About us

  • History of St. Michael's House

    On Thursday, 2nd June 1955 a small advertisement appeared in The Irish Times:

    "Association for Parents of Mentally Backward Children. Lady wishing to form above would like to contact anyone interested. Box Z 5061 Children."

    It was placed by Patricia Farrell, a farmer from Gigginstown, Co. Westmeath, whose son Brian had Down Syndrome. Along with her friend and Co-Founder, Madge Atock, they were seeking an education for Brian.Patricia had been shocked to discover that there were no school options for him. Indeed, the only service available for children with an intellectual disability at the time was institutionalised residential care.

    The response to the advert was larger and more positive than Patricia had expected. Following a public meeting in the Mansion House chaired by Declan Costello , St. Michael's House was founded. The new organisation not only wanted to establish new services, but also to bring about a change in how people with an intellectual disability were viewed.

    "We rushed in where many would fear to venture. The one essential was to meet and help parents who came to us not so much for a diagnosis, but for advice about what they should or could do to help their child with a disability." Dr Barbara Stokes, first Medical Director.

    Starting out as a small day school, the organisation began to develop new and innovative day and residential services, which were guided by best international practice and the belief that people with an intellectual disabilities are full and equal members of society.

    Today, St. Michael's House provides services for 1,751 children and adults with an intellectual disability and their families in the Dublin City and County and Navan, County Meath 

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