Salerno, sixty years of secondary education

In the late forties and early fifties, the population of Salthill began to grow dramatically with the building of lots of individual houses and estates such as Devon Park and Ard na Mara. There was a national school at Nile Lodge but it was full to capacity, so the bishop invited the Sisters of Jesus and Mary to open another one.

They took over a small hotel known as Dalysfort House and converted it into a school called Scoil Íde which opened on May 1, 1952. They began with 43 pupils, but this number increased very rapidly making the building too small, so they demolished it and built a new school to cater for 450 students. This opened on July 2, 1962, and that year they opened a ‘secondary top’, a secondary school class housed in their building. Two years later, this little secondary school had three classes.

It was time to move. In 1965, they moved the secondary pupils to a house on Revagh Road in Rockbarton called Salerno, which gave the new school a name. It was luxury. They had carpeted classrooms and large windows overlooking the bay, though the facilities for home economics and science were primitive. The sylvan setting was a godsend to hardened smokers where they could hide from teachers.

Expanding numbers and space limitations forced them to move again and in 1981, after much lobbying of politicians and departments, they moved into a state-of-the-art new building on Threadneedle Road, also called Salerno. The popularity of the school meant they soon had to add on prefab classes, and later a major extension and a sports hall. The adage, “Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten,” very much applies to this school. All decisions are person-centred, the girls are encouraged to work with a growth mindset, to give generously, and to shatter any glass ceiling on their journey towards achieving their full potential, all of which will hopefully leave them with a legacy of commitment, dedication, and loyalty.

So this weekend they are celebrating 60 years of secondary education with special Mass for the school tomorrow and a ‘catch-up and get-together’ in the school on Saturday from 11am to 2pm where they will have a lot of old photographs on display. All past pupils are invited.

To mark this notable anniversary, we have three photographs today. First, the Leaving Cert 1 class from 1965/66. Standing: Geraldine Kelleher, Caitríona Brazil, Maura Moore, Marguerite Clarke, Helena Bree. Seated are Judith Ryan, Gabrielle McMorrow, and Joan Murray.

Secondly, we have the first years from 1965/66. They are, standing: Anthonie Kelleher, Nollaig McDonagh, Marion Smith, Nessa McDonagh, Una Sugrue, Mary O’Reilly, Olivia Canavan, Elizabeth Clarke, Norrie Maher, Geraldine Burke, Mabel Glynn-Carlos, Joan Mahon. Kneeling are Maria Smith, Colette Daniels, Breda Mulholland, Dorothy Egan, Rose McSweeney, Doreen Ryan, Eucharia Craughwell, and Joan Murray.

Finally, we have most of the Leaving Cert class of 1972, seated on the steps of the school in Rockbarton. Cáit De Búrca is standing at the top. Back row: Deirdre Quinn, Mary Whoriskey, Frances Watters, Catherine Larkin. Next row: Marion Farragher, Therese O’Keeffe, Anne Hanahoe. Third row: Brenda Thornton, Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin, Mary McCrohan. Second row: Maeve O’Rourke, Anne Marie Murray, Eileen Costelloe. In front are Anna Byrne, Elizabeth Duffy, Monica Kenny, Noelle Berry, and Maire Buckley. The girl walking in the background is Evelyn Tully.

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