History of the School
St Brigid’s National School is a Roman Catholic co-educational school that was first established in 1906 by the Holy Faith Sisters to provide Catholic education for the children of Greystones. The present school building was officially opened in November 1973. St. Brigid’s, Greystones was part of a network of Holy Faith Schools dedicated to St. Brigid, one of Ireland’s greatest saints. Margaret Aylward founded the Holy Faith Sisters in 1868. She saw education as the best means by which children could be enabled to reach their full potential.
Prior to 1999, St Brigid’s educated girls from Junior Infants to Sixth Class and boys from Junior Infants to First Class. In September 2000, St Brigid’s became a fully co-educational vertical school – Junior Infants to Sixth Class. On 1st October 2001, the day-to-day management of St Brigid’s was transferred by the Sisters of Holy Faith to the parish of Holy Rosary & St Kilian.
The Holy Faith Sisters in Wicklow
The Holy Faith sisters came to Newtown Mount Kennedy in 1892, to Kilcoole in 1897 and to Greystones in 1906. There were very few Catholics in Greystones in 1906 and the first Catholic Church was a temporary structure. The first Catholic school was built in 1906. The school was begun by the Holy Faith Sisters at the invitation of the Parish Priest of Bray and Greystones. The Church and school was built on the La Touche Estate. The La Touche family were very good Christians. The sisters could not build a free school on the property so they conducted a private day school.
In 1917 the late Eamonn de Valera sent his two eldest children, Vivian and Máirin to the convent school while the family took up residence in Kinlen Road. All but one of the de Valera family attended the convent in Greystones. By 1917 the sisters established a national school – the first in Greystones, and it was located at the convent.
Meanwhile the private junior school which had only served pupils for the first year had gradually grown into a secondary school and more accommodation was needed. By degrees nearby houses were bought. St. David’s was bought in 1941. In September 1969 the present St. David’s was completed. The boarding school, formerly Lewis’ hotel was demolished in 1972 and the new primary school was built and opened the following September 1973 under the patronage St. Brigid.
On the 6th of November 1998 our school marked a quarter of a century at its current premises delivering education to the young people of the town. The Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Síle de Valera joined in our celebrations when she unveiled a plaque in a special commemorative garden which was created to mark the anniversary.
Holy Faith Centenary Celebrations
In 2006 the Holy Faith Sisters celebrated 100 years in Greystones. President Mary Mc Aleese came to the school in October 2006 to unveil a new plaque to commemorate this occasion. There were various celebrations throughout the year to celebrate. Some of the students learned a new song written by Mary McAuliffe for the Centenary. The school recorded a CD – each class sang a song or two and the older students sang the Centenary Song. They performed some of this song for the then President.
St. Brigid, the Patron Saint of our School
We celebrate the feast of St Brigid on the first day of February, which was an important Celtic feast as it is the first day of spring. St Brigid was born at Faughart near Dundalk, Co. Louth, in 451 AD, nearly 1,600 years ago.
Bhi conaí uirthí in éineacht lena h-athair, Dubhtach. Níor chreid seisean i nDia ach bhí a mháthair, Brocessa, ina Críostaí. D’oibrigh Bríd agus a máthair go dian dícheallach ar an bhfeirm ó mhaidin go h-óiche. Ghuígh siad fad is a bhí siad ag obair.
Brigid showed great love and kindness to the poor. She and seven others set up a convent in Cill Dara (now Kildare), which means ‘church of the oak’. The nuns also had a farm where they ploughed fields, milked cows, fed hens and ducks, and took care of all the farm animals. Brigid also took care of the sick and dying and one story tells of how she explained the story of Calvary to a dying man as she wove a cross from rushes.
Brigid died when she was around seventy years old. Before she died, she was the Mother Abbess of about 13,000 nuns. There is a statue of her in France and many other places holding a book in one hand and a quill pen in the other, which shows that she is a patron saint of learning. This is why our school is named after her. She is also the patron saint of farming.
Go raibh maith Agat, a Íosa, do Naomh Bríd agus na naoimh go léir.