Tour of the House


An Alternative Tour of the House Through the Lives of Those Who Wrote About Pearse

Use the menu to the left to navigate the house or simply scroll down.

Entrance Hall

“After tea and a little talk they both arranged to leave us again. As they were passing through the front hall Pat suddenly turned back and went down the stairs again. Mother said, ‘Did you forget something?’ He said ‘I did’. He came back and either mother or I asked him ‘Did you get it?’ – I do not know what it was that he had forgotten – his answer was ‘I did’. Those were the last words I ever heard him speak.”

– Miss Margaret Pearse, The Last Days of Pat and Willie Pearse at St. Enda’s.

Margaret Pearse (1878-1968) was the older sister of Patrick and William Pearse. She lived and worked in Scoil Éanna until its closure in 1935. She served one term as a TD in Dáil Éireann from 1933-37. Following her defeat in the 1937 election, she was elected to the Seanad where she served until her death in 1968.

“Bhí ceathrar sa halla le fáiltiú romhainn: an Piarsach, a mháthair, éadach dubh uirthi agus í ag féachaint an-dathúil agus máthartha, Mairéad, a hiníon, agus fear a shamhail dom a bheith ag féachaint roinnt ait i ngeall ar an bhfolt fada ciardubh a bhí air, glór réidh, íseal, séimh aige. Gearr ina dhiadh sin gur tugadh le fios dom gurbh é Liam Mac Piarais é. […]

Bhí pictiúr breá mór sa halla nach bhféadfá gan sondas a thabhairt dó – ár dTiarna ina Mhacaomh – é nochtaithe go básta, a lámha sínte amach uaidh agus é ina sheasamh idir dhá chrann, coinín agus bláthanna ag a chosa, cnoc ar a chúl agus an scríbhinn seo ar íochtar an phictiúra: ‘Agus d’fhás an Macaomh agus do neartaíodh é agus bhí sé lán d’eagna agus bhí grásta Dé maille leis’.”

– Padraic Óg Ó Conaire, ‘Cuimhní Scoil Éanna’ in Memories of the Brothers Pearse (1958)

Pádraic Óg Ó Conaire (1893-1971) was born in Rosmuc, Co. Galway. He attended Scoil Éanna from 1908-10, when the school was based at Cullenswood House in Ranelagh. He later worked as an Irish teacher for the Gaelic League, as a translator for Dáil Éireann and as a newsreader for RTÉ. Ó Conaire wrote extensively in the Irish language.

The Study

“The deep harmony between him and his pupils, and between him and his family is attested by the serenity of his soul and the peace of his mind at solemn moments of his life. In this harmony the illusion of a peaceful home life where work is accomplished by distinction and stimulated by affection was complete even as he shared the solitude of his study with his pet animals sleeping at his feet or purring on his desk, or on the very writing paper he had just impressed with his vigorous thoughts.”

– Louis Le Roux, The Life of P.H. Pearse (1932).

Louis Le Roux (1890-1944) was born in Brittany, France. He was involved in the Breton nationalist movement in the early twentieth century. In 1932 he published the first full-length biography of Pearse, entitled L’Irlande Militante: La Vie de Patrice Pearse. He died in an air raid in London during World War II.

“The door opened and this man appeared and introduced himself in Irish as Pádraic Mac Piarais and he welcomed me to the school, brought me into his study and made me feel very relaxed and spoke to me about my life in Donegal, if I had any knowledge of the language, of the Irish language. He seemed to me to be a very very gentle sort of person, very considerate and courteous.”

– Joseph Sweeney, Comóradh an Phiarsaigh, 1879-1979.

Joseph Sweeney (1897-1980) was born in Co. Donegal and attended Scoil Éanna from 1911-15. He fought in the GPO during the Easter Rising in 1916. In 1918 he was elected Sinn Féin MP for West Donegal. Sweeney took the pro-Treaty side during the Civil War and later became a Major-General in the Irish army.

William Pearse Gallery

“Of all the men I have known on earth, You only have been my familiar friend, Nor needed I another.”

– P.H. Pearse, To My Brother, 1 May, 1916

William Pearse grew up surrounded by his father’s sculptures, pictures and books on art and architecture. His ambition was to become a serious artist. He attended classes at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art between 1897 and 1910. He also studied abroad, in Paris and at the Royal College of Art in Kensington. Like many Irish artists at that time, including his teacher and friend Oliver Sheppard, his work was influenced by a desire to create artworks which were distinctly Irish in subject matter and style.

The Pearse family sculpture business was wound up between 1910 and 1911. The money was used to fund Scoil Éanna’s move to The Hermitage. Following the move, William Pearse became a full-time art teacher in the school. His workload in the school meant he had little time to devote to his art. Patrick Pearse’s increased involvement in politics meant a lot of the burden of running the school fell to William. As a result, his surviving body of work is relatively small. In addition to items from the Pearse Museum Collection, the permanent exhibition of his work in the Pearse Museum includes pieces on loan from the National Museum and Kilmainham Gaol Museum.


Sitting Room

“The school will always maintain a private and homelike character. The resident pupils live rather under the conditions which prevail in a large family than under the somewhat harsh discipline of ordinary boarding-schools. An important point is that their domestic welfare is in charge of ladies, a fact which, in conjunction with its private character, renders the school specially suited for the education of sensitive or delicate boys.”

Scoil Eanna Prospectus, 1910-11.

“Two things have constantly pulled at cross-purposes in me: one a deep homing instinct, a desire beyond all words to be at home always, with the same beloved faces, the same familiar shapes and sounds about me; the other an impulse to seek hard things to do, to go on quests and fight lost causes. And neither thing, neither the quiet home life nor the perilous adventure, has ever brought me any content.”

– Patrick Pearse, Autobiography (manuscript).


School Art Gallery

“The internal decoration and furnishing of the School have been carried out in accordance with a carefully-considered scheme of colouring and design. The object held in view has been the encouraging in the boys of a love of comely surroundings and the formation of their taste in art. In the classrooms beautiful pictures, statuary, and plants replace the charts and other paraphernalia of the ordinary schoolroom.”

Scoil Eanna Prospectus, 1909-10.

The Dormitory

“Pearse’s very presence, I have said before, was a discipline in itself. He had rarely to resort to corporal punishment. The most noisy dormitory or study-hall became hushed and silent as he entered with his peremptory Céard é seo? Céard é seo? A silence due to respect and not fear.”

– Desmond Ryan, The Man Called Pearse (1919).

Desmond Ryan (1893-1964) was born in Dublin and began attending Scoil Éanna in 1908. While studying at University College Dublin he lived in the Hermitage and was secretary to Patrick Pearse. He fought at the GPO during the Easter Rising in 1916 and took the pro-Treaty side during the Civil War. Ryan published and edited a number of works relating to the life and literary writings of Patrick Pearse.

“The atmosphere of St. Enda’s was neither that of a prison, a reformatory, nor a hospital. In fact at night we often went down to Mrs. Pearse for a biscuit or, if that failed, for a slice of bread and a glass of milk, or to Miss Pearse or Miss Brady. That was the secret of the homely and non-institutional atmosphere of St. Enda’s. Women had charge of the domestic arrangements. If one wanted an extra blanket, one didn’t have to interview an impersonal Lay Brother, one went to Mrs. Pearse, or Miss. Pearse, and got it. If you were sick and wanted Cascara Sagrada, you did the same – just as you might go to your mother for it.”

– Kenneth Reddin, ‘A man called Pearse’ in Studies, vol.34, no.134 (1945).

Kenneth Reddin (1895-1967) was born in Dublin. Having spent some years at Belvedere College and Clongowes Wood College, he began attending Scoil Éanna when it opened at its new premises in Rathfarnham in 1910. He later studied law and was appointed Judge of District Courts in 1922. He wrote several plays, including The Passing (1924) which was produced at the Abbey Theatre.

The School Museum

“When the talk is over, Pearse shows me through the high-ceilinged rooms of the beautiful old house. In one room he has established a collection of weapons that have lived through hazardous times and high adventures: a cannon-ball from the siege of Limerick; pikes with hand-hammered iron heads that were carried in the ’98 Rising; swords and pistols treasured once in mountain caves, or in the camps of the ‘Wild Geese’ in France. The boys are allowed to handle these things. And so was I.”

– Ella Young, Flowering Dusk (1945).

Ella Young (1865-1951) was born into a Presbyterian family in Co. Antrim. While at university she was involved with George Russell’s (AE) Theosophical Society. She learned Irish and wrote poetry and children’s books on Celtic mythology. She was active during the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War. Young settled in California, lecturing in Gaelic literature at Berkeley.

“I well recall the series of engravings of the United Irishmen which hung along the walls leading up to the Study Hall, the pikes, the butcher’s block, (even if the story was apocryphal, but no matter about that), the constant showing of these things seeps into the young mind and makes them think and ask questions as to what it was all about.” – Litir ó Fhionntán Ó Murchadha chuig an mBráthair Allen, 9 Nollaig 1957.

– Letter from Fintan Murphy to Brother Allen, 9 December 1957

Fintan Murphy was born in London and began attending Scoil Éanna along with his brother Desmond in 1910. He fought in the GPO during the Easter Rising in 1916.

An Halla Mór

“On Saturdays, Pearse assembles his pupils in a lecture-hall, and people who are interested in Pearse’s ideas come out and talk to the boys. This Saturday afternoon I am going to talk to them. It will be something about Gaelic Ireland, perhaps some story out of the old sagas.”

– Ella Young, Flowering Dusk (1945).

“…I thought of the big fire in the Study Hall. I peered in, shivering. In the dark I heard a thread of sound, the low music of a voice uttering itself into confidence. My ear directed me to the recess where a huge log fire was burning. Clear, soft, eager, the head master’s voice recounting a story of Finn and Oscar and Ossian. On the tale went, on …. I tried to escape, but bungled into something.
“Cé tá ansin? Tar isteach: – Who is there? Come in.”
Pearse stood up from the fire. In a moment the Hall was flooded with light. He stood there blushing a little and smiling. At the fire two small boys sat staring into the blaze.”

– Kenneth Reddin, ‘A man called Pearse’ in Studies, vol.34, no.134 (1945).

The Chapel

“We are anxious to build a school chapel, in order that we may have the great privilege of the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in our midst, and of daily Mass within our own walls.”

– Patrick Pearse, ‘By way of Comment’ in An Macaomh, Midsummer 1909. An Macaomh was the school magazine of Scoil Éanna.

“During my years in St. Enda’s College I never saw a visiting priest from the local parish, but every evening after study Pearse recited prayers in Irish and on Sundays and Church Holydays we were marched to Rathfarnham Parish Church and, of course, we were encouraged to go to confession and communion weekly. After evening prayers Pearse gave us a lecture in Irish on some aspect of Irish history and particularly favoured the Fenian Movement.”

– Joseph Sweeney, ‘Donegal and the Easter Rising’ in Donegal Annual, vol.vii, no. 1 (1966).

Scoil Éanna Classroom

“The internal decoration and furnishing of the School have been carried out in accordance with a carefully-considered scheme of colouring and design. The object held in view has been the encouraging in the boys of a love of comely surroundings and the formation of their taste in art. In the classrooms beautiful pictures, statuary, and plants replace the charts and other paraphernalia of the ordinary schoolroom.”

– Scoil Éanna Prospectus, 1909-10.

When Patrick Pearse moved his school here in 1910, he converted the former farm buildings around the courtyard into classrooms. There were five classrooms as well as two science laboratories, an art room and a gymnasium. They had to be located here because Pearse’s landlord insisted that students should not be in the main house during the day. The courtyard and house were connected by a galvanised metal building which Pearse had constructed to act as a refectory where the boys could eat their meals.

The school was divided into six classes which were called ‘catha’, a word from the ancient Gaelic sagas about Fionn and the Fianna which meant ‘battalion’. Class sizes were small and averaged between seven and ten boys. Pearse wanted his classrooms to be inspiring spaces so he filled them with interesting and beautiful things such as statues, maps, plants and historical pictures. There were outdoor classes in the grounds as well where the boys learned about nature, geography and gardening.