Last Thursday and Friday, I took 175 hard-boiled Anam Cara duck eggs to the two National Schools in the parish to help the children colour the eggs in time for Easter. Urhan is a village about two miles from here, and its two-room school has 37 children, aged 4-12. The older group of students decorated their eggs first and then helped the younger ones who hadn't done it before. In Eyeries, the 25 children in the 3rd and 4th classes, aged 8-10, had made their own baskets in which to put their eggs. I'm not sure how many years we've been doing this, but long enough for one of the girls in the first group to be teaching in the Urhan School this year!
This National School/Anam Cara partnership began in 1999 when artist-in-residence, Deborah Barlow (Boston, Massachusetts, USA; she's the one in the red to the left of the photo) conducted a painting workshop at Anam Cara for the 5th and 6th Classes at the Eyeries National School. The students really enjoyed working with Deborah, and both schools decided to paint murals at the front of their buildings.
With support from Deborah and others at Anam Cara and help of local artist Rupert Cracknell, the children each painted a panel depicting why they belonged in Beara. Funded by the Cork County Council, the project had the students in Urhan painting their panels on the front windows, which have since had to be replaced because of the wonderful new extension to their school. The Eyeries students painted theirs on the roadside wall in front of the school where the mural is still vibrant and very much a point of community pride!