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St. Macartan's National School, Bundoran, Co. Donegal


A brief overview of the evolution of St. Macartan’s NS

by John Campbell.

The opening of St. Macartan’s Central N.S. in 1979 was the final act in the bringing together of the various schools which had serviced the Bundoran end of Magh Ene Parish since the mid 1800’s. Back in 1878 the original boys’ school in Drumacrin, beside St. Patrick’s Terrace (now an apartment block) catered for both boys and girls taught by Master Patrick Daly and his wife (a daughter of old Master McAndrew). They were both of old Hedge School stock.

St. Louis Convent School was built on Station Road in 1892 and this meant that girls were now catered for separately from the boys, except for the younger boys who attended the convent until the end of 1st class. The boys then transferred to the boys’ school. In 1953 the boys’ school transferred to a new building in Sheil Avenue and was called St. Macartan’s N.S.

In the meantime in the latter half of the 1800’s the people of the townland of Ardfarna built their own school which catered for the children from the countryside around Bundoran. This school was situated on the Moy Road on lands donated by James Boyle. The school remained in existence until 1968 when it was amalgamated into the town schools with the girls going to St. Louis Convent N.S. and the boys going to St. Macartan’s N.S.

Then in 1979 the two schools in the town were amalgamated into what is now St. Macartan’s Central N.S. on the site of the old St. Macartan’s Boys N.S. on Sheil Avenue. So it was that after many years of separate education, schooling in Bundoran returned to being co-educational.

The amalgamation of the Boys’ School and the Convent School in 1979 turned out to be an amazingly smooth affair. This was largely due to the hard work and preparation which had been undertaken prior to the amalgamation by the Boards of Management and Staffs of both schools. The leadership displayed by both principals, Mr. Joe Roarty and Sr. M. Vénard, was also crucial to this very successful amalgamation.

The staff which came together on 1st September 1979 were Sr. Vénard, Sr. Camillus, Sr. Nuala, Anne Daly and Pauline McCosker from St. Louis Convent N.S. and Mr. Joe Roarty, John Campbell, Tom Walsh and Mrs. King from St. Macartan’s Boys N.S. There were over 320 pupils in the school and the building was a large new two storey structure. The old school was converted into the school assembly hall, staffroom and small kitchen area attached to the new school. Since then St. Macartan’s has gone from strength to strength. It promotes a happy learning environment with the aim of catering for the needs and abilities of every child that enrols in the school.

In 1984 Mr. Roarty and Sr. Vénard retired, and were replaced by John Campbell as Principal and Sr. Camillus as Deputy Principal. Sr. Camillus was replaced in 1986 by Sr. Marian.

The Commemorative Magazine “Smaointe”, which was a millennium project in 2000, gives a great resume of the life and achievements of pupils and teachers in the school for the 21 years from 1979 to 2000. It also gives an insight into the wide and varied activities undertaken in the school, both curricular and extra-curricular.

The participation in and commitment to sports, quizzes, drama, music, cross border and international links are just some of the activities that are part and parcel of life in St. Macartan’s Central N.S.

In 2000 Anne Britton replaced Sr. Marian as Deputy Principal while Ronan Tighe replaced John Campbell as Principal in 2011 on the occasion of his retirement.

The level of commitment of the management and staff of the school, the co-operation with local groups in the community and the support and involvement of parents, ensures that St. Macartan’s Central N.S. continues to be a successful and enduring source of education and learning for the children of Bundoran. It will remain a place where children are encouraged and equipped to reach their full potential and to maximise their talents.