by Mick Deely & Pat Flynn
May 16, 1922 the British Army handed over the Curragh to the Irish Free State. When the British army left the Curragh Camp they took all
their school records with then, but we do know that the present School of
Signals on O’Higgins Road was used as a Junior School.
the war ended people began to move into the Curragh Camp.
The greatest number of pupils ever on the roll of the Curragh School was
457 on September 5, 1960. Since then the numbers have been gradually declining
and to-day there are only 127 boys on the roll. The present school building was
opened on Tuesday November 8, 1977. A
separate primary school for girls opened in 1962 and in 1995 a Gaelscoil
opened at Herbert Lodge, the site of a former RIC barracks known locally as
the Stone Barracks.
post primary education of any kind was provided on the Curragh until 1933. Boys
and girls seeking second level education had to travel to Kildare or Naas or
places further a field. The County Kildare Vocational Committee set up a school
in Plunkett Barracks on the Curragh in 1933 at the request of the Department of
Defence, but it was only for first year students.
They were given free travel to Naas for further education. Except for the
Emergency years, when it was closed because of the military situation, the
Vocational School has progressed favorably to the present day and enjoys the
unqualified support of the army authorities and County Kildare VEC.
1969 the school has been providing general education for army personnel with
outstanding success in Group Certificate, Intermediate Certificate and Leaving
Certificate examinations. Second-chance
fulltime education for soldiers was originally introduced at the request of some
soldiers who asked the principal about returning to school to sit the
examinations they missed by leaving school too soon.
The OC of the Curragh Camp at that time, Col. J. Quinn, was approached
about the scheme. All the army
units in the area were notified and 50 men sought permission to return to
school. As a pilot scheme 18 men
were selected to attend school for a half day, five days a week. They sat Group Certificate examinations after one year and
the results were so good that a second class was started on a full time basis in
1970. These classes have continued
without a break since 1969. Since 1978 Leaving Certificate Courses are provided
for army personnel who are released from their units for two years.