History of the School
In the 1800’s in Ireland there was limited education for the majority Catholic population and Millstreet was no exception. The sporadic visit of the hedgeschool teacher provided limited teaching. In Millstreet a school for Protestants was provided by the Wallis Family at the Drishane Estate.
In the 1830’s Fr. Fitzpatrick was a curate in Millstreet. He was a man of foresight and very dedicated to his parishioners. He approached the local Catholic gentry – Mrs. Ellen O’Leary of the Coomlogane Estate to provide land for a church (as the roof of the old thatch church had fallen in) and presbytery. He said land was also required for a school as Catholic children may have been enticed to “take the soup” and attend the Protestant School on the Wallis Estate. Ellen granted the land on which stands the present day church, presbytery and school in Millstreet. She also provided money to help fund these ventures.
Fr. Fitzpatrick then approached the Bishop to invite some nuns to establish a convent and school in Millstreet. In 1840 four nuns from Killarney arrived in Millstreet thus beginning the long tradition of the wonderful education provided to Millstreet Girls by the Presentation Sisters.
In 1910 the sisters opened a Secondary School which eventually closed in 1973 when Millstreet Community School replaced Presentation Convent and the Vocational School in providing secondary education.
The Primary School flourished under the direction of the Presentation sisters and its many principals. Sr. Kevin from 1920’s to 1970’s, Sr Agatha Quirke became principal in the 1970’s and worked hard to secure the building of the present school which opened in September 1978. Sr. Rosario Hourigan and Sr. Mercedes Behan guided the school into the new Millennium.
The school has changed and grown throughout its history. In the 1970’s Maura O’Sullivan became the first lay member of staff followed by Teresa Tangney and Sean Radley was the first male member of staff. In 2002 Joan O’Mahony became the first Lay Principal and two extensions were built during her time in 2009 and 2012. In 1999 refugees arrived from Kosovo and thus began an influx of foreign students and recently arrived Ukraninan pupils joined the school and were welcomed in the same time honoured tradition.
Many changes have taken place since the humble beginning in 1840’s in our school. Each era of teachers/staff has reacted to the needs of its time. The constant through the eras has been the same; the guiding principles of Nano Nagle, the Founder of the Presentation Order to care for, include, educate children, to respect all children and help them to achieve their potential. Part of their ethos was developing confidence and self-belief in children and respecting others and their environment.
Achievements over the years include winning the Junior Wardens All-Ireland, Sciath na Scol titles in both Ladies Football, Camogie and Indoor Camogie competitions, Duhallow Schools Football and Camogie titles, school productions of dramas and concerts, carol services and partaking in Feis Maitiú.