'A pillar of the northside': North Mon celebrates 210 years of serving community

'A pillar of the northside': North Mon celebrates 210 years of serving community

North Monastery Secondary School, 210th Anniversary, North Monastery Road, Cork. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

NORTH Monastery Secondary School celebrated 210 years of providing second-level education recently with a series of in-house events.

The significant milestone occurred on Tuesday, November 9, which the Cork city school marked with a special commemorative cake.

The cake was cut by Fionnuala MacCurtain — the granddaughter of Tomás MacCurtain, a former Lord Mayor and pupil, and Fianna Fáil councillor Tony Fitzgerald, another former pupil, who deputised for the lord mayor.

Thousands of pupils have passed through the doors of the northside institution since its inception in 1811. Many have progressed to become leaders and contributors to the world of politics, education, media, arts, sports, religion, technology, science, and the wider community.

North Monastery teacher Shane Ryan said the school is a ‘pillar’ of the northside, saying: “210 glorious years were celebrated on November 9 — we will be here for another 210 years if we can help it.

“North Mon means so much to generations of students. It is a pillar of the northside. It is a great institution. Our students always say there is no school like our school.”

The Cork city secondary school has produced a plethora of well-known political, sporting, and famous inventors throughout their distinguished history, he said.

“We are proud as punch of every student who comes through the door. There is a great history attached to the school. We have the MacSwiney and MacCurtain wings in the school. We have had 15 former Lord Mayors of Cork who attended the North Mon. That is the record for any school in Cork. Three past presidents of UCC attended here. We have had famous actors such as Joe Lynch, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Edward Mulhare, and well-known comedian Niall Tóibín.

The commemorative cake was cut by Fionnuala MacCurtain the granddaughter of Tomás MacCurtain a former Lord Mayor and pupil and Councillor Tony Fitzgerald, another former pupil who deputised for the Lord Mayor.
The commemorative cake was cut by Fionnuala MacCurtain the granddaughter of Tomás MacCurtain a former Lord Mayor and pupil and Councillor Tony Fitzgerald, another former pupil who deputised for the Lord Mayor.

“Famous inventors such as Dr Vincent Barry, who discovered the cure for leprosy, and John Philip Holland attended here while he was doing his teacher training. He invented the submarine.

“He was tau ght by Brother Burke, who was the first man to show that you could use electricity for lighting purposes.

“In recent years we had Aaron Hill, a fantastic snooker player who beat Ronnie O’Sullivan, and Daniel Power who had a role in The Young Offenders. We have also won 20 Dr Harty Cups.”

Mr Ryan said there was a great buzz all week around the school as the current students marked the milestone.

“Tuesday was a big day,” he said. “It was nice to commemorate the anniversary. We had a number of events throughout the week.

“The role the Past Pupils Union played was crucial for the celebrations. They are a great support to the school.

“We had a singing competition for our first year and second year students, which created good excitement.

“The History Club members went around all the classes with a school history quiz.

“We also had a cake-cutting ceremony which was done by Fionnuala MacCurtain and Cllr Tony Fitzgerald. It was nice to recognise such a momentous occasion. The school was decorated and there were nice banners up around the school. The flags were flying, and the students loved it.”

 Br. Burke building. North Monastery Secondary School, 210th Anniversary, North Monastery Road, Cork. Picture: Jim Coughlan.
Br. Burke building. North Monastery Secondary School, 210th Anniversary, North Monastery Road, Cork. Picture: Jim Coughlan.

The secondary school is firmly embedded in the local community which it has proudly served over 210 years. Mr Ryan said the school is ‘proud’ to serve their community.

“There is a great atmosphere in the school,” he said. 

“The teachers are proud to work in such an illustrious school. The students are proud to attend. Our mentality is all about pride in where we come from and what we do. We are proud to serve our local community.”

North Monastery boasts great facilities, and a strong extracurricular ethos is very prevalent, the teacher said.

“Extracurricular activities are very strong in the school,” he said. “Hurling, Gaelic football, basketball, and athletics are very strong. I run the History Club. We enter as many competitions as possible. The facilities are good. We have great science labs, which were updated last year. We have two woodwork rooms, a very large metalwork room, and a brand new art room.”

Mr Ryan is confident the school has a bright future.

“It is such a prestigious school, and has a great name,” he said. “We have done a lot. There is more to do. All my students know where they come from and they are proud of it. We have a huge history and a bright future ahead for the North Monastery Secondary School.”

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