Celebrating 90 years

Interview with Mrs. Joan Collins

Memories of St Columba’s, Iona Road


I started school in Iona the day after my 5th birthday on the 2nd of October. I lived outside the parish and my father was friendly with the Parish Priest so as a big favour I was accepted.

All the other girls in my class had started school weeks before. I felt very strange being the only new girl. All the girls were sitting at their desks staring at me. The desks were in rows with two girls at each desk.

The toilets were at the far end of the yard and you had to brave the elements during the winter months – it was not pleasant!

We had a 7 th class during my time at school the teachers were mainly nuns and in all my 9 years at Iona I only had a lay teacher for one of those years.

We learnt history and geography through Irish. We had sewing, knitting and darning lessons. When I was 8 and in 2 nd class I was taught to knit a sock on four needles, turn the heel and finish the toe. I’ve never knit one since! We did different kinds of seams and buttonholes. Mine were terrible – the stitches were all uneven – I could never get them the same size.

We had singing classes and I was told before I made my First Holy Communion not to sing because I was a préacháin – a crow!

We considered ourselves ’seniors’ when we went into 4 th class because it was upstairs. We wrote in ink with a wooden pen with a nib. There were inkwells with brass covers on each desk. The ink powder was mixed with water and wasn’t a great colour. One day, I was sitting behind a girl who had 2 lovely blond curls down almost to her waists. It was very tempting and I decided to dip one of these curls into the inkwell. It turned a very strange colour. I thought that I would be in trouble but her mother must have been a quiet woman and there were no repercussions. I was generally well behaved and kept out of trouble.

In those days, the teachers had canes for slapping us and sometimes we drove them to it as numbers in class were large.

When we were in 7th class six of us did the Corporation Scholarship and four of us were successful. This paid for our schooling feed and books for the four years until leaving cert.

I was very sad to leave Iona.

Joan on her First Communion Day


More articles and photographs in Anniversary Book available in the school office at €15. Any profit will go towards resurfacing of our school yard.