LIMERICK secondary school Ardscoil Ris started life in 1963 with 53 students in three classrooms, a cloakroom and toilet, erected at a cost of £3,000.
Today, the North Circular Road school has 740 students, 60 staff and has just completed an €11m refurbishment and extension programme, adding “the very best of educational and sporting facilities”, according to principal Brid de Brun.
The completion of the works is timely given the school is set to mark the 50th anniversary of its foundation with a series of events this year.
“The school expanded over the years with periodic extensions but we now see the completion of the largest building project embarked on to date,” explained Ms de Brun.
The expansion has seen the school add a multimedia and five science labs, an art room, four IT rooms, two sports hall and a fitness suite, two astro-turf pitches and a new library.
Ms de Brun said staff and students could now enjoy the “very best of classroom facilities and cutting edge IT facilities”.
Established in 1963 as a Catholic voluntary boys’ secondary school, Ardscoil is now run under the management of a board, on behalf of the Edmund Rice Schools Trust.
Founding principal Brother McGinnity welcomed the first raft of students to the school on September 10, 1963, and Ard Scoil has since established a strong academic reputation, with past pupils including Mr Cox, rugby star Paul O’Connell, rower Sam Lynch and former TD Peter Power.
Mr Cox, current chair of Limerick’s City of Culture programme, was a debating champ in his alma mater in 1967, and told the Limerick Leader recently that his time in the school “was the key to everything else in my life”.
Mr Cox will deliver the keynote address at a gala ball to mark Ardscoil’s 50th anniversary in the Strand Hotel on November 16, which Mrs de Brun hopes that “many of those associated with the school down through the years will be able to attend”.
“The school is also organising a gala concert, an official opening of extension, an open day for past pupils and friends, while a history book and a special art commission have just been completed,” she added.
Tickets for the gala black tie dinner can be reserved by contacting the Ardscoil office on 061-453828.