Carlow Vocational School is a second-level educational establishment in Carlow, Ireland. It can trace its origins back to the nineteenth century when classes commenced at various locations in the town under the Technical Instruction Act of 1898. Some years later, in 1918, the celebrated playwright, George Bernard Shaw donated the Assembly Rooms to the people of Carlow for the promotion of technical education. Classes were centralised in these Assembly Rooms on Dublin Street from 1923 onwards.
It was formally established under the Vocational Education Act of 1930 and continued to be located in the Assembly Rooms. The remodelled and refurbished school premises in Dublin Street was opened on January 26, 1936 by the Minister of Education Mr. Tom Derrig T.D.. During the 1940s and 1950s due to continually expanding enrolments, the school found itself renting various premises in Carlow town to meet the needs of the growing number of students and courses.
By the 1960s the school was spread over eight different locations and was providing both a second level educational programme preparing students for the Day Vocational Certificate, the Intermediate Certificate and Leaving Certificate examinations and also education and training for apprentices and technicians. Continued and rapid growth brought the need for extra classroom accommodation.
In 1968, the Department of Education gave sanction for the erection of two purpose built structures on the Kilkenny Road to cater for the expanding vocational school population. One building, opened in 1970, was called Carlow Regional Technical College which later became the Institute of Technology, Carlow. This was assigned for the education and training of apprentices and technicians. However, for a period of about two years it also accommodated the fifth and sixth year Leaving Certificate students from the Vocational School. In 1972 the second building, designed to accommodate 450 second level students, opened and was called Carlow Vocational School.
Both institutions continued to thrive and expand. Today the Vocational School caters for over 1,000 students and the Department of Education has sanctioned the building of a complete new school.
The current management team appointed in 2010 are Principal, Markita Mulvey and Deputy Principals, Nigel Quirke-Bolt and David Forde.