D’oscail Gaelscoil Chloch na gCoillte i Meán Fómhair 1994, tar éis feachtas chun é a chur ar bun ar an mbaile.
Ar an chéad lá – 1ú Meán Fómhair 1994, bhí Múinteoir amháin – Carmel NicAirt, agus 20 páistí.
Gaelscoil Chloch na gCoillte opened in September 1994 as a result of a community campaign led by Glór na nGael in the town to establish a Gaelscoil.
On the first day – 1st September 1994, there was one teacher – Carmel NicAirt and 20 children.The school opened in the Dance Hall of The Imperial Hotel. Shortly afterwards, it transferred to 45 Molaga Street.
After a number of weeks, the “school” moved again, back to The Imperial Hotel. Operating as a school classroom Monday – Friday, all evidence of school disappeared on Friday afternoons as chairs, desks, blackboard were stored away and schoolchildren were replaced by revellers at the Disco on Friday and Saturday nights!!
On Sunday evenings, the room was set up for school again on Monday mornings!
Despite the far from ideal working conditions for Teacher and Pupils, the new Gaelscoil soon got a reputation as a great place to send children to be educated. Enrolments for the second year flowed in.
So in August 1995 with 42 pupils enrolled, and a second teacher – TJ Ó Ceallaigh, a new location was required as the Disco Hall proved too small. A recently-constructed building was identified, and An Ghaelscoil moved to Sráid na Scoile – School Road which is now The Grace Centre.
The Dept. of Education granted permanent recognition to Gaelscoil Chloch na gCoillte in March 1997. From that point onwards, the campoaign for a purpose-built, permanent school building commenced.
With each passing year, enrolment numbers continued to grow and four years after moving to “Sráid na Scoile”, this building once again was insufficient to accomodate 140 pupils and the now six teachers. The Board of Management were unable to find an alternative building to accommodate the school, but a site at Scartagh, next to a factory was offered by Mr. and Mrs. Filhol.
Thirteen rented prefabs were put in place and the school expanded to 29 prefabs during it’s ten years there. Conditions were far from ideal, but the school nonetheless continued to expand each year.
In 2005 the Dept. of Education purchased a three-acre greenfield site from Cork County Council at Fernhill Road, Clonakilty for the purpose of constructing the long-awaited and long overdue Gaelscoil. While there was great hope and expectation, there were a number of false dawns and it transpired that it would be many more years before construction would begin.
By 2009, with the physical condition of the pre-fabs deteriorating, and no more more room on-site for expansion, but enrolments continuing to grow, it was necessary to find another location for the school. Mr. Bob Hilliard, offered his new Waterfront building on Clark St. and once again, the Gaelscoil was on the move, having accepted his offer.
By 2009 now, there were 209 Pupils attending the Gaelscoil. While the new location was a great improvement on the previous one, it was still not a properly laid out school building.
In 2010, a unit for children with ASD was established to serve the needs of such children in the Clonakilty and surrounding areas.
Then in August 2012, planning permission was granted by Clonakilty Town Council for the new purpose-built Gaelscoil on the site purchased by the Dept. of Education from the County Council in 2005.
The sod on the site was turned by Príomhoide Carmel Nic Airt and Cathaoirleach of An Bórd Banaistíocta, Traolach Ó Donnabháin (both of whom have held their respective positions since 1994), on 1st February 2013, and construction began on 26th February 2013, by Western Buildings Ltd. from Co. Tyrone with a six-month completion clause in the contract. The Board of Management decided to change the name to Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin, in honour of local man Michael Collins who became one of Ireland’s most prominent and influential military and political figures, who had a passion and vision for education and the Irish language during his short life.
19 years after Gaelscoil Chloch na gCoillte opened in a Disco Hall at The Imperial Hotel with one teacher and 20 children and after five subsequent moves to different rented properties in Clonakilty, the 260 pupils and 25+ staff started the 2013-2014 School Year in a modern, purpose built school building on a beautiful site convenient to Clonakilty town.
Bhí sé beagnách fiche bliain ag fás!