St. Patrick’s B.N.S. is a large vertical boys’ primary school located in the parish of Foxrock, in the Hollypark housing estate, between Newtownpark Avenue and Kill Lane. It was established to cater for the Catholic community of Foxrock Parish and its environs. Pupils of different religions do attend, as do pupils of many nationalities.
Hollypark was originally founded as a co-educational school to serve the needs of the rapidly growing area of Foxrock. It started as a three-teacher school, housed in pre-fabricated rooms, situated by the back wall of the site where the Lyceé Français d’Irlande now stands. It opened its doors for the first time on 1st October, 1966 to three classes of Junior Infants, with Mrs. Honor Byrne as Principal.
Construction of a permanent building, designed by the architects Guy Moloney and Associates, began almost immediately. The building comprised two sets of five parallel classrooms linked by an entrance foyer, offices and a school hall. Upon completion, in September 1969, Hollypark B.N.S. and Hollypark G.N.S. started as separate schools. Each school occupied a set of classrooms and some pre-fabs, as by this time there were seven classes of girls and eight classes of boys. Over time, the original ten classrooms were incorporated into the Boys’ School. It is difficult to imagine at this stage that Rooms 1 – 5 were once Hollypark G.N.S. and Rooms 11 – 15 were Hollypark B.N.S!
Mrs. Byrne continued as Principal of the newly formed Girls’ School, and Mr. Colm O’Shea became Principal of the Boys’ School.
Further expansion followed rapidly. In 1971 the ‘glass corridor’ and six further classrooms were added. In 1974 a new separate building was built for Hollypark G.N.S. and the Boys’ School was extended further. A purpose built computer room opened in 1998 and in 2005 two further classrooms were added. In each building-phase some smaller rooms for offices, storage, library and learning-support, were included.
In addition to Hollypark B.N.S. the school shares the campus with the Lycée Français d’Irlande. As a result of the (1969) Franco-Irish Cultural Agreement the ‘French School’, as it is popularly known, opened in 1970, housed in some of the vacated pre-fabs. Initially the French School pupils joined their age appropriate classes in the Boys’ and Girls’ schools for some subjects and then went to the French School for instruction in the French Curriculum. This practice changed, but Hollypark pupils still benefit under the terms of the Cultural Agreement, as they receive French language tuition in 4th, 5th and 6th classes.
The school was formally opened and blessed by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid of Dublin. Mass was celebrated in the school hall with a ‘féasta mór’ afterwards, courtesy of the architects.
When Mr. O’Shea retired in 1994 Mrs. Goretti Newell became Principal. In 2005, Mrs. Helen Kelly became Principal and she was succeeded in 2019 by Mr Barry O'Donovan, the current Principal.
The school grounds incorporate one senior and one junior playground, a grass football pitch, garden areas to the front and sides of the school building and a staff car-park. The play-areas are used intensively for break-times, P.E. and after-school activities. Granada, the nearby public pitch, is also used especially on major sporting occasions, such as the school’s annual Sports’ Day.
The curriculum of the school is that prescribed by the Department of Education and Science in “The Primary School Curriculum”. In addition, the boys from 1st – 6th classes are offered many extra-curricular activities such as various sports and languages.
Both the school and the parents have very high expectations of the children. These are reflected in the aspirations of the pupils themselves. Parents display a very keen interest in their children’s education. There is a culture of school support and involvement amongst the parents, which is greatly encouraged by the Principal. On a daily basis the children’s homework is monitored and signed by their parents. The school library is managed by a committee of parents. Another group of parents helps with gardening projects. Help and support are always readily forthcoming for charitable projects, transport to matches, fund-raising events etc. The parent-body is ably represented by the very active Parents’ Association who add enormously to the fun element of the school for both pupils and staff. They hold an Annual General Meeting in the first term of the school year. Through the year they organize events such as a Welcome Meeting for parents of Junior Infants, social events for the staff, guest speakers, Santa Day, celebrations and fund-raising events as well as assisting at events such as the Book Fair and Sports’ Day.