Early school days


This is a photo of the finale of the drill display which my school had presented in Iveagh grounds in Crumlin. This was taken in the school  playground in Donore Avenue around 1935/36. The following is some fond memory of my days there.

In 1931, when I had left the ‘ babies’ school in Marymount Convent in Harold’s Cross I applied to go to Synge Street C.B.S. I was told they were full but I could be accepted at their subsidiary school in Donore Avenue. This school had been opened the previous year and was manned by Irish Christian Brothers who were based in Synge Street. And so it was. Even though it was quite a step from Rathmines I walked there for the next six years. I really loved the school and have always felt proud to have gone there.

There were several lay teachers there in addition to the Brothers. All great teachers who gave more than their best.
My favourite was Tom Devitt who always reminded us he came from Ennistymon in Co. Clare. I was in his class for several years and remember him with gratitude. I am constantly quoting him to my family. He also brought us on outside trips such as the archeoligical site at Newgrange , in Co Meath, when it was still undeveloped. Also to Jacobs Biscuits and Urney’s chocolates factories where we enjoyed samples of course. In contrast to present day problems we were taken to see Will’ s cigarette factory which was quite near. No samples to us however. Found the manufacturing process very interesting. The factory is long gone.
We had to play hurling and football every week in Synge Street’s grounds on Parnell Rd beside the canal. We also learned drill under an army instructor and presented a display to parents etc. in the Iveagh grounds on Crumlin Road. I started with a photo, taken in the school playground, of the finale of the display. It spelled out the name of the school, ‘ Donore’. The boys forming the flags were dressed in shirts with the Irish national colours.
The building behind the display was a shelter for use during lunch time. Beyond that was a small garden where we were shown how to grow seeds etc. I see that is continuing there still.
The teachers sitting at the rear were Ned Murphy on the left and Philip Moynihan.
Mr Murphy was very very involved with football and St Kevin’s GAA Club. Also Ballyboden St. Enda’s club. The stadium at Mount Venus Road in Rathfarnham bears his name.
Mr Moyniham trained some of us to play the mouth organs. He formed a small band. We played on RTE radio several times in the studios in Henry Street. After each performance we were treated to tea in the Monument Creamery, in O’Connell St. We loved it.
As you can see in the photo, the school had won several trophies. These were in Feis Ceoils etc. We had a very good choir under another teacher Mr. O’ Sullivan, which was very successful. I recall attending the Eucharistic Congress in 1932 in school uniform in the Phoenix Park. I was nine years old then.
When you consider that this was a primary school in one of the poorer parts of Dublin, you will agree that it was an extremely efficiently run.n Most of the pupils were from the area known as ‘The Tenters’ in Dublin. Our distinguished TV presenter Mr. Gay Byrne was a pupil there, some years after me.
Another thing I have to thank the Brothers for is very personal. My dad’s brother, Willie, was a cabinet maker and I was lined up to join him to learn the trade, at the end of 6th. class. Brother Kilmartin who was teaching me that year, sent for my parents and convinced them to let me continue on in secondary school in Synge Street. I have always been extremely thankful to him for that.
The Brothers have been the subject of much criticism over the years but I personally have no complaints. Punishment for behaviour or missing lessons was certainly excessive at that time. Bro Kilmartin, who I mention above, was known to all as ‘ The Killer’. Most lay teachers also used punishment. It was common in all schools in those days. You will often hear it said that, if you complained about the teacher slapping you, to your mother, you would get another few from her because ‘you must have deserved it’.
The school is no longer run by the Brothers and is now a mixed school for boys and girls. It was officially known as Scoil Treasa Naofa, Donore Avenue (St. Teresa’s), although it was actually situated on O’Donovan Road, which is off Donore Ave. It was generally shortened to Donore. I notice that despite the change it still bears the same name to day.
Happy days for me.

2 thoughts on “Early school days

  1. I remember all the stories you told us about your teacher Tom Davitt as I now know his name to be! Amidst all the horror stories we here today what a delight to read about your school days Dad that were so encouraging and influential in your life. A great testimony to Donore Avenue school.


  2. Jean Mc Manys

    Hello there.
    I saw where you got an award recently and wondered if you are the same “Florrie McGillicuddy” who was a friend of my dad Fred Carroll who lived in Cherryfield Road . And if so did you live on Bunting Road. There are not many with such a name I would expect .
    Dad would have lived near Donore Road as a child also
    Congratulations on your award anyway .
    Jean Mc Manus (nee Carroll)


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