Major Theme - {title}
‘Patrick Pearse is reviving the nation’
Students of St Enda's School at drill in 1909 Photo: Courtesy of Pearse Museum/OPW

‘Patrick Pearse is reviving the nation’

Douglas Hyde has praised the work of the principal of St Enda's College

Published: 12 June 1914

‘For want of proper education, people in this country had forgotten that they had a country - but men like Patrick Pearse and schools like St. Enda’s are bringing back again the consciousness of belonging to a nation,’ said Douglas Hyde, the President of the Gaelic League, during a speech at a sports day held today in St. Enda’s School in Dublin.

Mr. Hyde said that Irish people would not accept England, and yet they had seen in Ireland for many years only an imitation of England.

He said that Mr. Pearse was trying to change that through his school: ‘His philosophy is the philosophy of all who are concerned with the creation of what might be called an Irish Ireland, as distinct from an imitation English Ireland.’

Mr Pearse has just returned from a trip to the United States to raise funds to continue his work in the education of boys in his Co. Dublin school. This is a letter from Pearse to John Devoy, 7 May 1914, thanking him for his kindness during this trip. Click for full document. (Image: National Library of Ireland, MS 49,191)

Mr. Hyde was presenting prizes at the sports day in Rathfarnham. The event was attended by past and present pupils and their families.

This was an island, Mr. Hyde continued, thinking its own thoughts, speaking its own language, writing its own books, singing its own songs, lilting its own music, playing its own games, and if possible, smoking its own tobacco, burning its own coal, and teaching its own education in its own schools.

Amidst glorious sunshine, the sports day included a tug-of-war between past and present students. Tea was served in the grounds of the school as a band of Irish war-pipers played a selection of airs.

Boys of St Enda's gardening (Image: Courtesy of Pearse Museum/OPW)

Late in the afternoon, the students and teachers put on a play, entitled ‘Fionn’, that centred on an episode at Tara during the reign of Conn of the Hundred Battles. The part of Conn was played by William Pearse and the part of Fionn by David Sears.

The headmaster of the school, Patrick Pearse, thanked all who attended and said it was a matter of some pride that nineteen students from his school were now in university and that one had just received a degree. He noted how important a factor education was in the spirit of a nation, and that at St. Enda’s they were attempting to wed together again the old spiritual and heroic traditions of the Gael.

Mr. Pearse concluded that they found that no education appeal was more potent than the appeal of patriotism, but that - while making that appeal - he was glad to say that his students were more than able to hold their own against those of other colleges when it came to winning prizes.


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.