The Mechanics’ Institute, Clonmel was established in 1842. The Institutes were designed for artisans and mechanics and their primary purpose was to educate and empower the working classes through practical education. Financially empowered by the businesspeople of the town, in particular the Society of Friends, it offered day and evening classes in science and practical skills for the artisans. This lecture attempts to chronicle the educational activities of the institute and to analyse its relevance regarding the change in direction name and function of Clonmel Mechanics’ Institute.
Molly Daly is a lecturer in Education, on initial teacher education programmes Mary Immaculate College, St. Patrick’s Campus, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, and has lectured on postgraduate programmes at MIC Campus, Limerick. Her research interests focus on History and Sociology of Education, Inclusive Education, the promotion of student- centred education through collaborative and inclusive practices, and the integration of methodologies and feedback appropriate to diverse learners.