Short History of St. Clares

 St. Clare’s School was sanctioned as a Special School shortly after its establishment in 1967.


The school was opened initially in a voluntary capacity by the Clare Federation for the Mentally Handicapped assisted by the Soroptomists International of Ennis and District.


The school was originally housed in the Turnpike in part of a building used as a Dispensary. Negotiations for a new School building began in 1978 which was  built in 1985.


Dr. Joseph Solon, who was the then Assistant Co. Medical Officer in Clare, was the first School Manager and remained so until he left the county.


Mrs. Eileen Jones, who started teaching in a voluntary capacity, was the first teacher in the school. Mrs. Jones retired in June 2004 and Mrs. Anne Walshe, who was on the teaching staff of the school, took over as principal. (For further details on the history of staff see Appendix 1).


On the opening day in 1967 there were 13 pupils on the roll. Three weeks later there were 21 on roll. The ages ranged from 6 to 16 years.


Recent Background

St.Clares School has remained as a Special National School but now caters for children with Moderate General Learning Disabilities, children with Severe to Profound General Learning Disabilities and children with General Learning Disabilities and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. The children attending the school are in the age range of four to eighteen years.


The school is situated on the Gort Rd in Ennis, Co. Clare. It draws its pupils from all socio-economic backgrounds and from all parts of the county.  The school was purpose built on a Greenfield site in 1986. The changing profile of the school resulting in a designated unit for children with ASD, a Severe/ Profound class and an increased number of pupils with physical disability   has resulted in the new extension to the school.

This extension commenced in August 2004 and was completed in June 2005.

This extension provides three new classrooms. There are two therapy rooms, one for pupils with ASD and the other for general use, and a fully equipped hygiene room. Also in the extension are improved principal, general and therapist offices, excellent staffroom facilities and extensive dinning amenities for the pupils.


A further extension is approved for build in the summer of 2017


With these improved facilities the school can provide an area for sensory integration therapy, for multi-sensory training and a wide and varied range of sports and Special Olympic activities. Swimming is provided at the Leisure Complex, Ennis and horse riding is facilitated through volunteers from ‘Riding for the Disabled.’ A limited service of Music Therapy is provided through a contribution from Clare federation and the BOM.


At present we have the services of speech therapy, physiotherapy and OT through the Clare School Age Team funded by the HSE.


The Board of Management of St. Clare’s School employs a nurse for 20 hours a week. This is part funded through a grant paid, by the HSE through the Clare Federation, to the B.O.M.


The school is well resourced and the classrooms are well equipped with educational materials and specialised equipment for children with Learning Disabilities. (See individual Curriculum Plans). There are ample Art & Craft materials available and the school is well resourced with Information & Communication Technology equipment and assistive technology.


In  June 2012 St Clare’s was sanctioned to open an early intervention class for 3-5 year olds with a diagnosis of ASD and in June 2013 we opened a second early intervention class


Transport is provided through Bus Eireann and is free of charge to our students.


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