1926 – ST BRIGID’S , ARDAGH, CO LONGFORD
After the Irish Free State was set up, Rural Domestic Economy schools were established by the State. The Fetherstone Estate and Lodge, Ardagh came on the market. The superior of the Longford Convent had a vision to set up a similar RDE School in Ardagh. After consultation with the Community the Fetherstone Lodge was purchased by them, with the aim of setting up a Rural Domestic Economy School for the training of young girls.
On 11th July, 1927 Srs Brigid O’Rafferty, Carmel Kearney and Malachy Tighe left Longford to begin the pioneer work there after reconstruction and improvements had been made to the building.
Domestic Science, Dairy and Poultry, Laundry, Cookery, Arts and Crafts etc were efficiently taught by trained and experienced teachers. It was grant-aided from the beginning by the Department of Agriculture until the mid 1980s, when grants ceased to be paid to such Colleges. The sisters financed the School for one year. In order to meet the needs of the day, the College changed focus and included Urban and Rural girls. It was funded for two years by the Youth Employment Agency and in recent times by FAS. It was known as St Brigid’s College for Further Education and Training.
For over 76 years the Sisters of Mercy continued the work begun in 1927. The college was sold during the boom years of the Celtic Tiger with a view to being developed as a luxury hotel and country club. Unfortunately the whole thing went belly up (along with the rest of the country) and it now lies abandoned.
10. ..and finally, the intrepid explorers
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