This is merely a short synopsis of a long history, one which is thoroughly examined in the 'Official History of St. Muredach's College', launched as part of the centenary celebrations.
The concept of St. Muredach's College was first proposed in 1901 by Dr.Conmy (pictured right), a former Bishop of Killala. As there was no secondary school between Belmullet and Sligo, there was a clear need for the facility. The provision of this, however, was a sizeable task, given post-famine poverty in the west of Ireland. The school opened on September 10th, 1906.
Designed by W.H.Byrne, the contractors were McKee and McNally. The original contract for the building was £11,000, with an additional £11,000 for plumbing and gas. Furthermore, £2,300 was paid for landscaping and enclosing the grounds. Including other additional costs, the final sum came to £16,000.
As the original 76 students were boarders the entire first floor of the current 'old building' was set aside as accommodation. Some teachers and other employees also lived in the college buildings. The annual costs were £3 for day students and £30 for boarders.
In 1924, the British Junior, Middle and Senior Examinations were replaced with the newly formed Free State's Intermediate and Leaving Certificate Examinations.
Increasing numbers resulted in the construction of a new extension in 1937. The three classrooms and dormitory cost £3,000.
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Original advertisement featured in the Western People 1906 for the opening of St. Muredach's college.
There were no new extensions during the 1940s and 1950s but numbers steadily increased and in 1967, an enrolment explosion occurred with the advent of Free Education. This landmark decision also meant that St. Muredachs, and indeed all Irish secondary schools, had to offer technical subjects to cater for all interests and skills.
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Consequently, Mechanical Drawing, Woodwork, Art and Construction were introduced. Free transport also became available for students living more than 3 miles away. Extra classrooms were required to accommodate the growing numbers, and in 1969, an extension added six new classrooms, an Art room, Woodwork room and toilets. This extension cost £51,807, 40% of which had to be raised by the school. As in previous years, the local community supported the school whole-heartedly.
With the numbers of boarders in decline, a dormitory was converted to a Science laboratory. In 1973, the P.E. hall was completed, and the library was financed by the Past Pupils' Union.
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Pictured left - staff team 2009/10
In 1987, the decision was taken to phase out all boarders as the demand for boarding facilities had now reduced significantly.
The next major chapter in the school's history was the construction of an additional building. This new building, incorporating a Chemistry laboratory, Woodwork room, Art room and several classrooms came into use in 1990.
In 1997/98 a computer room and the library were opened. 2004 saw the opening of a canteen.
This year has also seen changes, with the replacement of existing guttering , damp proofing, insulation and new windows. The school has now been provided with another computer room and has digital projectors and broadband in every classroom. The woodwork rooms have been totally brought up to date with the provision of new machinery and a dust extraction system. A new Technology room has also been provided for with the introduction of the subject into the school's curriculum. Finally, plans have been drawn up for new playing picthes...watch this space!
To quote the centenary motto, "A Century Inspiring Futures", the school is committed to constant development and evolution, and will no doubt, inspire futures for another one hundred years.
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His Lordship, Bishop John Flemming, current Patron of the college.