The story of St. Mary’s NS began in the building now known as St. Mary’s Hall in the 1840s. The original school was a fine, solid stone structure. One-teacher parochial schools in Nurney, Kilgreaney and Kiledmond had closed in the mid-1950s and early 1960s and the pupils transferred to Muine Bheag. This school was replaced in 1968 by a modern, two-classroom, centrally heated building.
The new building was blessed by the Right Rev. Dr. H.R. McAdoo when it officially opened in June 1968. It had cost £10,000. Rachelle Treacy and Amy Nicholson looked after the forty two pupils that were enrolled at the time. Shangarry N.S. closed in the mid ‘90s. The pupils were relocated to St. Mary’s, Bagenalstown. During the time between its opening in 1968 and the closure in 2015 there were many changes to both the staffing and the buildings.
An office/resource room was added to the building in 1996 and the first prefabricated building went on site in 1999 to accommodate a third classroom as enrolment had grown. Significant fundraising, organised by the Parents’ Association, was used in 2003 to purchase a large prefab which was used as a classroom. Following increased enrolment a DES funded, double prefab was put in place in 2005 to accommodate the fourth classroom. This resulted in greatly reduced playground area.
In November 2006 the project to build a new St. Mary’s NS was announced by the DES. The school was to be constructed on a site at Dunleckney which was kindly made available by St. Mary’s Vestry.
From 2006 – 2013 efforts continued to secure permission from the DES for the project to move forward. Subsequently planning permission was sought and funding was made available and the process of going to tender began.
In June 2014, when all the procedures were completed, we moved on site and building began in July 2014. The building process took approximately one year and, following the official closing of the old school in June 2015, we prepared to move to our new school. September 1st 2015 marked the end of a long journey for all connected with St. Mary’s NS and we welcomed everyone into our wonderful new school.
Developments continue. St. Mary’s NS, Dunleckney opened as a four mainstream classroom school with 95 pupils on roll. We also opened a Unit for pupils with ASD so the current staff comprises six teachers and four Special Needs Assistants. Catherine and Marion also continue to work to support the smooth running of the school.
We are now settled into our new school and we look forward to continuing to grow and develop as an active learning community.