|St. Farnan's - A Brief History
St. Farnan's Post Primary School,
which is managed by Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training
Board (KWETB) has served
the community since September 1941. The catchment includes
Prosperous itself, as well as the surrounding districts such
as Allenwood, Coill Dubh, Allen, Kilmeague, Staplestown,
Robertstown, Donadea and Timahoe.
During the period 1941 to
1969 the school offered the Group Certificate programme
to boys and girls from the area.
The rapid educational developments of the sixties saw a sudden growth
in pupil numbers as well as the right of Vocational School pupils to
sit the Intermediate Certificate examinations as well as the Group
From 1969 to 1975 pupils in St. Farnan's were restricted to following
these Junior Cycle programmes only. Those wishing to follow the Senior
Cycle courses were expected to transfer to Naas to do so. In practice
only a small number of pupils did transfer to Naas. As a result of
this most pupils who had completed the Junior Cycle left the education
system. The school leaving age was 15 in 1972 and the majority of St
Farnan's pupils left school at or shortly after reaching the statutory
age for compulsory education. After much agitation and protest the
school was granted Senior Cycle status in 1975 and St. Farnan's pupils
first sat the Leaving Certificate Examinations in their own school in
In more recent times the school has attempted to remain abreast of
educational developments by providing Junior Certificate, Junior
Certificate Schools Programme (JCSP), Leaving Certificate, Leaving
Certificate Applied (LCA) and Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses.
The school has also provided Transition Year and Leaving Certificate
Vocational programmes when suitable to the pupil cohort.
The original school building opened in 1941. The flat roofed extension
was opened in 1971. The next phase was completed in 1989 and officially
opened by Minister Mary O'Rourke T.D. in September 1991. The new
extension was completed in 2007 and Minister Mary Hanifin officially
opened this in October of that year.
School facilities now include a purpose built Art room with Kiln, two
Science Labs, a Demonstration room, two high tech ICT rooms, a Music
room, a CAD Lab, Engineering, Construction & Home Economics rooms,
full size Gym with Fitness Suite and Canteen area. The school is
built for 450 students which leaves us equipped to cater for the
future growing numbers in our catchment area.
Our Patron - Saint Farnan of Downings
According to Father O'Hanlon (Lives I.S.S. 2, p. 564.) the site of
the old Church at Downings was once the cell of St. Farnan, whose
feast occurs in the Irish Calendar on the 15th of February. This
saint flourished in the sixth century, and was descended from King
Niall of the Nine Hostages.
Beside the ancient cemetery is the Well of St. Farnan; and it
possesses-so the local story goes-the valuable property, that those
who drank of it never afterwards have any relish for intoxicating
drinks. Activated by the popular belief, St. Farnan blessed the
well at Downings and called it the "Well of Sobriety", saying
that "whosoever drank of its water should never again relish the
waters of intemperance". No other details or traditions survive
regarding St. Farnan.