AT the end of August, the contribution of the Salesian sisters to education in Kildysart and Clare will be marked in the Shannonside village.
In 1963, an all-girls secondary school was opened at Cahercon, Kildysart and at the same time the long-awaited vocational school opened its doors for the first time in Kildysart village. Prior to this, only pupils whose parents had substantial means could afford to attend secondary schools in Ennis or Kilrush.
In 1970, it was decided that the Cahercon school would go co-educational. This saw the arrival of five boys across the threshold.
In the years that followed, the school went from strength to strength, reaching an attendance of 250 pupils, 50 of whom were boarders. In 1979, a new school was built in Cahercon, which was a wonderful facility. In the early ’90s, a fine sports hall was added.
In 2000, more changes came about. At that stage, most of the teaching staff were lay teachers, as the numbers of Salesian sisters had diminished. A new school was built on the grounds of the original Vocational School in Kildysart village called St John Bosco’s Community College.
The property that was the Salesian convent and secondary school was sold and this marked a very sad end to the reign of the Salesian Sisters in the area.
However, the Salesian ethos is very much alive as the current principal, Marian Coughlan-Flynn, and many of the current teachers taught at Cahercon or are past pupils of Cahercon.
On August 31, past pupils, parents, teachers and friends are invited to join in the celebration of the golden jubilee of Salesian education in Clare. A mass will be celebrated at St John Bosco Community College, Kildysart at 7pm. The mass will be celebrated by Fr Michael Casey, Provincial of Salesians in Ireland, who is from Labasheeda and a past pupil of Cahercon.
For more information, contact Helen Eustace on 086 3048754.