THE HISTORY OF THE PRESENTATION SISTERS IN CARLOW
The story of the Presentation Sisters’ primary teaching in Carlow began in January 1811, when three sisters from Kilkenny came to Carlow at the invitation of Father Andrew Fitzgerald who saw the wonderful work they did in the Kilkenny school. The three sisters were: Sr. Frances de Sales Meighan, Sr. Magdalen Breen and Sr. Catherine Madden.
The great work began in the cellar of a tiny house in Tullow Street, where some poor and sickly children were taught and fed. The numbers in the school increased so rapidly that a ‘free’ school for 130 pupils was opened in College Street in 1819. In those days, parents had to pay for education, even in the hedge schools – 6p for English, 8p for Arithmetic and 4p for Writing each week. In 1824, 300 pupils attended, so more classrooms were added in College Street in 1837.
Later, the schools were placed under the National Schools system and continued to flourish. Increasing numbers were responsible for a new school being built in Tullow Street in 1899.
This building became inadequate and was replaced by our present Scoil Mhuire gan Smál. The wonderful ethos of Presentation primary education is proudly cherished and fostered by the teachers and pupils of Scoil Mhuire gan Smál.