Talks and walks

Laurence Gilson’s legacy to Oldcastle was the gift of education.  By leaving such a large sum of money to endow the school that bears his name, Gilson ensured that generations of children from Oldcastle and the surrounding area received an education which they otherwise would not have had.  The effect of this gift on the wider community is incalculable.  As part of the commemorative weekend, we felt it would be fitting to mark Gilson’s interest in education by having a number of talks which would give people a chance to learn more about Laurence Gilson and the school he endowed.

On Friday 29th April, Myles Dungan of RTÉ Radio 1’s The History Show, launched the weekend with a hugely informative and enjoyable talk which set the scene for the weekend to follow.  Myles gave the audience an insight into what Ireland would have been like in the early part of the nineteenth century when Gilson’s bequest was made and when the school opened.

Myles Dungan speaking in the Gilson National School, Oldcastle 29/04/2011

The main speaker on the first night was Christopher McCormack, author of ‘The Gilson Endowed School Oldcastle: The Story of  a School’s Search for Identity’.  Christy is himself a past pupil of the Gilson School, and went on to become a teacher in Kells.  His wife is a former teacher at the Gilson School.  Christy gave a real insight into the rich history of the Gilson School and how it adapted over the decades as educational practices developed.

Christopher McCormack talking about the history of the Gilson School

Both talks were extremely well received and the audience had a number of questions for both speakers.  It was a great start to the weekend!
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