Bishop Murphy Memorial School

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The Most Rev. Dr. William Keane, Bishop of Cloynes from 1856 to 1874 invited the Christian Brothers to Fermoy. Two teaching Brothers and one lay brother arrived in 1863. Bishop Keane had the National School established by Bishop Murphy adapted to suit the Christian Brothers. Bishhop Keane had the parochial clergy move into his house and handed the vacant parochial house over to the Brothers. This school is now the Parish Centre (CYMS). On the opening day 200 pupils attended the school, rising to 230 which filled the school. Any further requested for admission had to be refused. By 1890 the numbers had grown so high that it was necessary to replace the lay Brother with a teaching Brother. The parish agreed to pay an annual stipend to provide for a fourth teaching Brother. The size of the school hindered the Brothers in their work from the outset. Due to this it was decided to build a new school and the foundation stone was laid by Dr. Robert Browne, Bishop of Cloyne. The school opened a year later. This school was built in 1904 and formally opened in 1905 by the Christian Brothers. April 28, 1963 was the centenary of the Brothers arrival in Fermoy. Dr. Paddy Hillery, Minister for Education and future President of Ireland attended and also a telegram from Pope John XXIII was read out giving his best wishes at the celebratory banquet. The Department of Education attempted to enforce a rationalization policy in secondary schools. The local community stood up to the Department and rejected this policy. However enrolments began to fall in the Secondary school as other schools enrolments increased. In 1976 the Brothers announced their intention to withdraw from Fermoy. This was the last year first year students were enrolled in the school. In 1980 with the closure of the Secondary School, the Brothers left the town after 118 years. The years of dedicated service to the people of Fermoy has not been forgotten, as still for many the Bishop Murphy Memorial School is fondly referred to as “The Brothers”!