Rathmore National School 1821-2010
Nestling in the foothills of the Wicklow Mountains, Rathmore is part of the Parish of Eadestown in East Kildare, straddling the counties of Dublin, to the East and Wicklow, to the South. Cupidstown Hill with a height of 379 meters is the highest point in County Kildare.
Rathmore derives its name from the hugh Celtic rath or fort which is to be found beside the Church of Ireland in Rathmore Village. Nineteenth century excavations on the site unearthed a burial mound dating back to the Bronze Age and the remains of a Norman Motte and Bailey fortification. Punchestown, with its famous racecourse, is a well known feature in our area and also contains three standing stones or monoliths from the Bronze Age.
Haynestown, to the north of Rathmore, contains the remains of a Stone Age Site called a Cist or Kern Grave.Kilteel, to the East, is the site of an 8 Century Monastic Site, founded by the hermit monk Céle Chrióst, the ruins of which contain a chancel arch and a decorative doorway of finely carved Romanesque stones from the 12 Century. The following Century, with the arrival of the Normans, the Knights Hospitallers of St. John built a castle and the keep still towers over the village of Kilteel and the surrounding countryside. The view from the top of this eight hundred year old monument is breathtaking. The Castles of Kilteel and Rathmore formed part of “The Pale” or boundary between English and Irish Rule in Ireland in the Middle Ages. Another interesting place-name in the Parish is Cromwellstown Hill to the East of Kilteel , where it is believed, Cromwell and his army camped before laying siege to Kilteel Castle in the middle of the Seventeenth Century.
Over the past thirty years many new families have settled in our parish and brought a new vibrancy to this old community. While Eadestown is the smallest parish in the Dublin Archdiocese, it sports two racecourses, Punchestown and Naas, and it goes without saying that horseracing is a favourite pastime in the parish. This small Rural Parish also has two magnificent Community Halls, one in Kilteel (the old school) and the other in front of the new school in Rathmore. Both halls are used to the fullest extent and play a very important role in the life of the community.While the City of Dublin is only 30 km away the parish is well served by the towns of Naas, Blessington, Kill, Rathcoole and Ballymore which are only a short distance away and offer all modern amenities and facilities.
While Rathmore National School was officially recognised in 1837, a boy’s school was in existence in Eadestown since 1821. The original Rathmore National School was a one teacher girl’s school with teacher’s residence and the school roll number was, and still is, 1821, which denotes one to the very first official schools still in existence. Kilteel National School opened in 1845 and replaced a hedge school in the area and remained open until 1968 when, due to dwindling numbers, it closed. Another fact, that sounded the death-knell of Kilteel National School, was the replacement of the old National School in Rathmore with a new two teacher building in 1965. Children were now “bussed” from Kilteel to Rathmore and as a consequence the school began to expand and in 1969 a third classroom was added.
Between 1970 and 1980 two pre-fabs were added because of the increasing numbers due to the influx of new families into the area because of its proximity to the capital and its rural location. In 1994 a permanent extension was added to the school which consisted of one classroom, a staffroom and a Learning Support Room. It was obvious at this stage that the school was bursting at the seams and that the Health and Safety of both pupils and staff was now a big issue but, because of financial constraints, no new school was forthcoming. And to further exacerbate the problem, two further “prefabs” were located on the front lawn in 1999. Two hundred and forty pupils were crammed into a 4/5 of an acre site and eventually the Department relented and full planning permission for a new eight classroom school on an adjacent site of 3 1/3 acres was granted in February 2002. In June 2004 the foundations were laid for the new school and in September of the following year the pupils and staff moved in. Our new school, Scoil Cheile Chriost, in honour of the hermit monk who once resided in Kilteel, was officially opened. And because of ever increasing numbers a prefab was located at the northern end of the school in 2006 and the following year a second prefab was added so that the school now consists of 10 mainstream classes, three Special Education Teachers.
(Registered Charity Number: 20124151)