Carla's Kingdom

By Aideen O'Flaherty

A RATHCOOLE pre-school is going to overhaul its playground in memory of four children from the area who tragically died, with each corner of the playground being dedicated to each individual child.

The Happy Feet Early Learning Centre will be developing the new playground in memory of Carla McGinley, who attended the pre-school, and her brothers Conor and Darragh, who all died in tragic circumstances last month, and Clodagh Magliozzi, who also attended Happy Feet, and who died suddenly in 2013 aged four as a result of illness.

McGinley family LIZ ADDED TO PICTURE compressor

The McGinley children, Carla, Conor and Darragh with their father Andrew McGinley

The owner of Happy Feet, Kelly O’Hickey, spoke to Clodagh Magliozzi’s mother, Deirdre Magliozzi, in recent weeks to understand how she could best help Carla, Darragh and Conor’s father, Andrew McGinley, to deal with his enormous loss, and Ms Magliozzi told her to “just keep remembering the children”.

Ms O’Hickey was inspired by the eulogy that Mr McGinley gave at his children’s funeral, and designed each part of the playground revamp to reflect each of the children’s interests, so that their memories will be permanently etched in the fabric of the preschool.

A variety of artwork will be painted onto the walls of the playground by artist Aga Smolarska, who works at Junior Genius Childcare in Baldonnel.

Clodagh’s Cottage will feature a butterfly bush, a fairy garden and a dress-up area, as the young girl loved animals and dressing up, and a painting of her dog, Muffin, who she had already named before she died but sadly never got to meet.

Carla’s Castle will be a Frozen-themed section, with cut-outs of Olaf, and paintings of Elsa and Ana, as the Disney movie was one of Carla’s favourites.

Darragh’s Den will feature paintings of Marvel characters and some stepping logs, while Conor’s Cave will be Lego-themed, as the young boy enjoyed building with the colourful blocks.

The playground will be a community initiative, with members of the community being invited to donate to the project, particularly through donations of plants and trees and of their time to help bring the playground together in memory of the children.

“We wanted to give people a platform where they can do something that will be meaningful to everyone in the community,” explained Ms O’Hickey.

Clodagh Magliozzi compressor

Clodagh Magliozzi, who passed away suddenly in 2013 aged four as a result of illness.

“The playground will be a space that represents each of the children, for the children in Happy Feet. It’s something concrete and tangible.”

The centrepiece of the redeveloped playground will be a remembrance garden for the parents and family members of the children who have died, and each of the families will get a key to the playground so they can access it when the pre-school is closed, to quietly remember their children.

“They were children and they loved to play,” added Ms O’Hickey. “I know that they would have loved each of their areas, because they’re going to represent who they were.

“I think it’s going to be an opportunity for people to integrate their memories of the children . . . and to give them space to heal.

“It will keep the memories of the children fresh, and it will make sure that we will keep talking about them.

“This space is something that the McGinley, Morley, and Magliozzi families will cherish forever as a true representation of who their children were.”

A coffee morning in aid of Carla’s Kingdom will be held in Rathcoole Community Centre on Thursday, March 5, from 9.30am to 11am, and anyone who is interested in contributing to the garden is welcome to attend the coffee morning, or alternatively contact Happy Feet via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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