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 occupation 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 a Michael Mc Kenna and 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 laborer. The other girls registered this day were aged were 7,10,11 and 13 but it was their first time to attend school. One girl, Emily Hunt was listed as an orphan.
  • 123 children were on the rolls but only 64 were marked present on 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,


The Stay Alert Stay Safe Bullying Quiz

The Stay Alert Stay Safe Bullying Quiz

Try to choose the correct answer for each of the following questions. With this multiple-choice quiz, you can test your knowledge on how to not be a victim or a bully.

A. Bullying is a problem that affects:

  1. Victims
  2. Bullies
  3. Communities
  4. All of the above

B. By definition, bullies are:

  1. Generally aggressive toward their classmates, teacher, parents, siblings and others
  2. Happy children who just like to tease
  3. Well-liked and highly popular amongst their peers
  4. Just high spirited kids having a laugh and a bit of fun

C. If you are being bullied, you should:

  1. Start crying
  2. Fight back
  3. Ignore the bully and walk away
  4. Laugh back

D. Victims of bullying are generally known to

  1. Deserve what they get
  2. Be funny looking
  3. Be unpopular at school
  4. None of the above

E. You are in the schoolyard and a kid four inches taller and much stronger than you approaches. With his fist in the air, he screams “You pushed me in line at lunch today. What are you going to do about it? Answer quick or I’ll break your face.” Your immediate response should be:

  1. “Leave me alone”,then walk away
  2. Threaten to break his face too
  3. Give a clever or funny response such as “Thanks, but I like my face just the way it is.”
  4. Either 1 or 2

F. Bullies tend to pick on:

  1. Kids who are older and bigger than they are
  2. Kids who are all alone
  3. Kids who play together in a group
  4. Kids who play close to the teacher

G.The following behaviour may prevent you from becoming a victim of a bully:

  1. Becoming a bully yourself
  2. Walking tall and with confidence
  3. Taking up kick-boxing
  4. Playing by yourself at recess

H.Bullying comes in many forms. It can be:

  1. Physical (hitting, punching, kicking)
  2. Verbal (name calling, sarcasm, threats, teasing)
  3. Emotional (tormenting, ridiculing, or humiliating another person)
  4. All of the above

Answers: A-4; B-1; C-3; D-4; E-4; F-2; G-2; H-4.

Bullying…What to do if you are being bullied

What to do if you’re being bullied

When you’re dealing with bullying it can feel like there’s nothing you can do about it. You can convince yourself that trying to stop it might make things worse. If it’s happening in school, telling a teacher can seem like the last thing you want to do. Will your parents freak out and make a big fuss about it?  Everyone has the right to live, work, study and play in an environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence. No one deserves or asks to be bullied and you certainly shouldn’t go through it on your own. Don’t forget that. There are things you can do about it.

Asking Someone for Advice

If you’re dealing with bullying – be it verbal, physical or online – it can really help to tell someone about it and ask for advice. That can seem difficult and will take a bit of courage but you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel just by getting it off your chest.

If whatever’s going on is scaring you, if you feel threatened or you think you might be in danger, telling someone else what’s going on is really important. Don’t keep it to yourself. You’re not giving in and there’s nothing wussy or weak about reporting it or asking for advice. Anyone would need help with that.

If it’s happening in school, think of a a teacher you trust to give you some advice or know how to handle it. Teachers and counselors are specially trained in these situations and it’s their job to help. Also, it’s good for them to know this is happening in the school because there might be other people going through it and they need to figure out how to prevent it. So think about it as helping other people. It’s understandable you might be worried your parent or guardian will completely explode if you say anything and run down to the school screaming their head off.

We can’t say it won’t happen, but remember they want to help, and they actually might. They’re also probably more clued in than you imagine, so explain to them if you don’t want them to do that. They could have suggestions you had never even thought of. Even if you don’t want them to do anything, it lightens the load, and that in itself is pretty good

Tips for Getting Help

  • If you’re worried about speaking to someone, take a friend with you. If you don’t feel like you can talk about it out-loud or face-to-face, write it down or put it in an email.
  • Talk to whoever you tell about what they’re planning to do. They might have a responsibility to act if they’re a teacher or counselor and they’re worried about your safety, so make sure you check with them. They should run all of this by you first. Be clear about what you want and don’t want to happen.
  • If you don’t feel as if you’re being taken seriously, or if no action is taken, it doesn’t mean what’s happening is ok. You were right to bring it up. Tell someone else and keep at it until something changes.

Dealing with bullying can be really tough. It affects your self-esteem and your confidence, and can end up affecting your work and your relationships too. It’s really important to do something about it, and if you feel you need a hand dealing with the effects of it, speak to someone like a counselor to help you sort it out how you feel.

Working it out Yourself

Depending on how bad the bullying is (and as long as you aren’t feeling in danger or physically threatened) you might decide to try to work it out yourself.

Here are some ideas that might help with this:

Ignore it

Ignoring whoever’s trying to intimidate you or is giving you hassle can be really effective for verbal bullying. After all, they’re trying to get a reaction from you, so if you don’t give them one, they can get bored and give it a rest.

Be confident

People who hassle other people usually set their sights on someone who seems nervous or unsure of themselves because they think they won’t stand up to them. Being confident about who you are can actually be your best defence. Even if you don’t feel it, as the not-so-old saying goes, “fake it ’til you make it”.

Stay positive

It can be hard to remember your good points when someone is doing their best to put you down. However, try to think of all the things you’re good at and proud of and stuff that makes you laugh. Some of the world’s brightest and funniest and most talented people get a hard time when they’re young. Remember this will pass, and loads of people get through it and go on to do amazing stuff with their lives.

Safety in numbers

You’re safer in a group, so hang out with other people when you can. If you’re by yourself and worried about being hassled or feel threatened, be aware of places nearby where there’ll be other people.

Keep out of their way

It might be possible for you to avoid whoever’s bullying you. This can mean travelling a different way to school, or avoiding the places they hang out. This isn’t giving in to them – just getting on with life and taking care of yourself without them getting in the way or wrecking your day.