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St Joseph’s school prides itself on having a warm, welcoming and stimulating environment in which to learn. Our aim is to continue in providing a positive ethos, where student feel valued and strive for excellence in all they achieve.

St. Joseph’s Secondary School is situated by the sea in Ballybunion, Co. Kerry, ten miles from Listowel and fourteen miles from Tarbert. It first opened its doors in September, 1952, offering second level education to girls from Ballybunion and its surrounding area. In 1966 it became a co-educational secondary school. St. Joseph’s Secondary School was attached to the neighbouring convent. The management of the school was the sole responsibility of the Mercy Sisters until the late 1980′s when Boards of Management were introduced nationally. The sisters have been members of community since the founding of the convent over one hundred years ago until the last one finished in 1998. Added to the withdrawal of the sisters from the school staff, was the more final step of the closure of the convent and the moving of the remaining sisters to another house.

The Mercy Sisters who were the trustees of the school, have entered a new trusteeship with four other congregations, the Daughters of Charity, the Presentation Sisters, the Sisters of the Christian Retreat and the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart., whose charisms they share. They say “they are proud that their focus on the dignity of the human person has empowered generations of students and staff and has contributed to the growth of our nation.

The trustees recognise that new structures are required to ensure that Catholic education can continue to be offered, Therefore, Congregational leaders have decided to establish a new Trust for Catholic schools called CEIST. The name suggests that education is about a lifelong process of asking questions and of seeking answers to new problems. The Trust members are drawn from the Catholic community and will have sufficient competence and commitment to ensure that the voluntary schools can continue to thrive into the future.

Most congregations in Ireland today are establishing new Trust bodies. CEIST Trustees will join with these other Trusts in order to create a strong representative body within the Irish educational system (who) will lead all negotiations with the Department of Education and Science in relation to the voluntary school sector. At St. Joseph’s we believe we can continue ‘to thrive into the future’, examining our goals and objectives and responding creatively to the signs of the times.


School Logo

The School have chosen a new school logo to honour the late Mary Young and the Sisters of Mercy who did so much for the school.


In the late 19th century, Mary Young (nee O’Malley) a wealthy widow who was a native of Kilconly, Ballybunion invited the sisters of Mercy to come and set up a school in the premises which was her own private residence originally but was later to become St. Joseph’s Mercy Convent. The sisters arrived on August 6th 1883.

Our school logo is based on the monogrammed stain glass window taken from the convent building before it was sold in 1999.The beautiful glass window is one of a pair which were designed especially for Mary Young. One was given to the Rev Martin Hegarty PP who kindly donated it to the school. It has pride of place in the Prayer Room door. The other was donated to the Mercy order.

The logo is a combination of the Mercy crest which was used as the school crest until 2009 when it was decided to combine it with the Mary Young monogram to create a new unique logo which will identify St Joseph’s Secondary School into the future, acknowledging the foresight of Mrs Young and the hard work and dedication of the Sisters of Mercy who worked tirelessly to establish and develop the school over a fifty year period.

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