Marlborough Hall, Glasnevin.
I have been trying to understand the rich history of the National School in the area around DCU. On the way home recently I noticed we have a new educational experiment called Whitehall College of Further Education where just over a 100 years ago there was the last residence for male members of the Non Denominational “Marlborough Street,” Teacher School Training College. The building was also used as a hospital and convalescent home for those injured in the First World War, and later, Ireland’s War of Independence. From 1926 -1938 it became Colaiste CaoIimhin. John Marcus O’Sullivan was the Minister of Education that brought in Irish as a subject and Marlborough Hall was going to be the engine room of the teaching of Irish and it was most successful in this. Down the decades it has been used by various government departments and for the past several by the Department of Defence.
Most of educationalists know that the model schools were used to teach children and prepare teachers. However, in 1834 “Marlborough Street,” Teacher School Training College was founded. It was obviously for men only as a residence as it is clear from a book that I received from Plunkett College that there was also a place called Talbot House where the female students were housed. It came under the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland. It was non denominational in its values. In their report in (1905 -06) the Commissioners gives the following breakdown of the Christian denominations
Of the students referred to as King’s Scholars:-
Roman Catholic : 50 resident students and 2 external
Church of Ireland : 57 resident students and 3 external
Presbyterian Church : 133 resident students and 1 external
Others : 3 resident students.
It is clear at this stage that the other denominational Colleges were drawing the most students, so it is interesting that the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland in their report for 1903-4 had decided to build a new college in Glasnevin. Also it is remarkable that by then there were more women than men enrolled. Why? As the Marlborough Hall was for men only. Women were to still to be housed in Talbot House, and in Marlborough House which is where the Meteorological Office is now located.
The New Building was opened by Lord Aberdeen prior to final completion by the Lord Lieutenant on the 24th August, 1908. It is not clear when it really opened but the war saw its demise and it officially closed in 1917. Lord Aberdeen also opened the National School on Lindsay Road in 1910. The plaque is still there and President McAleese celebrated its centenary in 2011.
What was remarkable was that the Minister John Marcus O’Sullivan who had all the constitutional powers vested in his office and a tradition of non denominational education based in his Department on Marlborough Street decided to appoint the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin as Patron of this new educational institution and brought in the Christian Brothers to take over its administration. Do we see in this an attack on the Non denominational character of our National School System? This is an example of what people say without evidence that our National School changed from being Non Denominational to Denominational and as a result the problems we have now inherited?
Did the British march out and Rome take over? The Patrick Pearse mix of the cult of sacrifice, the heretical mix of revolutionary violence and the Christian Faith created the nexus of what Joyce called, Christ and Caesar being hand in glove. The Christ story of giving life and dying for humanity is transmogrified into a cult of death and killing the enemy. Then being resurrected in a power grab.
Filed under: Education |