School History

Our Founders

Up until 2006 Milltown had two primary schools which were independent of each other. We had the Presentation ‘Girls’ Primary School ‘Scoil Maria Assumpta’ and the Presentation ‘Boys’ Primary School ‘Scoil Mhuire’.

Nagle-Rice Old Scoil Mhuire

Scoil Mhuire (old Monastery school)

Nagle Rice Old Scoil Maria Assumpta

‘Scoil Maria Assumpta’ today as ‘Milltown Montessori’

In 2006 these two primary schools amalgamated to create what is now known as ‘Nagle-Rice Primary School’. We are a co-educational school. The name for our school is taken from the founding orders of our original two schools; Edmund Rice who founded the Presentation Brothers and Nano Nagle who founded the Presentation Sisters.

Nano Nagle

Nano Nagle, voted the Irish woman of the millennium, is the founder of the Presentation Order, which she founded in Cork in 1775. The order was established for the education of boys and girls who, at the time, were almost totally deprived of schooling. The Presentation schools today form a worldwide network carrying the vision of Nano Nagle to every continent.

Nano Nagle - Founder of Presentation Sisters

Nano Nagle was born in 1718 and lived in Ballygriffin, Co. Cork with her two brothers and four sisters. Her father, Garret, was very wealthy and owned plenty of land. As a child Nano preferred working outside with her brothers than helping her mother indoors. Nano and her siblings attended a hedge school.

When Nano was a teenager herself and her sister, Ann, were sent to school in France. This was against the law at the time so they had to be smuggled across the English Channel in the hold of a cargo ship. Whilst in France, Nano and Ann enjoyed attending lots of parties and balls. They always had beautiful dresses to wear as their father was constantly sending them over money and goods. One morning, on the way back from a ball, Nano saw poor and hungry people standing on the steps of a church. This sight made Nano feel very sad but she did not know yet how she could help them.

When their father died, Nano and Ann returned to Ireland to be with their mother. The Nagle family were now living in Dublin. One day Nano was searching for a piece of expensive fabric she had brought back from France, only to find that Ann had cut it up and given it to the poor. Nano was amazed. She started going with Ann to visit the poor and she finally felt she was making a difference.

Nano decided to go back to France and become a nun. She joined the Ursuline Order. She felt that she could best help the poor through prayer. While in the convent, Nano had a dream about the poor in Ireland. In the dream the children were asking her to come back to Ireland to help them. Nano saw this as a sign from God. She believed God was telling her what he wanted her to do. Nano decided to leave the Ursuline Sisters and go back to Ireland to help the poor children.

In 1754 Nano opened her first school on Cove Lane in Cork. She taught the children in secret because it was against the law at the time for Catholic children to be educated. Within a short time she had seven schools in the city – five were for girls and two were for boys. Nano had to beg for supplies for her schools and for food for the children. A friend of her fathers owned a shop in Cork and often helped her. Nano was worried about who would look after the children when she died. She decided to set up her own order of nuns.

On Christmas Eve 1775, Nano and three other nuns formed the first Presentation Sisters. They sang carols in the local church. At night Nano used to stroll the streets of Cork visiting the poor and the elderly. She became known as the Lady of the Lantern. Nano Nagle died on 26th April 1784 but her memory lives on.

November 21st is Presentation Day which commemorates the founding of the Presentation Order of Religious Sisters by Nano Nagle. Scoil Maria Assumpta in Milltown (1961-2015) was founded by Presentation Sisters in 1896 and each year we remember the commitment to education of the Presentation Sisters who served in our school.

Scoil Maria Assumpta, Milltown, Co. Kerry (1961)

It was the conviction of the founder of the Presentation Order, Nano Nagle, that every child has the right to be educated to achieve the maximum of his/her potential. In Presentation Primary School the Nagle family motto, ‘Not Words But Deeds’, is still the dynamic that underlies the vision today.

Edmund Rice

Edmund Rice was born in 1762 in Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland. Following his early education, he moved to Waterford where he was apprenticed to his uncle. Edmund eventually succeeded his uncle and became a prosperous business man. By his mid-twenties he enjoyed a successful career and a happy marriage, but his life was to be touched by personal tragedy. After less than two years of marriage, his pregnant wife fell from a horse and died and her baby, born prematurely, had a disability and was cared for by Edmund with the support of his step-sister, Joan.

Edmund Rice - Founder of Presentation Brothers

Edmund devoted his life and fortune to educating the poor and the marginalised, ensuring that those he helped developed the necessary life skills of confidence and compassion, with an understanding of how to effect changes in their own lives and those of others.

Edmund started on his own. Later, two young men came to help him. Over the years, these men and many others became dedicated to Edmund’s ideas and gave their lives to working with people in need. Eventually, Edmund’s great work of compassion for the poor and marginalised spread across the globe.

Edmund led the Christian Brothers for many years before dying in Waterford on 29 August 1844 at the age of 82 years. In 1996, he was declared “Blessed” by the Church, the first step in the Catholic Church towards sainthood.

Over almost 200 years, since Edmund Rice began his work, a strong tradition of generosity, of hard work, of dedication to youth, of care for the disadvantaged and marginalised, has developed and spread all over the world, and has been maintained by the Christian Brothers and many other like-minded men and women who have been inspired by Edmund’s spirit.

The Education of boys in Milltown was under the direction of The Presentation Brothers. The old Monastery Boys school was built in 1964 and was an integral part of the education of pupils until 2015 when we moved Nagle-Rice school to its new building.