Pupils and staff of Scoil Mhuire na Trocaire Ardee celebrate their seventh Green Flag Award

They are the only school in the County - and one of an elite group of schools in Ireland - to have achieved seven Green Flag awards

They are the only school in the County - and one of an elite group of schools in Ireland - to have achieved seven Green Flag awards

They are the only school in the county - and are one of an elite group of schools in Ireland - to have achieved seven Green Flag awards.

They started out on the Green Flag trail fourteen years ago when being “green” was not as fashionable as it is today and now they have been awarded their seventh flag following a two-year programme on the Biodiversity theme.

The school is no stranger to environmental awards as it is consistently one of the top placed schools in the environment awards scheme run by Louth Local Authorities.

The beautiful, mature school grounds were already rich in biodiversity but the school created some new habitats over the past two years including a Butterfly Village, a Deadhedge Hotel, Hedgehog houses, a Bird Mansion and an Insect Hotel which they aptly called “Creepy Crawly Towers”.

“An Taisce officers are probably still reading through all the details of our work on biodiversity,” said the principal Mrs Deirdre Sweeney.

“Our teachers have put a tremendous effort into this theme and all classes did hands-on work in our school community as well as research and project work on biodiversity.”

The school has also worked hand-in-hand with Ardee Tidy Towns group.

It also supports all activities run by the environment section of Louth County Council including their Christmas Recycling Campaign where Scoil Mhuire na Trócaire scooped the overall prize this year.

Fourth class has worked for the past four months on an inter-generational project in partnership with the residents of Moorehall Lodge retirement village and nursing home.

“Greens schools has simply become part of what we do here” said Mrs Sweeney said at the unveiling of the latest flag.

Hannah Carolan, a pupil in 5th Class, also addressed the assembled pupils and guests on behalf of the Greenschools committee.

Hannah outlined their work on biodiversity and thanked her committee members and fellow pupils for all their work.

Carol Plunkett from 6th Class addressed the large crowd and explained the genesis of the school’s new outdoor sculpture An Gallán Galánta which was created by 6th class under the guidance of artist-in-residence Declan Honan.

At over 12 feet tall this imposing sculpture was created to celebrate the school’s commitment to environmental education and care and also to reflect their passion for the creative arts.

They have named it An Gallán Galánta which translates as a beautiful, decorative standing stone in the old Irish tradition.

And it certainly is a beautiful piece of art which has received many admiring glances to date.

“The pupils from our sixth classes are justifiably proud of their work”, said Principal Deirdre Sweeney. “We are also extremely grateful to Brian Harten, County Arts Officer, for his assistance and advice.