History of De La Salle

De La Salle College, Dundalk

The De La Salle Brothers in the persons of Michael and Albert first came to Dundalk in 1899 to take charge of the Castletown Boys' National School on the invitation of Fr B. Donnellan, the then Administrator for St. Patrick's Parish, Dundalk, and with the permission of the Cardinal. The first De La Salle Boy's National School was housed in the upstairs portion of the present Castletown Girls' School. It was not until 1914 that the present boys' primary school was built. Over the years that followed student numbers continued to grow and in 1936 it became necessary to add a new extension to the existing primary school building.

De La Salle College, Dundalk was originally established in 1938 as a "secondary top" school by the De La Salle Brothers, as a further development to their primary school at Philip Street. From 1938 to 1970 it continued to operate as a part of the De La Salle Primary School and was housed in the upper floor of the primary school building. Most of the primary teachers taught in both sectors and over the years built up the "secondary top" school to become a viable and fully recognized second level school in its own right, which it did, on August 1st 1970.
This newly recognized secondary school became known as De La Salle College. It continued to operate from upstairs in the same building as the primary school and from a few temporary classrooms at the rear of this building, from August 1970. A site on which to build the new College was purchased in the early 1970's from the St. Louis Sisters and after several years of negotiation with the Department of Education approval was finally granted, and building commenced in June 1977.

Immediately after the mid-term break in late October/early November 1978 the teachers and students moved out to the new purpose-built College beside St. Louis Secondary. Designed by Waterford-based Architect, Mr. Ronnie Faulkner, the new College was built to accommodate up to 420 students. The new College building was officially opened by the then Minister for Education, Mr. Padraig Faulkner, T.D., and blessed by the late Cardinal Tomas O'Fiaich on the 15th April 1980.

The official opening coincided with the Tri-Centenary of the founding of the De La Salle Order in France and with the Centenary of the arrival of the De La Salle Order in Ireland. The first teachers in the newly established College which opened to students in September 1970 comprised seven De La Salle Brothers who transferred over from the primary school: Br. Adrian Farrell, Br. Gerard Dunne, Br. Norbert Devine, Br. Julius Fitzpatrick, Br. Patrick Toner, Br. Martin Kearns, Br. Augustus Cantillon and four lay teachers.These latter teachers were Mr. Brendan McCooey and Mr. Patrick Hall who were primary teachers in the "secondary top" school up until the changeover, and Mr. Eamonn P. O'Boyle and Mr. James Pringle who were the first non-primary secondary teachers to join the College in September 1970. Mrs. Monica Duffy, from Philip Street, was the first female secondary teacher to join the staff in September 1971, and she continued teaching at the College until her retirement during summer 1989.The staff at the College has now grown to 43 teachers with Br. Raymond McKeever the sole De La Salle Brother that remains teaching. The student body has steadily grown from 171 students in 1970 to its present level of over 500 students. The College's first in-take of female Repeat Leaving Certificate students began in September 1986.

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