Clarin College Athenry

School History

School History

On the 4th of September 1968 Athenry Vocational School was established, with an enrolment of ninety-nine students. The student body consisted of sixty eight boys and twenty four girls in first year, while a further seven students, from a pre-existing post-primary school in Abbeyknockmoy, joined the school to make up a second a third year cohort, respectively. Since its foundations the school has established itself as a centre of educational excellence for the Athenry community and its surrounding hinterlands.

The original school structure consisted of two prefabricated buildings, which housed a woodwork room, a home economics room and a general-purpose room, a small store, a cloakroom and toilets. Due to the size of the prefabricated buildings, space was limited. Such conditions led to their own challenges for students and teachers. Since space was a much sought after commodity, teachers often had to share classrooms while conducting separate classes, such was the case with the science and home economics classes. As the student body continued to grow students were housed in the Hotel Training School (Currently GRETB Headquarters), under the management of Séamus Cullinane.

The original staff-body consisted of five teaching staff:

  1. Tom Davies (Woodwork and Mechanical Drawing)
  2. Mary Finnerty (Home Economics and Religion)
  3. Margaret Donlon (Business/Commerce)
  4. Séan Nolan (English, History, & Geography)
  5. Malachy Naughton (Maths and Science)

Séamus Cullinane, took over the reigns of management of the school, while still Principal of the Hotel Training School. The school began to participate in state examinations in June 1969. The first group of students to sit state examinations consisted of a group of four Intermediate Cert students who undertook the Intermediate Certificate (Junior Cycle) in June 1969. While three of the four successful candidates began employment following their examinations, it is known that one student chose to continue in education to pursue a commercial course. Gabriel Dolan, the prominent civil-engineer, is noted as the first student to have completed the Leaving Certificate Examination in the Vocational School in 1972.

In subsequent years the school became known as Gairmscoil Mhuire and later through the development of the ETB system and the amalgamation of the Galway and Roscommon Vocational Educational Committees into the Galway Roscommon Educational Training Board, as Clarin College (Coláiste an Chláirin), Athenry.

A structural summary of the school, 1968-1998:

  1. New building officially opened in May 1973
  2. New extension 1991
  3. Further expansion in 1992.
  4. Extension - Gym and canteen 1998.

At the core of the school's success since its foundations has been its diligent, hard-working staff. The teaching body currently consists of 55 teachers. While the management at the school and teaching staff have changed over the past 50 years, the school's central ethos has remained unchanged, in its dedication to teaching and learning. This dedication to educational excellence and student wellbeing, has been paramount to our school's success and remains central to the fabric of Clarin College. The professionalism and commitment of our teachers, support staff and SNAs to our student body, and the active cooperation of our students, and the wider community with our school, is what makes our school community special.

Since 1968, each generation of students has left their mark on our school, and our school in turn has helped to shape our students into the independent and confident young adults that they have become today. For today’s students, as for those of previous years, the experience remains unique. For our alma mater, we know that the knowledge and skills that they learned, and friendship that they forged in our school will remain with them throughout their lives, and we are confident that our current students will look back in years to come with that shared perspective, and respect for education and lifelong learning.

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Clarin College, Athenry, Co. Galway.
091 844 159
Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board
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