THE trend in recent decades has been to see rural schools closing, with more country children travelling to towns to be educated at bigger schools.

One such establishment was Coa National School, which closed 23 years ago.

Now, the sounds of children playing during break time can be heard in the area again.

The school, which has been renovated into a modern community centre, is now the home for this townland community’s first ever pre-school playgroup.

The community-managed playgroup, which has just been operating from early September, has an encouraging enrolment of 11 children, including cousins Darren and Eamonn McQuade (pictured), mostly from the Coa community.

With increased numbers expected to enrol, the playgroup committee are seeking ACE support from the Training and Employment Agency.

To date, equipment for the playgroup has been either donated locally by parents or from the Irvinestown Playgroup.

At a photocall which was attended by representatives from Fermanagh District Council and Social Services, the attitudes of the local community were neatly summed up by an elderly resident, Paddy Love, who remarked: “It’s a treat to see the children coming back up the road to school again after all these years.”