On December 8th 1939 the President, Douglas Hyde, an Taoiseach, Eamon De Valera and other dignitaries of the day attended the laying of the foundation stone of our impressive red brick school that currently caters for over 700 students. A celebration on December 7th and 8th marked the anniversary and acclaimed the provision of excellence in education to thousands of students through the decades.
The school opened its doors on Sunday December 7th to past pupils, former teachers and friends of St Mary’s. The Gym was the Welcome area where visitors were given a map of the school and invited to have refreshments in the Choir Hall after their trip down memory lane. The school was festooned with photographs, memorabilia and interesting facts about St Mary’s over the years. Many of the artefacts were supplied by Sr. Alice, archivist in the Holy Faith Convent adjoining the school. Sr. Jacinta Prunty gave a talk on the long history of St Mary’s, Glasnevin informing the captivated audience that the boarding school was founded in 1873 to provide an education for “respectable girls.’’ The corridors rang with laughter as people of all ages remembered and related incidents from their schooldays. The current students who acted as hostesses for the day were delighted with the stories from the past. Past pupils who were among the first boarders spoke about their experience of the then brand new building, evacuations to air raid bunkers during WW2 and hearing the Luftwaffe bombs exploding in North Strand. More recent past pupils delighted their teachers with their achievements since leaving St. Mary’s.
The day concluded with Mass in the Convent chapel celebrated by Fr Richard Sheehy. The school choir sang beautifully directed by Ms O’Rourke and Mr. Coll. The Board of Management paid tribute to the dedicated, talented staff in St Mary’s and presented the school with four beautiful porcelain pieces by Isobel Egan, each piece has a quote from the foundress of the Holy Faith order, Margaret Alyward .The pieces have been hung in the entrance hallway to the school for all to enjoy. The Board also presented Mrs. Margaret Lennon, the Principal, with a personal gift to acknowledge her visionary leadership.
On Monday 8th December, the School Community celebrated the 75th Jubilee. The Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin addressed the 6th Years and the staff of St Mary’s. All other year groups attended a Prayer Service organised by the Religion Department. The day ended with a quiz ‘’How well do you know St Mary’s? “
Many thanks to all who helped organise this momentous event in the history of the school. The spirit of hard work, collaboration and dedication to education lives on in St Mary’s and will continue to do so for many, many more years, enabling the provision of an excellent all round education for “respectable girls.”
Ms. Anne Murphy
Former Deputy Principal (2007 – 2014)
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