Tribute to Mr. Jerry Kiernan


The staff, past and present, and the entire school community of St. Brigid's Boys' School, Foxrock would like to express our deep sadness and heartbreak at the loss of our wonderful, retired colleague Jerry Kiernan R.I.P.

Jerry played a pivotal role in the education of our boys here in St. Brigid’s for forty years. As a colleague I can only speak of him in superlatives. He was wonderfully loyal, enormously generous with his talents and dearly loved by all staff members. He was held in the highest esteem by students, parents and the wider school community. Those of us who had the pleasure and privilege of working with Jerry for many years truly benefited from his sound advice, endless store of knowledge and charming nature.

Jerry was a remarkable teacher whose students attained the highest standards. But his focus went beyond the academic. He was an inspirational mentor who instilled good values and high moral principles in all his students. He had the ability to connect and engage with them through his wonderful stories, and entranced even the most reluctant and easily distracted students with his lively anecdotes. Jerry had the gift of exploiting the talents and abilities of all his students, thereby ensuring that they reached their true potential. In the words of a former sixth class student:

What an incredible man Jerry Kiernan was. I was lucky enough to be taught by Jerry. He was far more than a teacher. The heartbeat of St. Brigid’s Boys. Always telling us to aim high. To follow our dreams. To back our opinions and most importantly to run rather than walk. R.I.P. Jerry. You legend.’ Ian Madigan Instagram

His contribution to athletics at national and international level is immeasurable. He has left a legacy of excellence in this area in St. Brigid’s and for years generously devoted his lunch break to training the boys for track and field events, a tradition which is perpetuated by many of his colleagues in our school today.

An era of great service to education and athletics has come to an end. On behalf of all my colleagues, both current and retired, I wish to extend our heartfelt sympathies to Jerry’s family and very wide circle of friends.

‘Go bhfanfaidh sé i suaimhneas’

Angela Hayes

Deputy Principal

22nd January 2021

Jerry Kiernan - A Study in Classroom Man-Management

So many tributes have been beautifully rendered in the last days, espousing the endless
breadth of Jerry Kiernan’s talents and generosity as a competitor, analyst and coach in the
world of athletics. These paeans have even reached into the domain of his appreciation for the
finer things in life - good conversation, good coffee and good football - as well as his qualities as
a man: those of candour, kindness and razor-wire wit.

One facet of Jerry’s myriad abilities that, publicly, may go unheralded, but will be deeply felt
throughout South Dublin at this time, are his profound abilities as an educator.

In St. Brigid’s B.N.S, Foxrock, Jerry’s classroom existed as a sort of outlier, utopian continent,
unto itself. It wasn’t that he rejected the structures that primary schools typically operate within,
rather his supreme confidence in how and what he taught meant that he could casually
disregard them.

For a man who has been dubiously described as contrary, he managed to find common ground
with, not only the boys in his class, but every single pupil he encountered in the school yard and

Not only did he work to forge that initial link, so that a child might feel at ease in his towering
presence, he would irrigate and grow that bond so that, by the time the young-fella had
manoeuvred his way from Junior Infants to Sixth Class, the crowning glory of his time in Brigid’s
would be a year spent in the company of Jerry.

His influence was not restricted to his own class as, so often, he would do the rounds of the
classrooms, trying to stir up excitement within the ranks about an upcoming cross-country event
or the yearly pilgrimage to Santry. On those canvassing sorties, he would pop his head around
the door and the eyes of the children would light up in anticipation of a timely diversion from the
hum-drum of class work. He had the ability to seize on a single strand of conversation and lead
the lads down a captivating series of thematic tangents and oratorial chicanes. Many in his
audience knew nothing of L.A ‘84 or sub-4 minute miles but were still equally rapt. This
charisma was a lightly-worn thing - never affected, forced or embellished.

As a colleague, he was shy at first and dedicated his lunch-times to athletics coaching in Spring
and Summer and officiating at Conker and Marbles tournaments in Autumn and Winter. When
you did get to know him, he spoke with passion and precision on any given topic and he listened
equally deftly, taking joy from whatever weekend silliness you might regale him with, revelling in
the youthful frivolity of it all.

Generations of students, their parents and his colleagues from Brigid’s will never forget Jerry
Kiernan for the kindness, the intellect and the good-humoured word of salutation, as the
rebel-riot of curls bobbed by you on Mart Lane, a back-pack slung over one shoulder, on his
way to U.C.D or Irishtown to help favourably steer the fortunes of others.
To impart what he had amassed and intuited over his lifetime.
To teach.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

John Duignan, Teacher, St. Brigid's BNS

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Mart Lane,
Dublin 18,

01 289 3199

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