St. Brigid's National School - De La
Salle, (Boys class) Bagenalstown 1932.
National School – History
In 1865, Fr. Morrin,
P.P. of Bagenalstown, had a new national school, St.
Brigid’s, built, on the site of the present school. It
had three classrooms and a cloakroom. In 1868, he
invited -Br. J. A. Hoare, Superior General of the Irish
Christian Brothers to send Brothers to staff the school.
He bought a home, adjacent to the school for £230. Br.
Patrick Barry was transferred from Borris Idrone, to be
the first Principal, and a teaching Brother and a lay
Brother accompanied him.
Fr. Morrin died in
1881 and he was succeeded as Parish Priest by Fr.
O’Neill who had been P.P. in Graiguenamanagh. Relations
between Fr. O’Neill and the Brothers, strained. The
cause was money. The parish, was probably in, great debt
at the time. St. Brigid’s had been built in 1865. The
teachers’ residence in Ballinkillen had been enlarged in
1883 and a major reconstruction of St. Andrew’s church
was in progress.
To make matters worse,
£1000, which Fr.-Morrin had invested in the Hibernian
Bank, for the upkeep of the Brothers, failed to pay
dividends. Fr. O’Neill wanted the Brothers to register
under the Board of National Education and have their
salaries paid by the government. The Brothers refused
and Fr. O’Neill refused to hold the annual collection
for them. They withdrew from the school in 1886. A Mr.
Conwell was teaching in the school up to 1893. In 1893,
Monsignor Burke, the Parish Priest, who had been
President of Carlow College, established St. Joseph’s
Academy and invited the De La Salle Brothers to staff
both it and St. Brigid’s National School. On September
lst 1893 three Brothers arrived in Bagenalstown.
They were Br. Gall
Deasy, Superior and Principal of the school, Br. James
Stakett and Br. Martin Crawford, cook and housekeeper.
They began school on September 4th. 117 boys being
present. A Mr. McSwiney, a classics teacher, aided them.
Latin, was taught in the cloakroom as well as other
subjects connected with the Academy. Some classes were
also taught in the Monastery sitting room.
The Academy became
independent in 1896 when Mr. Terence Flood replaced Mr.
McSwiney. As a matter of interest, Br. Gall, the
Principal was 23 years of age and Br. James was 2 months
short of his 21st birthday. It cost the parish £700 to
bring the Brothers to the town. £196 of this was
received when a special collection was made on October
9th when the renovated. St. Andrew’s church was
rededicated. Dr. Shennan, Bishop of Waterford preached
the sermon on the occasion in the presence of Dr. Lynch,
Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. Unfortunately, there are
very few references to school attendance after that. Any
figures that I could find, refer to average attendance.
This was calculated from the 1st of September of one
year to the same date on the following year. Thus the
average attendance for the following were.
Source: Bagenalstown Parish website
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