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History of School

History of the ISK

The history of Intermediate School Killorglin – particularly its origins are  somewhat unusual but in many ways this mirrors the history of our complicated state. In retrospect it was somewhat independent e.g it was the first Co-educational Catholic lay school in the country but it has always remained within the rigours of the Irish education system.  

The school was founded in 1909 with a grant of £2,000 from the Scottish/American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The local MP for the area at the time Thomas O’Donnell was the driving force in securing this funding and many members of the community were instrumental in achieving the establishment of the school. Quantifying the lasting influence of all those people involved in 1909 and in the time since, on past and present generations of mid-Kerry is an impossibility. However, suffice is to say, that all their combined efforts developed into an impressive school known through out the country. 

Built originally as a library with always the intention of being a school, that building has undertaken many roles during its existence, including being a barracks during the Civil War to now being a care centre for the elderly of the town but for the vast majority of time since its foundation, it was always a school. 

The name of the first head is  unknown but in 1916 Jack O’Dwyer became headmaster. The school is still known by many as The Carnegie and it remained in The Carnegie building in Market Street until it moved to its present site in 1988 when it was renamed  The Intermediate School .

After the death of Jack, his wife Johanna managed the school for some years in the early 1950s.  On his return from university J A O’Dwyer  became the principal/manager and then just manager in his later years . Being at the helm for sixty years, he, along with his wife Bairbre, were responsible for shaping the school in to what it is today. They bought the new site and along  with the local community at home and abroad, and assisted greatly by the state, they built the current school.  

 Kieran Griffin was principal from 2000 – 2016 and guided the school in a tremendous fashion. Under his tenure the school continued to develop and grow. Since his retirement the school has been under the management by the current principal Joe O’Dwyer. This school is indebted to its many parents, past pupils and staff who have made such valuable contributions to our community over the years.