Dublin in the Rare Aul Times: A look into Dublin’s historical schools

by Lina Jans
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This week, Lina dived into some of the oldest Dublin schools and learnt about some of their famous students ,including the Pearse brothers, Oscar Wilde and Tanaiste Leo Varadkar.

Trinity College

I think it is an unspoken rule that you can’t go to Dublin without having seen Trinity College — so I was so happy to take a look at what is with good reason one of the most popular libraries in the world and learn about the history of the wonderful college.

The most famous former student is arguably Oscar Wilde — but there are so many more such as Samuel Beckett who I was lucky to learn about. The author who created Dracula, Bram Stoker, also was an alumni. I can imagine some ideas must have come from the old buildings of the college — they are very beautiful!

Of course, I didn’t miss the opportunity to take a look at the Book of Kells. It is on display in a new exhibition where I learned all about the creation of Ireland’s most famous book and where, as the crowning glory of the exhibition, I was able to look at it, presented in a glass case in a dark room so that as little daylight as possible falls on the delicate, originally designed pages.

Walking through the Long Room with all the big old books and wooden leaders, I thought of how nice it must be to study here. In my mind the students must feel like they’re part of a fantasy novel.

St. Mary’s College

From driving by on the bus I’ve seen St. Mary’s College in Rathmines a few times before — the first thing I noticed was the football field and the tower with the cross which gives two facts about the school right away: the school is catholic and offers a wide range of sport clubs to join.

The boys school was founded in 1890 by the Congregation of the Holy Spirit and according to their homepage, not only teaches the students how to live according to Christian values, but also how to apply them in a modern life, for example students can join the charity and social awareness club.

The Irish Volunteer Kevin Barry went to school here — he was killed when he was only my age after being caught and tortured by the British during a planned attack by him and other volunteers.

Eamon De Valera taught maths at St Mary’s from 1906 to 1910.

Westland Row CBS

This school is a small school in a small street in the city centre but one with huge significance.

Several Volunteers from the Easter Rising were students here, including the Pearse Brothers whose names are hard to miss: there’s the Pearse Street, the wonderful Pearse Station (which looks gorgeous, especially in the evening sunlight!), and an area called Pearse Brothers Park, as well as the Pearse Brothers Museum.

Patrick Pearse was an Irish teacher and author and the first president of the first self-declared independent Irish government. His main goal was to maintain the Irish language, so he founded the St Enda’s School, where students were taught in both English and Irish.

William Pearse was a leader in the Easter Rising, just like his brother. He also promoted the Irish language — his main occupation was being a sculptor, but he gave Irish language lessons at the School of Art. Both brothers were executed in the former Dublin prison Kilmainham Gaol, amongst other Volunteers.

They are certainly main figures in Irish history and are remembered with a memorial plaque at Westland Row.

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