Education on the Move
Con Foley, in his ‘History of Douglas’, said that Education was on the move in Douglas. In the space of almost one hundred years, the Boys’ school moved four times, the Girls’ school moved three times and St Luke’s moved to a new building.
According to records in 1848 the boys and girls were in a two roomed building across from Douglas Mills where Morris House now stands. The first teachers were Michael Foley and Mary Anne Hogan. It was disrespectfully known to its pupils as Jackson’s Shed (while their idea of a shed was a large room as in the Darning shed, a room where many of their parents worked in the Mills).
In 1863 the School Inspector, John E Sheridan, visited the school and said it was too small and proposed that the two rooms be made into one for the boys and that the girls should get a new school. However, it was the Boys who got a new school at the foot of Carr’s Hill.
In 1931 the girls moved to their new school attached to St. Columba’s church. The numbers increased in time and they needed a new classroom. A ‘First Class’ railway carriage arrived into the school yard and, so, St. Columba’s GNS got an extra classroom. The principal at this time was Mrs. O’Shea.
In 1965 the boys vacated their school on Carr’s Hill in favour of their new school at the foot of Grange Hill (when Shamrock Lawn was under construction). This relieved the pressure of numbers in the Girls’ school as the building on Carr’s Hill became the senior part of St Columba’s GNS.
It is interesting to stop here for a while to think about what made the school going population increase. Yes, there were many new housing estates built in Douglas but also more children began to go to school and to stay longer in school.
Mrs. Meade was the next principal of the Girls’ school. In 1976 the girls were very happy to be led by her into their present building. There were rooms to spare but in a short time they too filled up. In 1985 Mrs Cashman became principal.
The Presentation sisters had a long tradition of looking after the needs of children who were deaf and hard of hearing and providing education for them.
A third building was built on the current grounds, St Mary’s School for …..
Sr. Pauline worked with the Deaf community for many years and then came as principal to their new school.
Again, this school had more rooms than were needed initially and classes from the Girls’ school were moved down. Seedlings of integration began to grow between our school and our neighbour, things developed and in 1999 an amalgamation occurred. Our school got a new name-
St. Columba’s Girls’ National School with Facility for Deaf Children.
In 2014 both Sr. Pauline and Mrs Cashman retired and our current principal, Mrs. Karen O’Sullivan, took over the reins to lead us to our next chapter.