Muiris Ó Cinnéide 1927 – 2006
Muiris was born in Baile An Mhúraigh, Corca Dhuibhne, Co. Chiarraí in February, 1927.
A man of principles who was a principal.
A man of care who gave a guiding hand,
A man above us all, yet truly one of us.
A man who gently made us give our best
Then praised us for our acumen.
A leader, chief, a colleague,
But most of all a friend.
He began his teaching career with short sojourns in Nenagh and then in Newport, where he formed life-long friendships with both Dan Cotter and Seamus Maher. Arriving in Roscrea Vocational School in 1959 he was a teacher of Irish, English and Choral Singing. In 1968 he became the first Vice-Principal of the school for five years until 1973. In that year he became Principal of the school, the second only in its history, a position he retained until he retired in 1989.
In 1955 he married Mai Parlon of Ballaghmore, and they had six children: Fionnuala, Feargal, Bairbre, Meabh, Conal and Aoife and he is proud grandfather to Rob, Scott, Cillian, Lara and Ella.
Muiris was a dedicated teacher. His love of the Irish language was pure, yet moderate. The ideal teacher, he managed to make learning Irish fun. There were many Irish speaking days in the school, where he contrived to make the effort of speaking Irish non-threatening and non-critical, thus ensuring a mood of communal effort and camaraderie.
He was Árd-Mháistir of Coláiste Bríde, Muirioch Corca Dhuibhne for many years, having taken over from his brother Caoimhín. Here Muiris revelled in seeing so many scoláirí from many parts of Ireland keeping up the language and culture of his beloved West Kerry. Prior to this he spent ten summers on the teaching staff of Coláiste Chómhraí i gContae an Chláir.
In education he was a visionary and was at the helm for the start of the Leaving Certificate classes in the Vocational School. It was he who saw the massive expansion looming, and the result of his efforts was the opening of a greatly refurbished and extended building in 1984.
As a staff motivator he was without equal. Before Pastoral Care became a curriculum subject, it was very much part of Roscrea Vocational School at his instigation and encouragement. The same can be said for extra curricular activities, again being a part of Roscrea Vocational School’s day, long before they were part of the weekly timetable. He encouraged any effort if he thought it worthwhile. It did not matter if the effort was not entirely successful. There is no doubt that the school grew because of the ethos he encouraged among the staff and the students
His love of sports at school level and his pride of the students on the playing fields was paramount. In fact Muiris loved sport at all levels and his excitement if his beloved Kerry was playing was momentous. His wonderful voice and love of singing often ensured a great night of fun and fellowship. He was a raconteur extraordinary and a marvelous mimic and could effortlessly entertain any audience.
Very involved in his adopted home of Roscrea, he was a founder member and former President of the Lions’ Club, and was deeply involved with Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, an Conradh na Gaeilge from his early days in Roscrea. A member of both the church choir and the community choir he added greatly to the inspiration of both. He played football, golf and loved fishing in Smerwick Harbour on his many trips to his beloved Baile na nGall. But most of all he was a great friend, a friend in times of need and times of trial and a friend in good times, and once you were his friend he held you close.
Ardently facing each day
Balancing the man the teacher, the principal.
Ceaselessly cultivating camaraderie.
Decent and dedicated to his school
Earnest in educating students.
Ferocious in protecting his staff.
Guiding the academy through many changes.
Handling a crisis with head and with heart.
Identifying with all strands in his field.
Journeying with troubled friends.
Kindness the keystone of his reign.
Leadership with light in learning.
Magnanimous in his mastering of all
Noble in sharing praise.
Observing always little things.
Pastoral in his care for students and staff.
Quietly ensuring smooth days.
Rebuilding, reviewing and renewing.
Scholarly in all his dealings.
Transcending the miniscule for the bigger picture.
Unique among headmasters.
Visionary in his outlook.
Welcoming worthwhile effort.
Yesteryear was for reminiscing.
Zealous at the alpha and the omega.
Muiris Ó Cinnéide departed this life on 26th December 2006. His sister Síghle is still living and he is predeceased by Caitlín, Máirín, Eileen, Dónal, Caoimhín, Jack and Lily Mai. He is sadly missed by his wife Mai, his daughters and sons and grandchildren, his sister and by his sons-in-law and daughters-in-law.
In iothlain Dé go gcastar sinn.