Limerick’s success on the national stage has continued with Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ on top of its world after celebrating an unprecedented five years in-a-row as the country’s top second level school.
The Sunday Times table, published yesterday, highlights the school that has the highest rate of progression to third level in the country, with 96.4% of the Limerick school’s students over the past three academic years progressing to university and other educational institutions on the island of Ireland.
The non-fee-paying school located just off Limerick city centre, which was established in 1935 to assist in the revival of the Irish language, was Limerick’s first Irish medium second level school and today has 410 students and 28 teachers.
Expressing her delight with the award, Aedín Ní Bhriain, Principal, Laurel Hill Coláiste, FCJ said it is down to a dedication to high standards and team effort. “We’re absolutely thrilled. To be the top school in Ireland once is something you are entitled to celebrate for a while but to be there five years in a row reflects the continuous pursuit of excellence and high standards here at the school. It speaks volumes about our girls, about our teachers, about parents. To keep those standards up year after year at a school that also has huge ethos around fun and extra-curricular activity, sporting and non-sporting, is a huge achievement.
“It’s all the more remarkable when you consider the capacity constraints we are under and we are going to be addressing that shortly. Two areas we actually excel in, stem subjects and sports, are areas that the government are looking to put a special focus on in relation to girls. We neither have enough labs nor adequate sports facilities to cater for demand, yet we are constantly achieving at this level. Huge credit is due to all who make this happen.
“Our focus will remain on continuing to achieve the highest standards as well as seeking to put in place the facilities that will deal with the existing capacity shortfall. This will also allow us to take in more pupils and not have to disappoint people every year because we are over-subscribed.”
Ms Ní Bhriain said that the award comes in a particularly poignant year for the school. “It's a great year for us in many ways - a great year for Limerick with the hurlers in particular. But it’s a year that has been tinged with sadness for us as a school because we lost one of our famous past pupils, Dolores O'Riordan. She meant so much to the school and the school meant an awful lot to her.
“When Dolores was here she had one ambition and that was to be a rock-star. She achieved that and we have a bench here in our garden with the lyrics, 'always be yourself along the way living through the spirit of your dreams', from one of her songs inscribed in it. It’s like a motto for our pupils. Whatever it is you want to do with your life, follow your star. Dolores embodied that and it is what we want for the girls.”