Bailieborough (Cavan)

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New Juniorate School (formerly 'The Villa')
New Juniorate School (formerly 'The Villa')

Lourdesville Secondary School, Co. Cavan.

In 1933 Bishop Finegan received a request from Sr. Mary Josephine of the Presentation Sisters in Rawalpindi, Northern India, for permission to establish a convent in the diocese. Its purpose would be to recruit and train sisters for the Congregation to go out on the mission to India. The Bishop agreed and the sisters bought a house in Virginia and began a noviciate there in 1934.[1]  By 1945, the sisters found that the house in Virginia was not big enough. According to the Meath Chronicle 16 June 1945, Rev. Dr. Lyons, Bishop of Kilmore, purchased for £1300 the residence and small farm of Mr. Charles Hourican, Tanderagee, Bailieborough. This house situated adjacent to the Virginia Road and convenient to St. Anne's Catholic Church was suitable. It was built by Sir John Young and in the 1840s for his agent Thomas Chambers, who administered his estate and collected his rents. They converted the house into a convent from where sisters travelled to places all over the world.[2]  Previously a fever hospital was built at this house in the early 1800’s but it closed when a fever hospital was opened at the Workhouse.

In 1958 another house ‘The Villa’ was purchased by the Presentation sisters. They required it for a Juniorate for girls of fourteen years and over in order that they complete their secondary course of studies and, at the same time, try out their vocation before entering the Novitiate proper.  The convent was only a short distance away and they were able to join the grounds of the two properties.  ‘The Villa’ was purchased from Mr. Philip Mclntyre retired N.T., who had bought it in 1934 from the family of the Dr. Richard Ryan (Tom McIntyre, Poet (1931-2019), was born here).[3]  Mr. Mclntyre retained the northern portion of ‘The Villa’ grounds where he built a new residence. Mr. McIntyre then named his new residence ‘The Villa”.

Dr. Richard Ryan had bought this property around 1899, having rented it previously from 1881. The house contained nine large rooms, one of which was a bathroom.[4]  ‘This house was built by James Small, a leather merchant, who owned a tannery and a good deal of property in the town. He was also a Justice of the Peace for the Petty Sessions in Bailieborough. James Small died in 1880.[5]

In 1965 Bishop Austin Quinn asked the sisters to open a co-educational secondary school to serve the needs of the people of their area. The sisters were already providing secondary education for their own novices, but expanding this to provide a full curriculum for all comers was a big challenge. However, they rose to the challenge and Lourdesville Secondary School opened its doors in September 1965.[6]  Thirty-five girls enrolled in that first class.  One year later this Girls Secondary School went co-education and a new building programme commenced.  Numbers grew rapidly and by 1979 they had 320 students in the school.  During those years the Sisters along with the Vocational Education Committee realised the need for a combination of resources and after fruitful discussions the first sod for the Community School was turned on the 1st April 1980.[7]

Bailieborough Community School was the first of its kind in Co. Cavan.  The Minister of Posts, Telegraphs and Transport, Mr. P. Wilson, T.D. officially opened the school by unveiling a marble plaque.  Before this a Celebration Prayer Service with Very Rev. M. Canon Costello, P.P., and Archdeacon G. N. Cave, representing the Catholic and Church of Ireland, Bishops of Kilmore, respectively, blessed the new school.  Built on a six-acre site at a cost of £1.25m the school was able to cater for 675 pupils and replaced the Lourdesville Secondary School and the Vocational School.[8]

In 1985 representations were made to build a gym hall, architectural plans were accepted and tenders were issued. [9]

On 29 July 2009, Mass was held in Bailieborough to mark the departure of the Presentation after seventy-five years.[10]

Since then the school has been upgraded as follows: the roof has been replaced, the traffic flow changed, two new car parks installed, a new unit to better facilitate students with autism and disability was built and in 2017 a canteen was installed to allow students avail of hot food.

In 2020 Martha Lievens, Principal of Bailieborough Community School advised that 640 pupils currently attend the school.


Carmel O’Callaghan.




[2] The Anglo Celt, 20 October 2005.


[4] The Anglo Celt, 7 June 1958.



[7] The Anglo Celt, 12 November 1982.

[8] The Anglo Celt, 12 November 1982.

[9] The Anglo Celt, 2 November 1982.





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  • With its dedication to nurturing young minds and fostering holistic development, it serves as a cornerstone of education in the region. The school's commitment to academic rigor, extracurricular activities, and values-based education ensures students are well-prepared for future endeavors. For students seeking additional academic support, connects them with  a platform offering homework help services. Just as Lourdesville Secondary School supports its students, academic assistance services like EduBirdie provide valuable resources to enhance learning and academic success.

    Monday 3rd June 2024 02:09PM

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