History

Johnstown Vocational School opended in 1952.  It had three classrooms for Woodwork, Science and Home Economics.  Mr. Pat Taaffe was appointed Principal, with Moira Moynihan as Home Economics teacher and Father Carroll teaching Religion.  Thirty-three students enrolled in the first year.  In 1953, Mr Taaffe returned to Kilkenny V.E.C. and Mr. John Walsh was appointed Principal.

Mr Walsh taught Science for years and was responsible for establishing this new venture.  He spent 40 years working diligently for the school community.  He loved the school garden garden and in 1978 and 1979 our school was honoured with first place in Ireland for the best-kept school garden with a wide range of shrubs/flowers.

In 1953, Mr Bernie Ryan arrived as Woodwork teacher.  The school had a slow take off, for in 1964 there were only 65 students on the roll.  In 1964, the staff included Mr. Walsh, Mr Ryan, Mr Sean Hennessy, Ms. Ann Carroll and Father Langton.  Mr Maurice McGrath arrived as Irish teacher in 1968 and acted as Vice Principal up to 1980.

In the 1950’s the only examination available was the Group Certificate which students sat after two years.  In the late 1960’s, students were allowed to sit the Intermediate Certificate and the Leaving Certificate was introduced in 1977.

After years of campaigning a new school was built in 1995 to cater for 300 students.  The sports field was extended, and thus a modern educational facility was available to the community.  Three new classrooms were built with parental contributions in 2003 and a state-of-the-art All-Weather pitch was opened in 2006.  The school numbers today comprise of over four hundred students with over thirty teachers on staff.

The school is now called Coláiste Mhuire and offers many new programmes.  The Transition Year programme was introduced in 1996.  This provides an opportunity for students to experience Leaving Cert subjects, take part in school musicals and plays, as well as sample different work placements.  The school also offers Post Leaving Certificate courses in Secretarial Studies and Childcare.  The school runs both a Homework Club and Supervised Study programme, which is availed of by approximately sixty students.  Since 2005, Music has been introduced as a subject at both Junior & Leaving Certificate level.  In addition, our music teacher (Miss Jennifer Nolan) offers lessons to students after school each week.

Night Course have always been very popular in the school.  Classes offered include Wood-Turning, Computers, Upholstery, Salsa Dancing, First Aid, Aerobics, Gardening, Flower Arranging, Yoga, Interior Design, Welding, Pottery, Textiles and Digital Photography.

Sport has played a huge role in the life of our school.  The school has won several u14 titles, two U16 All-Ireland Titles in 1987/88, two Senior All-Ireland Hurling titles in 1982 and 2008, one U14 football All-Ireland in 1974 and a Leinster titles at U16 in 2006 and U14 in 2008.  In 2005, the school reached All-Ireland hurling finals in U14, U16 and U18 levels.  Camogie also has a long-standing and successful tradition.  Famous sporting past pupils include Ger and John Henderson, Murty Kennedy, David Burke, Stephen Grehan, and most recently J.J. Delaney and P.J. Delaney of Kilkenny Hurling fame.

 

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