Rosary Hill School
In 1945 the Presentation Order made a very significant contribution to post-primary education in the area when the Order purchased the adjacent property Belmont House - another of Castleconnell's famous dwellings. Belmont was once the home of Thomas Grady - or Spectacles Grady - as he was called because of his short-sightedness.
Grady was a poet of much repute whose highly polished & elegant style of writing won his many admirers. But ironically it was his great talent that led to his downfall. Grady had a serious disagreement with his banker George Evans Bruce, which led Grady to write a satirical poem in which he heaped scorn & venom on the character of the banker.
The result was a libel action which Bruce won. Grady was forced to sell Belmont to pay off his debts. Shortly after, he left Castleconnell never to return. Belmont had several more owners before it was acquired by the Presentation Order & converted into a secondary school for girls. Rosary Hill as it was named grew into a thriving educational institution.
But sadly its term was short-lived, for in 1977 it closed its doors. The school's facilities had fallen behind other centres, & as no money was forthcoming form the Government or any other source, the school closed at the end of term, twenty three years after it had opened, & with 160 pupils still on the roll books. Eight years later in 1985 the Presentation Sisters & the local community suffered another great disappointment with the announcement that the Order was selling the convent & leaving Castleconnell. A fall in numbers of vocations was the main reason for the closure. It was the end of an era in Castleconnell during which the Presentation Sisters had built up a meaningful relationship with the people.
Their contribution to the religious, social & educational life of the parish was monumental, & their going from Castleconnell left a void in the hearts of the whole community.