Ahane, a seemingly insignificant town land in the parish of Castleconnell in east Limerick, which does not appear on any ordinance survey map has made significant contributions to the development of cultural, educational and sporting life.
Ahane became synonymous with hurling not only throughout the entire country but also as far afield as the Americas and Australia in a time when telecommunications was as far removed as a shuttle to the moon.
The economic circumstances in the early 1900s were such that the majority of people did not have a lot going for them. The G.A.A. and hurling games in particular, at both local and inter county levels, helped raise their spirits. The cry “Come on Ahane the spuds are boilin” which could be heard on many a hurling pitch was synonymous with raising the spirit.
Formal education in Ahane took over from Mr. Patsy Collins hedge school in 1823.
Sir Richard Bourke, born in 1778, was the philanthropist who paid for and built Ahane School before the famine occurred and prior to the repeal of the penal laws in Ireland. As a result of the generosity of Sir Richard Bourke, a stone building was erected by him on his estate, Thornfields, Ahane in 1823. This school commenced with 79 pupils, boys and girls attending and was in situ until 1933 when the new school was built down the road at the cross of Laught.
Sir Richard Bourke, who subsequently became governor in New South Wales, was guided by his experience gleaned in Ahane, when he set up and developed the educational system in that part of Australia (1831 – 1835).
The 1933 school served the community well over the years. At the start of the 21st century the school building was extended and renovated. Two additional classrooms were added to the school in this first extension in 2002. Over the following years an additional four classrooms were added to the building.
Each century has brought huge improvements and developments to Ahane National School. Tracing the school’s progression, in 1823 there were 79 pupils enrolled in Ahane school, there were 88 in 1933. At the beginning of 21st century the enrolment was 81 and in 2020 enrolment is at 170 pupils. The school curriculum has evolved and developed in line with Department of Education and Skills guidance. Pupils in the school experience a broad curriculum with a wide range of additional opportunities including the Junior Entrepreneur Programme and the RDS Science Blast. The current Principal, Siobhán Kennedy was appointed in 2017 and is working with staff and school community to continue the tradition of education in Ahane.
The Board of Management, Principal, Staff and parents can look forward with confidence to the future of education in Ahane and in so doing must remember the efforts and achievements of those who have gone before us.