They were born eleven years ago, but this is the first time Killeeshil’s history-making quintuplets the Loughrans have been separated as a family.
After seven years of being schooled in the same class at St Mary’s Cabragh, the quintuplets have been allocated to different classes in their new all-abilities secondary school.
Already, they are missing each other, especially Aine, the eldest.
The three girls and two boys from Cabragh form one of about 100 sets of natural quins to be born around the globe since records began.
Their parents were unaware they were having five babies until they were born at Belfast’s Royal Maternity Hospital in November 2002.
“You know the way it is in big families”, said Mum Rhonda, “the eldest is like the mother hen and looks after everyone else. Well the four younger ones say they miss Aine the most, while she says she misses the others a little.
“But on the whole, they loved their first day and were on cloud nine afterwards.”
Rhonda added that she was the one feeling the greatest pangs of separation. After the summer holidays most would think she’d relish the chance for some quiet time, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
“I went for a wee walk this morning after we had got them out to school, and I couldn’t stop thinking of them”, she said.
“I’m like a little lost sheep without its flock, especially after a summer of having them running in and out of the house.
“In spite of all the noise, I love having them around me. It’s a real joy to share their company, and I’m so thankful that they are all fit and healthy and able to make so much noise.
“I love seeing them happy and rearing to go. They make my life and I’m filled with happiness to share these moments with them.
“Of course, they make it easy for me and Noel by being such good children.”
A film charting the events of the quintuplets past twelve months will be aired on RTE and BBC before Christmas.
The cameras were rolling on their first day at St Ciaran’s but Rhonda said they were unfazed by the media presence.
“They’ve gotten used to it now, even though they can still be very shy. It will be lovely to watch the programme because it shows their Confirmation and last day at St Mary’s which were very special days.”