009 Broderick's Academy, Johnsgate
In the centre of Johnsgate area is a street that has long and varied associations with Limerick’s educational history. Brian Merriman, the 18th century Clare poet and author, conducted a school at 5 Old Clare Street. When he died in 1805 the Limerick Chronicle described him as a “professor of mathematics”.
The Lancastrian School, situated near the Good Shepherd Convent, is recalled by the everyday use of the popular name for the steep extension of Old Clare Street, the ‘Long Can’, an abbreviated corruption of the original title.
The Old Clare Street Boys’ National School became generally known as ‘Broderick’s Academy’ because of the long association the principal teacher, Denis Broderick, had with the school. A native of Milford, Co. Cork, Denis Broderick joined the staff of the Old Clare Street school and remained there until his retirement in the late 1920s. According to Willie ‘Whack’ Gleeson in Vol. 3 of the Old Limerick Journal, his introduction to Broderick’s in the early spring of 1915 was “as inauspicious as my hurried departure from Quay Lane CBS the day previously, when I did my ‘Leaving’ at the tender age of 10 years!” ‘Whack’ went on to regale his teachers, Patrick Haugh, Willie Duggan, Patrick Kirwan, Patrick Quinn and, of course the principal, Denis Broderick. Mr. Broderick insisted that every boy would be able to recite the names of every capital city in the world. Mr. Gleeson went on to say that the school got its name when somebody (Mr. Gleeson was blamed) wrote on the newly whitewashed toilet wall the words: “Mr. Broderick’s Academy for Young Gentlemen” and for ever more the name stuck.
Another ‘old boy’, Patti Ryan, a New York resident, recalled his days at the Old Clare Street school. “From the time I was enrolled in infants to the dizzy heights of the seventh standard I got a lifetime of experience never to be forgotten. In 1911 when I attended there all the classes were confined to the lower floo