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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019
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This school in Monaghan has had a main road running through it for the past 27 years

Up until today, students at Castleblayney College crossed the former N2 an estimated 1100 times a day.

The Dublin Road in Monaghan (old N2 Dublin-Derry road), which has run through Castleblayney College since 1989.
The Dublin Road in Monaghan (old N2 Dublin-Derry road), which has run through Castleblayney College since 1989.

THIS SCHOOL HAS had a main road running through it for the past quarter of a century, but a new extension opening today means pupils no longer have to cross a road to get from one class building to another.

Until today, Castleblaney College in Co Monaghan was split by the Dublin Road, a major artery which served as the main N2 from Dublin to Derry until a bypass was built a decade ago.

Previously two schools, the college was amalgamated for the start of the 1989 school year – before the fall of the Berlin Wall that November.

The school’s location meant that, for 27 years, the school’s 300 pupils had to run the gauntlet of a busy main road to go from one class to another. Over 1,100 crossings were estimated to have been made each day.

Today, a new €7 million extension to Castleblayney College is being officially opened by Heather Humphreys, Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht.

Staff and parents alike are delighted their 16-year battle has finally born fruit.

“Today is our red-letter day, it’s been a long time in coming,” school principal Gerry Hand told TheJournal.ie.

Castleblaney A satellite image of the old Castleblayney College campus. The western campus is around large white building in the right foreground; the square building at the top left was part of the the western campus. Source: Google Earth

Safety problem

“The school itself was a problem in that we had a national primary route running straight through it, the main primary route from Dublin to Derry.

It was a major safety problem for our students.

“The new building will change not just the Castleblayney skyline but will make an enormous difference to the daily working lives of our students and staff,” Hand added.

In particular, it will eliminate what has been nothing short of a nightmare scenario for many decades threatening the safety of all involved in our school.

IMG_3591 The daily road crossing. Source: Glenn Murphy

There are 300 people in the school, who will all now be located in one campus, as part of a €7 million project part-funded by school fundraising.

“We raised close to half a million, although it took us over 16 years,” Hand said.

We were putting a little away each year.

The new single campus is a result of a 16-year campaign by Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board to eliminate the road crossing for students.

IMG_3593 The daily crossing for the school's 300 pupils. Source: Glenn Murphy

New classrooms

The new campus comprises an “international-size” sports hall; a new school canteen; practical rooms for home economics, woodwork, construction, metalwork and engineering; and 12 new general classrooms and office suites.

Oisín Fee, a fifth-year student and a member of the student council, will today assist Minister Humphreys in cutting the ribbon. Oisín’s grandfather built the 1969 school, while his father is also a past pupil.

Also present at the official opening today will be Doris Bramson, principal of St Mary’s Secondary School in Accra, Ghana – a school with which Castleblaney College is twinned.

How is your local school? Let us know by emailing tips@thejournal.ie.

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