In 1832 the Parish Priest of Wicklow, Rev. Fr. John Grant applied for a grant to help set up a free school in the town. Before this all schools were fee paying. The first free parish school in Wicklow had 300 children on rolls. Attendance was better in summer than in winter with boys being better attenders than girls. The school hours were from 9:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. from Monday to Friday inclusive, and 9:00a.m. till 1:00p.m. on Saturdays. There were just two teachers in the school, one for girls and one for boys.
When the new St. Patrick's Church was consecrated in Oct. 1844 the old church, now the Parochial Hall, became the schoolhouse, with separate entrances for girls and boys. When the Dominican Sisters came to Wicklow in 1870 they set up a separate school for girls of all ages, leaving the boys to attend the old school on St. Patrick's Road.
In 1903 a new school was opened on the site where the present Junior School now stands. The first principal of the new three classroom school was Matthew Murtagh, who remained in charge until the De la Salle Brothers took over in 1919. Extended to four classrooms in 1930, another room was added in 1955 and blessed by the Archbishop of Dublin, Most. Rev. Dr. McQuaid. With school enrolment increasing, two terrapin classrooms were added in 1972, quickly followed by many others, which resulted in a temporary building larger than the original. It became imperative that a permanent structure replace the temporary accommodation and the present main school building was completed in 1977.
Thank you to John Finlay who wrote this article. John is a local historian and the former vice -Principal of our school.
Mrs. Rita McAulay, who taught in the school for many years, retired in 1999 after ten successful years as Principal. She was succeeded by Mr. Martin Murphy who continued the fine tradition for a further eleven years before retiring in 2010. Mr. Rory Healy, while only here for a year, also made his mark. Mr. Niall Hanton spent three years as principal and retired in 2014. He had spent twenty-two years before that teaching in St. Patrick's. In September 2014, our fourth principal in five years, Ms. Geraldine Barnes, joined our staff, and has been with us since.
On the 22nd of March 2011 St. Patrick's B.N.S. received approval from the Department of Education to proceed with Co-Educational intake in September 2011. We are delighted to welcome girls as well as boys this year.
Below are some of the most recent pupils to have graduated from St. Patrick's National School. We wish them all the best with their continued education and future careers.