Thursday, November 11, 2010

North Mon 200 & Cork Scientists

This evening marks the launch of a publication to mark the 200th anniversary of the establishment of the North Monastery CBS in Cork City.

The book, entitled North Mon 200 is available to purchase in all good bookshops and online at :

The school is the alma mater of a long list of distinguished past-pupils including former Taoiseach Jack Lynch and former Cork Lord Mayors Terence McSwiney and Tomas MacCutain.The 'North Mon' also has an impressive scientific track record and teachers who have worked there include Br. James Burke, the renowned educationalist and science teacher and John Philip Holland who developed one of the first ever submarines.

Burke was a Christian Brother who taught at the North Monastery in Cork City and was renowned for his work in developing practical scientific and technical education in Ireland during the late 19th century. Amongst his achievements includes bringing electric light to Cork in 1877, two years before Thomas Edison invented the electric bulb. He was a pioneer and advocate for practical, scientific education in Ireland and represented Ireland at the World's Fair in St Louis, Missouri in 1904.

Writing in The Glamour of Cork, Daniel Lawrence Kelleher (1919) describes an aging Burke as:
"This big, slow-footed, heavy, smiling, half-blind old man [who] has put into practice the most enlightened methods of education.
"Behold him in his class, a combination and anticipation of Montessori, Pearse and a hundred others, a curious wheedling old fellow, the father, uncle and guardian of his pupils, and no master at all in the narrow sense; or another time at the Trades Hall talking to workers back to childhood by his overflowing interest.
"A teacher out of a million, his lesson a preparation for life rather than for any examination test, his shining spirit a light always for any who saw the flame of it, alive".

Holland, a Christian Brother colleague of Burke at the North Monastery, is credited with developing the first submarine to be commissioned by the US Navy (USS Holland), and the first Royal Navy submarine- the Holland 1.

Many thanks to North Monastery Past Pupils Union for the use of images from their collection.


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