Coláiste Muire, Ennis, Co. Clare Celebrate 150 years of Education

This is a very special year for Coláiste Muire Ennis as it celebrates 150 years of Education.

When the Sisters of Mercy founded the school in Sept. 1860, it was a very different time, a different Ireland; a very different landscape politically and economically.

Talk of our current recession fades in to insignificance when we read stories of famine, hunger, disease and abject poverty.

Yet against this backdrop, the Sisters of Mercy courageously acknowledging the importance of Education, in particular the education of young girls, set up their new Secondary school for girls.

In reading of the foundation in the Annals, it is remarkable that among their first purchases were two pianos and a variety of scientific equipment, displaying their interest and insight into education in Music /The Arts and at the same time in the Sciences.

The school continues to promote the importance of all Kinds of Music; Classical and Traditional, while still excelling in the Sciences.











Pictured above the Coláiste Muire Traditional Music Group performing at the open day in the school.

In the early 1900’s the school grew and expanded as the only school for girls in the area until the late 1990’s.The boarding school flourished taking girls from the locality and throughout the country. Generations of families were educated at Colaiste Muire.

The Boarding school finally closed in 1984. The school has seen much development and expansion. The last phase was completed in 2004.

To mark that event The Sisters of Mercy donated a stained glass panel by stained glass specialists Mayer of Munich in Germany called ‘Feed the Hungry’ a corporal work of Mercy, a fitting token of gratitude and appreciation to all the sisters and their colleagues who faithfully handed on the tradition of Education.

Since 1860 staff members have met the hunger for learning, culture and spirituality in those they have welcomed to Colaiste Muire.

The school has been celebrating this wonderful legacy throughout the year.

A very special liturgy celebrated by Bishop Kieran O’Reilly took place on Wednesday 16th March in the Cathedral, the whole school, members of the local community, invited guests, many former members of staff, Sisters of Mercy from various communities attended.

On Saturday May 7th the School Choir together with Orchestra including a number of past pupils performed the celebratory ‘Gloria’ by Vivaldi. The performance was a most fitting means of expressing our gratitude for what has been, for what is and for what will come for future generations of students, parents and staff.

On Sunday 8th May we held an Open Day where past pupils and friends were welcomed back to the school for an afternoon. Exhibitions, displays, activities gave visitors an opportunity to stroll down memory lane. The Open Day was a great success with past pupils gaining access to school archives dating back to the 1920's and in some cases finding themselves and their mothers and grandmothers in old registers!











Pictured above at the open day (LtoR) Coláiste Muire student, School Principal, Ms. Jean Pound, Sr. Canice Hanrahan and Deputy Prinicipal, Ms. Geraldine Lydon.

This year has given us all an opportunity to reflect on those early years of our school’s foundation. These early sisters were pioneers in the true sense; their vision for education was thoroughly holistic, amazingly modern. We are proud to follow in their footsteps; we thank God for their generosity and commitment.

We are very proud of our school’s tradition of excellence and of the achievements of all our students, past and present. We are mindful that life long friendships have been forged in Colaiste Muire; students and staff move on but the spirit of Colaiste Muire remains with them forever.

(Special thanks to Jean Pound, School Principal for sharing above information).

Photos from the Celebrations

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Audio of Concert

Coláiste Muire 150th Anniversary Celebration Gloria RV 589 By Antonio Vivaldi, Dánlann an Chláir, 7th May 2011.

Featuring Coláiste Muire School Choir, Helen Houlihan - Soprano, Ruth Kelly - Mezzo, Soprano Roisín McMullin, Orchestra Leader Conductor - Carmel Griffin.

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