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Ceol Phádraig

Music at St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, 1875-2016


Edited By John Buckley and John O'Flynn

Since its foundation in 1875, the activities of St Patrick’s College Drumcondra and its graduates have been closely woven into the educational and cultural fabric of Irish society. This volume charts how music and music education have fulfilled a major role throughout the history of the Dublin-based establishment that began as a teacher training college and later evolved into a college of education and liberal arts. Graduates of St Patrick’s College have taught hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pupils across the country, have made significant contributions to various facets of professional and amateur music activity, and have had an invaluable influence on the wellbeing of individuals, the development of communities and the advancement of the nation as a whole.

The book records and interprets key musical developments, appraises the work of major contributors, and captures the activities of students, staff and visiting musicians at St Patrick’s College up to its incorporation into Dublin City University in 2016. It represents a major scholarly work that details the progress of music at a university college in Ireland, and it is envisaged that its varied chapters and themes will evoke further memories and discussions among graduates of the College and others.

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Chapter One: Fluctuating Fortunes: St Patrick’s College, 1875-2016 (Daithí Ó Corráin)


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Chapter One: Fluctuating Fortunes: St Patrick’s College, 1875-2016

Daithí Ó Corráin

From its establishment as a denominational teacher training college in 1875 until its incorporation into Dublin City University in 2016, the impact of St Patrick’s College on the educational landscape of Ireland, as well as the wider social, cultural and political life of the country has been immense.1 Generations of teachers have passed through its gates and in more recent decades they have been joined by graduates in the humanities. The story of the College and the history of Irish education are intertwined. The purpose of this chapter is threefold. It explains why the College was founded, the challenges that it faced and how the institution evolved over its 141-year history from a male training college to a co-educational one to a third-level institution that also offered programmes in the humanities. Second, a synopsis of the various developments in the primary school curriculum and their impact on teacher training will be provided. Lastly, and by no means least, the place of music in the College and the curriculum will be touched on.

A state-supported primary school system was inaugurated in Ireland in 1831 under the auspices of a state board of commissioners. The board, which replaced a multiplicity of ad hoc educational agencies, controlled the management of school buildings, curriculum, textbooks, teacher training and a system of inspection. The state’s desire to create a non-denominational system was opposed by...

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