The following is a history of Our Lady of Loreto Boys School written in 1988 by principal Mr. Leo Swan to commemorate the visit of Dr. Patrick Hillary, President of Ireland
Our Lady of Loreto Boys’ School was established on July 1st, 1970 and began operations in a prefab classroom in the old Tallaght Vocational School where the VEC offices now stand. On that first day there were two teachers Mr. S. Feeney, principal and Mr. D. L. Swan and nineteen pupils. When school re-opened in September of that year Mr. Feeney had died and the location had moved to the grounds of St. Damien’s School, Crumlin. This was to be its home for the following few months until April 1971 when it moved in to a six prefab classrooms hastily set up on a partly prepared site in Tallaght. The succeeding years brought an extraordinarily rapid expansion and by 1975 there were well over 1,000 children on rolls. At this time “Loreto” was catering for children from such widely scattered districts as Tymon, Springfield and Old Bawn as well and for the more immediate areas of Bawnville, Seskin, Avonmore, Avonbeg, Bolbrook, Homelawn and of course St. Dominic’s and Millbrook Lawns. By 1973 the parish had been handed over by the Archdiocese of the Dominican Order which now also took over responsibility for the management of the school and pressed ahead with the building programme. That year also saw the occupation of the first part of the new school building which was completed in the following year and formally opened in September 1974. Enrolments continued to increase rapidly and as a consequence the vast majority of classes continued to be accommodated in prefabs. At one stage the total numbers of boys and girls were such that they constituted the largest single Primary School Complex in Britain and Ireland and as such merited and entry in the Guinness Book of Records. However from 1977 onwards a decline in numbers, gradual at first but more rapid in recent years has taken place, so that the removal of prefabs and consequent ground improvement programmes could be undertaken.
Loreto was one of the first of the new generation of schools to establish a formal Parents’ Association. This was launched at a general meeting of parents, management and staff on May 15th, 1976 and has been a major factor in school life ever since.
One unusual aspect of Our Lady of Loreto School which deserves special mention if our unique School Museum which contains several hundred artefacts illustrating the rural way of life in the Irish Countryside, familiar until recent years but now gone forever. This valuable collection has been put together by the pupils over the years, under the direction and with the assistants of their teachers, and is well known far outside the area. Recently “Loreto” has begun to come to prominence in football as well as maintaining its traditional pre-eminence in basketball, being current league champions, and having on several occasions achieved premier honours in swimming, instrumental music and speech and drama training among the aspects of the curriculum which are strongly emphasised.
Our school has always been the focal point for a wide range of communal activities since its earliest days, and from weekly Parish bingo to judo and youth clubs many groups have availed of our facilities. Traditional Irish Dancing as well as tap-dancing and ballroom dancing are regularly catered for but perhaps the longest established of these groups in the Loreto Ladies’ Club which has been associated closely with the school since its inception. Thus the school provides a common meeting ground, drawing together adults and children, past-pupils, parent’s, staff and the parish clergy, into a closely knit community of shared interests, aims and achievements.
Or Lady of Loreto Girls opened on the same day as the Boys school in July 1970. The first two teachers were Bernadette McMahon, principal and Noreen Abbott. They had 18 pupils on the first day but by the following July the school had quickly grown to 239. The two schools operated independently until 1990. Due to falling numbers at this time it was decided to amalgamate the two schools. St. Dominics National School opened its doors on 1st September 1990 with Ms. Breda Cotter as principal. It was at this time that Scoil Cholmcille joined St. Dominic’s NS to share the same building on Mountain Park. St. Dominic’s and Scoil Cholmcille amalgamated in September 2015. Today, St. Dominic’s NS continues to be a focal point for communal activities with DAMS, The Ladies Club, Dominican Youth Club and Brigini Guides all using the school.