CBS The Green: A His­tory

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - CBS THE GREEN 90TH ANNIVERSARY - RYLE DWYER

THE Chris­tian Broth­ers be­gan pro­vid­ing pri­mary school ed­u­ca­tion for boys in Tralee in 1855. By the 1920s they were also pro­vid­ing post pri­mary in­struc­tion at two dif­fer­ent sites — in their pri­mary school in Edward’s Street and at what was called the Monastery, or St. Joseph In­dus­trial School.

On Septem­ber 17, 1927, a com­mit­tee of Tralee Ur­ban District Coun­cil de­cided to sell four acres of the area known as the Gar­dens in The Green (the Town Park), for the Chris­tian Broth­ers to build a sec­ondary school. The driv­ing in­spi­ra­tion was Brother Lau­rence Walsh.

As the school was near­ing com­ple­tion in De­cem­ber 1929, Br. Walsh died of a heart at­tack in The Green, just af­ter leav­ing the build­ing site. The new school was ini­tially called af­ter him. It was of­fi­cially opened by Mon­signor David O’Leary, Dean of Kerry, on March 13, 1930.

Pop­u­larly known as the Green School, it quickly made its mark in both in the aca­demic and sport­ing are­nas. In Septem­ber 1930, it was ranked fifth in the or­der of merit for the whole coun­try, based on the re­sults of the Leav­ing Cer­tifi­cate and In­ter­me­di­ate Cer­tifi­cate Ex­am­i­na­tions.

The other five schools to make the list were O’Con­nell Schools in Dublin, Rockwell Col­lege in County Tip­per­ary, Synge Street CBS in Dublin, the CBS at St. Mary’s Mount in Cork City, the Green School, and Lim­er­ick CBS in that or­der. The Green was the only school in Kerry to make the top six.

Gaelic foot­ball had played a vi­tal role in bring­ing Kerry peo­ple to­gether in the 1920s af­ter the civil war. The Green helped to lift lo­cal mo­rale fur­ther in the 1930s by win­ning the Mun­ster Col­leges se­nior foot­ball ti­tle in each of its first four full years —1931 to 1934.

With the in­tro­duc­tion of free ed­u­ca­tion in 1966, the num­ber of stu­dents in sec­ondary schools in­creased dra­mat­i­cally. En­rol­ment at the Green school es­sen­tially dou­bled since then.

Three pre­fab­ri­cated build­ings with six class­rooms were erected in the school­yard, as a tem­po­rary mea­sure in the 1960s. These were re­placed over the fol­low­ing decades with four per­ma­nent struc­tures ex­tend­ing the school’s fa­cil­i­ties — three on the west side of the school on the play­ing field pre­vi­ously called “the Crip­ples’ Acre,” and the fourth on the east side, pro­vid­ing a new main en­trance to the school. The first per­ma­nent ad­di­tion was built in the 1970s at the north end of “the Crip­ples’ Acre,” with class­rooms, sci­ence lab, li­brary, and as­sem­bly area, along with ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices. A sec­ond per­ma­nent struc­ture, built to the south in the 1980s, in­cluded a state of the art sports hall to cater for the phys­i­cal de­vel­op­ment of stu­dents.

With the in­tro­duc­tion of tech­ni­cal draw­ing, wood­work and art to the school cur­ricu­lum, spe­cialised rooms were needed to teach those sub­jects, so a third per­ma­nent struc­ture was built in the 1990s to cater for those. This build­ing was at­tached to the other two ad­di­tions, and the three were then joined to the orig­i­nal school build­ing.

Plan­ning for the fourth and most re­cent ex­ten­sion, on the east­ern end of the orig­i­nal build­ing, was ini­ti­ated by Brother Jim Whe­lan, who stepped down as school prin­ci­pal in 2002. He was re­placed by the first per­ma­nent lay prin­ci­pal, Tony O’Ke­effe. The new ex­ten­sion — con­sist­ing of class rooms and ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices — was of­fi­cially opened on May 25, 2013.

The old foot­ball pitch in the area known as “The Pad­dock” was turned into an all-weather play area. The school, which has al­ways had a proud sport­ing his­tory, has won the Mun­ster Col­lege se­nior foot­ball ti­tle a to­tal of fif­teen times so far, and the school has be­come ac­tive in other sports in more re­cent years — ath­let­ics, bad­minton, bas­ket­ball, cricket, golf, hurl­ing, rugby and soc­cer.

More cere­bral pastimes, such as chess and drama have also been de­vel­oped. Drama, which had been par­tic­u­larly popular in the 1930s and 1940s, has been re­vived and pro­duced to a pro­fes­sional level for the gen­eral pub­lic.

In the ninety years since the Green School was ini­tially planned, it has un­der­gone im­mense changes, in the breadth of dis­ci­plines be­ing taught, and the de­vel­op­ment of fa­cil­i­ties to en­hance ed­u­ca­tion, both aca­dem­i­cally and phys­i­cally. It has a record of which Tralee and County Kerry can be im­mensely proud.

Class 6B 1963.

Class of 1959.

Stu­dents in the mid 1980s.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.