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Drimnagh Castle CBS
Meanscoil Iognáid Rís
The Beginning

As the effects of The Emergency or World War II began to lessen in the Ireland of the 1950’s, the major cities of Cork, Limerick, Galway and Dublin began to expand into growing suburbs. In Dublin, this growth saw large populations of children attending classes of up to sixty or seventy pupils. The pressure on the existing secondary schools would be acute if some preparation was not made to accommodate so many children once they reached secondary school age. It was therefore, the local parish priest in Crumlin, a Canon Hickey, who approached the Christian Brothers in 1954 with a request to open a primary school catering for 500 boys and a secondary school for 600 boys and a monastery for up to thirty Christian Brothers. The Brothers set to the task diligently and acquired thirty-eight acres to build the schools and monastery on the grounds of the 13th century Norman Castle at Drimnagh.

In August 1954 a letter arrived at the Christian Brothers monastery in Dingle. It was addressed to a Brother Humphrey Callistus Ahern, a Cork man from Newscestown. Br Ahern or Cal, as he was known to his friends, was astonished to read he had been appointed Principal and Superior of the new secondary school and monastery of Drimnagh Castle. Br Ahern quickly packed his bags and was on the next train to Dublin, the city where he had been a teacher at Westland Row, Baldoyle and Marino for thirty years. In spite of the onerous task which lay ahead, Br Ahern was glad to be back. Br Ahern’s first experience at Drimnagh CBS was straight out of a ghost story with bag over his shoulder slowly following a winding staircase in the dark with only a candle to light the way as he climbed the tower of the Castle to his room. To say the conditions were spartan was putting it mildly. The stables were to be converted to temporary classrooms. Br Ahern was teaching, correcting students’ work at night and preparing for the next day at school. When that was finished it was evening prayers, tea and then planning the new school building programme. Assisting him was the first Christian Brothers community at Drimnagh Castle: Brs Bernard Murray, Henry Lucitt, Philip Canny, Johnny Cantwell and later in the year Raphael Tatton.

There were eighty-four students on the roll book on Monday 30th August 1954, the year the school opened. Br Johnny Cantwell recalls that many students were the first of their families to undertake secondary education as in those days it was usual to finish school after 6th Class with The Primary Certificate. The students slowly got used to a longer day and this was followed by hurling and gaelic football on the spacious playing pitches on the grounds. The students loved the mystery of attending school in a real Norman Castle and seeing their school flag flying from the tower filled them with a sense of pride.

Br Ahern called upon Brother Patrick Muldowney to design a school crest for the school uniform blazer and cap. The issue of a motto for the crest presented a greater problem and in the absence of a fitting phrase it was decided to draw in the scroll and write in ‘Ham and Eggs’ until something inspirational was found. The design and order for uniforms was then dispatched to Clearys in O’Connell Street who prepared the collection of shirt and tie, sweater, trousers, blazer and cap with crest. Clearys contacted Br Ahern telling him all was ready for production but they wanted to be sure Drimnagh Castle CBS wanted ‘Ham and Eggs’ as its motto! Some intensive research was called for and pretty quick at that. Br Ahern decided on ‘Malo mori quam foedari’ for the motto as it had been the motto of the Norman Barnewall Family awarded the lands of Terenure and Drimnagh in 1215. Continuity with the past assured the schools and the monastery slowly emerged from the site to become a jewel in the crown of Christian Brother Schools in Ireland.

D Price

Our Facilities

Four Well Stocked Science Laboratories
Multi-media Demonstration Room with Tiered Seating
Two Technology Laboratories
Technical Graphics Room
Two Art & Craft Rooms
Computer Room
Religion Room (Edmund Rice Room)
Language Laboratory
Learning Support Rooms
Large Gymnasium
Modern Dressing Rooms
Extensive Playing Pitches- Gaelic and Soccer
General Purpose Area

Over Sixty Years Of Principals

  • 1954 – 1957
    Bro H.C. Ahearne
  • 1963 – 1966
    Bro. M. E. Frawley
  • 1963 – 1966
    Bro L. I. O’hAinle
  • 1966 – 1971
    Bro M. G. Burke
  • 1971 – 1977
    Bro A. P. Williams
  • 1977 – 1982
    Bro. J. B. Coen
  • 1982 – 1982
    Bro. J. I. Meade
  • 1982 – 1983
    Bro J. A. Kearns
  • 1983 – 1986
    Bro P.M. Hegarty
  • 1986 – 1990
    Bro S. C. O’Lionnan
  • 1990 – 1991
    Mr. P. Canavan
  • 1991 – 2000
    Bro S. C. O’Lionnan
  • 2000 – 2013
    Dr. R. Walsh
  • 2013 – present
    Mr. J. Devilly