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Gaybo words from beyond the grave as time capsule is opened

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Former pupils Kate Brennan and Elva Fogarty at Loreto Primary School, Rathfarnham, for the
reopening of the time capsule buried in 1996

Former pupils Kate Brennan and Elva Fogarty at Loreto Primary School, Rathfarnham, for the reopening of the time capsule buried in 1996

Former pupils Kate Brennan and Elva Fogarty at Loreto Primary School, Rathfarnham, for the reopening of the time capsule buried in 1996

Gay Byrne predicted he might be dead by 2020 in a letter to students who were preparing a time capsule a quarter- of-a-century ago.

He also said climate change would allow Ireland to grow Mediterranean fruits and vegetables, cars would be banned from Dublin city centre and people would have more leisure time.

It was January 1996, and the broadcaster was sharing some of his thoughts on what 2020 might look like, in a letter written for a time capsule project to mark European Nature Conservation Year 1995.

Stashed

Coming to light less than three months after he died, there is particular poignancy in the line that by 2020 "I'll be dead or 86-years-old and still presenting The Late Late Show".

Now, 25 years after being stashed away, letters he and other famous names wrote to the sixth class pupils of Loreto Primary School, Rathfarnham, are part of a unique cache that was opened yesterday.

Broadcaster Joe Duffy spoke of a 2020 "of materialism, greed and high-tech communication designed to stop people meeting face to face".

The school was one of 72 in Ireland that participated in the 20-20 Vision project, organised by the then Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht.

Grainne Meaney, the sixth class teacher in Loreto in 1995-96, was back yesterday for a stroll down memory lane.

Such was their collection that the OPW supplied a bigger than usual capsule, which was buried in the school grounds, while the local bank agreed to store part of the trove.

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Former pupils Louise Mulholland, Maria McGrath and Laura Hendrick in 1996 and back at the school yesterday

Former pupils Louise Mulholland, Maria McGrath and Laura Hendrick in 1996 and back at the school yesterday

"The OPW said they would like to follow the project, that they would attend the burial and would invite President Robinson to officiate, and she did. It was a very special time," Ms Meaney said.

As well as pupils' essays about 2020, interviews with local people and letters from celebrities,the capsule included projects on the environment, photos and video.

Ms Meaney recalled how in her pupils' letters to the children of 2020, there was a lot of focus on subjects such as "bullying, Boyzone and sports".

Principal Sr Maria Hyland was newly-arrived at the time, but recalled sixth class as "a great group".