THE STORY OF OUR COMMUNITY
PRESENTATION CONVENT, SHANTALLA, CO. GALWAY
Shantalla House was founded in October, 1950. The founding sisters were Mother Brendan Joyce, Mother Brigid Nolan and Sr. Ursula O’Toole. The fact that it was adjacent to the site of the new primary school, which was to be conducted by the Presentation Sisters from the Galway community, was the reason for its purchase; it was also to be used as a hostel for Sisters attending University College, Galway. The town/town land was a working class area where a new Local Authority housing estate was being built.
Shantalla House was purchased for £3,000; standing on its own grounds of about an acre and a half of land. It was purchased from Michael Ryan. The description of this first house would be described as a large, two-storey building with a semi-basement built probably in the early or mid eighteen hundreds. A laneway at the back, known as the “red lane” separated it from neighbouring houses.
Scoil Bhride was the first school and it was opened and blessed by Bishop Michael Brown on 27th July, 1955. It had cost £20,820 of which £3,000 was a local contribution. The local contribution came from Community funds, from donations by friends of the community (one anonymous donor gave £100), from sales of work and entertainments and from the proceeds of a weekly draw. The school comprised two Infant classes: 1 Junior and 1 Senior and two 1st Classes. The number of children was 200 of which 101 were boys and 99 girls.
Shantalla House, which was very old when it was purchased, had been steadily deteriorating so that it became necessary to build a new convent on the same grounds, just beside the school. The Sisters moved into the new convent on 19th March, 1958, the feast of St. Joseph. It was dedicated to Mary Immaculate Queen of the Universe. A new extension over the Chapel – a large en-suite room- was added between 1977 and 1983.
The first itinerant pupils joined the school in 1967. That year one itinerant family was housed in the area and five children from this family attended the school. Boys were officially taken into 3rd class in 1985 and in 1987, girls were taken into 7th Class, and in 1988, boys were taken into 7th Class.
Significant visitors in the past were Mr. Paddy Crosby, who visited the school in 1963 and selected a team to appear on the R.T.E. programme “The School Around The Corner“. In November, 2006, Mrs. Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, visited Scoil Bhride to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the school.
Over the years the following additions were made: 2nd Class was added in 1956, 3rd Class was added in 1959, 4th Class was added in 1962. Significant additions to the Primary School were made between 1976 and 1978 – the additional classrooms enabled staff to ensure that 5th Class was added in 1979 and 6th Class in 1980.