A Messaqe from very Rev. Gerard Fitzpatrick Chairman, Kilmurry School Board of Management
This year our neighbours in Limerick are celebrating the Third Centenary of the Treaty which guaranteed, inter alia, that Catholics would enjoy free exercise of their Religion. Unfortunately that guarantee was soon broken, and the Penal Laws were enacted. The Laws against Catholic Education were passed to drive Irish Catholics into Protestant Schools, but in this regard the Laws failed. The Light of Faith was kept burning in the Hedge Schools, the number and influence of which by the year 1731 were a source of great anxiety to the Government. There were some 580 Hedge Schools all over Ireland. In 1831 the Government established the National Schools System and Primary Schools were built in every Parish.
When a School was sanctioned for Kilmurry, the site was acquired by Very Rev. Robert Little, P.P.; Robert Ashworth Studdert and Denis Donnellan. The School Trustees were Father Little, James Shuley and Michael Cunneen. On the 27th August, 1890, the Commissioners for National Schools gave a grant of £457-7-6d. towards the erection of the school which was to cover an area of 100 feet by 60 feet.
As we approach Centenary Day, 21st June, 1991, I, as Chainnan of the school Board of Management, express sincere thanks to the members of Centenary Committee under the chairmanhip of John Cullinan who have made our elebrations possible. I thank Father Albert McDonnell and the various members of the school board who have played their parts in preparation for this event. We are indebted to our school patron, Most Rev. Dr. Harty, who will honour us as Chief celebrant of the Mass of Thanksgiving and will bless the school on the completion of the renovations and the laying of the New Court. We will welcome back the last curates together with Fr. Pat O’Neill, C.C., Lissycasey, a past pupil. This will be an occasion when all past pupils will recall memories of their days in the school, and the present pupils will be provided with an event which they will be able to look back on in years to come. We acknowledge with thanks the work of the teachers of the past, some of whom will happily be with us, and the work of the teachers of the present. They have built up and they are continuing to build up traditions that will be appreciated whenever and wherever the name of Kilmurry School will crop up in conversation. It was our sincere wish that all the necessary repairs would be carried out in good time for the celebrations, and on behalf of all concerned I express appreciation of the cooperation given by the officials of the Department of Education, especially Mr. Michael Connolly, District Inspector, and of the Office of Public Works. With confidence they selected Michael Chaplin and his men to do the work, and they have done it excellently and in good time.
The centenary committee will present an opportunity to the locals to chat with our visitors over a cup of tea and we will be grateful to them for doing this. To all who have helped in making the Centenary Celebrations possible and successful I say on behalf of the people of Kilmurry
“go raibh maith agaibh go léir”.
Gerard Fitzpatrick, P.P.