explained.
The club is keen to hear from anyone in the community who has any ideas about how the facility can be used in the future.
Tony continued, “We have set up a sub-committee to look at possible ideas for how the school building and grounds can be best used now going forward.
“It is very important to us that the local community have an input here and, of course, all local people have been encouraged to put forward their suggestions or offers of help; all ideas will be explored.
“We want to ensure and develop a thriving community hub, based around the club and existing buildings like Glenmornan community hall, the Gaelic Club and now St Joseph’s school,” Tony added.