Brief History of St. Bernadette’s Senior School

The parish of Quarryvale was developed in the suburbs of Dublin, during the early 1980’s, to provide the necessary housing needed for the ever expanding city of Dublin. As families moved out from the city to new homes in Quarryvale parish a school was needed to cater for the education of the children.

A site was selected on which to build the schools. This site was originally part of a large farm and the area on which the two schools are located was the orchard! St. Bernadette’s Junior School was the first school to be built in Quarryvale in 1982. As construction of the Senior School was not fully finished Mrs. Carmel Anderson, Principal of the Junior School, kindly allowed the Senior School occupy a block in St. Bernadette’s Junior School, until construction work in the Senior School was completed.

 St. Bernadette’s Senior School opened its doors to pupils on 21st September 1983 in the block of classrooms in the Junior School nearest to the main gate  entrance.  The Senior School opened with two classes and the first teachers in the school were Mr. Séamus (Jim) Frisby, Principal and Mr. John Nagle, Deputy Principal.  Later that same year Mr. Jim Ryan joined the staff,  followed shortly afterwards by Ms. Mary O’ Shea and Ms. Moya Finnerty.

Construction work on St. Bernadette’s Senior National School was finally completed in 1984 and the five classes and their teachers moved from the block in the Junior School into the new St. Bernadette’s Senior School building in the first week of May 1984 – 36 years ago!

Once the Senior School building was open pupil numbers began to rise rapidly. During the following years a rigorous house building programme commenced. The new estates of Harelawn, Greenfort and Shancastle were built. With all the new houses came families with children and the school grew at an exceptional rate.  Over a two year period the number of classes had risen to 13. The numbers continued to rise, peaking in 1987 with 660 pupils in the Senior School. In the early days the school was built on an open space with no walls or fences enclosing the campus. On a fine day, during break, some pupils would often wander into adjacent fields ‘to have a look at the horses!’

To date, 2,948 pupils have passed through the school. 118 teachers, both permanent and temporary, have also taught in the school over the years.

The area has now matured since the school opened and  many facilities and amenities have been set up in the area.  Our pupil numbers have dropped to a more manageable level. Today there are 239 pupils in the school and 32 members of staff – principal, 18 teachers, 6 Special Needs Assistants, a shared caretaker, shared HSCL teacher, shared SCP Project Worker, 5 cleaners, a receptionist and a secretary.

Teachers who are teaching in the school since the early days now meet parents, who are past pupils that they have taught,  coming back to enrol their own children in St. Bernadette’s Senior School.

In 2007, we undertook a major building project, which brought the building right into the 21st century. 

Mr. Frisby retired in 2007 after 40 years teaching – 24 of those as principal in St Bernadette’s SNS.  

Mr Jim Ryan replaced him as principal of our school.

Mr. Nagle retired in 2012 after 40 years teaching – 29 of those as deputy principal in St Bernadette’s SNS.  

Mr Tom Bolger replaced him as deputy principal.

Tom Bolger retired in February 2020 after 35 years teaching – all in St. Bernadette’s SNS.

Ms. Deirdre Dunne, our present deputy principal, replaced Tom.



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