President proves a real class act as he joins in school's 185th birthday
A building that served a Dublin community as a food shelter since first established in 1830 until two years ago will now be used to educate children.
The three rooms alongside the Gardiner Street Primary School on the northside of Dublin city was used as a much-needed neighbourhood service until two years ago.
The rooms have now been subsumed into school use and President Michael D Higgins visited the facility yesterday.
He paid tribute to the history of the school and its contribution it has made to inner city children for almost 200 hundred years.
"Today we mark a significant milestone in the life of a school which has served, nurtured and developed the children of this area for almost two centuries.
"We also witness the coming together of two important spaces which have played their unique and critical role in the history of inner city Dublin, both stretching back to a time and place which evokes a very different society from the one we know today," he said.
Mr Higgins said both the school and the food centre were founded on care and true spirit of the local community and had supported residents through the Famine, the 1916 Rising, two world wars and the redevelopment of Dublin's inner city.
Pictured at the official opening of 3 refurbished rooms in Gardiner Street School that once operated as a food centre for the local community was pupils from Gardiner Street School. In the year that Mary Aikenhead was declared Venerable the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, officially opened 3 refurbished rooms that once operated as a food centre for the local community
In his address to pupils, staff and attendees, Mr Higgins highlighted the importance of the community and the role the school plays in this.
"I am sure that some of the pupils are probably children and grandchildren of former pupils of Gardiner Street School or have uncles and aunts or older siblings who used to attend here, making it an important part of your family life too, a place of memories that you all share in common."
Dublin footballer Ger Brennan is a past pupil of the school. Tourism Minister Paschal Donohoe, Joe Costelloe and Mary Lou McDonald were also present.
Mr Donohoe said the school was an inspiration.
"It is a fantastic school and I was delighted to see President Higgins give it the recognition that it really deserves.
Mr Donohue has previously worked with the school as European Affairs Minister in a programme that educated Gardiner Street pupils about the European Union.
"It was great for me to come back and see around the new building that they have now. They had posters up about the different countries and communities that the pupils originated from," he said.
School Chaplain, Fr. Donal Neary, PP of Gardiner Street parish, blessed the newly unveiled premises.