Teachers Inspire Ireland 2019
16092019 JB4 181

As I began to grow up, like all students, there were highs and lows. Mary Daly was a consistent positive role model for me. When times got tough, she got tougher, and never gave up on me.

Introducing Mary Daly a retired teacher from St Dominic's College, Ballyfermot.

Mrs Daly was nominated by former pupil Niamh Smith who recalls the remarkable impact she had on her students.

“Mrs Daly, from the minute I entered the school, took time to get to know us all every morning and sat and ate with us at breakfast club.

"Mrs Daly was also my Irish teacher. She loved Irish and was a powerful teacher, on her way to class all of us in the class would hear her chant 'inniu , inné, amarach' to which we would reply, as Gaeilge of course, the days of the week, followed by An Aimsir and An Nuacht.

“Mrs Daly was always energetic, caring and fair. She once gave out to me and made me cry for being late and for not having my homework done, and when I was caught smoking! (I don't smoke anymore!) all of which was for my own good.

“Mary was always the champion of extra-curricular activities and encouraged me to participate in the Gael Linn and Concern debates and of course I was a natural! She mentored us on lunch breaks and evenings, and toured the country with the team and supporters to the All-Ireland quarter finals! Our theme song was ‘Simply the Best'.

“As a student, I was capable and energetic and had a lot to say for myself, as you can imagine. Mrs Daly channelled my energy into something very positive by providing me with opportunities to be on the student council, the healthy eating committee, Comhairle na nÓg, Dáil na nÓg, and as a result I sat as a young person on the Department of Children and Youth Affairs Youth Forum.

“As I began to grow up, like all students, there were highs and lows. Mary Daly was a consistent positive role model for me. When times got tough, she got tougher, and never gave up on me. When I wasn't in school, she knocked on my door to come see why – she cared. She organised extra support for me and I was very successful in my Leaving Cert exams. Shortly after that time, I went on to college and studied social care.

“We continued to keep in touch through various community organisations. Mary kept her watchful eyes on me through her role as Chairperson of Ballyfermot Youth Service to which she still serves today.

“There was a job opening in the after-school programme and I went for it and got the part-time position on offer. I loved it there within the school environment and helping and encouraging the students, but nothing beat being the former rebel student in the staff room!

“I was quite content with my position but Mary’s work was not done yet, she explained to me the importance of continuing with my education and encouraged me to go on to Maynooth University to study Community and Youth Work. To this day, I am a successful project leader of a youth service in Ringsend and have travelled all over the world and provided other young people with the same care and regard as Mary Daly had for me and my peers.

“Mary Daly recently retired after a very successful term as teacher, mentor, advocate and principal in St. Dominic’s College, where in my opinion the entire spirit of the school was social inclusion and equality for all. In my time knowing Mary, she was always a champion of the students and people of Ballyfermot. Like myself, I know so many others who she helped shaped their lives for the better, and without her I truly believe that I would not be where I am today.

“Mary Daly continues to serve the community in her many voluntary roles on task forces, board of directors and is a person to which so many can call for advice, guidance and opportunities.

"Mary is so genuine, honest, intelligent. She is passionate, and above all is the greatest craic in history! I am so lucky to have someone like her in my life.”


← Back to News