History

The Ursuline Convent was founded in Thurles, Co Tipperary, on 27th September 1787 and from the beginning music was an integral part of Ursuline life. Records have documented numerous references to music and musical education at the convent school down through the years.

During the 1830s, William Vincent Wallace became Professor of Music at the Ursuline Convent. He taught violin and harp to both pupils and novices and he was also the organist at Thurles Cathedral. He was to become best known for his opera Maritana which was staged first in 1845 and enjoyed success in Dublin, Philadelphia and Vienna. It is a huge honour that one of Ireland’s greatest composers and musicians is so closely connected to the history of our school.

William Vincent Wallace's harp

In 1926, an expansion to the Ursuline boarding school was needed and at the same time new music rooms were built in an extension that was named Lisieux. Present at the opening ceremony was the Marchioness of Headfort, a past pupil who had become a popular personality as an actress and music hall singer in the Gaiety Theatres in Dublin and London. The extension comprised seven piano rooms, the Green Room where string instruments were taught, and St. Mary’s Hall which was used for orchestra rehearsal.

The Scoil Angela Primary School opened its doors in 1956, bringing forth a new and younger generation of students to be welcomed into the learning of music at the Ursuline. Throughout the 20th century, the music school continued to gain numbers and as the Millennium approached it entered a new phase of life.