Michael Nolan, Principal of St Declan’s National School since 1994, is retiring, and the end-of-term Mass was also a farewell to him. School Principals, trying to hold a balance between the divergent claims of pupils, teachers and parents, have to be ready for some unpopularity. Remarkably Michael, without looking for it, seemed to be loved by all three sectors. He was an enabler, giving encouragement and space to staff and pupils to use their gifts, a cheerful, quirky, unobtrusive presence with a big influence. He spoke with deep emotion about what a gift St Declan’s had been to him – the enrichment was mutual. Then he sat down and drew the first sweet chords from the piano which was the school’s parting gift to him.