Mr Sean Mc Nulty

Ms Niamh Denham

Our ASD classroom at the front of the school is called ‘The Claddagh’ but most may not know why. Many ASD classes in Irish schools get an Irish name and the word ‘Claddagh’ is the Irish for the word ‘shore’. It could be supposed that the location of the Claddagh right at the very front of our school building is a bit like a shore if you were to imagine our school carpark and pitch as the sea. The shore is a place of safety just as we’d like to think ‘The Claddagh’ is a place of safety for our students.

However, the main reason for naming our ASD class ‘The Claddagh’ is because of the Claddagh Village in Galway City. Although this is a separate village and was just outside the city walls at one point, it is also right beside the centre of the city and today is in reality a part of the city, close to its heart and as synonymous with Galway City as Shop Street or Eyre Square one might say. Even the location, geography and shape of our ASD class in relation to the rest our school building could if we stretch our imaginations, be a little bit like ‘The Claddagh Village’ in relation to Galway City, but most importantly it is the metaphor of a village that is found within a City that we wished to convey.

The fact that ‘The Claddagh’ historically has a somewhat separate identity and culture to the rest of Galway may also be true at some level with our ASD class. Essentially, it straddles both worlds of being a little bit separate but at the same time being part of ‘Le Chéile’ just like the Claddagh and Galway.

Another part of our thinking with this name is the famous ‘Claddagh Ring’ and it’s appropriate symbolism of hands representing ‘Friendship’, a heart representing ‘Love’ and a crown representing ‘Loyalty’. We think that these 3 concepts are very important for the families of students with special education needs as it is to all our students, staff and their families. Love, loyalty and friendship are also central to the philosophy of what we as a Catholic School wish to create and promote here in this new ASD class, in Le Chéile Secondary School as a whole and in the wider Community of Tyrrelstown and beyond.