11 Mrs Kathleen Ryder, Neale Road, Ballinrobe

Kathleen Ryder on Graduation Day at UCC
Gerry Ryder
Kathleen Ryder on retirement
Gerry Ryder
Cover of one Bridge Magazine
Averil Staunton

Born in 1928, Kathleen Ryder (née Madden) attended university in Cork to study Latin and English Literature. This was just after the end of World War II, at a time when many young Irish girls had their educational aspirations curtailed.

Settled in Ballinrobe

Soon after graduating, Kathleen settled in Ballinrobe and commence a lifelong career of instilling her values of education in the minds of perhaps hundreds of young girls. Kathleen’s students thrived and flourished under her tutelage and guidance at Ballinrobe’s Sacred Heart Secondary School.

Fought against Discriminatory Practice

This might not have come to pass, as Kathleen was obliged to give up her teaching position once she married Stephen Ryder in September, 1958. She did not give up in her persuit of equality however  and with the help of the ASTI and Joe Gilmartin, she fought against this discriminatory practice. Their successful campaign, with the encouragement of Sr. Acquin and the Sisters of Mercy, bore fruit and led to a change in legislation and her reinstatement within a couple of years.

Adapting to Change

Another change came in the 1960’s, when the teaching of Latin fell out of favour. Undeterred, Kathleen refreshed her knowledge of French, and inculcated a love of that language in so many students over the years.

Engagement with her Community

Kathleen engaged with the Ballinrobe community since her arrival in the town. She has enjoyed the Bridge Club, the Golf Club, singing with the church choir, and has made many great friends here.

Bridge Magazine

She collaborated with the publication of the esteemed Bridge magazine, which has been a font of local history and went to Edit three further publication.

Further Information:

From an interview with Mrs. Kathleen Ryder, in June 2011 with Averil Staunton Editor of www.historicalballinrobe.com:

The Bridge Magazine according to Mrs Ryder was created to record contemporary and historical events of a very multi-layered town. The social fabric of Ballinrobe was diverse and one of the aims of the publication was to record and savour the blending of this diversity.

Another of its major aims was to bridge the gap between emigrants and their home families.

The Bridge Magazine’s title was not in any way “the Bridge below the Town” but rather a bridge to respect the people of the past, their skills, crafts and their culture too.

The original inspiration for the magazine came from Fr. Ned Crosby with Mrs. Kathleen Ryder happily joining forces with him as, in her own words “his aide de camp”.

A number of issues were printed in the late 1960s and early 1970 with different coloured covers; blue, red, green and purple.



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