Getting an education at Colaíste Bríde
Dublin Travel Blog› entry 3 of 5 › view all entries
My school for the next two years was to be Colaíste Bríde, an all girls' school run by nuns. I had to wear a school uniform which I hated at the time. (I do understand the reasons for them now though and sometimes wish my girls had to wear one!) There were many more things very different at this school, it was nothing like what I was used to.
First of all I went to a mixed school in The Netherlands and my best friend there was a boy. Here I hardly got to see any boys let alone get a chance to befriend them! The teachers I was used to were almost like friends, they sat with us during lunch sometimes and we were able to talk to them about all sorts of stuff. In Ireland the teachers (not all of them nuns) were people who commanded respect in a very different way.
A few rules I can remember: we were not to wear make-up, have our school skirt at knee length minimum (except the skirt we wore for gym classes) and we were not to leave the school grounds.
On my first day the first lesson was geography. The teacher made me read out loud from the book first thing, I guess to see what my English was like or something. I managed to get all the words out and was very happy with the lessons I had followed during the Summer! The girls in my class were fun and they were interested in me and where I came from, I never felt like I was an outsider, not in a bad way at least.
I took Home Economics (housekeeping) classes as this seemed easier than science (you chose one or the other) having to cope with the language as well. We learned to cook and sew, and I was no good at the latter. We had to sew a skirt which was the one thing I refused to wear at the time so it was decided I would sew a spare skirt for my school uniform. When it was finished my mum had to take the whole thing apart and put it back together again I had done such a bad job! I liked the cooking and baking though, which was a sign of things to come for me later in life...
One thing I have always regretted is that I was not made to learn Irish. I was deemed "too old" at 14 to pick it up. I also didn't follow the classes in "Religion", which meant I had to sit in the library and study for those times. There was also a Protestant girl in my class who joined me during the "Religion" classes.
A very important happening during my years at the school was the disco that was organised monthly together with Moyle Park, the ALL BOYS school! Now keep in mind that the nuns and priests were always there to chaperone so nothing much actually happened, but the idea of dancing in the same room with boys was enough to have us giggling all week!
Even though I didn´t like how strict things were at the school I must admit that in hindsight I probably would have done much better if I´d stayed to finish off secondary school in Ireland. However, I only stayed until 1987 when I passed my Inter Cert (Intermediate Certificate, now called Junior Certificate) and decided to finish my education in The Netherlands...