Rang 71, The Story of Bunscoil Phobal Feirste

This Thursday 3 September on BBC Two, 19:00-19:40 will see the screening of Rang 71, an Imagine Media documentary on Bunscoil Phobal Feirste, the first Irish medium school in the North. The school was founded to educate the children of the Pobal Feirste Gaeltacht community and it remains a thriving school to this day and has led the way in terms of Irish medium education. The parents who founded the school did so despite the threat of imprisonment from the Stormont regime and without any funding, I am unsure which was more courageous. I understand from people who have had a preview that it is an exceptional piece of work, one not to miss.

The founding of the school has been described as a revolutionary act, I would certainly agree, much the same way as I would argue that Pearse’s founding of St. Enda’s was his most revolutionary act.

  • Mick Fealty

    Mas cuimhne liom go fírinneach, cuir siad isteach leis an scoil Steiner i nArd Mhic Nasca chun airgead on Rialtas a fhail ag an am…

  • Gael gan Náire

    Deanfaidh me sin a fhiosru.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    sounds really interesting – I presume BBC Norn Iron only?

    There may be some unease, amongst the unsympathetic, with the comparison of Bunscoil Phobal Feirste with St Enda’s given the ‘revolutionary’ career path of some of its past pupils.

    ps Is there an objective fact based assessment of the general health (and projected growth) of the Irish medium Norn Iron)sector that you could point me to online?

  • Drumlins Rock

    whers that google thingy again?

  • Seimi

    When the Bunscoil was finally given official recognition in the 80s, various politicians were asked their opinion. A former teacher/principal of the school said that one politician in particular said – ah the Numbskull. An educational disaster waiting to happen.

    Wonder if he still feels that way?

  • Dewi
  • RG Cuan

    Tá sé feicthe agam agus is féidir liom a rá go bhfuil sé an-mhaith ar fad – suimiúil agus spreagthach.

    Éacht an-mhór a rinne Pobal Feirste an t-am sin agus tá an t-éacht á dhéanamh anois ar fud na tíre.


    I have seen it and I can say that it is all very good – interesting and inspirational.

    The huge achievement by the Belfast Community that time and the achievement is being done now across the country.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    thanks for that.

  • GGN

    Would this individual be a minister by any chance?

  • Seimi

    Right FIRST time GGN 🙂

  • GGN

    Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche to go to a community hall.


  • rco

    An féidir liom é a fheiceáil ar líne?

  • DerTer

    Gael gan Náire

    Can you be specific about “the threat of imprisonment from the Stormont regime”?

  • GGN


    We have a regular poster here who I would hope would tell of his experiences.

    The thing was that they let it be known that they would not consider an education in Irish to be adequate and would therefore prosecute for failing to send the children to school.

  • Seimi

    What GGN said 🙂

  • Seimi

    One of the memories I have from that time, was the variety of visitors we had at the school – Native Americans, German and French Journalists, Japanes reporters etc etc. We treated them all courteously. Then one day we were told that a Lord Melchitt(?) was coming. So, being kids, we stood outside the school and shouted Lord Horse shit, until one of the parents came running out and angrily told us to keep quiet. Turns out he was actually very sympathetic to the needs of the school, and was trying to help!

  • Seimi

    Bhuel, caidé bhur mbarúil ar an chlár aréir?

    What did yis think about the programme last night?

  • Gael gan Náire
  • GGN

    I thought it was a great documentary, and a beautiful one in many ways.

    What I find sad but is that it clearly shows that no generation following Pobal Feirste has been able to follow in the footsteps.

    No one has been able to find the DIY attitude, the revolutionary spirit, the ideological fortitude.

    In some ways I blame the deontaisí for that but at the same time, they did so much that it is difficult for young people to even imagine how to build on such achievements.