the 1850s, Ireland, for centuries the “isle of saints
and scholars”, could be rightfully considered one of the
world’s leading producers of immigrants. Due to unsustainable
living conditions that exceeded the much debated Great
Famine, about 1.5 million Irishmen left their country
in search of a better future.
first option was to cross the Irish Sea to England and
join the scores of workers that fuelled the world’s leading
economy. Others crossed the Atlantic and contributed to
the rapid growth of the United States. There were some
who ventured farther, to the scarcely populated British
dominions: Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
there were those -a mere ten to twenty thousand men and
women- who chose another country which yearned
for hard working immigrants that would position it as
one of the leading nations in the world: the Argentine
the 1840s and up to the 1860s, the landowners of the rich
province of Buenos Aires hired skilled Irishmen to tend
to their sheep. Encouraged by fellow countrymen who had
tried their luck in the pampas, entire families
-primarily from Co. Westmeath, Wexford and Longford- arrived
to find that, although the language and culture differed,
they shared a common faith and they had the opportunity
to become landowners.
1870 approximately 85 % of the Irish immigrants were settled
in the countryside. Through contracts that granted them
a percentage of the sheep’s offspring, many shepherds
created their own herds from scratch. They then leased
land or bought it. Successful sheep farmers then became
full fledged estancieros and mingled with the best
of the Argentine society. However, these success stories
became increasingly rare during the last quarter of the
century … later arrivals were lucky enough to find a job
with their fellow nationals.
remaining 15 % of Irish immigrants lived in the cities,
especially in Buenos Aires: port of entry, capital city
and economic engine of the young Republic. Women could
easily find employment as maids and cooks, while men usually
worked for commercial firms. The increasing prosperity
of some estancieros meant that towards the 1880s
they could afford to have a house in the city.
Aires was also the home of a key figure in the history
of Irish immigration to Argentina: Reverend Anthony Fahy.
This zealous Dominican arrived to Argentina in 1844, and
during the next twenty-seven years, he laboured for the
well being of his countrymen. His tasks were so varied
that he once defined himself as “consul, post master,
judge, pastor, interpreter and job provider”. He advised many to go to the countryside,
save money and then acquire their own lands.
to the efforts of Fahy, other priests and the more fortunate
members of the community the Irish were able to form their
own community institutions and preserve their traditions.
Local literature, music, sports, Argentine culture as
a whole was enriched by the contributions of the Irish-Argentines.
As we shall see throughout this article, education was
greatly benefited by their efforts in the 1850-1950 period.
in the Argentine Republic
the times of the May Revolution (1810), education was
one of the pillars of the Argentine Republic. Initially
entrusted to private individuals, priests and religious
congregations, it was gradually absorbed by the State.
However this was a slow process, since the first decades
of independent life proved to be difficult. Although independence
was achieved in 1816, the definitive National Constitution
was only sanctioned in 1853, following decades of external
and internal conflicts, which would continue for decades.
religious congregations had provided, since colonial times,
a free education to the children of rich and poor families
alike. Their schools were perceived as valuable, and through
the mechanism of “incorporation”, the National Council
of Education approved their educational plans, giving
their degrees and diplomas an official status.
1883, only 156.325 children (31 %) who were of school
age actually went to public or private schools. The following
year, the Act
of Common Education (Ley 1420 de Educación Común)
guaranteed that every child over six would receive a free,
compulsory education that would last at least six years.
It also opened the long debate between those who supported
either lay or religious education. But, in the long run
it assured the education of the majority of the Argentines.
the end of the 1880s, private schools -most of them linked
to immigrant communities- were predominant. Approximately
half of the inhabitants of Buenos Aires were foreigners.
The government and the local elite, quickly realised that
a state-controlled education could result in two benefits:
the “education of the sovereign” (future voters) and the
assimilation of those Argentines whose parents were immigrants.
subsequent years, the majority of the immigrants privileged
a solid education, rather than an “ethnic” education.
This explains the fact that, while the number of public
schools grew rapidly, the community schools lost pupils
and many of them eventually closed their doors.The situation of the Irish-Argentine
schools was an exception to the general rule, and after
studying their evolution, we will see the reasons for
Irish Immigrants’ Concerns about Education
their arrival, the Irish immigrants showed their concern
for the education of their young. Although the Argentine
state developed a network of public schools, different
factors contributed to their reticence to send their children
to those establishments. Firstly, the great distances
and the need to have their assistance in the rural tasks.
Secondly, there existed a certain cultural prejudice.
Many parents did not feel comfortable sending their offspring
to local schools where they would mix with the “natives”,
and absorb their culture and language, leading to the
gradual loss of their own.
Murray, writing in 1919, deplores the effects of this
policy, but tries to justify this exclusiveness which
delayed the integration of new generations of Irish-Argentines:
poor native in those days was a rather lawless and unlovely
character, while rich and poor alike in the country districts
were, in the eyes of the Irish settlers, shamefully immoral
[...]. The Irish father and mother were, therefore, quite
satisfied that the less intercourse their boys or girls
had with such neighbours the better it would be for them.”
it’s not surprising to find that, up to the last quarter
of the nineteenth century, the majority of the Irish families
who lived in the countryside relied on picturesque “camp
school masters”, an adaptation of the original “hedge
school masters” of Ireland. The first of these masters,
to our knowledge, worked for the Handy (or Handley) family,
which in 1842 owned an estancia on the banks of the Salado
the 1860s many families had a camp schoolmaster in their
midst, and some even became part of local folklore, as
the first stanza of “Donovan’s mount” proves:
“I roved round the camp till I met with an Irishman
Whose houses and land give appearance of joy,
So I up and I asked if he wanted a pedagogue
As I tipped him the wink that I was the boy …”
this doesn’t mean that these men were fully integrated,
since many of them were “undesirable citizens”:
were mostly men of poor or scarcely any education; deserters
from English or American ships, outcasts from commercial
or professional callings, because of their weakness for
strong drinks, or once in a while, a ne’er-do-well who
taught for a few months here and a few months there merely
as resting spots on the vagrant course of life he had
marked out for himself.”
most of them did not remain with the same family long
enough to influence their students decisively. And we
must add that there were some honest schoolmasters who
were later successful in other walks of life.
camp schoolmasters taught reading, writing and some basic
arithmetic, always keeping one step ahead of the most
advanced students. They were also expected to help in
household chores; knowledge of masonry and carpentry were
also welcome! Tom Garrahan, who grew up in Lobos, recalled
in his memoirs that during recreation, Mr. George Legates,
a former Glasgow engineer...
always occupied at some mechanical work and always kept
me to help him, […] so I picked up a lot of useful
knowledge. He was very good at carpentry and he even made
a steam engine, a model in wood. All I learned from him
came in handy in after years”.
had to learn their prayers and the catechism but parents
had little time for this. According to Murray, most schoolmasters
would not be useful in this crucial aspect of education,
since many of them -especially the English and Americans-
were Protestants, agnostics or atheists!
Such was the price that many Irish settlers paid to have
their children educated in their mother tongue.
less known aspect is the education of the children of
labourers who had no means to pay for these itinerant
teachers. According to an embassy report that explained
the situation in the mid nineteenth century, this situation
kept a wide sector of the Irish community “at the barely-literate
level, and, coupled with their remoteness from urban centres,
deprived them of opportunities for advancement in a country
that was rapidly becoming prosperous”.
the members of the Irish-Argentine community with means,
there existed an alternative option concerning the education
of their children: a boarding school abroad. In 1916,
The Southern Cross published advertisements for two boarding
schools in Ireland: Saint Enda’s College (Co. Dublin)
and Rockwell College (Cashel). The first one was termed
“the Irish-Ireland Boarding School for Catholic Boys”,
which is hardly surprising, considering that its headmaster
was none other than Padraig Pearse, executed by the British
that same year for proclaiming the Irish Republic. Many
Irish-Argentine parents were comfortable with sending
their children to English boarding schools.
1856 seven Sisters of Mercy arrived to Buenos Aires. This congregation established by Mother Catherine McAuley in Dublin
(1831) has one peculiarity: to the traditional vows of
poverty, obedience and chastity, they add a fourth one:
“the care of the poor, the sick and the ignorant”.
1857, they were in charge of a school for Irish girls
in Riobamba Street, city of Buenos Aires. The Irish-Argentine
community owed this first school to Father Fahy who had
made possible the arrival of the Sisters and the organisation
of the Irish
To begin with, it had five classrooms where 20 boarders
had their lessons, and a school for the poor girls of
1861 Father Fahy informed that the Sisters had “sixty
five boarders, all of them daughters of Irish settlers,
and also 160 daughters of the natives that received a
free education” The 1869 national census, reflects
that the school and the Irish Hospital (which was located
beside the school) were managed by 28 Sisters. There were
84 boarders (mostly Irish-Argentines), 37 of which were
1865 the Sisters of Mercy opened their second school,
Saint Peter and Paul, in Chascomús, but in
1868 this rural district was severely affected by the
cholera epidemic and the Sisters lacked the necessary
medical and religious attention. At the same time, their
countrymen started the exodus to the northwestern area
of the province of Buenos Aires.
Peter and Paul
closed down, and a short time later (1872) they inaugurated
another school with the same staff in Mercedes, a flourishing
district with 14,000 inhabitants and a resident Irish
chaplain. The Sisters bought land close to the train station
and built Saint
a school that had to close when the Sisters left the country.
departure was motivated by the uncertainty that followed
the closure of the Irish Hospital in 1874 and the violent
anti-clerical campaign in which the neighbouring Colegio
del Salvador was set on fire. The Sisters left
the country in February 1880, and eventually arrived to
Australia, where they established different institutions.
May 1880, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart -many of which
had Irish origins- took over the convent and school. Their
report from September of the following year, informs that
they had 75 orphans and 54 boarders under their care and
150 girls at the free school. The aim of the Sisters was to “prepare
them for the grave duties and responsibilities of life,
and qualify them to hold an honourable position in society”.
achieve that aim, the pupils received a full programme
which included: Christian doctrine, English, Spanish,
History (sacred and secular), Arithmetic, and Natural
Sciences. To these subjects, standard in most curricula,
they added refinement of manners, Piano and Singing, Drawing
and Painting, French, and even Astronomy.
possess fragmented information about the other pioneering
Irish-Argentine schools. Murray and Ussher refer briefly
to some of them, and The Southern Cross published
advertisements since its first issue, in 1875.
1861 Dr. Patrick Fitz Simons, a very learned Irishman,
organised a school for boys in Lobos, province of Buenos
Aires, which was later moved to Flores, closer to the capital, named Saint Patrick’s College.
According to Murray, Fitz Simons was not a good educator,
since he sought to turn his pupils into good English subjects,
teaching them only English history, and nothing about
Ireland or Argentina. Argentine authorities had a completely
opposite opinion, and actually trusted him with the task
of organising and directing the National School of Corrientes
which was inaugurated in 1869.
had established the Irish College for girls, and by 1862
he reckoned that it was the turn of the boys. He therefore
bought a plot of land, opposite the girls’ school. After
the necessary repairs, he entrusted the running of the
school to Fathers James Curran and Lawrence Kirwan, but
their lack of pedagogical experience and their limited
knowledge of Spanish, led to their failure. Fahy then
sold the property to the Jesuits who then established
the famous Colegio del Salvador, one of the most important
catholic cultural centres in the Argentine Republic.
Father Michael Leahy’s (Irish chaplain of Carmen de Areco)
encouragement, 1869 witnessed the inauguration of Saint
Brendan’s College. The school, with a capacity for
60 boarders, was successful until Leahy’s death (1893).
That same year, Mrs. Colclough Brennan, who had directed
a school in Manchester, opened a school for girls at the corner of Maipú and Lavalle streets,
in the city of Buenos
its inaugural year, 1875, The Southern Cross printed
various advertisements which announced the services of
3 schools which were presumably Irish.
Colegio de la Santa Fe (Holy Faith School), directed
by Mrs. Hine and her daughters offered “a liberal education,
including music, singing and other accomplishments, and
all that is necessary to qualify them for domestic management”.
Its location (Callao, corner of Juncal), “close
to the city”, allowed parents to visit their daughters
Mrs. Macken, argued that her Windsor College, facing
Lezama’s quinta, was situated in the healthiest area of
the city. The Sacred Heart College, directed
by Mrs. R. Galbraith, did not publicize the advantages
of its location but limited itself to listing the multiple
subjects comprised in the programme.
June 1876 Father Dillon started in his house on Corrientes
Street, a Catholic school both for Irish and other English-speaking
boys, which he later moved to Cangallo Street. Saint
George’s College accepted boarders, half-boarders
and day-students, announcing that:
course of instruction includes elementary, commercial
and superior education. […] The college [affords] facilities
for the acquirement of modern languages, the programmes
including English, Spanish, French, German and Italian;
while particular attention is paid to those boys who are
but imperfectly acquainted with the language of the country.”
from 1884, The Southern Cross shows no advertisements
of its founder’s school. We can speculate that Saint George’s
was short-lived due to the multiple occupations of dean
Dillon. The existence of many Irish schools depended greatly
on the determination of their founders. Such was the case
of the unsuccessful Saint Patrick’s College in San Pedro,
province of Buenos Aires.
end of 1881, Michael Dineen, who had ample teaching experience, announced to the readers of The Southern
Cross that, on popular request, he would open on January
15, 1882, the afore mentioned school for boys, and presented
an ambitious curriculum. However, on January 13, 1883,
he dispelled the illusions of the Irish-Argentine parents:
to the fact that Mr. Michael Dineen, having been appointed
co-editor of the Southern Cross, cannot carry his intention
of opening a college in San Pedro, he takes this opportunity
of thanking the many friends who generously offered their
patronage and support.”
Gray (1850-1928), member of the Congregation of Saint
Vincent of Paul (Lazarists) opened in 1877 the Colegio
de Nuestra Señora de Luján, in Luján, 60 km. north of
the city of Buenos Aires. Its purpose was to give “a true Christian
education and sound instruction to those young men who
are desirous of following the ecclesiastical career or
any profession, whether of the free or commercial style”.
prospectus spared no details, describing the subjects,
conditions for admission (which included the presentation
of various certificates: birth, good conduct, health)
and also the boys’ wardrobe (it even specifies the number
of socks that they had to bring along!).
Sisters of Mercy
intense negotiations, the Sisters of Mercy agreed to come
back to Argentina, arriving in Buenos Aires in August
1890. In 1883, eminent Irish-Argentine citizens had founded
the Irish Catholic Association (ICA) which had taken over
the school in Riobamba Street.
to that moment, the free school for humble and orphaned
girls, the school for boarders and the convent shared
the same premises. The 1895 national census shows that
18 sisters were in charge of 136 students, which were
still mostly Irish-Argentine. The building was rapidly becoming inadequate,
and it was sold to the Brothers of the Christian Schools,
who founded the La Salle School, which still stands
to this day.
Irish Catholic Association and the Sisters of Mercy decided
to go separate ways: the association started building
Saint Bridget’s School, while the Sisters began
to build on the corner of 24 de Noviembre and Estados
Unidos, the building which would serve as convent and
Misericordiae was solemnly inaugurated on August 15,
1897. The Sisters would run this establishment for almost
8 years, always seeking to teach Christian values, solid
knowledge, physical health and good manners. Many other
Mercy schools followed in the next two decades.
the beginning of the 20th century, two Irish-Argentine
ladies decided it was necessary to create Irish schools
in San Antonio de Areco, a prosperous town in the northern
area of the province of Buenos Aires. Santa María de
la Asunción (Saint Mary’s) and Clonmacnoise
stand as testimonies of the generosity of Mary Mooney
and her sister Margaret Morgan (née Mooney), respectively.
Mary’s -a girls’ school- was inaugurated on 16 March
1901. Mrs. Morgan had intended to find a male order to
run the boys’ school baptised after the well-known monastery
of Ireland’s golden age. Clonmacnoise opened its
doors on 22 March 1922 and was run by the Sisters of Mercy
until 1949, when the nuns decided to entrust its care
to the Pallotine fathers. Both schools benefited from
its easy access by train and the increasing amount of
Irish settlers in the area.
railway would also contribute to the creation of another
school. This time it would be in Rawson (Chacabuco
department). Mrs. Mary Anne Browne Casey, graciously
donated a house in which the daughters of the Irish railway
workers could be educated. The Sisters inaugurated
Saint Anne’s on 19 April 1929. Two years later, they established Saint
Ethnea’s, in Bella Vista, in the outskirts of Buenos
the Irish Catholic Association decided that the new school
should be an everlasting tribute to the memory of Father
Fahy. With that purpose in mind, the ICA bought 7 hectares
in the area of Flores (at that time, the outskirts of
the city). The construction of the new building, executed
by Inglis & Thomas, caused a big stir in the community
and was closely monitored by The Southern Cross.
result was a grandiose neo-gothic building. Saint Bridget’s,
so christened after the patron saint of Ireland and of
students, which was inaugurated in the presence of hundreds
of Irish-Argentines by the archbishop of Buenos Aires,
Mgr. Castellanos, on March 19, 1899. The building, which
is 3-stories high, featured bedrooms that could house
250 boarders and enormous gardens. Ten years later, a
chapel was added.
to enforce a “new” educational programme, the ICA entrusted
the care of their school to the Missionaries of the Sacred
Heart but due to the demands of the Irish-Argentine
community, the Sisters of Mercy were summoned and took
the reins of the institution by the end of 1902.
1926 the ICA informed of 186 students who had passed their
Pallotine and Passionist Schools
1885, as a result of his visit to Mercedes, Father William
Whitmee (1851-1909) was able to persuade the authorities
of the Pallotine Institute about the convenience of establishing
a school in the area, since the Irish settlers accounted
for two thirds of the local population and Mercedes was
an important railway centre. Besides, they could
make good use of the building left by the Sisters of Mercy. By mid-1886 Whitmee was assisted by
2 other Pallotines: Bernard Feeney and Joseph Bannin.
Patrick’s School, which also served as the congregation’s
first residence in Argentina, opened its doors in February
1887. The school accepted pupils from different ethnic
origins and had as its motto: “The fosterage of the best
Irish race principles and the high traditions of that
race in Argentina”.
first head was Bernard Feeney, who added an industrial
school as an annex, probably the first of its kind in
Argentina. He also started a printing press and published
the magazine “Flowers and Fruits”. At the end of 1887,
the industrial school was moved to Azcuénaga -a promising
village, 40 km. away- and christened Saint Bridget’s.
Aided by his 25 students, Feeney launched a weekly publication
“The Irish Argentine”. Regrettably, his newspaper ceased
to appear and the school was closed in 1889.
its early years, Saint Patrick’s had to face economic
difficulties and finance the enlargement of the existing
building. Pupils posed another difficulty: up to that
moment they had depended on the rural schoolmasters, and
therefore it was difficult to classify them by age group
or educational level. The Pallotines, with the help of
teachers and former students soon put an end to this and
managed to teach a wide array of subjects.
requests of satisfied parents, led the Order to open a
school for external students, Saint Stanislaus, which
worked independently until 1925, when it was once more
incorporated into the parent school. We must not fail to mention, that Saint
Patrick’s brought together the community of Mercedes
in its ceremonies and sports competitions.
male religious order would open a school in the northern
area of the province of Buenos Aires, and run it along
similar lines: that is the case of Saint Paul’s School
founded in Capitán Sarmiento by the Passionist Fathers.
Victor Carolan (1846-1898) had originally built a monastery
in the area, but later decided to build a school as an
annex. Saint Paul’s -named after the founder
of the order- grew around Saint Patrick’s chapel, built
by chaplain “Largo” Michael Leahy in 1868, and was inaugurated
on January 7, 1900. Once again, the short distance to an
important railway station was crucial for the school’s
de Moal has left us a detailed account of the school in
which he taught for decades. Thanks to him we know that
the modest amount of 40 students of 1905 were already
107 in 1908. This growth led to the incorporation of former
pupils as teaching assistants every single year. De Moal
also reminds us that health conditions were different
in those days, for example, in 1908 a burst of scarlet
the director to send all the students back home. The building
is disinfected using the means that science and law prescribe,
with all the care, neatness and goodwill that can be asked
for. [...] The boy Michael Cormack died a few days after
his father took him back to Arrecifes.”
Ladies of Saint Joseph’s Society
1889, the “City of Dresden” arrived to port with
1800 Irish immigrants, despite the repeated warnings that
they would receive no help from the Argentine government.
After two years of hardship, which caused the death of
many, and the discouragement of further immigration schemes,
a group of Irish-Argentine ladies decided to deal with
the orphaned boys, which resulted from this venture. They
formed the Ladies of Saint Joseph’s Society and
subsequently created the Fahy Institute (May 14, 1891),
which fulfilled the cherished project of the notorious
Father Fahy after whom it was named.
begin with, the school had its premises on Cochabamba
street, Buenos Aires. It was later moved to Capilla del
Señor. By 1895, the Sisters of the Order of
Saint Joseph had 70 boys who were between 5 and 10 years
old, under their care. Two years later, the Fahy Institute
became an industrial school and the Brothers of Saint
Joseph of Lyon replaced the Sisters, but since they were
not able to teach English lessons, they too were replaced.
After years of incertitude, the Marist Brothers were put
in charge of the establishment (1908-1933) and were in
turn replaced by the Pallotines.
40 years after its creation (December 16, 1929), the Ladies
of Saint Joseph’s Society inaugurated new premises in
Moreno (49 km. away from the city) and added to its name
the defining term “Farm”, referring to their key aim:
“to teach the young boys to love the land, learning from
it while they toiled it”. The new building had a capacity for
200 students. The boys under 10 remained in Capilla del
annual balance of 1943 gives us some useful information about
the Institute. Two priests, 6 local teachers and 4 prefects
in charge of discipline aided the rector. One hundred
and seventy three students were matriculated that year.
Pupils in the upper courses took English exams in the
British Cultural Association and accountancy in the Pisonero
1912, Cristina Keating offered a generous donation to
build a girls’ school in Estados Unidos street, right
in front of Holy Cross church, neuralgic centre of the
Irish-Argentine community. The new Keating Institute,
was entrusted to the Sisters of Mercy, who once again
set out to educate the orphaned Irish-Argentine girls. Thirty years later, 6 Sisters and 2
teachers were responsible for the education of 120 pupils.
decades, the Irish-Argentines sent their children to the
schools administered by the Sisters of Mercy, and the
Pallotine and Passionist Fathers, most of which were located
in the province of Buenos Aires.
during the early 20th century, the urbanisation
process particularly affected the ascending Irish and
the city of Buenos Aires had a magnetic influence. Therefore
it was only natural that most of the new foundations took
place in the city or its outskirts.
the 1920s and 30s, the English speaking Catholics of Buenos
Aires, began to feel the need of a school where their
children could be educated in the Catholic faith, preserving
their mother tongue. Back then, English schools like Saint
Andrew’s, Saint George’s, Saint Hilda’s
and Northlands failed to fulfil the first condition.
A 1932 memo explained that most of the 24 British schools
of Argentina were Protestant and that the parents of 228
boys were interested in establishing an exclusive Catholic
school in Buenos Aires.Two new orders would arrive to educate
the children of the wealthier Irish-Argentines.
Passionists, in particular Father Luis Hochendoner, were
instrumental in encouraging the female branch of the order,
already installed in Chile, to cross the Andes and establish
a school for girls in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. When
Mother Margaret Mary Reilly visited the city in 1923 she
was a guest at the stately residence of Michael Ham (1857-1924)
and Ana María Lynch (1863-1943), distinguished members
of the Irish-Argentine community.
Hams had considered presenting a donation for the future
school, but when they realised that the Sisters were unable
to find a suitable place for their school, they decided
to donate their own house. Its size and proximity to Vicente
López train station made it ideal for the purpose. The
17,000 m2 property was transferred to the Passionist
Sisters in 1924, shortly before Mr. Ham’s death.
1926, Sisters Scholastica and Aquinas arrived to organise
the new school and gave it the name Michael Ham Memorial
College. It was
inaugurated on March 9, 1926, with 22 boarders and 20
day pupils. During the next years, the rooms of the mansion
became rooms for the boarders, a library, and a chapel.
New wings were added to it and in 1942, the chapel of
Saint Anne was built in memory of Ana María Lynch.
those years, the fame of the school grew. By 1938, there
were more than 200 students, 60 of which were boarders. Proof of this growth can be found in
the organisation of the Old Girls’ Association
(1935) and the creation of the first (official) year incorporated
to the National School of San Isidro (1945).
must clarify the origin and role of the Sisters. Although
the congregation was English, it attracted many Irish
vocations. “It was the Irish sisters who gave the school
its informal, progressive and joyous spirit”.
Once installed in Argentina, many Irish Argentines joined
its ranks. Many of its former pupils entered the Passionist
order and were themselves Headmistresses of the school.
And there were those who, without entering the religious
life, created their own schools.
Passionist were linked to another important foundation.
When Father Fahy established a boys’ school in 1860, he
had suggested that the Christian Brothers -Irish congregation
founded by Edmund Rice in 1802, which devoted itself to
education-, should take over it. However, the heads of
the Order, did not accept his request. In the following
decades, new pleas would receive the same answer; the
Brothers were being sent chiefly to the United States
1946, Father Dominic Moore, provincial of the Passionist
Order, visited the Superior of the Christian Brothers
in Dublin, and once again defended the case for a new
foundation in Argentina. His request was accepted, and
in November 1947, Brothers Joseph Ignatius Doorley -founder
of various schools in USA- and Cornelius O’Reilly arrived
to Buenos Aires. The Southern Cross encouraged
the community to take an active interest in this visit:
main object now is to ensure the immediate establishment
of the Christian Brothers in Buenos Aires, in the knowledge
that such establishment must redound to the glory of God,
the advancement of Argentina and to the honour of that
little isle beyond the sea which throughout the centuries
has sent abroad the ambassadors to make God known in every
corner of the earth”
to the incessant cooperation of Father Moore, a suitable
building was bought in Belgrano 1548, in one of the busiest
parts of Buenos Aires. The founders soon found a name
for the new school: Cardinal Newman, after the well-known
Englishman who is still an example of Catholic thought
around the world.
February 1948, diverse articles and advertisements were
published in the media, announcing the opening of the
school on 29 March. The national programme would be followed
during the morning, devoting the afternoons to English.
Brother Alphonsus L. Pakenham was the first rector, who
presided over a community of 7 brothers, 8 lay teachers,
and 148 students, 27 of which were boarders.
Brothers treated their students kindly, working to “form
honest, capable men, full of intellectual and spiritual
values”. It can be easily understood how the
school rapidly earned an excellent reputation, incorporating
200 new students in 1949, which would have been more had
there been more vacancies.
Educators, Two Dreams
1897, Lawrence Dillon established a new school for boys
in Montes de Oca 1138-50, on the premises of a quinta
which could house 50 boarders and included 8,000 m2
of gardens and playing grounds.
years later, Saint Lucy’s announced proudly that
the approval rate in the official exams always exceeded
90%. Dillon, who would direct the school for many decades,
was glad to offer “always the system, always the same
treatment, and as far as possible, always the same teachers”. Clearly, continuity was a great virtue
for the founder!
1926, Saint Lucy’s had moved to a new location,
in San Juan 855, closer to the central district of Buenos
Aires. At the time, Dillon announced that Saint Lucy’s
had “withstood the acid test of time” and invited parents
to find out about the advantages of the school from friends,
former students and the Consejo Nacional de Educación. He later expressed that many alumni
occupied leading positions in the banks and oil companies
of Buenos Aires.
Lawrence Dillon was not the only Irish teacher willing
to start his own school in Buenos Aires. In the 1920s,
Sean Healy, pharmacist and Gaelic teacher, decided to
leave behind the political turmoil of his native land
and emigrated to the United States. During the trip
he met a Scotsman who convinced him to join him in a rubber
plantation in Manaos, Brazil! However, the Brazilian
adventure came to an end when Healy contracted malaria
and his doctor recommended his removal to a healthier
arrived to Buenos Aires in 1928 and started to work at
the Buenos Aires English High School. He then became
director of Saint Lucy’s. After that experience
he decided to create an environment in which he could
educate his pupils with humanist ideas.
the 1930s, most of the Irish schools for boys were located
in the province of Buenos Aires. Healy decided to establish
his in Gaona Avenue 2855, in the former building of the
Constitución English School, close to Saint
Bridget’s. Three years later, the school moved to
its actual location: Rivadavia 5672, 200 metres away from
a train station.
school was christened Saint Ciaran’s, in honour of the
Irish patron saint of students, who founded Clonmacnoise
abbey -renowned centre of learning- in the sixth century.
Classes commenced on March 1, 1933 with the presence of
6 teachers and 35 pupils.
Ciaran’s was attended by boarders, day pupils and
half-boarders. Some girls were incorporated, but were
kept in separate classes. They all had access to football
fields, tennis and basketball courts, a vegetable garden
and a private chapel.
staff was highly qualified: professor Weston came from
the University of Cambridge, while professor Morris had
studied at Oxford and London. Qualified national teachers
were in charge of Mathematics, Sciences and Celtic. Despite being a bilingual school, where
most of the students did not speak Spanish as their mother
tongue, this did not imply the duplication of subjects,
since Healy understood this would not be beneficial.
years after its inauguration, Saint Ciaran’s announced
its incorporation to National School Nº 8 “Julio
A. Roca”. The kindergarten had just been inaugurated and
a sports field had been acquired. Two modern school buses
provided “safe transportation from any address in the
Federal Capital”. The six original teachers were now
fifteen. The 102 primary students who had sat for the
national exams had achieved a high average.
1943, professor Healy could announce that the spectacular
increase in student matriculations -they were already
170- “was no spontaneous development, but the result of
ceaseless labour, combined with scrupulous attention to
all details of scholastic improvements, trusting more
in progressive results and the cooperation of contented
parents, than in flamboyant propaganda.”.
to the 1960s, the schools of the Irish-Argentine community
accepted boarders. Girls and boys came from all over the
province of Buenos Aires to the Mercy, Pallotine, Passionist
and other schools which we have already described. We
will glimpse at their lives far from home, by taking as
a model the daily routine imposed by the Sisters of Mercy
in their schools, and describe the life of their students
in the 1920s and 30s.
woke up at 6 am. After listening to mass (on Sundays and
religious feasts) and taking breakfast, girls would comply
with the tasks assigned by the Sisters (laundry, cleaning,
cooking). The rest of the morning was dedicated to Spanish
lessons. It was compulsory for all schools to comply with
the official programme and for the students to sit for
the exams of the National Education Council in November.
Local staff was in charge of this important area in the
afternoons were devoted to English lessons, which were
in charge of the Sisters. Subjects included, besides Grammar
and Literature, History (including Irish history), Geography,
Biology, Maths, Religion, etc. The students sat for the
exams of the local English Cultural Association and for
the Cambridge exams.
3 o’clock they would have tea, a short break and then
study hours. After dinner and prayers they went off to
bed, at about 8 pm.
boarders were allowed to receive visitors on Sundays and
holidays. If they behaved properly, they were allowed
to turn on the radio and improvise small dances. Outings
were mostly related to religious occasions, such as Easter,
Corpus Christi or Saint Patrick’s, which was celebrated
by the pupils of the schools located in Buenos Aires at
Holy Cross church along with the rest of the community.
The International Eucharistical Congress of 1934 was a
well-remembered event, since it involved incessant activities.
all of the Irish-Argentine schools, many hours were spent
in activities that exceeded books. Following the principle
of “mens sana in corpore sano” sports were widely
practiced: tennis, hockey and netball by the girls, football
and basketball by the boys.
the American Passionist Brothers taught their pupils to
play baseball, the Pallotines relied on hurling to stress
the loyalty of their pupils to Ireland, and the Christian
Brothers on rugby to promote a team spirit. In keeping
with the militarisation of Argentine society in the 1930s,
boys started to receive drills from military officers.
On a more original note, there were swimming lessons for
the girls at Michael Ham which took place in the River
well-educated girls had to have other accomplishments:
they were taught to sew and embroider, French, manners,
piano and singing; in some cases, they also performed
Irish dances. In the 1930s, typing lessons allowed these
young women to become executive secretaries in foreign
companies, such as Shell and Esso.Others followed the example of the Sisters
and went on to become teachers or take their vows.
subjects for boys included Latin, or in the case of the
Fahy school, preparing them for rural activities. The
liberal education which they received enabled them to
follow professional careers, such as Law and Medicine.
Many joined the Army, Navy and Aviation. Some of them
joined the ranks of the orders that had educated them.
Boys were specially prepared for business activities,
through subjects such as accountancy and book-keeping.
According to Mr. Luis Delaney, the prestige of the Fahy
Institute meant a rapid insertion of its alumni in multinational
the testimonies, the true affection and respect that the
pupils felt for their teachers is evident. Tessie Farrell
explains the deep impression that was left in the former
students of her Irish-Argentine school:
love Saint Bridget’s and all the people that I was lucky
enough to meet there. I was thrilled to study and learn
all the good lessons that I was able to apply successfully
in my adult life. I was able to overcome the difficult
times thanks to the excellent Christian education which
I received in my marvellous school, something that I’m
truly thankful for. I was so happy at Saint Bridget’s!”
Becú explains the influence the Passionist Sisters left
in their students:
mingled with us [...], spoke our language, celebrated
our triumphs, cried with us [...] while we were captivated
and transformed by them. Our deep and joyous religiosity
is their gift. Our love for parties, the organisation
of events, the songs ... our love of freedom, of truth,
were sown by them. Happy mixture of cultures! They took
our spontaneity, our sensitivity, and they left us all
their joy, spirituality and discipline!”
there were plenty of examples to follow and many educators
willing to devote their lives to the education of the
new generations of Argentine citizens.
could be argued that many educators linked to the Irish-Argentine
community deserve the compliment. It is to be hoped that
many of them shared Sean Healy’s vision on education:
would not recommend the experiment or experience to those
in quest of opportunities for leisure. But I can truthfully
assert that few professions offer one such contentment
as that of guiding our youth along the thorny path of
adolescent life. Its compensations more than counterbalance
the exertions and tribulations exacted.”
of these teachers were mentioned in connection with the
institutions where they acted. Now we will deal briefly
with those who shone in the educational field, but not
necessarily within the community institutions.
Fitz Simons, who held a degree in Law and a doctorate
in Philosophy, arrived to Argentina in 1862. We have already
explained that he founded a school in Lobos and that in
1869 he was entrusted with the organisation of the National School at Corrientes.
rector of this establishment he sought to form honest
argentine citizens. He also created diverse schools: one
for prefects, an elementary school, a night school for
craftsmen and one for soldiers. In 1872, yellow fever
struck Corrientes; Fitz Simons and his wife aided many
families and finally died from the disease.
was succeeded by his son James (Santiago) Fitz Simons
(1849-1925) as rector of the school. In that capacity
he organised the secondary school, prioritising a “national,
republican education”. In 1891 he was named Inspector
of Secondary Education and he elaborated a plan of reforms.
The following year he was chosen to preside the General
Inspection of Secondary Education. He then moved on to
become rector of the Carlos Pellegrini Commercial School, one of the
most prestigious establishments of Buenos Aires.
story of Cecilia Grierson (1859-1934)was quite different. She was the daughter of
a rural worker of the province of Entre Ríos. It was there
that she started her teaching career, when she was scarcely
thirteen years old. She then studied in the Escuela
Normal de Maestras (Preparatory School for Teachers),
in Buenos Aires.
she longed to become a doctor and after overcoming the
prejudices of her contemporaries, she became the first
woman in South America to obtain a Medicine degree. In
1886 she created the first Nursing School in South America.
Her lessons on the care of the sick and first aid were
widely published. She was a professor of Anatomy and created
the course of Kinesiology.
woman who started the practice of giving out toys to hospitalised
children and using fire squad sirens in ambulances, was
a unique combination of doctor and pedagogue, in the words
of her biographer “an example of love to her country and
humanity as a whole”.
Milton Jones (1869-1941) also managed to improve the lives
of many. Born in Dublin to a Church of Ireland family,
she was sent to study Literature at the University of
Cambridge. When she was 20 years old, the whole family
emigrated to Rio de Janeiro, where she taught English,
Music and Arts at the Colegio Americano Brasileiro.
A yellow fever epidemic and the presence of 2 cousins
in Buenos Aires, determined their passage to Buenos Aires
1894, Kathleen was ready to establish the English School
(later renamed San Patricio) in San Martín, a suburb
of Buenos Aires. It was open to students of every
origin. In subsequent years she would educate more than
3,000 students. According to Murray’s investigation she
was also an educational pioneer. Her school:
a laboratory to test modern educational techniques. Kathleen
managed to implement new methods to teach English as a
foreign language and, according to the examination results,
there was a significant improvement of the students’ knowledge
and enthusiasm. Her motivation schemes, including awards
to the best students, prompted [them] to work harder”.
to Andrew Boyle, a former major in the British Army, in
1899, Kathleen followed her husband’s example and converted
into Catholicism. This remarkable woman who also devoted
her energies to helping the needy, died in 1941 and is
remembered with a street in Villa Piaggio and a bronze
bust in the entrance of San Martín cemetery.
we will deal with Father Juan Santos Gaynor (1905-1963). He studied in Saint Patrick’s School,
Mercedes. He then joined the Pallotines, who sent him
to study to Thurles, Ireland. He later became a doctor
in Philosophy and Theology.
directed The Southern Cross for eighteen years
(1940-1958), leaving in his writings “evidence of
his profound faith, vast culture and constant preoccupation
for human problems”. He was also active in the educational
field. He was General Inspector of Religious Instruction
(1951-1954); Professor of Theology and English Literature;
and the founder of the institute that bears his name:
Fundación Juan S. Gaynor (1958).
educational philosophy of the Irish-Argentines
role of Ireland as a guardian of the Western culture and
the Irishmen’s love of education are well known. The existence
of hedge-schools throughout the island in the 19th century
is proof of this. Thanks to these precarious institutions,
even the humblest peasants received an elementary education.
That is why, it’s not surprising to find that most of
the Irish immigrants who arrived to our coasts, knew how
to read and write.
level of instruction among these immigrants is evident
in the national census of 1869 and 1895. We can speculate
that the figures are not exact, since some of them might’ve
felt tempted to hide their ignorance of the Spanish language
or their scarce education. However, the data from an urban
and a rural area should prove to be useful.
these two areas, the percentage of literate Irishmen ranges
between 82 and 85% (1869), increasing to 90-92% (1895).
The progressive instruction of the immigrants is intimately
linked with increased schooling: in the first section,
the proportion of children over 6 who go to school, moves
from 43 to 90%; while in Rojas it moves from 29 to 49%.
The difference between the 2 areas is logical: Rojas was
a rural district, which had less schools and where children
were expected to help with the farming activities.
of the Irish schools and the national establishments provided
an elementary education for the children of these immigrants.
original language of the Irish is Gaelic. The English
eliminated it systematically, since they saw it as a means
of transmitting a whole culture which they wanted to eradicate.
The measure of their success after centuries of domination
can be seen in the low numbers of Irishmen who spoke Gaelic
in the nineteenth century.
analysing the educational programmes of Irish-argentine
schools it’s highly unusual to find Gaelic before the
years of the “Gaelic Renaissance” in Ireland. Its inclusion
usually responded to the personal convictions of the directors,
such is the case of Sean Healy, an active nationalist
in his native land. Saint Patrick’s in Mercedes was another
will therefore take English as the mother tongue of the
Irish immigrants. It’s also worthwhile to add that the
best examples of Irish authors wrote in this language
and that one of them, Oscar Wilde, once said that, while
the English conquered Irish territory to exploit it in
a selfish way, the Irish adopted the English language
to improve it.
were different factors that contributed to the loss of
the native language of different migrant communities and
the adoption of Spanish. Argentina’s educational policy
was one of the key factors. In 1884 the new educational
law enabled the children of immigrants to learn Spanish
and come into contact with the “natives” and create permanent
bonds with them. Furthermore, the policies known as “patriotic
education” (1908-1915) exalted the national feeling through
the use of patriotic emblems, the commemoration of key
dates and the thorough study of Argentine history.
reduced size of the immigrant community could also conspire
against the conservation of the original language. However,
we know for a fact that the Irish kept their language
up to the fourth and even fifth generation. This was due
to different factors, such as the international prestige
of English, the cultural level of the group, and of course,
the creation of institutions which sought to maintain
of the Irish pioneers were reluctant to adopt the ways
and language of the “natives”. This helps to understand
why they resorted to camp schoolmasters whose greatest
virtue was, in many cases, to speak English. Gradually,
the surrounding environment led them to adopt Spanish
as a second language, establishing its predominance at
the onset of the 20th century. By 1919 Thomas
Murray regretted that:
have in too many cases passed from one extreme to the
other in their ideas as to the language their children
should know first, and English, such a very useful tongue
to know, is frequently neglected where its imparting would
cost no more effort than its daily use by the parents
within the family circle. Irish-Argentines are very fortunately
placed, they can […] endow their children with the very
great advantage of the two principal languages of the
world, they will be acting very foolishly if they do not
fully avail themselves of this good fortune.”
change is also evident in the curriculum. While the advertisements
of Saint Patrick’s School in the 1920s considered Spanish
“a subject of great importance”, those of the 1930s highlighted
the application of the official programmes and considered
English “a subject of great importance”.
and curriculum changes aside, bilingualism was one of
the strong points of Irish-Argentine schools. Despite
integration to their country of adoption and mixed marriages,
Irish-Argentines kept the English language, not only because
for cultural reasons, but also because they appreciated
its possibilities. It was soon evident that the alumni
of Irish-Argentine schools were offered secretarial and
accounting posts in British and American enterprises.
could also argue that many other schools assigned equal
or more importance to English. Graham-Yooll provides us
with a chronicle of the English and Scottish schools.
But most of these institutions were founded and directed
by Anglicans and Presbyterians, and linked to the churches
of these confessions. The majority of the Irish who arrived
to Argentina were Catholic and they demanded a Catholic
education for their offspring.
the 19th century, Gaelic had practically succumbed to
the English onslaught, but the faith of the Irish people
remained steadfast. Actually, the Catholic faith drew
the Irish and the Argentines together. Where culture and
language created differences, religion united and permitted
a growing amount of mixed marriages.
article, which appeared in The Standard in 1925, stated
the Irish settled, their priests went with them to direct
their progress and share their trials. In Argentina, the
priests made sure that the first Irish immigrants who
had become wealthy farmers donated land to build chapels
which became not only places of worship but also schools
and social centres for the whole community.”
quick look at the schools described previously should
suffice to demonstrate that the majority of the Irish-Argentine
schools were linked to religious orders. The example of
Father Fahy, the visionary Dominican who founded the first
Irish-Argentine school, was followed by the priests he
had formed and brought from Ireland, such as Patrick Joseph
Dillon and Michael Leahy.
Sisters of Mercy occupy the first place in the “Honour
roll”: besides establishing numerous schools (Mater
Misericordiae, Saint Ethnea’s, Saint Mary’s, Clonmacnoise,
Saint Anne’s, etc.), they also administered others,
such as Saint Bridget’s. The Passionist Fathers
Carmen de Areco, while the Pallotines created Saint
Patrick’s in Mercedes. The Passionist Sisters established
Michael Ham Memorial College and the Christian
Brothers, Cardinal Newman. And let’s not forget
the religious orders connected with the schools of the
Ladies of Saint Joseph’s Society!
the period we are studying, very few schools were private
enterprises. The first schools established by private
individuals had a short
life. Lawrence Dillon and Sean Healy were more successful.
Beyond the religious or non-religious origin, the great
majority of these establishments have religious names,
resorting often to saints.
we study the programmes, we confirm that religion is part
of the curriculum of every single Irish-Argentine school,
both before and after the secularisation of education
(through the Ley 1420 of 1884). We have mentioned
the religious practices of the girls’ schools which included
masses, rosaries and peregrinations. Sacred history is
also mentioned in the advertisements of different schools.
The Southern Cross also admonished
the parents about the necessity of educating children
in the faith of their elders. The newspaper joined other
media in deploring the sanction of the Ley 1420, receiving
it as the triumph of “godless education”.
a pastoral letter addressed to the Irish-Argentines, Monsignor
Espinosa warns that:
great evil of these times is the religious indifference
with which our environment is saturated, and even the
most pious families suffer the consequences of this evil,
if parents don’t show the necessary concern for the formation
of their children’s heart. Do not entrust them to the
cares of non Catholic teachers, since the impression caused
on your children when they see that people they respect
do not profess the faith of their parents, is usually
undeletable. When choosing a school always favour catholic
schools, that devote themselves especially to the religious
instruction of their pupils.”
Catholic child in a Catholic school” was the slogan that
the author of the section “The Catholic World” proposed
to adopt in his article of March 19, 1926. He compared
the “disloyal and disobedient” Catholics who sent their
children to secular schools” to those “good” Catholics
who “gladly made sacrifices
to safeguard their children against the perils to faith
and morals, so common in a society which is fast persuading
itself that it can get along better without God than with
rejection of secular education is present in a 1933 article
that urges to follow the example of Brazil -where religious
education had been reinstated- and which states:
the clear idea of God and the duties of men towards Him
pervades in our national life, we shall not have real
civilization. Our educational system is growing powerless
before the evils of the times. Our youth are growing up
into a race of criminals. Our schools are seriously endangered
by Communism and sane and sound patriotism is on the wane.
The only real remedy is implantation of religion in our
connected to the religious formation is moral education,
which stems out from the former. Sean Healy expressed
his point of view:
education is a far greater matter than the mere acquisition
of proficiency in scholastic subjects. The good teacher
is constantly preoccupied with the formation and development
of character, the inculcation of moral values such as
self-discipline, the virtues of truth, courage, loyalty
and honesty, which form the basis of life’s successes
or failures. […] Neglect of this phase of a child’s education,
often leads to disastrous consequences, swelling the ranks
of the unemployed and social detention centres.”
the majority of these immigrants and their descendants,
being Irish was unmistakeably linked to the Catholic faith.
Therefore, religion and patriotism were complementary,
and were sometimes intermixed. Priests and nuns encouraged
in their pupils a deep affection for the land of their
ancestors. Thus, we see that every end of the year ceremony
included Irish songs and dances, which in the second quarter
of the twentieth century, included the Irish anthem The
Soldier’s Song. Irish dances and Irish history were
generally part of the educational programmes.
the duty of Irish-Argentine parents went beyond sending
their sons and daughters to Catholic schools, these had
to provide an “Irish atmosphere”, and this was only possible
in the Irish-Argentine schools. From the pages of The
Southern Cross support of these schools was encouraged,
since they were as good, if not better, than all others
and besides they were “our own and for our own”.
more, we resort to Monsignor Espinosa to clarify the relationship
between faith and patriotism. In his pastoral letter he
exhorts the Irish-Argentines to:
on being faithful to your faith and your principles, passing
them on to your children, so that studying your glorious
history they might learn to love the Catholic faith, the
land of their forebears and this their homeland, which
you have contributed to form with the vigour of your intelligence
and the strength of your arms”.
patriotism doesn’t just apply to the Emerald Isle, but
also to Argentina. Monsignor Santiago Ussher explained
should love and serve the land in which they were born.
And for Argentines, Argentina comes first; but Irish-Argentines
also love Ireland, the ancient land of their race, and
[in the Irish schools] the laudable traditions of our
race are preserved and love of Argentina and Ireland are
inculcated as well as the high principles of our religion.”
Irishmen who settled in Argentina, rapidly made it their
home. Their descendants were Irish-Argentines, not Irishmen
born outside their homeland. The quality of their adaptation
can be measured by the reduced figures of Irish immigrants
who went back home. In other words, they didn’t come here
to get rich and go back home. They settled here, worked
hard, formed their families and died here.
profound affection for the Argentine soil gave them the
right to criticise the lack of patriotism in the educational
nationalism is in danger of being swamped, unless something
is done to bring up the youth of the country, the authentic
Argentines, in the Argentine spirit. […]It’s strange to
say it is in the teaching profession, that which of all
others is dedicated, as a substantive part of its work
to the propagation of Argentine patriotism, to the theories
and persons of the internationalists and no-country men,
have found a home.”
1926 article addressed the girls -future wives and mothers-
and recommended the fostering of certain domestic skills:
“Every girl should know how to sew and make dresses.
To cook and clean.
To mend her own and household things.
To dress neatly and becomingly and daintily.
To keep a secret and respect confidences.
To be self-reliant and not helpless.
To keep her house tidy and have a place for everything.
To respect old age.
To be above gossip or listening to slander.
To control her temper.
To care for the sick and the young.”
the same time, another article underlined the importance
of Irish-Argentine mothers in the upbringing of their
children. Referring to the epigram “the hand that rocks
the cradle rules the world”, the author posed that mothers
had a superior and noble mission in life. “The home is
the initial and the greatest primary school [...] [where
the] principles of honour and virtue are instilled”.
two visions, expressed by men, describe the archetypical
housewife and mother. However, we must remember that many
Irish-Argentine families were true matriarchies. Women
worked side by side with their husbands. When the men
were away on a journey, or passed away, women were unafraid
of taking command. They administered their properties,
and they raised their children with discipline, preparing
them for life’s struggles.
it came to formal education, girls and boys had the same
rights. As a matter of fact, Father Fahy, solved the matter
of the girls’ education first, sending for the Sisters
of Mercy. It should also be noted that, at the time when
the two articles we just quoted were printed, the schools
run by the Sisters offered commercial courses that allowed
their students to become secretaries in multinational
corporations and earn their living.
studying the birth and evolution of the Irish-Argentine
schools throughout the 1850-1950 period, we confirm that
their common origin gave them similar characteristics.
It would be useless to go over the names of the institutions
created since Father Fahy inaugurated his “Irish” College
back in 1857. It should suffice to say that many of them
proved their excellence with their continuity, and especially through the unattainable
number of women and men who attended them and who, years
later still cherish fond memories and a sincere affection
for their schools and teachers.
educational philosophy of the Irish-Argentines has rarely
been explicited, but it is always present in its institutions
and educators. As we have already seen, it has five pillars:
An elementary education for all the Irish-Argentine children.
Defence of the English language as a means of keeping
the Irish identity and due to its usefulness as the world’s
Catholic education, including the traditional Irish religiosity.
Patriotism, which involves love for the ancestral land
and the Argentine soil.
Equality between men and women as far as education is
philosophy is partially summarised in Luis Delaney’s reflection
on the years he spent at the Fahy Institute: “we were
taught English in the mornings and to love Argentina in
the afternoons”; a lesson which many Argentine schools
have yet to learn!
is impossible to praise adequately the bravery and resolve
of those educators who offered their lives for the education
of the new generations of Irish-Argentines, transforming
them into worthy heirs of their ancestors and builders
of a new nation. This explains, to a great extent, why,
being so few, they achieved so much. This investigation
is a modest tribute to their incessant and generous labour.
The Irish in Argentina.
Report of the Irish Embassy in Argentina to the Foreign
Affairs Department, July 22 1958, p. 12.
Buenos Aires, January 13, 1882. Vol.
VII, Nº 50.
Aires, March 1, 1878. Vol. IV, Nº 8, p. 8.
Buenos Aires, April 9, 1926. Year 52, Nº 2666, p.
JOSÉ DE MOAL, Historia del Colegio
San Pablo y del Monasterio desde 1900 a 1940,
MURPHY, Present situation affecting education
of English speaking Catholic Boys ....
ASOCIACION DE EX ALUMNAS DEL COLEGIO MICHAEL HAM,
Old Girls’ Bulletin, junio de
1993, año XVI, Nº 34, p. 12.
ASOCIACION DE EX ALUMNAS DEL COLEGIO MICHAEL HAM,
Old Girls’ Bulletin, septiembre de 1979,
año 3, Nº 9, p. 20.
Durand de Scanlan (Saint Brendan’s), Diana Mateo
and Beatriz Peroni (Saint Nicholas), Elena Ortíz de
Maschwitz (Godspell College), Margarine and María
Moreno (Holy Cross School).
Southern Cross. Buenos
Aires, 21 de noviembre de 1947. Año 73, nro. 3800,
Aires, February 3, 1933. Year
58, Nº 3018, p. 24.
Section 1 of the city of Buenos Aires and the district
of Rojas. See National Population Census for 1869,
vols. 1-3, and 108; 1895, vols. 466-469 and 817-818.
See, for example, The Southern Cross.
Aires, August 1, 1884. Vol. X, Nº 29, p. 6.
Aires, April 7, 1933. Year
59, Nº 3027, p. 12.
Aires, December 24, 1926. Year
52, Nº 2701, p. 15.
Aires, March 3, 1933. Year
59, Nº 3022, p. 12.
Southern Cross. Buenos
Aires, April 23, 1926. Year 52, Nº 2668, p. 18.
The Southern Cross. Buenos
Aires, January 30, 1925. Year 51, Nº 2837, p. 13.