This wonderful old Palladian style building was originally home to ‘Saint Enda’s’ (Scoil Eanna) the school for boys set up by 1916 leader Padraig Pearse. Visiting the headmaster Padraig Pearse’s study, the school-rooms, dormitory and the magnificent grounds, it is easy to see how it became the ideal place for Padraig Pearse to put his new type of Irish education for boys into practice. He first opened Saint Enda’s school in 1908 in Cullenswood House in Ranelagh, which was close to Dublin city centre.
A pioneering headmaster, Pearse believed that instead of just following the British curriculum, Irish boys and young men should learn about their own country; its history, geography, literature, poetry, music and culture. At St Enda’s he and his brother, the artist Willie Pearse, and teachers Thomas MacDonagh and Con Colbert set out to educate the boys in the Gaelic tradition. The pupils were bilingual and were made to feel proud of their Gaelic heritage and tradition and played traditional Irish games and sports.
The Gifford sisters first visited St Enda’s school with the well-known journalist and suffragette Norah Dryhurst. She introduced Muriel, Grace and Sidney to Thomas MacDonagh, telling him about how beautiful they were and advising him to marry one of the sisters. He gallantly remarked how difficult it would be to choose one of them.
In 1910, Padraig Pearse decided to move St Enda’s to a much larger property at The Hermitage in Rathfarnham. Situated on almost fifty acres of grounds there was plenty of space for the boys to play sports and for Countess Markievicz’s troop of boys, Na Fianna, to train and drill and exercise.
The Pearse Museum opens daily and gives a great sense of Padraig Pearse’s School and contains a selection of his writings and some Irish art work.
There is no entrance fee.