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Sunnylands Primary School, Carrickfergus

History of Sunnylands


The Building of Sunnylands Primary School

As you enter Sunnylands Primary School by the main doors below the clock the motif on the wall reminds you of the year 1953 when the school opened it doors for the first time. Sixty years have now passed since then and generations of children have attended the school, which has become a focal point in the local community. This a brief history of the School.

A letter dated 25th June 1953 from Mr Kenneth MacCormac, the Director of Education at that time, outlined arrangements for the re-organisation of the Primary Schools in Carrickfergus. Under these new arrangements two schools in the town were to be closed; and so it was the Victoria (Temporary) Primary School under Mr H S Gorman and Carrickfergus Parochial Primary School under Mr J McFadden ceased to be.

Sunnylands Primary School opened on Monday 24th August 1953 with an enrolment of 365 pupils and a staff of eight teachers:

Mr J McFadden (Principal), Mr H S Gorman (Vice-Principal), Mr S W Joyner, Miss M J Davidson, Miss M Hill, Mrs M Walker, Miss M R Wylie and Miss S E S Baxter.

The Official Opening of the school took place on Wednesday 7th July 1954 at 11.45 am when His Excellency, The Lord Wakehurst, KCMG., Governor of Northern Ireland, paid an official visit to Carrickfergus. The following extract from the programme of the Official Opening provides some details about the school’s design and cost:

“This school was one the last to be designed before the economy wave came into force and therefore possesses features which are not found in present day primary schools. For example, provision has been made for a library, art and visual aid rooms in addition to the normal classrooms.

The School building has been planned to give the normal accepted orientation, namely, south south-east and this has necessitated the plan to take the form of a ‘W’ with the dominant feature facing down Bridewell Drive.

The infants are accommodated in a self-contained unit complete with its own enclosed playground but within easy access of the dining room and main assembly hall.

The special subjects rooms form the connecting link between the Assembly Hall and the classrooms, which are designated in two wings with cloakroom and sanitary facilities at both ends, and there is complete ambulation. The vista from the classroom extends past the interesting silhouette of Courtald’s factory to the Knockagh Mountain.

The approximate cost is £130,000.”

Principals of Sunnylands

Mr J McFadden 1953 – 1955

Mr H S Gorman 1955 – 1974

Mr P D O’Dell 1974 – 1987

Mr M J Geddes 1987 – 1999

Mr J Wilson 1999 – 2008

Mrs R McFeeters 2008 – 2011

Mr G Hamilton 2012 – 2017

Mrs J Lyons 2017 - present