Introduction To Our School
The Convent of Mercy N.S., is situated on Bridge Street, Belturbet, Co. Cavan. The school was built by the Mercy Order in 1909 on Convent Grounds. Children accessed the school via a tunnel on Bridge Street. Due to increased traffic and danger to the children this entry was closed in the late eighties when a new entry was developed on Church Street. This new official entry was made possible as a result of the generosity of the Mercy Order.
The school from its inception in 1909 was staffed entirely by Sisters of Mercy until 1966 when Drumlaney County School amalgamated with the Convent School. As a result the first lay teacher came to teach in the Convent N.S. The last religious Principal retired in 1997. At present the school is staffed entirely by lay teachers, the gender being female.
The school caters for girls 4 -12 years old i.e. Junior to Sixth class and boys 4 – 7 years old i.e. Junior Infants to First Class, with the boys transferring to St Mary’s Boys’ school at the end of First Class.
The school comprises of one two storey building built in 1909 with granite stairs linking the two levels. The wooden windows were replaced in 1996 with PVC windows. Central heating replaced open fires in 1968. However, in 1999 the 2nd floor ceilings collapsed, possibly due to lack of ventilation. These ceilings were replaced with pine wood tongue and groove hanging ceilings. The school boasts a very unusual ducting system. The trap doors in all the upstairs ceilings have decorative in cut designs. These designs allowed for condensation and foul air to be released. Above each trap door is a wooden duct which all lead to ventilation slots in the walls. We believe this type of ventilation system may have been especially because of the prevalence of tuberculosis. In 1999 all the internal doors were replaced by fire doors and the school was rewired and redecorated.
In 1986 due to expanding numbers a prefab classroom was erected in the school yard. The yard also includes a shelter, and one small cement, flat roofed storage shed, which has been renovated, re-plastered and reroofed during the summer 2009, as part of our ongoing maintenance programme. The yard which has had its surface re-tarmaced during 2008 is very confined, with Bridge Street on one boundary, the Convent Graveyard on another side and private property enveloping the remaining two sides. There is no room to expand the play area even though enrolment trends are on the upward slope. Consequently, the yard is divided into different play areas per class groupings.
In 2007 due to expanding numbers a further prefab comprising of two classrooms was erected on a garden rented from the Mercy Order on Church Street entrance. Though much renovation has been completed down the years the school, has managed to hold onto an “heirloom”.
After the school was opened in 1909 the nuns requested that a dolls house would be made for the children to play with in the school. Mr Arthur Murphy built the Victorian Styled wooden dolls house. Generations of children have played with this house to this day. At present Arthur’s great great grand-daughters are in various classes in the school. We are very proud of the dolls house and marvel at the time and patience spent in perfecting such a beautiful piece of furniture.
Our school is bright and airy and though it may be hard to locate on first visiting the town it is well worth the effort!