By Helen Riddell
WHEN the Cahermore National School children board their school bus for the journey home this Friday, bus driver Paddy Harrington will settle himself into the driver’s seat for the last time.
‘Paddy the bus’ as the children affectionately call him, retires as school bus driver after nearly 43 years of service.
The Eyeries native has been a stalwart of the school bus service on Beara, now driving the next generation, having driven the parents of many of the children who now travel on his bus every day.
Paddy says that ‘every moment’ of his four decades behind the wheel was memorable. ‘All the children I drove over the years were so nice and I will miss seeing them every day,’ he told The Southern Star.
Paudie O’Sullivan, principal of Cahermore National School, said that Paddy was a huge asset and will be sorely missed by the children when they return for the new term in September. ‘You would go a long way to find someone as good humoured and as pleasant as Paddy,’ said Paudie. ‘He was very popular with the children and they were all very disappointed when they heard he was retiring.’
As well as driving children to and from Cahermore National School, Paddy also drove older students to the Beara Community School in Castletownbere, and he drove the Allihies rural transport bus on a Friday.
Paddy is now looking forward to enjoying his retirement and spending time with his wife, three sons and two daughters.
Though he has no immediate plans, he won’t be taking it easy just yet. ‘I’ll be giving my sons a hand on the family farm,’ he said.