Our History
the school gates open 8.40am each morning.
St. John of God Primary School, The Faythe, Wexford, Y35 YT38, Ireland. ~ 053-9123105. H.S.C.L. 087-9657964
Tuesday, 11th August 2020

The Beginning

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The story of the St. John of God School, known as "The Faythe" to many of the thousands of pupils who passed through it begins with the foundation of the Order of the Sisters of St. John of God in 1871. Dr. Furlong, the Bishop of Ferns, had long wished to have an order of nursing nuns in the town of Wexford. Sr. Visitation Clancy, a Bon Secour Sister and a native of Kilkenny, agreed to help him.

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The School Building

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Most people who have had connections with the Faythe School will know that there was an 'old' school and a ‘new' school. The old school was completely knocked down in 1944 and the new school was built.

An old photograph of the Faythe taken sometime pre - 1921 shows the entrance to the school quite clearly. In the line of terraced houses there is a high wall in which there are two arched gateways, one big and one small. The smaller entrance was for the children and the nuns who walked to school, and the other was for the carriage which took the older nuns to school.

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Eilish Keegan was an only child and did not begin school until she was five. She did not start school in Sr. Mary John's Class but with Sr. Berchmans. Almost immediately Sr. Berchmans realized the little girl could sing. Her schooldays are punctuated with concerts, feiseanna, plainchants and medals.


School Days 1918 -1932

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As remembered by Elsie Martin

The Martin family and the Parle family were cousins and lived just a few doors away from each other in Trinity Street The children were always in and out of each others houses and so one day when three years old Elsie was missing, her mother didn't worry at first. However not finding her in the other house she began a frantic search. As she hurried up Byrne's lane a neighbour said "0 I saw that little one going to school with her brother" - so began Elsie's school days. She doesn't even remember her first day in school but figures it was with Sr. Berchmans.

Read more: School Days 1918 -1932

The Dun Mhuire Concerts...

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When the 'Parish Hall' Dun Mhuire was being built, Fr. James Cummins asked the schools of the town to put on a concert for two nights each to help pay off the debt. This was done. The first year the Faythe School produced 'The Enchanted Rose', an operetta based on the story of the Sleeping Beauty.

Read more: The Dun Mhuire Concerts...

Inspectors to the School...

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As well as 'the priest' and 'the lady' there was also another respected personage who arrived at the school to cause a stir. This was 'The Inspector' or 'An Cigire" and he had the advantage of being unpredictable, he could arrive at any time. Various names turn up through the years.

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The Priest

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For about six weeks every year from the year 1926 all classes ere abandoned to concentrate on preparing for the arrival f the Diocesan Religious Inspector, known only as "The Priest". Whoever he was, he was deaf the nuns claimed in the right ear, or the left ear, or both to make the children speak up. Best clothes had to be worn on the day. It was a dreadful thing to miss a question asked by the priest. One had to speak up and stand still. If that didn't knock you out your starched lace collar or the smell of the beeswax on the floor did.

Read more: The Priest

Seventh and Eighth Classes

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The school did not acquire a secondary school until after the new building was erected. The monitress was no longer to be seen in the school so there was a problem as to what to do with the older girls. There was only one Secondary School in town in the thirties and that was Loreto. A "Baby Room" had been built on to the school in the nineteen twenties. This meant that most children were in Infants for three years. Many "stayed back" or repeated Classes. Still when they reached sixth class many were only twelve or thirteen years of age.

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The Statue...

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In the early days the place for prayer meetings was in the oratory. A lamp was always burning there and could be seen from the quay. The fishermen and sailors knew they were home when they saw the light. The people themselves kept a lamp burning. A common question was "Is your mother in the lamp?" - which means she paid a few pence a week to keep it lighting. Mr James Marlowe of the Faythe remembers his sister Lil and some of the other monitresses going into the school twice a week to keep the light burning.

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Plain Chant...

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When Father Cardiff was Spiritual Director of the school he was very interested in plain chant. He encouraged the children to come to ten o'clock Mass on Sundays. Boys of the Christian Brothers School were put on the left hand side of the church, and the girls from the Faythe on the other. All were supposed to sing the Mass.

Read more: Plain Chant...

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