St. Mary's Secondary School, New Ross

Mission Statement

St. Mary's School is a community which is proud of its Catholic tradition and is committed to developing each person's full potential in positive, supportive and Christian environment. We invite everyone to participate and we urge everyone to contribute.

"Ní neart go cur le chéile"

School History

Our school is under the Trusteeship of CEIST. Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, was a pioneer in Irish Education. Her primary objective was the relief, education and protection of the poor.
The Sisters of Mercy took up residence in New Ross is 1853, initially in Priory Street, and from 1856 in South Street. The move to South Street made it possible for the Sisters to become involved in the provision of education at Primary and Secondary level (Junior and Senior Departments).

The Senior Department began in 1856 as a private day secondary school teaching English, Arithmetic, needlework, knitting, lace-making, deportment, elocution and Religion. It was known as St. Mary’s, an "Academy for Young Ladies" and had about 6-7 pupils in each class. In 1917 it became a secondary school for the first time by entering the examination system of the then Intermediate Board prior to the foundation of the Irish Free State when all of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. Curriculum: Irish, English, Maths, History, Geography, Home Economics, Crafts, Art, Music, Religion, Commerce and Typing. It continued as a secondary school under the Department of Education after the founding of the State and in 1926 opened a Boarding School to complement the Day School.

Sr. Mary Antonia Doyle, a native of Wexford town, was the first Principal of this school. The first lay teachers to join the secondary staff were Miss Frances [Fran] Riordan in 1927 and Miss Kay Bolger in 1932.
Throughout the nineteen-thirties, forties and fifties the number of pupils steadily increased necessitating a move to the premises of the old St. Joseph National School in Michael Street from 1945.

The introduction in 1967 of Free Secondary Education for day pupils by the then Minister for Education, Donagh O’Malley, was adopted by the Mercy Sisters which resulted in a dramatic increase in pupil numbers and the need to find more extensive premises. At that time the former Good Shepherd Convent in the Irishtown came on the market and was purchased by the Sisters. The school premises were transferred to the Irishtown in 1968. The first male teacher, Mr. Seamus Doyle, was appointed at this time.

Occupying at first part of the original Good Shepherd Convent premises (the Old School) the school soon needed additional accommodation due to the continued increase in pupil numbers. The Boarding School closed in 1977 and its premises were used for a time by the extending day school. In 1981 an extension to the school premises (the New School) was blessed and opened. This extension consisted of a number of general classrooms and specialist rooms for Science, Home Economics, Art, Music and Drama.

The nineteen-eighties saw a continued increase in student numbers. Two new classrooms – "The Bungalow" – were built in 1984. In 1993 an international-size Sports Hall with changing rooms, showers, toilets and dining area was blessed and opened. In addition, some new classrooms and a second science room were built.

In the summer of 1994 the Old Assembly Hall was converted into four classrooms and another classroom was converted into a Technology and Technical Graphic room. In the summer of 2003 a new Administration Suite was developed to afford Parents and Visitors a spacious reception area. The school library was relocated to a central position in the school. In 2005 a new entrance lobby was opened alongside a student social area. Throughout the school a number of Pastoral Care/Learning support rooms have been developed in accordance with the Mercy Philosophy of Education.

In 2006, to mark the 150 years of St. Mary’s, a beautiful Commemorative Garden was established along the Sports Hall Avenue and a major redecoration of the whole school is underway as well as phased improvement of the existing facilities.

In 2008 due to grant aid from the Dormant Accounts fund and financial support from our Parents' Council the library was further developed and adapted to the needs of a modern progressive school.

The various previous School premises, continue to be used for community needs. The South Street building has been replaced by the offices of the Credit Union (opened 1994) and the Michael Street premises by a terrace of new houses (1994). The Boarding School had been converted into the New Ross Training and Education Centre but due to storm damage is now in need of repairs and refurbishment. The Sisters of Mercy moved residence form the Convent building in the summer of 1993 and the Voluntary Housing Organisation "Respond" converted it into premises adapted for its work.

Originally known as the Senior Department, then as St Mary’s an "Academy for Young Ladies", the school name, Scoil Mhuire, was adapted in 1945, since then both names, St. Mary’s and Scoil Mhuire have been in use. However, to it’s students past and present and to its associates, the school is more popularly known simply as "the Mercy" – an appropriate title for an establishment that owes its existence and extraordinary development to the Sisters of Mercy, New Ross. 


Irishtown, New Ross





Mr. John Michael Porter

Deputy Principal:
Mr. Paul Deavy (A)