Popular teacher retires from the Ursuline after 39 years

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Popular teacher retires from the Ursuline after 39 years

Mary Bourke, who retired from the Ursuline on October 8

A popular Thurles secondary school teacher, who instilled a love for the Irish language in hundreds of students, has retired following 39 years of service.

Mrs Mary Bourke, or Bean de Búrca as she is affectionately known by her school community at the Ursuline, taught her final class on Thursday, October 8.

There was an abundance of well wishes from her many friends in the staff room, former colleagues and the students who absolutely adore her.

Mrs Bourke was thanked for her years of service and dedication by Ellie Culliton on behalf of the School Council and her friend and colleague in the Irish Department Deirdre Kelly during a presentation for the Opening of the Year Mass.

Ellie mentionedMrs Bourke’s love of Irish and how her classes were full of learning but always had plenty of fun thrown in.
Mary came to the Ursuline Thurles in 1986, having previously been employed by the Ursulines in Sligo. She said that she always liked the Ursuline way, their values and commitment to education, and that she was proud to have taught with them for so much of her career.

She had many strings to her bow being a teacher of French, Geography and even a Career Guidance Counsellor in an earlier manifestation.

She was a keen photographer, who kept a visual record of the school down through the years with the camera that was so often seen hanging around her neck.

She was wise and supportive in her role as an alternating fifth and sixth year head and an integral part of the School Council where she nourished students to become active leaders within the School.

However it was her love of Irish that shone through the most. She found her vocation in teaching Gaelige and hoped through her lessons and enthusiastic teaching style that her students would come to appreciate the beauty of their native tongue.

That quite a few of her former students are back in the Ursuline teaching the Irish language, that she ignited a flame for, is a tribute to the inspirational teacher she is.

She mentioned that she always wanted to be a teacher and loved every moment of her career. The joy of the job exceeded her wildest expectations and she was always thoroughly happy in her chosen profession.

She had a special mention for the fabulous students of the Ursuline who were so wonderful to teach and who always had such a hunger for knowledge.

She will be sadly missed in the weeks, months and years ahead. Bean de Búrca’s big heart and infectious humour has left an indelible mark on all those who met her and were privileged to work alongside her and call her a friend.