In 1947 Dublin Corporation began to build houses in Ballyfermot at which point there were no amenities, shops, schools or churches. The Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Mc Quaid requested the Prioress General, Mother Reginald Lyons to undertake the education of the girls of the area and on the 8thof March, 1953, six Dominican Sisters opened their first school in Ballyfermot. The Principal at that time was Mother Ignatius. Over 300 children were enrolled in five classes. As soon as each block of the Dominican schools was ready the classes moved in. The first block or school was called St.Michael’s. It is the block nearest to Lynch’s lane, now a Resource Centre and that became the Infant Boy’s School. The next school was St. Gabriel’s and it became an Infant Girl’s School. Finally St Raphael’s, the block nearest the parish church was built. When St. Raphael’s school was finished it was used for the Senior Girls i.e. those from second class to sixth class.
Numbers on the campus rose quickly from three to five and then to seven schools. All were named derivatives of St Gabriel’s, St Raphael’s and St Michael’s and for some years there were 4,000 pupils on the campus of the Dominican Convent making it the largest Primary School campus in Europe at that time.
Since then there has been a number of re-organisations or amalgamations on the campus. In 1979 there was a campus re-organisation that changed the schools from Junior Boys, Junior Girls & Senior Girls to 3 identical vertical schools with Junior Infants to 6th class in each school.
In 1987 the decline in the school going population necessitated the rationalising of the 3 schools into 2 buildings. St. Michael’s relocated to the building previously known as St. Raphael’s School, St. Gabriel’s remained in their original building and St. Raphael’s were housed between both buildings. The Ballyfermot Resource Centre moved into St. Michael’s original building.
Most recently in 2015 the status of our school changed from infant mixed with vertical girls to coeducational. This change is being implemented gradually. Previously the boys went to the De La Salle School after First class, they are now remaining in our school. Thus we are a developing school with a changing profile. We are aware of the challenges this brings and are planning ahead in terms of resources, curriculum and social & emotional needs.
Today St Gabriel’s provides the children in our care with modern facilities including a computer room, library, student cookery room, student gardening area, music and drama room and well-resourced classrooms. St Gabriel’s is a Catholic Primary school under the patronage of the Archbishop of Dublin. We cater for children from the Ballyfermot area and beyond. We welcome children of all faiths and none. We strive for excellence and endeavour to ensure that all children reach their full potential in an atmosphere of inclusion and kindness.