Trump golf resort has boosted pupil numbers, says school head

The principal of the school in Doonbeg says pupil numbers have increased due to the success of Donald Trump’s nearby golf resort.

Doonbeg National School, in the heart of the small Co Clare town, has just 52 pupils and three teachers, and the town itself has a population of around 300.

School head Neil Crowley had pupils in full uniform on Friday, which is usually a non-uniform day, in case any VIP visitors and the inevitable media scrum stopped by for a picture.

Doonbeg prepares for the arrival of Donald Trump
Doonbeg prepares for the arrival of Donald Trump (Niall Carson/PA)

“We’ve had no confirmation that anyone would visit but, you know, after this week, anything could happen,” he said. “We’re hopeful that we would have a visit.”

TV cameras and a number of journalists milled around outside the school on Friday morning, hopeful that First Lady Melania Trump might pay a visit.

Speaking during break time, Mr Crowley told media at the gates of the school that the children have taken the sudden presence of hordes of media in their stride.

“We’re used to it in the last week, the huge media presence, it’s fantastic really,” he said.

“The kids are delighted, the last week they’re all talking about it and really enjoying the moment, and it’s a great experience for kids in a rural area.”

Mr Crowley, who has been in the job seven years, says he has seen first-hand the benefit that the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel has had on the area since it opened in 2002.

Golf buggies on the Doonbeg links
Golf buggies on the Doonbeg links (Niall Carson/PA)

“In the last number of years we have benefited really from families coming to the community, because of the role the hotel plays in employment and so on,” Mr Crowley said.

“A lot of people who were previously leaving the locality to go and emigrate have come back and gained employment in the hotel, and the benefit of that is we have increased enrolment, and that gave us the opportunity to be able to take on another teacher, which is a huge benefit to the kids.”

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