An Mhainistir Thuaidh

North Monastery Secondary School

Founded 1811

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Past Pupils




The North Monastery was founded on 9th November 1811 when Brother Jerome O'Connor and Brother John Baptist Leonard were given charge of a school in Chapel Lane by the Bishop of Cork, Rev. Dr. Moylan. Seventeen students attended on the first day.

In 1814 a fourteen acre sloping site was acquired from a wealthy catholic businessman, Sir George Gould Bart, and a new school was built. The North Monastery had found its permanent home.

An outbreak of typhus fever in the city in 1816 saw the school being used as a temporary hospital.

Br. Gerald Griffin, the celebrated poet and novelist became a member of the North Monastery in 1839. He was a sick man before he arrived and died on 12th June 1840 in his 37th year. His remains are interred in the cemetery in the grounds of the North Mon. It was shortly after the death of Gerald Griffin that Daniel O'Connell visited the 'Mon' with the Founder of the Order, Br. Edmund Rice.

In 1857 Br. James Dominic Burke arrived at the North Monastery and under his guidance the students began the study of natural philosophy (science). Br. Burke, widely acknowledged as the father of vocational education in Ireland, made the 'Mon' a centre of excellence in scientific and technical education upon which many other schools would later be modelled.

At this time Br. John P. Holland (inventor of the submarine) studied in the 'Mon' under the guidance of Br. Burke.

In 1879, Mr. Patrick J. Kennedy, a past pupil, was installed as Lord Mayor of Cork, the first of a long and distinguished list of past pupils to hold this office.

In 1901 the Mayor of Cork, Mr. Edward Fitzgerald organised an Industrial Exhibition. The 'Mon' represented the Department of Education and Br. Burke and his students built an electric tramway which was the high point of the exhibition.

Br. Burke died on 23rd March 1904 as the result of an accident and was accorded a public funeral with a procession through the streets of Cork city. He was buried in the cemetry at the North Monastery.

A great honour was bestowed upon the school when the 'Mon' was invited to represent Ireland at the World Fair in St. Louis 1904.

In 1911 the 'Mon' celebrated its centenary and the Br. Burke Memorial Extension, was formally opened in 1913.

On the advent of the First World War the British army confiscated lathes, drilling machines and other machinery from the school. They closed and sealed the wireless room and cut down the aerial mast. These precautions were carried out under the Defence of the Realm Act.

In March 1920 the Lord Mayor Thomas MacCurtin, a past pupil paid an official visit to the school and addressed the boys in Irish. Shortly afterwards he was murdered at midnight by a gang of armed assassins. He was given a public funeral at which nearly 2,000 North Monastery boys marched in procession. Terence McSwiney, who was also a past pupil, was his successor. He died in Brixton prison after 74 days hunger strike in October 1920.

The school continued to flourish and produced many more past pupils who distinguished themselves in all walks of life including business, politics, sport, the arts and academia, among whom is former Taoiseach and renowned sportsman Mr. Jack Lynch who formally opened a new secondary school building in 1967.

Jack Lynch is but one of a long list of hurlers and footballers who distinguished themselves in the blue and white jersey of the North Mon and who progressed to winning All-Ireland medals for County Cork. The school has long been acknowledged as a nursery of hurling and football.

Many other sports are played in the school with athletics and basketball comming to prominence in recent times with several students having won athletic scholarships to universities in the USA. Past pupils such as Mark Carroll continue the great sporting tradition of the 'Mon'.