School History 2003 to 2015

Whiteboards and ICT and another building. 

  • 2005 President Mary McAlese visited us. The children lined the yard and waved flags. The President spoke to the 6th classes in the school GP room.
  •  ICT took a huge leap forward with the installation of Whiteboards. Teachers were given laptops to prepare lessons .
  • 2007  the Library was  still in a prefab but it was computerized.
  • 2009  We were  one of the first schools to win a Digital School Award.
  • In 2010 we received planning permission for a new Sports Hall and building to replace the prefabs.
  • 2011 Three buildings  were completely refurbished during Summer Holidays.
  • Mrs.Murphy’s garden and school field  were demolished to make way for the new buildings.
  • 2012 Senior Building and Sports Hall were built. It was a difficult year with split breaks and reduced yard size.
  • Terry Beirne , our longest serving member of staff and deputy Principal retired.

The Newest Building

  • 8 new classrooms with sliding storage areas
  • 3 story building
  • 5 Learning Support Rooms
  • Staff Room , Conference Room, 3 offices and disabled shower room.
  • New garden, Library and Sports Hall
  • Soft Surface in Infant Yard
  • Staff Carpark
  • Wifi throughout
  • New Intercom System


  • 2013  We had the Official Opening of our new building by Archbishop Martin.
  • A Cloak Sculpture  was commissioned for the front of school
  • 2014  We had our first Grandparents Day in 2nd class
  • The Choir  won the overall of the Year Prize.
  • PTA purchased  20 ipads


We celebrated the 150 year anniversary of our school on Feb 1st 2015.

President Higgins visited us to mark the occasion.


Good Years 1990s – 2003


  • The School Sponsored Walk was held on the M50 the day before it opened.
  • 1991 The Library was moved to a prefab and a year later after a large donation from Mr.Ben Dunne, the computer room was opened.
  • A Printer was  installed.
  • 1994 Mrs. Williams took over the Senior Choir and in 1996 they won Feis Ceoil.
  • In 2003  Mr.Dave Nolan retired . He had steered the school through a lot of change and he handed the reins over to Mr. Denis Courtney

1980s and New Buildings

1980’s and a  New Extension

The current Junior Building opened in 1980

  • 8 bigger classrooms with toilets in each room and wet areas for art
  • Floors were carpeted
  • Emergency doors in each downstairs room and a fire escape upstairs
  • Wide corridors
  • Hot water
  • A new Staff Room and Learning Support Room
  • Junior Infants remained in the 1971 building and Senior Infants moved to the new building
  • Prefabs were still in use for 1st and 3rd classes.
  • Numbers continued to grow. We already had 3 Junior Infants and 3 Senior Infants.
  • 5th and 6th classes played at front of the school
  • 1980s Ann and Barry was the first reading scheme used to teach reading . Before this we used Ladybird Books. It was colourful, graded and came with workbooks and a teachers kit of posters with tapes of songs
  • 1982 corporal punishment was abolished.
  • A photocopier and tvs on trolleys were purchased by PTA

The Church

  • Holy Communion and Confirmation were held in Porterstown . Parents helped bring children up every day for practices the week before the ceremony
  • After each communion the priest had a garden party in his house next door for children and parents.
  • In 1983 the church was built . In the same year a prefab was set on fire one Halloween. There was a lot of vandalism around the school so a fence was built. The entrance to the school was moved  from Beechpark Avenue to Beechpark Lawn. The long drive up to the school became the footpath outside Chrysalis.

New Building 1987

  • In 1987 the Infant Building opened. 5th and 6th moved in at Easter but the 6 Infant classes moved in that September
  • The Infant Building was supposed to only be temporary as i was expected numbers would soon fall again.
  • 1989 the first school magazine was published

A Modern School 1970s


  • Harry Allen walked the children up the “side road” (Beechpark Ave) to the new school on Feb 1st 1971.
  • The children  walked behind him, carrying  books, maps and boxes.
  • 32 lower road children arrived by bus to join the new school in Beechpark Avenue
  • The new school had 8 classrooms , double the amount of the old school.
  • There was a library full of books, a General Purpose Hall , an office,staffroom and indoor toilets with running water.
  • Each classroom had big  blackboards on the wall, lots of light with big windows on both sides , sinks and fitted presses.


  • The yards were big and smooth
  • There were basketball hoops and a big field for sports
  • Children started staying for lunch so they could play football at lunchtime.


  • There was a phone in the office and an extension in the library.
  • A TV aerial and intercom system and electric bell were also installed


  A Happy Place

  • 1971 the new child centred curriculum was published
  • School was a happier less formal place
  • A past pupil remembers quizzes, nature walks, projects, listening to the radio, tape recorders and Irish taught using film strips.
  • Children sometimes worked in groups
  • Mrs. Murphy developed a school garden at the front of the school
  • In 1973 the first PTA was formed to fundraise for the school.
  • 1979 The Pope visited Ireland and Fr. O’ Driscoll held a prayer service for the whole school in the yard.
  • School continued to grow at a fast rate and had doubled again in size by 1980. Some classes were now in prefabs.

Amalgamation 1939

Worsening Conditions

Amalgamating the boys and girls 

Numbers in the boys’ school were falling and this led to bitter feuds between the two principals.

The Infant boys attended the girls school. As sometimes children started when only 3, the girls’ principal claimed the older girls were better at minding them. However she sometimes kept the boys until 2nd class. When both principals died within a year of each other the two schools were amalgamated.


Worsening Conditions

  • In 1931 the priest wrote to the department complaining about conditions in the school
  • For the next twenty years a new school was promised so no improvements were made to the old school
  • Electricity was installed in the early 50s
  • In 1955, the plans were deferred as Blanchardstown was getting a new school.
  • By 1970, the outdoor boys toilet had no roof and a prefab was being used as a classroom
  • When Harry Allen was appointed principal he renewed the campaign for a new school

A New School

  • On Feb 1st 1971 Harry Allen led the pupils up the “side road” (Beechpark Ave) to our current school where they were joined by 31 pupils from the lower road school
  • The new school grew rapidly and Harry Allen became a walking principal in Sept 1971.

Lessons and Lunches 1900s

A Day in School

What did the children learn at school?

  • The subjects taught were listed as Reading, Spelling Writing Arithmetic, Algebra, Grammar, and Geography.
  • Boys also learned Agriculture and the girls learned needlework.
  • In the early records there was no mention of PE, Irish. or Religion.
  • Music and Catechism were taught later. A favourite song recalled by a past pupil was Frere Jacques
  • Children learned by rote. They recited tables, poems and spellings
  • Books never changed and were handed down from brother to sister so after listening to the other classes chanting you often knew a book by heart before you got it.
  • If children didn’t know their lessons they got 2 slaps of the cane or the strap. Past pupils said the cane was much worse.

What did they do at lunchtime? 

  • Children brought cold tea or milk in glass bottles. They were placed by the fire to heat them so they could have a warm drink before going out to play.
  • Lunch was usually bread and jam and the lunches were hung on wall hooks so the rats did not eat them.
  • Rats were often seen eating crumbs in the yard.
  • Children who lived nearby went home for their lunch


The Yard

  • The yard outside was small and mostly covered in grass. , There were lots of tree stumps that children fell over, probably because the trees were cut for firewood. In much later years the principal Dan O’ Leary went out with a pick axe and dug them up.
  • The children played football, hide and seek, tag, ring a rosie, hopscotch, marbles, conkers and skipping, Spinning tops were bought or made.
  • In 1931 a small area of the yard was converted into a school garden


  • The school was Catholic. Children had a green catechism and had to learn complicated answers to questions like “Who made the world?”.
  • The priest came to school regularly to “examine” the children on their catechism especially before communion or confirmation.
  • Once a month children aged from 7 walked to Blanchardstown to attend confessions and every Saturday to attend mass. They had a special area in the church to sit in.
  • On the way to mass, a Mrs. Henry always left a bucket of water and a cup at her gate so the children could have a drink.

Plumbing and Heating

Inside the School


  • There was no toilets indoors. The toilets were outside and had no running water or sinks or toilet paper.
  • Everyday water had to be fetched from the pump for the teacher’s tea and from a water barrel across the road for washing dishes and “flushing” the toilets
  • The children loved to get the job of “flushing “ out the dry toilets with water as they were outside missing school.


  • The classrooms were heated by an open fires. If you sat near the front you were warm and if you were at the back you were cold.
  • Children brought a sod of turf to school to pay for their education
  • One boy came early to school and lit the fires
  • Lack of heat meant every winter children got chilblains among other illnesses.


  • Children sat on benches and stored books under the desks. The floors were timber and were swept each day by the children. Furniture was sparse. The windows were high so the children wouldn’t  look out!
  • Juniors used slates and chalk and older children used pens and nibs.
  • The teacher mixed ink from powder and this was poured into ceramic inkwells on each desk.
  • Children used blotting paper to dry their writing but it was really hard to write neatly and not blot the page .



Staff and rooms

The Rooms

The Building

  • In 1865 Mr. John Friel and Ms. Mary Friel were the master and mistress of the boys and girls and lived upstairs.
  • The principal of the boys was called The Master and The Mistress was principal of the girls.
  • The Junior Infants were called Low Babies and Senior Infants High Babies.
  • In 1865 it’s thought there was one apartment upstairs but according to the 1911 census, the school had 13 rooms. 5 upstairs where the Master Michael Mc Donnell lived with his wife.
  • A second flat upstairs had 5 rooms for the Mistress, Elizabeth Mangan who lived there with her mother, daughter and a friend.
  • The two large rooms downstairs were the classrooms.
  • Later the upstairs rooms became classrooms , the juniors upstairs and the seniors downstairs with four teachers in the school. One of these upstairs rooms had a kitchen range in it.
  • When the two schools were amalgamated 1st/2nd and 5th/6th were upstairs.


  • Children sat on benches and stored books under the desks. The floors were timber and were swept each day by the children. Furniture was sparse. The windows were high so the children wouldn’t’t look out!
  • Juniors used slates and chalk and older children used pens and nibs.
  • The teacher mixed ink from powder and this was poured into ceramic inkwells on each desk.
  • Children used blotting paper to dry their writing but it was really hard to write neatly and not blot the page .


1871 Record Books

Keeping Records

Schools had several important books

  • The register kept the names, addresses, fathers’ occupations of children and dates enrolled.
  • Attendance was marked each day in the roll book
  • The daily report book kept records of each classes’ attendance and grants the school received and teachers’ pay.
  • If the books were damaged or lost, the principal had to pay for new ones from his salary.
  • Most of the old record books are in the National Archives and we still use these today.
  • Some schools kept corporal punishment record books.
  • There are records of children paying varying amounts to the school though many did not pay at all.

Who went to the old school?

The old record books tell us

  • The first boy’s name on the new register in 1865 was Michael Mc Kenna who was 15 years old. His Dad was a farmer. Four other boys were registered aged between 6 and 16 years old. Occupations were listed as farmer, miller and bootmaker.
  • Other occupations listed were railway porter, orphan, professor, cowman, pauper and ploughman. Amazingly, the ploughman lived in Deer Park!
  • In the girls’ school, Mary Healy was the first name on the register, the daughter of a labourer. The other girls registered this day were aged were 7,10,11 and 13 but it was their first time attending school. One girl, Emily Hunt, was listed as an orphan.
  • 123 children were on the rolls, but only 64 were marked present that day.

The New School of 1865

The Early Days

  • On May 8th 1865 boys and girls moved into the new school in Castleknock.
  • It stood at the corner of Beechpark Avenue ( called the side road then ) and Castleknock Road. There are apartments on the site now.
  • Prior to this the school was a little thatched house on the same site as our school now.
  • The new school was actually two schools, boys and girls. The roll numbers were 697 (same as now 00697s) for boys and 698 for the girls.
  • There was two separate entrances, one for boys and one for girls. The girls went in the gate and to the left. The boys went to the right.
  • A wire fence divided the yard.
  • The  boys and girls schools were amalgamated in 1939,