Sunday, June 16, 2024
GeneralSACRED HEART PRIMARY SCHOOL CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY

SACRED HEART PRIMARY SCHOOL CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY

A LOCAL primary school is celebrating its 50th anniversary during this school year.

Sacred Heart Primary School, located at Main Street, Dundrum, opened its doors in September 1973.

The school’s principal Mr Mark Fitzsimons said he and the other staff members are delighted to have reached this special occasion in the school’s history.

“It is a milestone that we are immensely proud of,” he said.

“Catholic education has been provided for in Dundrum for the past 140 years and to see this lineage continue is an important aspect of the community here in the village.

“Fifty years on the current site is a huge landmark. It has provided the opportunity for all those associated with the school to reflect on the past and to look forward to the future,” he said.

The school is Catholic in ethos and has a partnership with the Church of the Sacred Heart in Dundrum, but they provide education for children from all communities.

‘We are a very inclusive school and welcome children from all, or no faith backgrounds,’ the school’s website, sacredheartdundrum.co.uk explains.

Sacred Heart Primary School is part of a long tradition of Catholic education in the village.

“A Father O’Hara came to Dundrum around 1879. He lived in a residence in what is known locally as ‘Becky’s Corner.’ There was a store at the back of this house and during the week it was used as a school, whilst it was converted to be able to say Mass in it at the weekends,” Mr Fitzsimons said.

“There was a Catholic school created in Dundrum around 1884 – Dundrum Primary Elementary School. At this time, the National Board would have been giving grants to build schools, but this new school was erected without such financial backing.”

When the new school was built, it was located adjacent to the Church of the Sacred Heart chapel, in the building in which the parish community centre is now located.

“During the 1920s, the building was extended under the guise of the new Parish Priest, Father James Marmion, who came to Dundrum in 1921,” Mr Fitzsimons said.

“It was noted that in 1928, the school had two rooms which were said to be able to accommodate 129 pupils. There was a male principal and a female assistant teacher.

“Father Marmion was the manager of the establishment and in 1928 there were 106 children enrolled in the school, all of whom were from a Catholic background.”

The current building was constructed in the early 1970s at a cost of around £55,000 and became officially known as Sacred Heart Primary School. When it came time to officially open the school building, on 9 September 1973, it was front page news in the Mourne Observer.

‘The official opening and blessing of the beautiful new four-classroom school in Dundrum on Sunday was a memorable occasion for the village,’ the newspaper reported at the time.

‘Erected at the rear of the RC Church, the new building forms part of an ideal community complex incorporating the church, parochial house and parochial hall.’

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