With the opening of a new housing estate in 1953 called St. John’s Park, it was inevitable that a new primary school would be needed to cater for the boys of the area. Up to then, the educational needs of both the girls and boys in the surrounding areas were being managed by the Ursuline nuns.
The then Bishop of Waterford and Lismore, Dr. Daniel Cohalan asked the Christian Brotheres to set up a new school in the area. Work began in March 1959 with the well known firm of John Hearne & Sons as main contractors. The cost was £45,000 (57,000).
Classes started in August 1959 in the present infant section of the school, as the main building was still at foundation level. Sixty boys arrived from St. Ursula’s, Mt. Sion and St. Declan’s and met the first principal Bro. Cross and Mr. Brian O’Donoghue.
The school was officially opened on 14th November 1960, on the feast of St. Laurence O’Toole, Patron Saint of the school – hence the name Scoil Lorcáin. Two hundred and five pupils were now on the roll. Numbers continued to grow and peaked at 450 in 1968.
During those early years in Scoil Lorcáin, past pupils will fondly recall the St John’s Park Street Hurling Leagues (Back Road, Main Road, Ursuline Road and the Square) where games were played in the “Back Field”; School Sports Day which was held in Kilcohan Park Stadium; Mr. Frazer, the school’s Drill Instructor; Ms. Shorthall, who taught the senior boys elocution; the school accordian band under the baton of Bro. Walsh; St. John’s Park Athletic Club which was coached by the then Vice-Principal of Scoil Lorcáin, Mr. Brian O’Donoghue; the Theatre Royal and Féile na Scoileanna and the annual educational tours to Dublin.
During the late seventies numbers started to decline as the area matured, until they dropped to 180 pupils in the middle eighties. Today the numbers are on the increase again due to the increase in new housing estates in the area – Ursuline Cresent, Ursuline Court, Killure Manor, Birchwood, Bracken’s Grove and other surrounding areas.
There are presently 18 teachers working in Scoil Lorcáin with a current enrolment of 305 boys. It is interesting to note that only 35 of the present pupils live in the original St. John’s Park estate.
In August 2000, the Department of Education & Science sanctioned a major new extension to the school, which would cost approximately 3.5 million. This extension would see the construction of 12 new classrooms, general purpose rooms, library/computer room, extra playground and car parking spaces. However, due to the present cut backs, this project has been put on hold, much to the annoyance of both parents and the school’s Ladies Fundraising Committee who together have raised 25,000 as the school’s share of the cost.
Forty three years have rolled by since the first pupils awaited Bro. Cross and in that time over 2,500 boys have passed through the corridors of Scoil Lorcáin. These past pupils have proudly taken their places in all walks of life – journalists, priests, poets, teachers, solicitors, cutters and blowers with Waterfored Crystal and in all aspects of the building trade. In addition to that some of the pupils have represented their county, province and county on the sporting fields.
Between 1959 and 1986 over thirty Christian Brothers served in Scoil Lorcáin, the people of St. John’s Park were sad to see them go, but their sterling efforts and dedication will ever be remembered. The school has also been blessed with many dedicated and committed lay teachers, both past and present.
Scoil Lorcáin is a very successful school, playing a crucial role in the area where it is located. It will continue to serve the people of St. John’s Park and surrounding areas for many years to come.