Naomh Pádraig, Caisleán a' Bharraigh
Photo Design - John R. (Sixth Class)
of our School
Compiled by Aisling
arrival of the Brothers to Castlebar
The reputation of the De La Salle Brothers spread far
and wide through out the world.
In 1888 Canon Patrick Lyons P.P. V.F. of Castlebar
invited the De La Salle Brothers to
come and educate the children of the town. The Brothers accepted this
offer and the
Canon secured a site from Lord Lucan for the new school building. St.
School was built on Chapel Street and opened on the 3rd September
principal was Brother Michael who was reputed to be a cultured
gentleman of wide experience.
He was accompanied by five other Brothers:
When the school doors opened on the 4th September
1888 there was 189 students present.
There was a growing interest about the Brothers through out the parish
and within the first
few months they had numerous Episcopal visits including one from the Archbishop
Dr. McEvilly on the 26th September 1888. It is also recorded
that the Earl of Lucan and his
son the honourable Francis Bingham visited the school in 1889.
There was quite a few surprises in the subjects covered
in those days.
Here is a snippet of just a few:
In August 1889 St. Patricks School had their first
visit from the inspector
of the National School Board. This inspection lasted four days and every
subject was examined. One of the Brothers teaching in the school at that
noted down the questions asked by the Inspector.
The children had to know:
of Ireland in detail
to point out principal towns, mountains and rivers on the map of the
the Counties and their principal towns and industries
Meanings of words
They were examined about agriculture orally and in writing
It is important to note that the teachers were paid according
to the results
of their class and if a pupil failed any of the subjects then the teachers
was lowered accordingly. The first record of salaries is from April 1889,
after the Brothers started in the school. The entry indicated that the
salaries of 5
Brothers amounted to £105:9:10 for the period 4th September
1888 to 31st March
encountered in the early days
An interesting fact to note is that when
the school first opened in 1888, it was
not compulsory and parents were not obliged to send their children there.
was a reduction in attendance of pupils in 1896 which coincided with the
of "The Compulsory Education Act" parents kept pupils at home
in protest of this new Act.
It is said that this lasted nearly a year because in October 1897 one
of the Brothers wrote
" The Compulsory Education Act is a Complete and signal failure".
By 1898 everything went
back to normal and classes were once again full.
The school had to close on a few occasions and for a variety
of typhoid - Closed January 1934
Big Frost- Closed for two weeks in 1947
school fire- Closed from 28/2/57 to 3/4/57
of the old school
The alarm was raised
at around 3a.m. during the night of the 28th February 1957,
a fire was raging through the building burning the contents of the school.
It was not
until the following day that the true impact of the inferno could be assessed.
building was destroyed and much to the delight of the pupils classes did
until the 3rd April 1957. There are, however, accounts of some
pupils who went back
to school the following week in another building up by Pavillion Rd.
One of the few surviving
items was the school bell (pictured below) it was slightly
damaged and was repaired and used again up until the 1990s.
The exact cause of the
fire was never officially known but speculation suggested an
A new site had to be
found for the school and on the 3rd April 1957, the school
was temporarily transferred to the Military Barracks, Blocks G and H.
In 1959, building commenced
on the new school located on a sight overlooking
the remains of the old and it was officially opened on the 9th
Old School Bell
One Brother who attended
the school in 1922 shared a few memories that really show
how things have changed throughout the years.
- They had the less fortunate
lads seated near the fire and the well heeled on the
- The average contribution for
the turf was 2/6 for the poorer lads and £1
for the better off.
- In 2nd Class the
classroom was heated by means of a stove and when the wind blew
from a certain direction they weresmoked
out and the classroom had to be vacated.
- When the school first opened
they mainly used slates for writing.
There were numerous principals
throughout the last 111 years
and it is only in the last years that a lay principal was employed.
In 1988, the town celebrated the Centenary of the de La
Salle Brothers arrival to Castlebar.
The people from the town thanked the Brothers for their hard work and
dedication in the
education of the young people.
The school has since bulit on an extension
to accommodate the rising numbers of pupils
attending. At present, there are 450 pupils and 23 teachers in the school.
The first lay principal Dr. Vincent McHale was appointed in 1995 and is