The Technical School, Carrigallen, was officially opened on 3rd June 1958. This is the report of the Official Opening of the school in The Anglo Celt for Saturday, 7th June, 1958:
FINE NEW TECHNICAL SCHOOL FOR CARRIGALLEN
OPENED AND BLESSED BY THE BISHOP OF KILMORE
The recently built Technical School at Carrigallen, Co. Leitrim, was formally opened and blessed on Tuesday last by his lordship, most Rev. Dr. Quinn, Bishop of Kilmore, in the presence of pupils and parents, members and officers of the County Leitrim Vocational Educational Committee and the Leitrim County Council.
His Lordship was met at the entrance to the school grounds by Very Rev. Canon Connolly, P.P., V.F.; Vice Chairman of Leitrim Vocational Education Committee; Very Rev. Canon Kelly, P.P., V.F.; Mr. T. O’Raibteartaigh, Secretary, Department of Education (representing the Minister, Mr. J. Lynch,T.D.); Mr. P.Neary, B.Agr. Sc., Department Inspector; Mr. F. Cronin, C.E.O.,Leitrim Co. Vocational Education Committee; and Mr. M. Duignan, Principal of the new school.
Rev. P. McNiffe, P.P., Carrigallen, and Rev. P. Lynch, C.C. Carrigallen, assisted the Bishop at the blessing ceremony.
The new school, an impressive three-roomed modern structure, is built on a commanding four-acre site on the outskirts of the town and overlooking the expansive Carrigallen Lake.Though it has only been in use since the work was completed last September, the grounds are already beautifully laid out with flowers and shrubs in abundance. A large number of Rural Science plots are cultivated with ample space left for recreational needs. The entire cost of the erection and equipping of the school was 13,500 pounds.At present rural needs are mainly catered for in the Rural Science classes, directed by the headmaster.The building trade class is under the direction of Mr James Wall, Manual Instructor, and the Domestic Economy Class is under Miss Maura Garvey, D.E. Later on it is proposed to add a Commercial class. At present time, the numbers on roll at the day classes is fifty, while the night classes in the winter months just past catered for eighty pupils.
HIS LORDSHIP’S ADDRESS
After the blessing ceremonies, his Lordship addressed the public representatives and others present. Very Rev. Canon Connolly presided.
The general attendance included-
Mr Stephen Flynn, T.D.;
Senator P. O’Reilly;
Dr. O’Donnell, Co. M.O.H., Leitrim;
Messrs D. M. Candy, Co. Manager;
P. O’Loan, C.A.O.;
R. McNaughton, Co Engineer,
A. McMahon, Secretary, Leitrim Co. Council;
D. S.Dunleavy, solr., Leitrim Vocational Education Committee;
James Holohan, Co.Co.;
P. Charles, Co.Co.;
James McHugh, Co.Co.;
P.J. Reynolds, Co. Co.;
R. Ellis, Co. Co.;
P. Conefrey, P.C., Co.Co.;
C. Reynolds, P.P. Co. Co..
After extending a hearty welcome to his Lordship, Mr.Raibeartaig, the parents and others who attended. Canon Connolly called his Lordship to speak.
His Lordship said:-
I am glad to have the opportunity of blessing the new Vocational School for Carrigallen and the surrounding districts. I sincerely hope it means launching it for a long and prosperous career. The representative of the Ministry who we are so glad to have with us will have something to say to you on the place of Technical Education in our national life at this juncture; what it has already accomplished and what we hope from it in the years that lie ahead.
It was said sometime in the past that the facilities afforded by the Schools were not availed of to the extent they should. To-day it would seem that the opportunities offered are more fully appreciated and attendance has become satisfactory. We know that aptitudes which could be the basis of a useful life cannot be developed in the Primary School, indeed may not even be discovered. The Technical Schools, as well as being continuation schools, reveal talents in many who might be judged as below average by Primary standards.
We are being constantly reminded that the position of the national economy is far from safe, and that united and earnest effort is demanded. But the pupils of the schools will be made to see that hard work itself is not enough. It must be skilled work, and training in a high degree has become more and more necessary. It is for experts to say how far the the country may profitably join in a European market, but it is clear that in any circumstances outside competition is inescapable. Countries are vying with each other for a market for their products and are constrained to develop the latest and best techniques in exploring and exploiting their resources. Subsidy or protection will avail us little in the long run if they have to sustain a standard of production below the level of that of other countries. If we are to survive we will need our best brains, used in the best ways. That our industrial development has been slow in the past is something that can be explained and perhaps excused, but it makes our present task all the heavier and challenges the determination and powers of all who have the interests of the country at heart. It challenges in particular the young people for whom the truest patriotism to-day is the determination to build up their own country; to look forward to and equip themselves for a future to be spent here in the land of their birth.
Depopulation so university deplored is unhappily experienced at its worst in the country districts. we are an agricultural country. Agricultural science has not stood still, and it is natural to expect that the vocational schools will lay special emphasis on subjects which will make for prosperity and happiness in life in the country. The various associations that have arisen in the recent years show that the farming community is alive not only to the necessity of keeping abreast of developments, but also to the importance of factors that brighten life for rural population. Poets have sung the praises of country life, but it would not seem that our people have caught its charm. The indications rather are that our young people, brought up in the country, grow to hate it and make their escape as soon as opportunity offers. It might be argued that it was ever so, and there is certainly no denying that Irish emigrants lost great opportunities of prosperity and influence in the country of their adoption by refusing to settle on the land even when it was practically presented to them, and persistently seeking a livelihood in the cities and towns. It should be the endeavour of the schools to go beyond what is useful and profitable and to impart knowledge and skills which will make work interesting, that their pupils, as well as doing their work efficiently will come to love it. The drift from the land is not likely to cease as long as the rising generation regard life on the farm as something to be tolerated just until a more agreeable way of life presents itself.
We are fortunate in having in our Vocational Schools a body of teachers who are highly competent and with a due sense of their responsibilities and the dignity of their calling. They have striven by their example to make their influence helpful and uplifting we have every confidence that the tradition they have established of service to those in their charge and the country at large will be faithfully maintained.
MR. T. O’RAIBTEARAIG
Mr. T. O’Raibtearaig, Secretary, Department of Education said that he was there on behalf of the Minister who was unable to come himself that particular day because at six o’ clock that evening he would be defending his estimates in DailEireann and these provide for vocational as well as other kinds of schools. It was a great privilege for him to be there at the opening of this very beautiful school. The Vocational Education Act was only passed in 1930 when they had only 65 schools in the 26 counties and they were all in towns. With a Great War in between they now had nearly 265 schools which wasn’t bad when the people told them that the country was going back.
It was a good sign that the number of schools had gone up and it was a better sign that half of them were situated in rural areas. Leitrim had nine schools which was one twentieth of the total built since 1930 and there were 26 counties. Leitrim was well to the fore and he thought that the Committee deserved the credit for that.
As far as the Department was concerned they were only too delighted to see the schools going ahead and they kept a paternal eye on them with as little interference as possible with the committees running the schools. They in the Department had a keen interest in all their schools but they had a very special interest in their youngest child, the Vocational Educational Schools.
These schools were a challenge to apathy and emigration and to all the ills that beset them. The CEOs and the teachers were a challenge to these also. The subjects were not taught with an eye to emigration but with an eye to the country and to improving the skill of the boys and girls. Some people talked as if emigration was the end of all our schooling – that would be a sorry day.
Referring to the new school, Mr. Raibeartaig said that it was a beautiful school and he would like to congratulate the architect and builder, and on behalf of the Minister and the Department he wished the very best of luck to Mr. Duignan and the teachers in the lovely new school.
They in the Department knew the C.E.O. well and they knew his quiet but firm and persevering way of getting things done. Mr. Cronin was an unassuming man, but they in Leitrim were very lucky in having such a dedicated person in charge of their system.
Concluding, the speaker said that he would like to emphasise that the very great importance and the strength of the system was that they had the representatives of the Church and the State there together on that occasion. It was a very rare thing in the countries of the world today but it happened so often in Ireland that they did not even notice it. It was perhaps the greatest thing in connection with the opening.
VOTE OF THANKS
Very Rev. Canon Michael Kelly, P.P.,V.F., Ballinamore, said that it was a great pleasure to be called on, on behalf of the committee to thank and congratulate His Lordship and Mr. Raibeartaigh for their attendance. It added a tremendous amount to the opening of the school to have them present. His Lordship was willing to come to such a function and had been with them at the opening of another school not long ago. He took a keen interest in the work of vocational Education because he realized what it meant to the young people of the area who were served by such a school. His Lordships address had been beautiful and so simple that it could be followed by even the youngest student. He also wished to thank Mr. Raibheartaigh who was not only looking after primary education but vocational and secretary as well.
He (speaker) had been on the Vocational Educational Committee since 1937 with a short lapse during a period in which he was transferred, and if they had the schools in Co. Leitrim, a good deal was due to the Vocational Educational Committee which he represented in speaking there.
They had worked out a plan and had been successful in carrying it through. Carrigallen was the last school on the plan. They now had nine schools but he thought that there was another area that would be very anxious to have a school. He was sure that they would be able to have a school in Drumshanbo. As regards the children, he did not know if anyone present had much experience of the work done in the schools, not merely the teaching but the character training given to the children by the teachers. They had been trained in the national schools but only as they developed could they be directed so that they were keen on work and on the agricultural end of education and using of their hands. It would surprise them to see the work that the students did around their own homes as a result of the training. The money was by no means wasted.
Mr. Peter Charles seconded the vote of thanks on behalf of the Leitrim Vocational Committee.
Very Rev. Canon Connolly said that as Vice Chairman of the VEC that he wished to convey to His Lordship and Mr. Raibeartaigh the thanks and gratitude of the Committee and he asked those present to acclaim the vote of thanks.
Very Rev. P. McNiffe, P.P., Carrigallen, speaking at a luncheon afterwards, said that “vocational education could prepare boys and girls for a useful country life”. It could help to turn them into useful citizens, instilling into them a greater confidence to themselves and in their country.