Gilson for the 21st Century: Learning from our Heritage

The Gilson School was once a learning hub for students from the hinterland of Oldcastle. They came from Cavan, Westmeath and all over North Meath to study at the Gilson Endowed School – a school created to provide access to education for those who might not otherwise have been able to avail of it. It was a radical idea for its time – a centre of learning which was multi-denominational, co-educational and free.

The entire focus of the Laurence Gilson legacy was on education and young people. And 200 years later that focus is needed more than ever. In today’s world where the barriers to education can include lack of access to transport and technology, where on-line and remote learning and working are becoming increasingly the norm, there is a lot to learn from the model of learning proposed by Laurence Gilson.

Heritage Week 2020 will provide a forum for debate, discussion and envisioning of Gilson for the 21st Century the results of which would then be showcased during Heritage Week 15-23 August, 2020.

Activities planned include:

  • Children’s art competition on the theme of the future of the school building. Download a template here: Art Competition template
  • Gathering memories & photographs of former pupils of the school
  • Promoting radio documentary on the school first broadcast LMFM, December 2019
  • On-line contributions from academics & experts hosted on social media
  • Create moderated Facebook/Twitter account to invite contributions on how to make the building relevant for the 21st Century

Given the current and possibly continuing regulations about indoor events, a selection of suitable material gathered will then be exhibited along the railings of the building during Heritage Week.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

thank you all

1. Marie Finn, Philomena Donnelly & Joan Keating speakers on ‘Thinking Time’. Also thanks to Margaret Sorohan who chaired the session.

2. Pupils from St Ciaran’s Community School, Kells & Ballinamore Community School, Leitrim talking about ‘Class Swap’. This session was chaired by Martin O’Reilly, Principal St Oliver Post Primary, Oldcastle.

3.Seated: Dermot Dix, Eugene McGee and Paul Beddy, speakers on the ‘Playing the Game’ panel. Standing is Joe Humphreys, Education Correspondent the Irish Times who chaired.

4. The ‘Everything’s an Educator’ panel (LtoR): Carmel Duffy, Grace Lawlor and Aidan Walsh, with John Harnett, from An Taisce who chaired the session.

5. John Quinn interviewed Thomas Pakenham in Matthews Auction Rooms, Oldcastle

6. Some of the artists exhibiting with PRO for the Gilson Summer School, Tracey Holsgrove, (LtoR): Margaret McKenna, (Tracey), Dave Gavin, Eleanor Thompson and Lisa Brady.

7. Keynote speaker, Declan Coyle.

8. Brendan Holland from the Killeeshil & Clonaneese Historical Society with Mary O’Rourke who launched the Summer School.

9. Mary O’Rourke with artist Brendan Melia and his family.

10. Some of the Summer School committee members with Brendan Holland and other members of the Killeeshil & Clonaneese Historical Society (KCHS): Standing LtoR: Malachy Hand, Martin Shortt, member KCHS, Gerry Boylan, Sue Russell, Fidelma Gibney, Tracey Holsgrove, Tommy Moore. Seated: member KCHS and Brendan Holland.

11. Some of the audience at the Transition Year’s presentation in St Oliver Post Primary, Oldcastle.

Posted in 2014, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Learning from the world around us!

Below is the presentation given by Aidan Walsh at this year’s Summer School in the session ‘Everything’s an Educator’. There are some brilliant sources/resources here for anyone who is interested in archaeology and what we can learn from it about ourselves and our history.

You can download the presentation here: Learning from the world around us, Aidan Walsh

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gilson Summer School Programme 2014

Gilson Summer School Programme 2014

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Declan Coyle, ‘The Green Platform’ Keynote Speaker, 2014


We are delighted to announce that Declan Coyle will be the keynote speaker at the 2014 Gilson Summer School.

He is one of Ireland’s most internationally experienced leadership training and development consultants. He is also much sought after as a conference keynote speaker. Declan is also the author of ‘The Green Platform: Simply Life Changing’ a system developed to help people make more positive choices in their personal, business or sporting lives when facing large or small crises and difficulties

He delivers Keynote addresses  to Blue Chip companies, Government Departments, Sports Teams and Individuals. He works with diverse sectors including Banking and Financial Services, Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, Information Technology, Insurance, Regulatory Bodies, Professional Services and Unions.

Declan regularly addresses and inspires senior management teams and CEOs in companies across the globe: Ireland, USA, Canada, Brazil, UK, Holland, France, Italy, Hungary, Ukraine, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, The Philippines, and Australia.

And he is coming to Oldcastle in May 2014!

You can read more about Declan’s approach to life here and about The Green Platform.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment