St. Matthew’s National School has a long history. The origins of education in Irishtown date back to 1824 when Rev. Hugh McNeile preached in aid of a collection in Irishtown Church for the erection of a school house for the male and female poor of the village.Ground was granted by the late Earl of Pembroke and at a cost of £800, the school house was finally built in 1832, one year after the Education Act.
A second school was built opposite the first building and was used as a Girl’s School. This building still stands today. In April 1951, the Boy’s National School merged with the Girl’s National School, joining them in their newer building. Plans for the present building, on the present premises were set in motion in 1951, when the ‘New School’ was built on what where tennis courts in 1959. It was a two-teacher school with a multipurpose hall and toilets. In 1969 the Department of Education decided to close a number of two teacher schools in the district in an effort to have fewer, bigger and more economical schools. In this plan, it was decided that the nearby St. Stephen’s School would close, joining with St. Matthew’s.
Girl’s National School 1904
School Built in 1959
A three classroom extension was added in 1985. Another extension was added in 2001 giving the school a new classroom and resource room upstairs with a staffroom, kitchen and entrance area on the ground level.The school continued to grow and a further classroom was added in 2010 and 2011. In 2013, another large development was completed, giving the school community two additional classrooms, office spaces, a new boiler house and a beautiful entrance space.
Below is an extract from, ‘A short history of Ringsend, Irishtown & Sandymount,’ written by the senior pupils of St. Matthew’s N.S. In June 1982. At the time pupils interviewed people who attended St. Matthew’s many years ago.