Ferrybank was a small village with its own unique identity when the present school premises were opened in the Spring of 1959. Our Lady of Good Counsel girls’ school was blessed and opened on the same day. The Bishop of Ossory, Dr. Daniel Collier, blessed both schools. Located as we are on the north bank of the River Suir, straddling two counties – Kilkenny and Waterford – Ferrybank is an historic and vibrant community which retains a strong local identity whilst forming an integral part of Waterford City. Our school is a vital part of this vibrant community and over the years we have sought to reflect the proud industrial, maritime and cultural heritage of our area. From early Christian times onwards Ferrybank became an attractive location for families to settle and business to develop. Children from Abbeylands, Ballyrobin, Newrath, Mount Sion, Belmont, Christendom, Newtown, Rathculiheen and Rockshire were attending our school 50 years ago and children from these areas are still attending the school to this day.
Over the past 50 years we have also welcomed many children from the various new developments that have taken place in our area.The original school building was just to the north of the present school site; it stood on the lands of the Barron-Newell family of Belmont . This school was probably endowed by the Barron-Newell family. A new National School opened its doors in 1897. A new school premises opened in 1959 across the road from the 1897 building which having been refurbished and extended now serves as the Parish Community Centre. The present school building was extended in 1975. Our school has a long and fruitful association with the G.A.A. and Soccer clubs in the area and we are very proud of all our past pupils who have gone on to represent club, county and country in their various disciplines. We are also very proud of our past pupils who have excelled in their chosen fields of endeavour, be it academic, artistic or in the trades. The teachers in the school on that date 50 years ago included Richard Lyng, Frank Heylin and the third member of staff, Patrick Kiely, who sadly died in the very week that the new school was opened. Richard Lyng, a native of The Rower Co. Kilkenny, served as Principal teacher from 1938 to 1968. Frank Heylin, a noted historian, had worked at the school since 1928 and he served as Principal teacher from 1968 until 1971. Richard Hayden, a proud Ferrybank native, was Principal teacher from 1971 to 1998. Gerard Duggan was Principal from January 1998 until 2019. The present Principal is James Robinson.
Our school has flourished under the auspices of the Diocese of Ossory. The school manager 50 years ago was Very Reverend James Canon Ryan. Subsequent managers were Very Reverend Michael McGrath, Very Reverend Canon Gerard O’Sullivan and Very Reverend James Crotty. Fr. Crotty stood down as Chairman of the Board of Management in 2003 and Carmel Wemyss became Chairperson of the Board. This was another significant milestone in our history. Due to increasing pupil numbers an extension was added to the school in 1975. This consisted of 3 classrooms and at the time the 2 middle classrooms of the original building were put together as a general purpose room. A staff room and a new oil fired central heating system were also added at this time.
Before we bring our brief history to a close we would like to quote you some lines from the experiences of a young boy growing up in Ferrybank during those years. “When we were young we used to have a game called ‘Waterford Would Be Nothing Without Ferrybank’. I suppose it was our attempt to make sense of our position in relation to our neighbours north and south”. He added, “Best of all, close by in Ferrybank were the fields above us, the woods, the outcrop of rock, the Knock, the carvings on the trees and the views over our beloved Urbs Intacta. We had the best of both”.Our school has shown itself to be responsive to the changing social and economic environment. We give thanks for all the people who contributed to our school life and we look forward to the future with optimism.