A Brief History of St. Mary’s National School

  • St. Mary’s National School moved to its current site at the top of Parnell Avenue in 1951. The Principal at the time was Mr Jack Hayton and he was assisted by Ms Betty Patton.
  • An extension was added to the school in 1983 consisting of three classrooms. Mr Leavis was Principal at the time and he was assisted by Mrs Rachel Farrar & Mrs Margaret Tomkins. Mrs Farrar succeeded Mr Leavis as Principal in 1984.


  • Mrs Margaret Jacob was appointed Principal of St. Mary’s in 1999 following the retirement of Mrs Farrar.
  • Extensive work was completed on the grounds of the school in 2004 under the Summer Works Scheme. A new playground was created for the Junior Class, car parking facilities for the staff and the evergreen trees to the rear of the school were removed.
  • A further extension was added to the school in 2008 with the addition of a new classroom, a Principal’s Office & two Resource Rooms. A devolved grant was allocated to the school to cover the cost of one classroom & one resource room but the Board of Management decided to build further accommodation (an extra Resource Room, Principal’s Office and toilet facilities for the disabled) to cater for the growing needs of the school. Funding was also received to purchase new furniture for the extension. Our thanks to all of those who pledged money to the building fund. We are very grateful to all who helped in fund raising for this wonderful new extension which has greatly enhanced the facilities available for both staff and pupils.

  • This work was completed by RTJ Construction Ltd, Tinahely and the architects for the project were DCS & P, Wexford. The completed extension was ready for use when the children returned on 1st September. The official opening of the new extension took place on 5th November 2008 in the presence of Bishop Michael Burrows, Patron of the school. The ribbon was cut by former Principal of the school, Ms Betty Patton.
  • During the summer of 2009 the older classrooms in the school were re-carpeted & the toilets were refurbished
  • The school also entered the digital age in 2009 with interactive whiteboards being installed in all of the classrooms and the installation of 13 computers in the computer/resource room. Each classroom is now also equipped with a teaching laptop, wireless mouse & keyboard and a visualizer. Internet access is available on all computers in the classrooms and in the Computer Room. 12 laptops were purchased, from grants received from the DES, in early 2011 and these are linked up to wireless internet and a wireless printer. A further 6 laptops were purchased by the Parent’s Association in Autumn 2011.

  • The school was successful in it’s application for works under the Summer Works Scheme 2010 for the replacement of doors and windows. The architect for this project was Malcolm Pim. The contract for the window and door replacements went to K&K Windows, Craanford. The Board of Management took this opportunity to replace the fire escape windows with fire escape doors making it safer to evacuate children in the event of a fire.

  • Following an application to the DES they agreed to let us use the remainder of the money to refurbish the PE Hall. We have put in a new ceiling, recessed lights, a semi-solid timber sport’s floor, and a floor to ceiling press for storage at one end of the hall.
  • The Board of Management also decided to have the basketball court resurfaced during the school holidays and this project was completed by Road Lift. The new court has been marked out as a soccer pitch and we have also had some games marked out on the Junior Playground by Iveragh Play markings. We look forward to good use of all of these improved facilities in the school.

  • In Summer 2011 work was completed on the flat roof areas of the school. These areas are now fully insulated and have had new torch on felt applied. This should greatly reduce the problem we had with codensation last year. This work was completed by Crown Roofing and Malcolm Pim was the architect for the project. All of the toilets were also upgraded during the holidays under the Water Conservation Scheme and all toilets now have a duel flush system.
  • Further work has now been completed under the Emergency Work Scheme to make the school completely wheelchair friendly ~ removal of all door saddles, leveling off of cement areas outside, additional hand rails for the steps and the building of a larger toilet for the disabled with a n electric operated changing table, shower etc.
  • We have been very fortunate to receive so much funding for school improvements over the last number of years.


  • June 2014 ~ The school qualified for a Digital School of Distinction Award. During the inspection for the award we received great feed back for the use of IT in the school and in particular for the way IT is integrated into so many subject areas. The children impressed him with their use of IT to create PowerPoint presentations etc on the laptops and clay animations, comic strips etc on the tablets. Very well done to all of the teacher’s and to our Parent’s Association who have invested so much money into providing much of this technology for the school. Councillor John O’ Rourke unveiled our plaque and formally presented a new HP Laptop to the school at our Sport’s Day on 25th June.

  • The School Year 2014/15 ~ Mrs Margaret Jacob retires as Principal at the end of August. Ms Vanessa Steenson was appointed Principal in September 2014.
  • The School Year 2017/2018 ~ Ms Vanessa Steenson is on carer’s leave at present and Mrs. Gillian Wilson has taken on the role on Acting Principal
  • Our current Principal is Ciara Yates, Ciara has held this position since 2019.


Our picture shows four former members of the teaching staff of St. Mary’s:


Mrs Rachel Farrar
Ms Betty Patton
Mrs Margaret Tomkins
Mr Jack Hayton

Our school marked it’s 70th anniversary last year. We celebrated the occasion with past pupils and our current families.