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This Man Had Kept A School

Saint Enda's School, or Scoil Éanna, was a Secondary school for boys in Dublin - set up by Irish nationalist Patrick Pearse in 1908 - here we look at the school and the man behind it (Broadcast 1978)

This Man Had Kept A School

Padraig Pearse, generally known as a leader of the Easter Rising in 1916, had long been critical of the educational system in Ireland, which he believed taught Irish children to be good Englishmen.

He had for years been committed to the preservation of the Irish language, mostly through the Gaelic League, and was dearly concerned about the language's future. A trip abroad to Belgium and his observations of bi-lingual education there inspired him to attempt a similar experiment at home.

Pearse was not a practical businessman, but he was never one to let lack of finances get in the way of his plans. With promises from prominent nationalists as proponents of Irish heritage that they would give him whatever limited financial support they could, and, when applicable, would enrol their children in his school, Pearse established his school, which officially opened on September 8, 1908, in Cullenswood House, Ranelagh, a suburb of Dublin.

The school proved a successful experiment, but was never to fully escape the shadow of looming financial woes. In fact, the school would not have survived the crucial first few years without the devoted aid of his good friend and assistant headmaster Thomas MacDonagh, and the solid dedication of Pearse's brother Willie.

St. Enda's taught many of the classes in Irish, and particularly stressed the arts and dramatics. Everything was given an Irish approach.

Producer Proinsias O'Conluain

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