St Brigid’s Memory Book

St Brigids 1969 N4

The imminent closure of St Brigid’s primary school in Ballsbridge brings with it a mixed bag of emotions for all concerned.

St Brigid’s currently caters for boys and girls in Junior and Senior Infants, and girls only from 1st class to 6th class, and is planning to build a new co-ed school to accommodate the growing school population.

St Brigid’s has seen over a hundred years of history and generations of locals have been educated within its walls. It is readily agreed that the new building is needed in order to maintain the school as a modern and relevant educational facility, however it is equally important to preserve the memory of what has become part of the fabric of this Ballsbridge community.

A group of five teachers from the school are compiling a book of stories and old photos, which it is hoped will contribute to this effort. Moya and Mary are past teachers and a part of the group who meet regularly to discuss the contents of the book. They speak fondly about their time at the school saying that it was never a chore. “There was an atmosphere of warmth and respect there. Parents confided in you and the relationship was never abused on either side.” Moya remembers developing attachments to her pupils.

“They were fabulous kids. I can remember finding it very difficult when it was time for them to move on.”

NewsFour asks about the age profile of the book’s contributors. “There is a lady in her 80’s,” explains Moya. “We have been able to gain valuable insights into the historical changes that have taken place over the school’s lifespan. For instance, today St Brigid’s caters for around 250 students but in the 1930’s, when the lady in question went to school there, it was twice that. It was a very different place in those days, as were the methods of discipline.”

Through her research, Mary is noticing that the 1950’s tradition of Drill Display is an agreed favourite among contributors. “The girls dressed in a gymslip with a green sash and wore a ribbon in their hair. The parents came to see the display where the pupils jumped through hoops in the P.E. event of that time.” Another observation in a historical context was from Grand Canal Street, where there were four families to a building and each family had its own unique door knock.

The group that is compiling the book has already advertised for contributions and is now refreshing that call. Mary offers a sample from her personal experience. “I was in the middle of an Irish lesson with a class of six year olds when I noticed one young lad seemed to be totally engaged with what I was saying. I was happy to see this until he sat back in his seat and suddenly spouted out, “Miss MacDaid? Are all your friends old?”

For information on contributions, photographs or sponsorship email

Pictured above: St Brigid’s drill display from 1969.

By Maria Shields O’Kelly