Harold Boys’ School is named in memory of John and George Harold, who were priests in this area in the 19th century. The school opened on the 7th of January 1901. We celebrated our centenary in 2001. When it opened in 1901 it was a two roomed school with outdoor toilets and a fuel shed in the yard. A third room of red brick was added at the back later and then in the 1960s a further two rooms were built on the north side of the original building. The physical appearance of the school today dates from that time.
I thought the school community, past pupils and the wider community of Dalkey might be interested in the first years of the schools existence. I have got the original register and it does provide us with a picture of Harold one hundred years ago. The register tells us that the schools official name was Harold Male National School and the first principals name was Mr. Waldon who lived in “Tigh Mhichill“ Carysfort Road, a school house. This register was printed by Alex Thom of Abbey Street, Dublin in 1898 which was ‘The Queens Printing Office, for her majesty’s Stationary Office’. Queen Victoria was alive and well at the time!
It seems in 1901 the school year ended on the 30th of November each year. The register shows that a total of 90 pupils were registered that year. There was an infants class of 10 pupils in this number and the age ranged from 4 to 8 years. A total of 75 people had Dalkey addresses and the balance came from Killiney, Ballybrack, Sallynoggin and Glenageary.
The occupants of the parents/guardians make interesting reading. By far the most common one mentioned was Gardener, although there were a great variety of occupations mentioned. Some of these we know well today like Carpenter, Butcher, Shoemaker, Painter, Postman, and Policeman. Others remind us of bygone days and ways that have disappeared – the D.M.P., the Irish Yeomanry, Scavenger, Lodge Keeper, Railway and Coach Man. Occupations that are still here but have new names were Gas Fitter, Coal Porter, Chairwoman, Carter, Coachbuilder , Washing and even Gas Man! Other mentioned only once were Captain, Sailor, Rates Officer, Teacher and Solicitor. All in all it seems that all human life was represented in Harold in 1901.
The register shows that classes ranged from infants to seventh class. It is noticeable in 1901 that very few pupils went on to second level. The few that did went on to Glasthule C.B.S., Dun Laoghaire and Blackrock College. The rest are described in the “destination of pupil” column as going to “work” or sometimes the work is named like Telegraph Messenger, Shopboy, Gardener, Plasterer, Delivery Parcels, Guinness and one as Pawn Broker! At this time two families emigrated to Scotland and one family came to Dalkey from Kings County, the register to inform us!
I think the last item of interest are the addresses of the Dalkey pupils in Harold in 1901. Mapas, Hillside and Begnet’s villas didn’t exist so the pupils came from Dalkey Avenue, The Metals, Coliemore Road, Convent Road, Castle Street, Sorrento Road, Tubbermore Road and Avenue, Leslie Avenue and Barnhill Road. Dalkey Hill and and Torca Hill also provided pupils. It mentions C- Boytons Lane – Who knows it? – and Porters Road which I know believe is St. Patrick’s Road.
That was the school community in 190, who were all born in the last century whose decendants are probably part of the Dalkey community and perhaps the school one hundred and four years later in 2005.
Just reading and researching this has given me a great sense of a continuous community in an Irish village