Coláiste Éinde (St Enda’s College) in Salthill is planning a celebration for past pupils, friends and staff this October to mark the 90th anniversary of the school.
Founded in 1928 by the Irish Free State, Coláiste Éinde preparatory college was an all-boys boarding school that recruited primary school students who were firstly fluent in Irish. After four years, students who passed the Leaving Cert were guaranteed places in St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra to train as primary school teachers.
An t-Athair Aindrias Ó Seasnáin, a close friend of Fr Griffin, who was killed by the Black and Tans, was first president of Coláiste Éinde and there were 29 pupils in the first class.
Originally located in Na Forbacha at a temporary building on land owned by the Blake family, Coláiste Éinde move to its current home in Salthill in 1937. It was constructed by J Stewart Ltd at a cost of £85,394.
Threadneedle Road wasn’t always earmarked for St Enda’s, however. According to a history of the school, written by history teacher Tony O’Leary, for its 75th anniversary, the site was originally earmarked for the San Louis Order of nuns, who hoped to use it for a girls’ organisation.
“Dr O’Doherty, Bishop of Galway, did not however favour a new order of nuns having the site,” according to the 75th anniversary book.
The school was under construction in 1929, 1930 and 1931. In 1932 – the year Éamon de Valera came to power with Fianna Fáil – the new class of St Enda’s included Pádraig Ó hAoidhne who later composed the music for our national anthem, Amhrán na bhfiann or The Soldier’s Song.
It was originally intended to be a three-storey building but the school plans were simplified and a two-storey building was completed and opened on Threadneedle Road on October 10, 1937. One of the new pupils of that year, Donnchadh Ó Gallchóir, was later to become Minister for the Gaeltacht in 1978.
A milestone in the history of the St Enda’s came in 1939, during World War Two or ‘The Emergency’ when the pupils were moved to Dublin because the school building was being used as a military hospital.
Mr O’Leary wrote: “In October 1939, the Athenia sank in Galway Bay. For the more than 100 survivors rescued by the Norwegian ship Knut Nielson, the Bishop of Galway offered refuge at St. Enda’s. School holidays were extended while sailors from the ship took over the kitchen and passengers from Europe and America were looked after.
“The Army now occupied the East wing of the school as a military hospital. In 1944 prior to D-Day, de Valera was asked to take injured soldiers from Italy and Germany. For a while, the Department of Defence used the whole building as a hospital. A red cross was painted on the roof. The school was temporarily moved to Dublin.”
In the 1960s and 1970s, as secondary schools were now opening in Gaeltacht areas, St Enda’s, like other preparatory schools, became a ‘normal’ secondary school. It was not feasible to continue as an all-Irish school but an “all subjects through Irish’ stream was available and many boarders continued to come from the Aran Islands as well as the Connemara and Mayo Gaeltachts.
The Irish stream was available up until 1984 and a couple of years after that the boarding tradition ceased in the school.
Coláiste Éinde’s transformation was complete in 1992 when the school became co-education and welcomed its first group of girls into first year.
Students have gone on to make a huge impact in the fields of the arts, politics, education, sporting life and journalism.
The anniversary (1928-2018) provides past pupils and staff an opportunity to meet up and reminisce. It takes place on October 28 (Bank Holiday weekend).
The school will be open for past pupils to visit and there will be an exhibition of photos and memorabilia following light refreshments at 3pm.
Mass will be celebrated in the college chapel at 5pm and it will then move to The Ardilaun Hotel for dinner at 6.30pm.
■ Tickets priced at €50 will be available from the school from August 7. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for all enquiries.
Swimmer rescued in Salthill by Galway Lifeboat crew
Galway RNLI Lifeboat rescued a swimmer who got into difficulty near Blackrock this afternoon in poor weather conditions.
The alarm was raised at 12.25pm by a pedestrian who saw the woman struggling in the water between Blackrock and Ladies Beach. The Irish Coast Guard sought the assistance of the RNLI Lifeboat who launched from Galway Docks a short time later.
The woman who was a couple of hundred metres from the shore opposite the Galway Bay Hotel. They took the woman on board and brought her back to the Lifeboat Station where an ambulance was waiting. Paramedics assessed the woman’s condition and she was allowed home a short time later.
Shane Folan, Deputy Launch Authority with Galway Lifeboat said: “We would advise anyone thinking of going swimming to let someone else know. Today, for example, there were very challenging weather conditions with high winds and breaking surf.”
The lifeboat volunteer crew on the call-out were: David Badger (Helmsman), Martin Oliver, Ross Forde and James Rhattigan.
Gardaí warn GMIT students about weekend travel as Covid numbers rise
Students at GMIT have been warned by Gardaí that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to ensure compliance with the 5km travel rule – as the HSE warned today of increasing numbers testing positive for Covid-19 in the Galway City student outbreaks.
The college emailed all students to inform them that management had a meeting with Gardaí in relation to students planning on travelling home at weekends.
While students are permitted to travel to and from GMIT for educational purposes when there are onsite classes, there are no onsite classes scheduled at the moment and therefore there should not be any travel for educational purposes.
“The Gardaí have notified us that there will be checks at the bus and train stations to implement the 5km travel rule, as well as checkpoints on the roads, and that fines will be given for any non-compliance with this rule,” the email reads.
Meanwhile students at the college were also told that following the Covid outbreak last week among GMIT students, numbers are still increasing.
“The HSE informs us that numbers testing Covid positive continue to rise,” the email reads.
Help local charities by sharing your pandemic feelings
The public has been invited to write down and share with others their experience of living in Galway through the global Coronavirus pandemic.
‘Three Questions’, an initiative spearheaded by Galway Volunteer Centre, wants people of all ages and backgrounds to log their thoughts and feelings on the past year living with the reality of Covid-19.
The project aims are twofold: to develop a written archive of the memories of Galway people from the past 12 months but also the act of writing down those memories can act as a sort of therapeutic exercise for the public.
People are being asked to divulge their memories by answering three questions: what was your biggest challenge in the past year; what was the biggest lesson you have learned in the past year; and can you think of someone or something you are grateful for over the past 12 months and why?
The collection of people’s written memories will form an archive that will benefit all, but the individual act of writing down memories is also beneficial to the person who takes part, explained Donncha Foley, Manager of Galway Volunteer Centre.
“There’s a lot of science behind this in that there’s a lot of evidence to show that reflecting on the past and learning from it is of great benefit from a mental health perspective and personal development and also the idea of showing gratitude to somebody else has huge mental health benefits as well,” he said.
Mr Foley said what is unique about Covid-19 is that everybody has been impacted by it, and everyone has a memory of it.
“Some changes have been very dramatic for some people, for others maybe not so much but everybody has been affected in some way. There are very few opportunities to meet up and talk about the challenges of the last year, and from a mental health perspective we feel it would be useful for people to use this initiative to think about what’s happened over the last 12 months,” he said.
The project is part of the Keep Well campaign launched by Government and funded through Healthy Ireland and Pobal.
People who respond to the initiative are asked to nominate a local charity or community group and there are two prizes of €500 up for grabs for those organisations if your memories are chosen as the winner.
Submissions will be reviewed by Galway Volunteer Centre and a selection will be published – with permission of the participants – on social media and in the Galway City Tribune.
“We’re hoping that we gather enough so that people can look at other people’s experiences and get their perspectives on the year and see that many people have had the same challenges.
“The phrase that has been used often is that ‘we’re all in this together’ and this is an opportunity to reflect together while still maintaining social distancing,” Mr Foley said.
Applications are available in this week’s Galway City Tribune, and can be returned to Volunteer Galway, 27 William Street West, Galway. To submit your answers online, visit the centre’s website.
The deadline for submissions is March 9, and there is no word count limit – contributions can be long or short. Entrants must include contact details.
(Photo: Donncha Foley of Galway Volunteer Centre)