Scoil na Mainistreach

A Great Educational Tradition

Scoil na Mainistreach derives its name from the Franciscan Abbey founded in 1350, by the McNamara clan, for the Friars Minor of St. Francis. The Abbey is unique because it was built on the site of a Norman Castle built by Thomas de Clare in 1280 and destroyed in 1285 by the McNamara clan.
In 1641 Fr. Eugene O’Cahan (Keane) opened a College at Quin Abbey. The school in a short period had 800 students, amongst them Anthony Bruodin from whom we learn much about this school. It is stated that the school "possessed half as many more students as Trinity College Dublin had a century later". The school was broken up by the Commonwealth soldiers in 1651.
The year 1856 is the next record of a school in Quin. The school known locally as a "Reading House" was situated where Pat Hasset (Malachy) has his stables presently. The home of Mrs. Muriel O’Neill was at this time the residence of the teacher. The last teacher to live there was Mrs. Lena Weldon – Helena Degidon of Rylane. On the 23rd of June 1920 Lena married John Weldon in Clooney Church. John Weldon was better known as "Brinsley McNamara" a prolific writer, though best known for his book "The Valley of the Squinting Windows".
The first recorded enrolment in the "Male School" in the year 1863 was Michael Clune – Carhugar – farmer, aged 15. In 1871 there is a record of the first infant - aged 6 – William Considine, whose father is registered as a teacher – presumably the "Master".
Situated in Feighquin alongside the "Reading House" is the "Old School", built in 1896. The building is now derelict and only lasted sixty years as a school.

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The boys and girls schools were amalgamated on April 1st 1928. Up to that year they were separate schools.
The present school was built in 1960. It was occupied in 1964. It consisted of three rooms. A fourth classroom was added in 1971. The senior classes i.e. 4th, 5th and 6th spent 1970 – 1971 (one year) in the parish hall. It is interesting to note that the hall was being used during that year also for Sunday Mass as the Parish Church was being renovated. The Church was re-dedicated by the late Bishop Michael Harty on Sunday May 16th, 1971.
The facilities were again augmented in 1981 by an extension comprising a classroom, a general purposes room, and a staff room.
The sixth classroom was added in 1986.
Scoil na Mainistreach prides itself on maintaining high educational standards and encouraging personal discipline and development within a Christian and Catholic ethos.
The school is very proud of its ties with the Abbey School of the 17th Century.


Master Considine, boys’ school, 1863-1875 – Principal.
Master Flood, 1875 – Principal.
Master Brew, 1877 – Principal.
Master Séamus O Gríofa, 1901 – Principal.
James Donnellan, 1901 – Assistant.
Sara A. Russell appointed Principal in Girls’ School in 1907. Sara later left her teaching post in Quin to join the Sisters of Mercy in Ennis, subsequently known in religion as Sister Kevin.
Jane Murphy. Assistant in Girls’ School in 1907.
These two ladies are the first recorded teachers of the Girls’ School.
Master Buckley – Assistant boys 1913.
Lena Weldon – Girls’ School.
Catherine Clune.
Bernadette McNamara – Sister of the late Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Kevin McNamara.
Stephen Clune – Principal.
James Clune – Principal.
Frank Gordon – Principal.
Mary Baker (Mrs. Lenihan).
Mrs. Henchy.
Tomás O Síocháin – Principal.
Mrs. Ahern.
Mrs. Rahilly.
Mrs. Rynne.
Mrs. Sheehan.
Theresa McCarthy.
Dermot O’Gorman taught in a temporary capacity for one year in Scoil na Mainstreach. 

Clare County Library wishes to thank Clare Local Studies Project for preparation of text for this publication.

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