The Paddler’s Heritage: Yeats’s Visit to St Otteran’s School, 1926
From a distance of sixty years it is just a confused memory. I was, I suppose, a typical twelve-year-old girl. The visit of a school inspector was just something to be got by, a slight ripple on the more or less placid surface of a school day in a national school. It meant nothing to me that this particular gentleman who came to the classroom on that day in 1926 was no ordinary inspector. Nor did I know then that St Otteran’s was no ordinary national school; that the Minister for Education of the newly constituted Irish Free State had been advised to visit it because of its unusually innovative approach to learning. That realisation was to come much later. No doubt there had been an announcement that William Butler Yeats was a senator and a famous poet, that his visit to our school was an event. Such tidings, if given, had slid knotless through my young brain.