Former Principal given fond farewell

Robin Booth: Star of the School.

Robin Booth, now the former Principal of St. Patrick’s Boys National School, was honoured at the last school assembly before the summer break for his lengthy service to the community and school.

The parent’s association and pupils presented him with gifts of a hamper and a book filled with well wishes from the children he has taught over 44 years at St.Pats.

One parent said on behalf of the association: “A special thank you to Mr Booth for his support and knowledge and we wish you success in the next part of your life.” Another added: “You put the ‘pal’ into principal!” Monsignor Dan O’Connor, chairperson of the school board gave him a blessing for his future and said: “He has been the rock all of us has depended on through the good times and hard times.”
Prayers were also led by some students, “We pray for Mr Booth so he won’t miss us too much and we pray for his wife who will have to get used to him being at home a lot more!”

After the assembly, NewsFour sat down with Mr Booth and asked him why he spent so long in one school – 44 years is quite a long time. He replied: “I’d sooner be in a tough situation with good colleagues than in a nice situation with bad colleagues. There were a few brilliant teachers here such as Cathal Fleming and John Tyrrell. I developed a loyalty to the parents, they place so much trust in you. They had such hope for their children that you couldn’t let them down.”

Mr Booth with Bertie Ahern in 1997 when he presented medals to those who won the double senior and junior hurling titles that year.

Highlights of his teaching career have been hurling and hiking. “To many Ringsenders my name is synonymous with hurling. In 1977, James Gleeson and I began reviving hurling and eventually won a final in Croke Park in 1979. More victories followed -ten in all. The trips to Croker did wonders for the boys. When coming home with the cup the bus would go silent until it reached the crest of Ringsend Bridge when a huge cheer would go up from all onboard. Rivalry with the Star and ‘Haddier’ was always intense and before a local derby the hurlers were like angels in class lest we might not select them. It was something we’d never do but it was nice to get a few days of peace and quiet.

Outstanding footballers were always ten-a-penny in Ringsend, but to have been an outstanding hurler is something else. I am not going to say who the best ever hurler was lest some past-pupils never speak to me again. It’s that serious.”

Mr Booth was also nominated by his pupils for a ‘Thank you Teacher’ One4All gift voucher in an online competition. He received enough votes to ensure he won the prize of a 1,000 euro voucher! A testament to his popularity with parents and pupils alike and all the good work Mr Booth has put in over the years. Yet Ringsenders don’t have to worry about his retirement too much as Mr Booth assures us of this: “I’m not going to just disappear!”

By Jessica Ellis