By Michelle Crean
For over 40 years, teacher Tommy Galvin has been inspiring young scholars - but that is all behind him now as he said a final farewell on Friday as he retired.
The well-known and popular teacher taught in St Oliver’s Ballycasheen for over 38 years, having begun his career teaching for three years in Ballymun, Dublin.
It was a different kind of retirement from one he may have imagined this time last year, as Level 5 restrictions and the school's COVID safety measures meant that there was no big fanfare in the school hall like there'd normally be.
However, Tommy, who is known for his love of nature and inspiring pupils to get out and explore their surroundings spent the last few weeks taking classes out on nature trips as his way of saying goodbye.
Tommy, who was also Assistant Principal and central to many aspects of school life, will be hugely missed by all in school, Principal Rory Darcy told the Killarney Advertiser this week.
"A respected teacher, his love of the outdoors ensured the children in his care learned about the flora and fauna of their native place," Rory said.
"Trips to Torc, Mangerton, Muckross, the Lakes and the Old Kenmare Road brought learning outside the classroom."
Tommy’s love of local history shone through his teaching – his pupils often learning that all national and even international events can be studied in a local context, he added.
"A keen sportsman, Mr Galvin believed in ‘sport for all’ organising a wide range of sports at school and inter-school level. His contribution to the spiritual life of the pupils in his care was also considerable, particularly around Confirmation classes. His interest and pride in the hundreds of pupils he taught over the years was incredible and meeting many of them around the town or at his beloved Killarney Legion brought Tommy great joy.
For the last month and a half he has taken groups out on nature trips, Rory explained.
"On Friday to mark the occasion he brought the Sixth Classes out to the forrest for a trip to say goodbye and we had a ceremony there. Seven, including Sheila Casey Chair of the Board of Management, Fr Niall Howard, Harry O'Neill from Killarney Golf Club, Mary his wife, Sean McDermott a retired teaching colleague, Deputy Principal Tim Horgan and myself, gathered in the hall and made a presentation to him. Tommy then called to each of the zones within the school to say goodbye. We will miss him. All in St Oliver’s wish Tommy, his wife Mary and their children Myles and Honor, every happiness in the years ahead."
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