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Dear Parents,

I found the beginning of this week difficult. The novelty of our present situation had certainly worn off and I yearned to return to normal.

Even things I’d usually enjoy started to annoy me. The morning run seemed boring and TV held no interest. Throughout this week I spoke to many teachers, parents and children experiencing the same sense of being fed-up. I found support and solace in finding out I wasn’t alone and as the week went on, that feeling of common purpose began to energise me again. We held our first Board of Management, 6th class assemblies and Parents Association Zoom meetings this week and they gave me a real boost. I also have the privilege of seeing some of the inspirational work taking place by parents, children and teachers and this certainly lifted my spirits.

The realisation I have come to is that we will all find this emergency difficult at some stage and that is perfectly natural. We should be easy on ourselves and find support. Fr. Niall’s great video last week on gratitude also helped and is really worth watching. If you or your child get fed-up, take a break, be kind to yourself and find energy in others. It is always darkest just before the dawn.

As we enter the month of May we should remember the Greeks, Romans and Celts all celebrated new beginnings, light and growth at this time of year.

The Greek god Maia (May) was the god of flowers and growth, the Celts burned fires on hilltops on Mayday to burn away the old and start afresh. This is why Bealtaine is the Irish for May – Béal Tine (the mouth of fire).

On  May Day our Taoiseach chose to offer a gradual plan to ease the current restrictions. It is longer that we had hoped. We will not return to school until at least September. They are small steps, but we are starting a new beginning. It will take time and we will grow into it. He did not light a fire on a hilltop, but he did signal a new phase, a new beginning. This offers hope. Our normality will slowly emerge.

The poet Seamus Heaney wrote in Beacons at Bealtaine.

“Move lips, move minds and make new meanings flare
Like ancient beacons signalling, peak to peak,
From middle sea to north sea, shining clear
As phoenix flame upon fionn uisce here.”.

This week and this month are a time of great hope. If we hold our resolve we will triumph. The darker days are behind us and we face the light of summer. The ancient peoples celebrated this and we should too. We ask Mary, our Mother, in this month to lead us on this revival.

Best wishes and stay safe,

Rory D’Arcy.

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