Thursday, March 31, 2016

Eileen Ryan School Report from 1912 - St Ita's School, Ranelagh #1916 #276

The story of Eileen Ryan is not mine to tell. She is a grand-aunt of my wife Roma and I am not related to her (though I am concious that my three daughters are her great-grand-nieces). The collection of documents that are contained in the Eileen Ryan Collection have been reviewed by a specialist in Pearse family memorabilia, and an auctioneer specializing in 1916 memorabilia. Both found the collection interesting for its curiosity rather than value - a Mayo historian specializing in local women who were involved in Irish Independence had never heard of her. The Collection also contains private letters that with one exception, a letter to Eileen from Margaret Pearse (Patrick and Willie's mother), have no historical value. I'll not publish these letters here - I'll leave it to my in-laws and daughters to decide what to do with them.

One interesting document about Eileen Ryan that I can publish is a school report for her for the 1911/1912 academic year - she was a boarder at St Ita's Girl's School on Oakley Road in Ranelagh. This school was a partner of the better known St Enda's School for boys in Rathfarnham - both were run by the Pearse brothers and their family. The school clearly had very few boarders - on census night in 1911 there were 11 girls listed (all names in Irish) - including the then 17 year old Eibhlín Ní Riain. Details from the 1911 Census return form are also shown below. 

In her school report, Eileen is described as a "very fine girl" and a "favourite" of teachers and other girls. The report lists her subjects as mostly "Good" with Mathematics just "Fair". One of her teachers was nationalist (and suffragette) Louise Gavin Duffy - her brother George Gavin Duffy was later a reluctant signatory of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921. Interestingly, LGD predicts that Eileen will not "pass Matriculation" - then an exam for entry to University.

The report is printed on St Enda's School notepaper - possibly because the cost of printing extra report papers for St Ita's could not be met by the always cash-strapped schools. The report is signed at the end by Patrick Pearse, the Head Master of both schools.

Click to enlarge.

Screen capture from 1911 Census.
Please do not reuse or download these images without permission.

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