Some memories of Scoil Chaitríona, shared by staff, pupils and parishioners…”

I have two memories I would like to share. The first is of a reception held for pupils and staff at the Irish Embassy in Paris on May 10, 1991. The Irish Embassy is located in the Hotel de Breteuil, on the Ave. Foch, in the very fashionable 16th arrondissement just a few metres from the Arc de Triomphe. It is a very beautiful building built in the 1890’s by the Marquis de Breteuil. It’s a classic Paris residence with grand staircases and a breath-taking Grand Salon. The teachers on the trip were Padraig O’Grady, Helen Woods, Anne Wall, Tríona Glynn, Anne Marie Griffin and myself. There were two parents as well. The Embassy staff were very gracious and gave a tour of the public rooms and served us light refreshments. The visit was facilitated by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, then Minister of State at the Dept. of the Taoiseach and a former teacher at Scoil Chaitríona Junior. 

The other memory is of burying a school Time Capsule in the school grounds on February 1, 1996. It was part of a nationwide initiative called ‘20-20 Vision’ to commemorate European Nature Conservation Year 1995. The capsule contained the predictions of the pupils of Room 8 as to what school life would be like in 2020. It included writings drawings and photographs. The capsule was buried in the presence of the Mayor, Mícheál Ó hUiginn and the then Principal, Virginia O’Mahony. The event was covered by the City Tribune and carried live on Galway Bay FM. I remember that one of the pupils, Killian Riddell did a great radio interview! I eagerly look forward to seeing how many of the predictions materialised when the capsule is opened in 2020.

Gerry Lawless, teacher 1979-2012


Caroline Kelly (teacher 1978-1999) remembers fondly her last class in the year before her retirement. Sadly many of the pupils of this very special class have since passed away. Eileen Boyle, Stephen Lamb, Nicholas Hannon, Paul Conboy and Alan Conboy. May they rest in peace.  Caroline still meets other class members including Emma Moran, Michael Hegarty and Paul Lynn and says that it’s always a joy to catch up with them, as with all past pupils.

She remembers taking her classes on walking tours around Galway city, and was often blessed to have parents or staff members with long family associations with Galway, as ‘tour guides’!

She also remembers a more rural class trip searching for frogspawn and ‘walking the fields’ of a staff member who lived near Monivea in county Galway.

Another teacher remembers…On one of our school trips to Paris, a memory of the children and ourselves dancing the night away together on a ferry between Rosslare and Le Havre….all of us sitting on the floor doing “Rock The Boat”. The children were amazed to see their teachers dancing. Arriving home at all hours from Rosslare on Donohue’s bus, the whole bus singing…

A memory of the Monthly Mass in our church….one of our staff complained of a headache after each mass, as “there were a lot of stern looks to be directed at certain lively pupils whose attention was definitely not directed towards the altar!

A memory of tree planting in the school grounds, to commemorate the deaths of a number of our pupils.

I can still see our first and long-time Principal, Pádraig O’Grady,  marching backwards at the head of the band at the St. Patrick’s day parade, demonstrating correct marching  technique and rallying the troops!

The arrival of Spring was noted by parishioners:  “When you hear the school band on the roads around Renmore, it’s definitely Spring!

Some past pupils from the 1970s remember, with a smile…

The slow bicycle race, wearing slippers in class, marching around the school hall at assembly singing ‘Roddy McCorley’ and ‘A Nation Once Again’!

Girls learning to knit while boys made nail pictures!

Watching Mrs O’Grady laying out her patterns and fabric and making beautiful puppets with her. “I still have mine!”

Father Darmody’s dog ‘saying his prayers’!

The annual school concerts performed for parents in the school hall.

Playing in Melody’s field (now Melody Court) at lunchtime during the summer term, when the sun always shone, of course!

Mr Farrell, who took the annual school photographs, telling us to “Watch the birdie!”

The Principal, Padraig O’Grady, visiting classrooms firing maths questions at students “and trying to catch us out with a tricky one, and the pride felt when we go one right!

Fr Jack O’Conor (PP) visiting classrooms and knowing every student’s name!

The school shop selling Tayto! (How times have changed!)

Opening the front door to find Sister Michael (teacher, 1975-1995) arriving at the house for a home visit! (Mobile parent-teacher meetings!)


A past pupil of Séamus McHugh (teacher, 1975-1980 and Galway footballer and All-Star) remembers fondly…

“Séamus had a big block with a strap across the top which he used it as a weight. He would lift it up and down with his foot to exercise his leg after a football injury.  

I also remember Séamus came back to the school for a visit after he had left Scoil Chaitríona to take up a Principalship in Headford NS.  He said that he would bring in some of the girls from Headford to play us in a Gaelic match someday……….he said that the Headford girls kick the ball so high it has ice on it when it comes down.  I was terrified that he would………!” 


Thanks to all those who shared a memory or two and here’s hoping they brought a smile and perhaps brought back a few fond memories for those of you who’ve had any association with Scoil Chaitríona over the years…