St. Paul's Secondary School, Oughterard

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School History

In 1964, the Mercy Sisters established St. Paul’s Secondary School, in Oughterard. The School was the third co-educational school in Co. Galway and began as two rooms in St. Joseph’s Convent. As the school expanded, the Sisters provided more rooms in the Convent and new prefabricated classrooms were added. These included a Woodwork Room, Science Room and a Home Economics Room. However, as numbers increased, it soon became obvious that at completely new school building would be necessary.

On October 15th, 1990, Mrs. Mary O’Rourke, Minister for Education, laid the foundation stone for the new St. Paul’s Secondary School which opened on 12th December, 1991. The new building included the most modern facilities available with two specialised Science Laboratories, a Demonstration Room, a Woodwork Room, a fully equipped Computer Room, Home Economics Room and an Art Room, as well as a Careers Office and dining areas, Sporting facilities include a beautiful Sports Hall, three outdoor courts and a football pitch.

In September 1999, a new extension was opened. This extension, which included a well-equipped Canteen, a new Technical Drawing Room, a student Careers Office, as well as extra toilet facilities, has maintained the design features of the existing school and is located in the centre of the cloister.

In 2007, CEIST (Catholic Education – an Irish Schools Trust) took over as Trustees for St Paul’s, a body for Voluntary Catholic Secondary Schools in Ireland. The CEIST Charter is committed to achieving quality in teaching and learning, showing respect for every person, creating community and being just and responsible.

The 50th Anniversary of St Paul’s was celebrated in 2014.

In 2015, additional works were added to cater for increasing numbers and the needs of the students. A new state of the art extension was built at the back of the school, consisting of a Construction Studies Room (including a Preparation Room) and 2 new classrooms.

For five decades St. Paul’s has educated thousands of students from Oughterard and its surrounding areas, under the leadership of the Principals and Deputy Principals named below. The many classes that passed through the school are in every imaginable trade, profession and way of life. They are spread across the world creating St. Paul’s very own diaspora. The school is proud of its past but looks ahead with confidence to what the next 50 years will bring.


• Sr Finian Concannon (1964-1971)
• Sr Anne Marie Whelan (1971-1972)
• Sr Joan Grimes (1972-1973)
• Sr Brigid Donoghue (1973-1982)
• Sr Rosarii McGuane (1982-1994)
• Mary Nihill (1994-2005)
• Margaret McLoughlin (2005 – 2006)
• Orla Malone (2006 – Present)


Deputy Principals:
• John Kevin Walsh
• Margaret McLoughlin
• Miriam Folan
• Micheál Ó Frighil