H.E. Istaván Palffy, Hungarian Ambassador to Ireland, with the staff and pupils of Facefield NS.

Hungarian Ambassador visits Facefield NS

THERE was great excitement in Facefield National School yesterday (Thursday) when the Hungarian Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Mr. István S. Pálffy, paid a visit to the school.

His visit was the culmination of a host of activities by the children as part of their participation in the Blue Star programme.

The Blue Star programme encourages school children to explore, research and become involved in all aspects of the EU. It encourages greater understanding of and integration with the different countries and cultures which came together in the EU to encourage us to focus on what we have in common rather than our differences.

School principal Mr. Noel Commons welcomed the ambassador and spoke of the great honour it was for the school for the ambassador to visit on Europe Day. He outlined a brief history of the school and spoke of the children's participation in the Blue Star programme leading to a greater awareness of the aims and functions of the EU.

Fifth and sixth class pupils gave an address of welcome to His Excellency, highlighting the roles both Ireland and Hungary have played in Europe and focussing on areas which we have in common.

Third and fourth classes engaged in a role play, acting as some of the characters involved in founding the EU and their relevance in particular to Ireland’s involvement in the EU.

The children played music appropriate to the occasion, beginning with Ode To Joy by Beethoven, which is the anthem of the EU, followed by a lively medley of Irish tunes and finished with Amhran na bhFiann.

All present were very impressed as the ambassador sang Amhrán na bhFiann as Gaeilge.

The ambassador spoke to the children and parents about the importance of the EU in our lives. He highlighted the need to focus on what we have in common rather than our differences.

A lively question and answer session followed where the future of the EU, climate change, the role of an ambassador and Brexit were discussed.

Second class pupils presented the ambassador with an inscribed piece of Mayo Crystal to mark the occasion while the ambassador presented some tokens to the school.

His Excellency viewed the project work undertaken by the children on the EU. He marvelled at the research completed and the artwork on iconic buildings of the EU.

A memorable visit concluded with refreshments and all enjoyed an informal chat with Ambassador István.