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OENING OF NEW NAAS CBS SECONDARY SCHOOL GETS FRONT PAGE TREATMENT

 Leinster Leader 18/09/2008
 
 
OPENING OF NEW NAAS CBS SECONDARY SCHOOL GETS FRONT PAGE TREATMENT
BY
LIAM KENNY
 
 
The month of September 1958 brought a great advance to the educational resources of the Naas hinterland with the opening of the new Christian Brothers Secondary School in the town. The Leinster Leader gave the occasion generous front page treatment: ‘ Monday, September 8th, was a truly great day for the Christian Brothers community in Naas, for it marked the opening of their new secondary school.’ The report revealed that the cost of the new building was £24,000.
 The new school was blessed by Rev. Sean Swayne, CC, and officially opened by Very. Rev. Brother E.F.Clancy, Superior of the Irish Christian Brothers. After the blessing and opening ceremonies Fr. Swayne read a message from his Holiness, Pope Pius XII which said: ‘ On the occasion of the opening of the new Christian Brothers’ Secondary School, Naas, the Holy Father cordially imparts to clergy, Brothers and faithful attending the ceremony his Paternal Apostolic Blessing.’
 The school, described as an imposing two-storey structure, completed an impressive ensemble of new school building in Naas as it occupied a site adjacent to St. Corban’s primary school built just four years previously in 1954. The report is notable for its use of a place name seldom heard nowadays in Naas, noting that the new school was located at ‘Fodspaniach’ or ‘Sod of the Spaniards’ on Corban’s Lane.
 A feature of the external elevation to St. Corban’s Lane was the provision of a statue in a niche which will be floodlit at night. The entrance doors which are approached under a cantilevered concrete canopy, open into a spacious entrance hall and stairwell with separate access doors to the playing fields.
 
Speaking to the pupils after the Mass, the Superior General of the Christian Brothers said he was very pleased to be present and he congratulated them on the lovely school that was theirs. It already belongs to the secondary school boys by right, he went on, and to the primary school boys by heritage. The school had two patrons according to the Superior General – Our Lady, on whose birthday the school was opened, and Brother Ignatius Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers, after whom the school was named.
 Speaking at a luncheon later in Mrs. Lawlor’s Ballroom, the Superior of the Naas Christian Brothers, Brother M.F. O’Mahony said they were all there as one family. For the past twelve months, the Brothers of the community had their hearts set on opening the new school on that day, the feast of Our Lady’s birth.
 The old school at the Moat which had served generations of Naas CBS pupils since the 1870s was not forgotten. Brother O’Mahony saluted the old school and the boys and the Brothers who worked there. The last year in the old school was a record one for the number of pupils (forty-one) who took the Leaving and Intermediate Certificates. On entering the new school, he added, there was to be seen a plaque ‘Meanscoil Iognaid Ris’. Something told him that the Naas community was the first in Ireland to dedicate a secondary school to the memory of Ignatius Rice.
 An even older generation of education in Naas was recalled by another guest at the luncheon Rev. Brother E.B. O’Neill superior in Naas from 1918 to 1924, who recalled that pupils used to come 15 or 20 miles to their school. He mentioned that present at the function was the Chair of Naas UDC, Mr. T.G. Dowling whose father was a collector for the Christian Brothers when they had existed from day-to-day on the subscriptions of the people of the town. Of all the places in Ireland that he had been in the one that was outstanding in his mind was Kildare whose people he described as ‘big hearted.’
 He recalled that when he was leaving Naas in 1924 one of the subscribers to the school said that even though the Brothers would, from then on, be getting grants from the Irish Government, the people would be happy to continue their subscriptions.
 A distinguished past pupil of the Naas brothers, Very Rev. T.N. Cunningham, PP, Rosenallis, the oldest ex-student of the Naas CBS Secondary School, proposed the toast to the Irish Christian Brothers. He recalled that it was half a century since he had left the Brothers’ school in Naas.
 To add to the devotional nature of the occasion it was reported that during the lunch Rev. Father Swayne had sung ‘Panis Angelicus’ while Mrs. E.Walsh, music teacher in the school sang, ‘Bless This House’.             
 Series no. 85

In his regular feature 'Nothing New Under the Sun', Liam Kenny relates how the Leinster Leader of 1958 gave front page coverage to the opening of the new CBS secondary school in Naas.


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