Contributor: Gill Sheil
Images courtesy of Alan Rowlette (www.alanrowlette.ie)
On Wednesday 9th June, 2021, we were very honoured to have the famous Niall Breslin come to our school to raise our Amber flag (for promotion of positive mental health) and also to officially open our Sensory Room.
We know Niall from the band The Blizzards, being a Judge on the Irish version of “The Voice”, playing GAA and playing on the Leinster team for rugby. But more recently, Niall has become an advocate for children and adults promoting mental health awareness and much needed supports such as mindfulness. He has successfully written 3 very informative and entertaining children’s books on the topic so no better person to come to our school and be part of our celebration.
Here’s what the children have to say about his visit...
I was very excited to be asked to showcase the sensory room to Niall. In the beginning, Niall officially opened the sensory room by cutting the ribbon that was at the door. I felt so lucky to see that as I was inside the sensory room and the door was open at the time. Niall then came into the room and I told him why people go there and how everything works. I showed him the different lights and settings, the tiles on the floor and the different things you can touch. Then we had a chat and I felt good about that. He said that he has a sensory room his own house, I’m a bit jealous it that. He told me that he is dyslexic and that when he was in school that he would get really tired and need to sleep. He said he would have loved to have had a room like ours to go to at those times. We also got lots of photos too. This was a good experience and I’d like to thank the people who nominated me to be part of something so special. (Theo Palfi, 5th class)
So I met (my Dad) and Niall Breslin and I asked him 2 questions: how many books he’s written. He said he’s made 3 so far, and he’s making a new one about how you have to mind yourself, like how bad it was in the lockdown, being stuck in the house and you couldn’t go out, and you had to all mind each other. Then I went out with Niall Breslin and Zach to the Sensory Garden. Then we went with him to the art room to make a clay wing. Then he raised the flag. All the senior classes were there. I was there with my Dad, my Dad was taking pictures of Niall Breslin. Then we went back to class. (Hugo)
Before leaving, Niall spoke to the senior classes about how he found mediation techniques helped him to stop being as anxious, and realised that he could make his worries seem worse than they really are. He also talked about managing anger, and said to ignore comments on social media as nearly everything is just not true.