Vere Foster Memorial School is situated in the village of Tallanstown about five miles from the town of Ardee, Co Louth. The family seat of Vere Foster, (Glyde Court now in ruins) lies about 2 miles from the village and our school is named in his honour. The original school which was built in 1840, closed in 1966 and is now a community centre. Our present building though much extended and modernised was constructed in 1966. In 1969 two outlying parish schools Aclint and Stormanstown were amalgamated with Tallanstown NS. Aclint NS is now a community centre though Stormanstown NS is derelict. Currently we have 303 pupils, a mainstream staff of eleven, three learning support/resource teachers, a secretary, caretaker and cleaner.
Vere Foster was born in Copenhagen of an Irish-born father. He worked in the UK Diplomatic Corps but left to help the victims of the great Famine on his brother's estate near Ardee, Co Louth. He founded the Irish Female Emigration Fund in 1852 and helped many young women to emigrate to Canada. Concerned by reports of the terrible conditions by those using them, Vere Foster travelled on an emigrant ship to New York and, contracting fever, remained in hospital there for months. His subsequent campaign in the USA and Britain led to improved conditions for passengers being imposed on the shipping companies.
He helped to found and became the first President of the Irish National Teachers Organisation, travelling throughout the country campaigning for the maintenance of national schools. Education, he considered was the way forward for people wishing to better themselves. He was responsible for the construction or upgrading of around 2000 national schools throughout the country. He constantly championed the working conditions of teachers and devised cheap but effective school books which sold in their millions across the world. He donated proceeds from the sale of his copy books towards the cost of the construction of the R.V hospital in Belfast. For over forty years Vere Foster gave freely of his own finances until he died penniless in a cheap lodging house in Belfast in 1900.