Carnaun School Organic Diary 1, April 2006

Home » Library » Athenry History » Record

A Tribute to David Storey

David Storey’s first visit to Carnaun was when he came to inspect the school for an organic licence! An inspection? Over the years we know all about school inspections and inspectors – Christian Doctrine inspectors, Dept od Education inspectors, dentists, doctors and nurses! We met some real ‘cookies’ in our time and often had cause for concern but our fears were allayed by our local organic adviser.

‘He is really nice! He was a teacher before this’ and sure enough he was. There were no trick questions. There were no trick questions, no embarrassment of pupil or teacher, no second-class citizens, no inspector knows best – David was not like that! He could have checked the Organic record book, ticked off all the little boxes about compost and fertilisers, bought in plants and produce sold, asked a few leading questions and be gone in five minutes. But no! This was also a social visit. He made friends immediately with the children. His gentle quiet unassuming voice and homourous manner captivated them and soon he was ‘inspecting’ not only the garden and the composting area but also the wildlife pond and the woodland grove, the wildflower meadow and the bird garden and all around the school nature trail and the five-minute inspection developed into a fun-filled hour or more.

He became their new found friend. He praised their work, he praised them individually, he praised their teacher and they were back in the classroom with him and their lunch hour forgotten. And he was being questioned. ‘How do you get rid of pests.  What would you do with … etc?’ and the looks of incredulity at some of the humorous answers. ‘Did you ever try steeping nettles? Did you ever think of ladybirds?

When instead of ‘glueing their pitch’’ with my presence I slipped out next door and put on the first of many kettles for him I knew that this group of interested gardeners were in safe hands and that they were with a ‘real’ teacher. He listened to what they had to say, quietly probing with simple questions and gave advice in the same gentle manner and you could see genuine regret when he eventually took his leave. This was our first official contact with the organic world and it was good!

Subsequent visits, whether for the annual inspection or for articles for the Organic Matters magazine or the Irish Examiner newspaper or when ‘he was just passing’, were the same friendly, enjoyable and social affairs. We looked forward to them.

David helped to put our school and garden on the Irish map and gave us the audience and reaction we needed to continue with confidence our ‘daft’ projects.

David was a good friend!

Editor’s note: This article was, one of many ,written in Carnaun School, Athenry, from 2006 onwards, for IOFGA’s Organic Matters Magazine, Editor Cáit Curran!

– –

About this record

Written by Finbarr O'Regan

Published here 18 Feb 2024 and originally published April 2006

– –