Castleknock National School

Main Street, Castleknock, Dublin 15

Founded - 1720

Roll Number - 18623M

Introduction | Management | Staff | History


Castleknock National School has a long tradition of service to the local community. The first school here was endowed in 1720 and became a National School in 1880. A two-teacher school was built in 1961, and in the early 1970's an extension comprising another classroom, a general-purpose room and staff room was built. In 1988 the two "prefabs" were constructed and in 2001 were dismantled with the completion of the new school. Today the school is a six-teacher school with almost 160 pupils on roll.

The school is under the management of the Church of Ireland (Anglican/Episcopalian) and the patron is the Archbishop of Dublin. The school caters, in the main, for Anglican and Protestant children in northwest Dublin and east Meath.

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The general management and day to day running of the school is the responsibility of the Board of Management. The Board appointed triennially by the Patron, who also appoints the Chairperson. Representatives of the parents, of the teachers, of the Patron himself and of the wider community constitute the Board of Management. The present Chairperson is the rector, the Rev. Andrew Orr.

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Sandra Moloney

Deputy Principal:

Sharon Reid


Hazel Thompson, Averil Fraser, Sandra Meyer & Claire Lamberton


Special Education Teachers:

Debora Kelliher, Lorna Beattie & Dorothy Sneyd

Special Needs Assistants:

Ida McIntosh, Martha Dowling & Maria Matthews


Brid Naughton


Oliver Shanley


A music teacher and a speech and drama teacher come to the school one-day a week. These are paid by the Board of Management and the Parents Association.

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(much of this history was compiled by our previous Rector Bishop Paul Colton and is reproduced with permission)

The present day National School in Castleknock is the successor of one of the oldest national schools in Ireland. The original school was endowed, built and opened in 1720. It is quite likely that then it would have been not much more than a hut type structure standing on the lawn adjacent to the present day parish centre. It was then called the Castleknock Endowed School.

In 1824 a house was built adjacent to the Parochial Hall. It was the premises of the Castleknock Penny Bank. The house, acquired by Lord Iveagh, was made available at a Peppercorn Rent, as the schoolmaster's house from the late 1870's onwards. Even then it was known as "The Bank House."

In October, 1881, after the formation of the National Board of Education, the school became Castleknock National School. Although there are no records preserved from 1720 to 1881, the roll book of the latter year is still in existence. The name of the first teacher recorded was Touchbourne. He was later ordained, and became a Canon in the Diocese of Ossory.

One of the most notable principals was David Horgan. He had been an assistant teacher at the Kildare Place School. After a childhood mishap he ended up with a stiff leg, but nonetheless walked every day from Kildare Place in the centre of Dublin out to Castleknock to teach. He first came to Castleknock in 1886, the year when the cottages for County Council workers (which still stand opposite the school) were completed. He was appointed Principal in March 1887 as a young man of 22 beginning his teaching career, and he taught at the school for over 40 years. By 1891 numbers rose to 67, but a year later had dropped to 38.

A valuable and local innovation at this time in Castleknock was a school transport system. Two vans - what children might call "Wild West" style wagons today - with hoops for covers during bad weather were purchased. One was kept at the Rectory at Mount Hybla, and together with the horse was cared for by the general factotum of the rector Dean O'Hara Mease, (rector of Castleknock 1902 - 1922 and dean of the Royal Chapel in Dublin Castle). Each day it travelled through the Phoenix Park collecting children at the Ordnance Survey, and at the Chief Secretary's House. It continued through the Ashtown gate to Ashtown and back to Castleknock. The other van was kept by a Roman Catholic farmer - Eddie Flynn, and it was cared for by his workers. Its daily route was from Castleknock to Clonsilla, via Blanchardstown and Coolmine.

In 1890 a new inspector noted "This school appears to be conducted in a very efficient manner. The general answering today has been marked by much intelligence, shown especially in grammar, Physical Geography and Agriculture. All subjects receive adequate attention." By 1901 numbers were back up to 52. In 1903 it is noted that " additional classroom much needed." The only response seems to have been to put in a new floor and to paint the walls. By 1905 there were 115 children on the rolls. However, the inspector comes down heavily on an infringement of Rule 104 (a): "Inducements to emigration should not be displayed in the school."

In 1908 the bad conditions are again highlighted: "Playground requires gravelling. Two of the desks in Classroom are very old and should, if possible, be replaced. Some window cords are needed: in warm weather windows should be opened as far as possible. The ventilation of classroom needs improvement. 45 pupils (and 2 teachers) in it today is more that it is built for. A new badly needed."

Dr. Horgan was followed in October 1928 by James H. Brooks who stayed until 30th September 1943. He had been teaching since 1901, and was 50 years old when he came to Castleknock.

Mr. Hugh Weir, at the age of 31, followed as Headmaster for three years (1943 - 1946). In 1945 the inspector laid down: "English should not be taught to the Infants." Changed circumstances meant that numbers started falling, (25 in 1946; 13 in 1950) and after Mr. Weir, Mrs. Gladys Megahy, a young widow of 38 years, took over a small one teacher school in 1945. During this time it was reported that "The children receive a nice general training and the Principal treats them kindly." Mrs. Megahy was ill for a very long time and retired in the summer of 1953 owing to ill health. During this time Miss E Ni Mhairseal and Mrs. R.E. Revell acted as temporary Principals.

The Revd. Billy Rooke was not very long in the parish when he appointed Mrs. Winifred Ireland as Principal on 1st January, 1954. There were 15 pupils on the roll. The observation recorded is that "The Principal is a careful zealous teacher, keenly interested in he work and in the welfare of her pupils. Her teaching is earnest and effective and the work of the school is steadily improving. General training is receiving careful attention." By 1957 numbers were up again to 36, and so, an Assistant was appointed again - the 19 year old Miss Muriel Moore ( Mrs. Wales who now lives in Canada). Miss Jackson (married while at the school and became Mrs. Cody) was appointed as her successor in September 1962. She was followed in 1968 by Mrs. Grace who took charge of the junior classes.

During the incumbency of the Revd. Billy Rooke (1951-1961) it was realized that a new school would be essential for the future well-being of the children of the Parish. Much of the groundwork was done by the Board of Management under his management. He left to go to Bray as rector a year before the new school was opened. He was succeeded as manager by the Rev. E.M. Neill.

Saturday 13th January, 1962 was a great and festive day in the life of the local community. The new school was dedicated at a special Service at 2.30 p.m. by the Most Rev. G.O. Simms, Archbishop of Dublin. It was then opened by the deputy Chief Inspector of the Department of Education Mr. D. O' hUallachain. He remarked that the new school was built with the latest trends in school planning.

The new school was designed by Basil Boyd Barrett, F.R.I.A.I., chief schools' architect in the Office of Public Works. The contractor was Patrick Maguire of Athboy, Co. Meath and cost £6,700 to build. The Department came up with most of the money, but the parish raised £2,000 from sales and other local efforts.

Now the school had accommodation for 64 pupils in two classrooms and was provided with all modern amenities: a playing field and concrete play place, play shelter, toilets, cloakroom accommodation and a water tower.

The present extension was first planned in 1976, in response to the new building and development programmes in the area. The application process was long, tortuous and affected by several freezes in government spending, so that to several generations of children and parents, the idea seemed more dream than reality. However, with the incumbency of Rev. Paul Colton, major strides forward began to be made. Thanks to the untiring efforts of Mr. John Hussey and others, as well as changes in government policy, the application was finally approved in 1999, and building commenced in January 2000.

From 1988 to 2003, the Principal was Miss Lorna Helen (married in 1991 to Mr. Leslie Beattie). She served for a time as chairperson of the Church of Ireland Youth Council. She attended the Lambeth Conference in 1988 and also meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council as a Church of Ireland. From 2003-2005, the Principal was Mrs Olive Wilkinson, who had been on the staff of the school since 1977.

Today the school is serving the needs of an ever-growing and developing community. There are approximately 175 children. The latest computer technology is available in the school and The Parents' Association also works untiringly to provide a wide range of extra-curricular activities: drama, basketball, cricket, swimming, music including recorder and guitar, and French.

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Introduction | Management | Staff | History

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