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School History


Many changes have taken place since St. Olaf’s National first opened its doors on 2nd September 1968 in a prefab erected just a few days earlier. 

Mrs Bridie Cannon, Principal, and Mrs Anne Egan welcomed the first 33 girls & boys into the new school.

The number of pupils grew fairly rapidly as the houses in Balally, Dun Emer and Sandyford Rd were occupied.

The teaching staff grew correspondingly with the arrival of Mrs Florence Moore and Mrs Anne Ennis.

When the enrolment figures exceeded 80 pupils in 1970, we had an unusual dilemma as Department of Education rules at that time stipulated that Mrs Cannon, as a woman, was not eligible for principalship of a mixed school with enrolment greater than 80 pupils. So Mr Frank Kelleher was appointed principal of the larger mixed school until 1972. We had to operate the school on a dual-day format at this stage due to lack of accommodation. This meant that half of the classes came to school from 9am to 12noon and the other half attended from 12pm to 3pm.

When the school building was finally complete, the pupils divided into St. Olaf’s Boys school with Mr Kelleher as Principal, and Mrs Cannon was re-appointed Principal, this time of Balally Girls NS. Both schools were officially opened in March 1973 by Archbishop Dermot Ryan and Minister for Education Mr Richard Burke. Each school had 8 classrooms and shared access to the PE Hall. In 1975 the Dept rules were amended to allow for a female Principal of a mixed school and shortly afterwards, both schools changed status to mixed schools catering for both boys and girls.

This amount of accommodation proved hopelessly inadequate for the growing population of school children and it wasn’t long before the playgrounds were filling up with prefabs once again. The Hall itself was partitioned and used as classrooms by both schools. We even had classes in the corridors and had to move our 6th classes over to a newly constructed St Tiernan’s in the early eighties! The school Hall became the Mass centre for Balally and the venue for baptisms and the odd wedding!

Things settled down somewhat with the construction of Queen of Angels Primary School in 1981 and the ‘Boys school’ moved to Wedgewood. The school hall also became the meeting place for the Ladies Club, Parish Bingo, Glencullen Musical Society, Scouts, Guides and Brownies, the Balally Youth Band, Ms Pepper’s Irish Dancing, Ms Bowie’s Ballet School and many others.

Mrs Cannon remained at the helm until her retirement in January 1997 when Mr Gerard Murphy was appointed Principal.

In the following years there were many comings and goings at the school. Enrolment surpassed 400 children. The glorious days in Santry at the Athletics Finals and the many thrilling finals in Croke Park and Parnell Park will forever remain in our memories.

St. Olaf’s  offers a wide range of activities and sports to our pupils including Soccer, Gaelic Football, Hurling, Camogie, Tag Rugby, Basketball, Chess, Tennis, Athletics, Unihock, Choir, and others. Most of these activities are undertaken voluntarily by staff members to whom we are indebted for their generosity of time and endeavour. St. Olaf’s has a long and proud tradition in Cumann na mBunscol Áth Cliath winning 13 of 24 final appearances in the last 34 years.  We also enjoy a rewarding relationship with our local GAA Club, Naomh Olaf which was founded in one of the prefabs in the school yard in 1981. 

Our current enrolment of 530 pupils and 39 staff necessitated the addition of a magnificent new extension in 2010.

In June 2021, Mr. Gerard Murphy retired after a long and illustrious career. Mr. John Murtagh was appointed principal in August 2021.

Given the huge demand for places, we have recently received sanction for four new classrooms. Building work is expected to commence in the coming months for this and the entire school community are incredibly excited about the benefits this added space will bring.

Contact the office

Phone: 01 295 6513


Office opening times:
08.30-14.30 Monday to Friday