Fr Sean Nolan, St Macartan's College, Co Monaghan
Oct 04, 2019
Looking back on my own teaching career, I feel that he played a huge part in putting me in the right direction.
The day we have all been waiting for has finally arrived! Our Teachers Inspire Ireland gala dinner event is tonight in The Helix.
Fr Sean Nolan is a retired teacher who is now the parish priest in Donaghmoyne, Co Monaghan. Fr Nolan taught in St Macartan's College, Co Monaghan and was nominated by former student Enda Timoney.
"I went to school in St. Macartan’s College, Monaghan from 1972-78. I got involved in Handball in the school and represented the college. Fr Sean Nolan was in charge of the Handball team. He always encouraged me and not only in Handball but also in my education.
"He encouraged me to read - one recommendation was Huckleberry Finn.
"I had a great relationship with him and we developed a friendship where I could really talk to him.
"Playing Handball for the school allowed me to travel. The first night I spent away from my family was to travel to Dublin for the All Ireland.
"Fr Nolan encouraged me to do Handball Coaching courses that were held in Gormanstown College. I did these week-long courses for three years in a row when I was 17,18 and 19. The legendary Pat Kirby was the Handball coach. He was a superb coach and I learned so much from him.
"When it became time to fill out a CAO form, Fr Nolan encouraged me to become a PE Teacher. I was involved as a Prefect, organising sports competitions in the school. I was also very involved in my local Youth Club.
"I am now a retired PE Teacher who taught in the same school in Tallaght for 36 years. I loved my job / career and the guiding principle was the building of self-esteem in my students.
"I tried to build relationships and encourage my students to reach their potential. PE and sport is a great way to do that.
"I have never forgotten Fr Nolan and his influence on me. He is now based in the Donaghmoyne Parish in Monaghan and I call to see him when I can.
"The last time I called, I came away with a reading list of his recommendations. He still inspires.
"When Fr Nolan was in school, he was a visionary. That did not change when he worked in parishes. I feel blessed that I met him and that I got to know him.
"Looking back on my own teaching career, I feel that he played a huge part in putting me in the right direction.
"I still have a passion for Handball and I still play, coach and promote this wonderful game. I travel the country taking photos of Old Handball Alleys as part of a Heritage project. These old alleys are everywhere. I think it is important to record them as part of our heritage.
"On my travels, I think of Fr Nolan and where it all began for me all those years ago back in school."
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