Naíscoil Éanna was founded in 2003 and opened its doors for the first ever time in September 2004, with an initial first class of seven students. This first special class enjoyed their year, going for days out to the zoo and the airport and even picking their own Christmas Tree! Throughout that first year the numbers kept growing and with a strong committee, knocking doors throughout Glengormley the good word spread of the first ever Irish medium education facility in Newtownabbey Borough. By the time MEP Bairbre de Brún arrived to open the Naíscoil officially and partake in our ‘Graduation Ceremony’ in July 2004, the numbers had more than doubled to 15!
In recent years the stream of dignitaries has not relented and the paistí have had the welcome company of All Ireland winning captains Sean Óg Ó’hAilpín and Peter Canavan, as well as Uachtarán na hÉireann Mary McAleese, and in 2010 we were the proud beneficiaries of a Royal Visit, with the King of Tory Island Patsaí Dan Mac Ruaidhrí coming and playing a few tunes on his bosca ceoil! This esteemed company has been matched with the quality of education provided by Naíscoil Éanna.
The quality of education provision has been officially marked and specifically demonstrated in March 2006 when at Stormont’s Parliament Buildings, our success story continued, arriving to collect two prestigious All Ireland titles for dedication and excellence in the provision of Irish language education. Ciaran McCavana on our behalf received the Glór na nGael awards for first prize in Level 1 in a non Gaeltacht region and also an individual special prize of Best Newcomer on behalf of Naíscoil Éanna, from the Minister for Community Rural and Gaeltacht affairs in the South, Eamon O’Cuiv, grandson of former Irish president Eamon de Valera. Also present at the Ceremony was Joe McDonough, Chief Executive of Foras na Gaeilge and of course former GAA President who in May 1998, opened our own facilities at Hightown. Joe McDonough immediately recognised our achievement and was delighted at the progress that the club and in turn the Naíscoil has made in recent years.
On 30th July 2006 we also won the prestigious Mhic Reachtáin Award with Naíscoil Éanna honoured as the Best Irish Language enterprise in North Belfast, receiving this award at the annual awards ceremony held at Belfast Castle. The success story has continued and the plethora of activities are a sight to behold with visits to the Farm and Fire Brigade complemented by MonkeyNastics ‘Learning Through Play’, with the high standards being recognised by all statutory agencies. Indeed, in September 2011, the Naíscoil has developed such a degree of confidence in the local community, that 31 PEAGS places have been awarded, all of which have been allocated with a healthy waiting list of preschool children awaiting placements in future years.