The Story of Our School
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Our Lady of Good Counsel G.N.S. Ferrybank, Waterford is located on the north bank of the River Suir, just within the county boundary. During the 1870’s, Fr. Dunphy the Parish Priest of Slieverue, wrote to Fr. Gailhac in France to ask if some of the Sacred Heart of Mary Sisters would come to Ferrybank and establish a convent and a school. At this time, Timbertoes bridge spanned the River Suir and there was a toll to cross. The ferry (from which Ferrybank gets it’s name) was also in operation.
On January 13th 1878, Elizabeth O’Neill and Kate O’Connell (said to be aunt and niece) opened a school in Ferrybank. The Sacred Heart of Mary Sisters agreed to come to Ferrybank, and on March 25th 1878, Bishop Moran (later Cardinal of Sydney, Austrailia) blessed the foundation stone for St. Bridgid’s school. In 1879 when the building was nearly finished, it was almost completely destroyed by fire. The culprit was a worker who had been sacked.
On September 16th 1879, nine Sacred Heart of Mary Sisters arrived in Ferrybank on the steamship Reginald. On January 17th 1880, the S.H.M. took over the running of St. Brigid’s school. There were 167 children on the roll.
During the 1950’s. Ferrybank was growing and a new school was needed. Our Lady of Good Counsel school opened in 1959, and replaced St. Brigid’s. The sisters continued to maintain and operate the school, until september 2002, almost exactly 124 years after they had arrived in Ferrybank. On this date, the S.H.M. sisters handed the school over to the Parish. Bishop Forristal was present at this occasion.
The last sister to teach in Our Lady of Good Counsel G.N.S. was Sr. Catherine McCarthy who retired in 2004.
Our Lady of Good Counsel GNS continues to grow and the pupils and staff have connections with up to twenty different countries around the world. The history of the school is depicted on a mural on the wall of the shelter in the school’s grounds.