A peep into the past from a long-buried time capsule . . .

By Aideen O'Flaherty

PAST and present pupils of Loreto Primary School in Rathfarnham got a window into the past last week, when they dug up a time capsule that had been buried in the school grounds in 1996 by the then 6th class students.

Out of the 38 pupils that were in 6th class in 1996, 30 attended the opening of the time capsule that they and their classmates had assembled and buried 25 years ago, with the current student body, totalling 540 pupils, forming a guard of honour as the past pupils opened the time capsule.


Pictured today (right) on Thursday at a special opening ceremony of a time capsule from 1996 at Loreto Primary School in Rathfarnham are Louise Mulholland , Maria Mc Grath and Laura Hendrick, former pupils of Loreto Primary School who participated in the time capsule project in 1995/96. (picture left) 

The time capsule contained a number of letters from people who were an integral part of Irish society in the 1990s, including Gay Byrne, Joe Duffy, Seamus Heaney, and the then Archbishop of Dublin.

The children also put some of their own projects into the capsule, and wrote letters about what they imagined the year 2020 would be like.

Sr Maria Hyland, the principal of Loreto Primary School, told The Echo: “The atmosphere was electric – the whole school was cheering on the past pupils. It was amazing.

“Our two 4th classes gave performances, one of the classes sang a song called ‘Forever Loreto’, while the other did a rap.

“It was a really wonderful day, and the parents of past pupils of the school have come in since to have a look at the letters from the time capsule.”


While some of the students mentioned things like space travel in their letters, there was one topic that was also mentioned in the letters in the time capsule that is still a pressing issue today, explains Sr Hyland.

“There was an awful lot about recycling and climate change, and views on things like the environment, showing that even back then it was being talked about.”

The capsule was opened as part of the culmination of the 20-20 Vision project, which encouraged students in schools across Ireland and the UK to think about their environment in 1996, what happened over the previous 25 years, and how it might change over the following 25 years by 2020.

In all, 72 Irish schools took part in the project which was organised in Ireland by the then Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, now known as the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

The opening of the time capsule was held in conjunction with the National Library of Ireland.

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