Geraldine Durkan, Ballymoghany, Enniscrone passed away recently at the Galway Clinic.
A dedicated and much loved teacher, Geraldine (nee Judge) was for several years Principal of Knockanillo National School in North Mayo.
One of three children born to Mary Jo and the late Joseph Judge, Baile Mhic Mhathr, Castlehill, Geraldine found her passion in teaching.
An inspiring educator and communicator, she contributed fulsomely to the tradition that made her school known throughout the region and beyond for the quality of its education and the social activity it encouraged.
In the welcoming and supportive environment she helped to foster, the children, said a Department of Education report were “very friendly, confident and enthusiastic learners.” The report praised the standard of teaching, the management of relationships within the school community and the extent to which parents were supportive of their children’s involvement in the range of in-school and extra-curricular activities.
In 2008, Geraldine took special pleasure in announcing that pupils and staff at Knockanillo had won the prestigious Green-Schools Flag, an award based on a European-wide environmental education programme which involves taking environmental issues from the curriculum and applying them to the day-to-day
running of the school.
School projects flourished: Grandparents Day, a social aspect, when older residents – some former pupils themselves – chatted with pupils about the past was among the many events laid on under Geraldine’s progressive leadership.
2018 was a milestone in the history of the school with the celebration of its centenary, an occasion attended by dignitaries, present and former pupils and parents, as well as members of the community. A former pupil, Fr. Gerry Gillespie, was that year celebrating the golden Jubliee of his ordination. Also present was a one-time principal of the school, former Government Minister Paddy O’Toole. Sadly, however, it was to be one of Geraldine’s last engagements in Knockanillo.
Geraldine met the love of her life David early in her teaching career. After they married, David and Geraldine settled in Ballymoghany, a beautiful rural setting close to Enniscrone where they raised a family of four, a daughter and three sons. She was involved in the parish Community Games committee.
Hundreds of tributes poured in following the announcement of her death. One said: “It is no surprise to read the many tributes to Geraldine on her untimely passing. She was one of those rare people who radiate warmth and naturally makes friends wherever they go. Everybody has their special memory of her but her infectious and warm personality always lingers.” Another wrote: “She was a beautiful person and an amazing teacher.”
Geraldine was predeceased by her father Joseph and mother-in-law Margaret (nee Reape) She leaves behind her loving husband David, daughter Aoife, sons Stephen, Brian & Eoughan,
mother Mary Joe, sister Ann Holmes (Knockmore), brother Willie Judge (Castlehill), father-in-law Michael, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces and relatives.
Following Requiem Mass in St. Joseph’s Church, Castleconnor she was laid to rest in Killanley cemetery.