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History of the School

The building of Scoil Mhuire     1955 - 1957

 

The finance…….

 

The National Board of Works paid five sixths of the total cost of the school. Thanks to the foresight and advance planning of Dr. Moran the Parish was ready to contribute its share of the total cost of school. The National Board of Works paid five sixths of the outlay of £75,000 and the Parish paid the other sixth. Some local societies and private donors also helped.

 

 

 

The Opening………..

 

At last the great day arrived. On April 1st1957 Scoil Mhuire opened its doors and     pupils entered for the first time. One pupil who entered that day recalled that…… ” the school looked amazing “…. Mary Cuskelly.

 

Dr. Moran blessed the school and mass was celebrated in the Assembly Hall  at 9.30 am. Mother Stanislaus Donnelly, the staff and all the boys up to 2nd Class and girls up to 4th class were present. Class began at 1.15 pm.

 

The staff on that day were

 

Sr. Carmel Kavanagh (Principal)

Sr. Baptist Walsh

Sr. Declan (Kitty Murray)

Sr. De Lourdes Gilsenan

Sr. Philomena Shaw

Sr. Peter O Brien

Sr. Annunciata Dillon

Mrs. M. Brady

Miss Ita Renihan

 

The Sixties

The sixties rolled in with the first men in space, the first heart transplant, the shooting of President Kennedy and in an ever growing Tullamore , there was an ever expanding Scoil Mhuire. When the school opened there were rooms to spare but before the sixties ended two prefabs had been added.

 

                 All you past pupils will never forget Beatle mania and “Rocking around the clock” but do you remember your Irish- Cúrsa A, B, C, the headline copies, the transcription and the dictation?  The “good” copies were neatly covered and piled on the shelves for the Inspector. The powdered ink was made up by the teacher and poured into the inkwells but despite blotting paper, a blob was to be feared.

               

                  Poems, tables, spellings had to be learned “by heart”. Long passages of History or Geography recited aloud, were interspersed by written work. Music was not from a tape recorder but from a tuning fork and the songs such as “An Madrín Rua” had no need for word censoring. For girls, the tacking, running and hemming had to be carefully worked and placed in the sewing copy for the close scrutiny of the Inspector’s disapproving eye. No rouge could accomplish what the Sewing Inspector’s look could achieve!

 

                   In 1964 Sr. Baptist Walsh took over the helm. This was the decade when Physical Education was introduced into our Primary Schools. Scoil Mhuire was one of the first schools to pilot this venture. The young and athletic teachers donned their tracksuits and undertook the intensive training courses. Soon the new skills were being practiced on the anxious pupils and the results displayed for others to see. A new era was beginning.

 

                  Sr. Kitty (Declan) led the way with her usual flair. She formed a school band which won First Prize in the Offaly Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann Competition.

                   1969 had one of Scoil Mhuire’s proudest moments. A special class was introduced to cater for children with special needs. Sr. Scholastica was the first teacher of this special class. This year also Sr. Baptist made history by becoming the first nun to join the INTO.

 

New Staff in the Sixties

                    Nuala Ward                 Rita Griffin

                    Patricia McGrath           Phil O' Connell 

                  Olive Corbett            Eileen Healy

                   May Dowling                  Bernie Costello (Foster)

                   Bernie Fox (McCaffrey)     Catherine Forde          

                   Bridie Baxter (Dunne)       Anne Barry (Maher)

                   Sr. Xavier                    Madge Whelan (Holloway)

                   Laura Barry

 

The Seventies

 

Some of our present parents and teachers were not yet born in the seventies. Tullamore was continuing to grow and the staff and pupil numbers of our school continued to grow. Several teachers transcended the decades, others moved on and were replaced and others still came and took up new appointments.

To set this era in perspective we must remember that in this era the first Jumbo Jet landed in Heathrow, the new English language Bible was launched and sold one million copies in the first week and much could still be bought for half a crown.

The new Primary School curriculum was launched in 1971. Arts and Crafts was a pleasant inclusion and the Irish filmstrips were an interesting challenge to teachers and pupils alike. Nature Study was new and the teachers, who knew little of     leaf identification, not to mention the birds and the bees, had plenty of homework to do too!

But decimal currency was only around the corner and children no longer had to divide the pence by twelve and the shillings by twenty to do “money sums”.

1971 and the new currency led to a book price increase. Shocked parents had to shell out 6p for “Day by Day” Primer 1 and a massive 28p for Day by Day Senior!  Workbooks for all classes reached 7½p. This was a period of real “number inflation” for our school which necessitated “building inflation” also and the addition of two new prefabs as the decade turned. This was also the year that Ireland joined the E.E.C. and maps of the ten E.E.C. countries became the focus of every senior class.

With Sr. Baptist, a kind, understanding but very enthusiastic and hardworking Principal we had our very first fifth class added in 1973. By the following year, the lunch hour was shortened and we had a full school which included 6th class and a Remedial Teacher.

The glory for the first half of the seventies rests, principally, with Sr. Baptist. The second half, however, belongs to Sr. Xavier. Everything grows or dies, it is said, and under Sr. Xavier’s direction the already fully grown and nurtured Scoil Mhuire went from strength to strength. With Sr. Xavier came a new Manager, Fr. Michael Lynn, and in the same year our first Board of Management was formed.

 

 

 

New Staff in the early seventies

Detta Sheerin

Bernie D’Arcy (RIP)

May O’Donnell

Sr.Claude

Una Toher

Sr. Perpetua

Nora Holloway

Anne Maher

Marian Heavey

Marian Byrne (Cunningham)

Sr. Maeve  (Mark)   

Máire Geraghty (Mc Redmond)

 

New Staff in the late seventies

Sr. Xavier (Principal)

Esther Guinan (Lambe)

Angela Frend Periera

Sr. Immaculata

Sr. Margaret Burke

Mary Mc.Kernan

Sr. Concepta O’Brien

   

The Eighties

 

The year 1980 marked a new milestone in the history of Scoil Mhuire. In this year our first secretary Mary Berry and our first caretaker Donal Kearney were appointed jointly with Scoil Bhride. Sr. Xavier gave over her office and Mrs. Berry got a typewriter – secondhand and manual – but a typewriter ! And away she went and she is still going to this day.  The caretaker, as well, was never a minute idle, unblocking toilets and replacing broken handles and erecting shelves. We wonder now how we ever managed without them.

In 1981 Scoil Mhuire won a Savings Award for the success of the 5p saving stamp scheme. That plaque is still proudly displayed in the school. The highlight of the Eighties was most definitely the Silver Jubilee of the school. The musical “ Babette” was staged to celebrate the occasion. The cast was representative of the entire school.     

 

  

 

  

 

 

 
 
 
 
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