The Sisters of Mercy arrived in Cork in 1837 and made their home at St Maries of the Isle Convent. They established a school for the deaf in 1858 and then a Mr. Meehan, on behalf of the community, bought the land on which the school now stands for £375.

The building of St Maries of the Isle Primary School started in May 1891 and was placed under the patronage of Our Lady of Good Counsel on completion.

By August 1892, the classrooms were organised and all was in order to start work.

The official opening ceremony took place on October 11, 1892. Ceremonial duties were performed by the Very Rev. Canon Augustine Maguire, assisted by Rev. D. O’Shea, the Convent Chaplain.

(Photo above: Ordinance Survey map of the school and surrounding area in 1900)


The first addition to the school came in 1928 when Rev. Patrick O’Toole blessed the new wing known as ‘The Terrace’ which provided four additional classrooms, cloakrooms and toilets.

Electric light and central heating were also installed at this time and the playground was enlarged.

The Convent acquired a large yard adjoining the school from Messrs Beamish and Co. on December 7, 1936 for which they paid £800. At this time 12 new classrooms, cloakrooms and toilets were added and corridors were added, meaning a visitor did not have to walk through every classroom.

(Photo: An aerial view of the school in 1951)

Playgrounds were levelled and concreted and central heating was installed throughout the school.

A huge addition came in 1964 when the hall was constructed and it soon became the venue for PE lessons, Christmas concerts and the annual visit of the Lord Mayor.

(Photo: The school yard, as it stands today, in the shadow of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral)