© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis GroupThis article examines the experiences of 27 retired secondary school teachers (respondents) who completed initial teacher education (ITE) courses between 1943 and 1980. The eldest respondent completed ITE in 1943 and the youngest in 1980. The timespan 1943–1980 is not purposeful but dependent on the cohort that volunteered to take part in the study. Twenty-one of the cohort completed ITE prior to 1970 and four between 1970 and 1979, while only two did so in the 1980s. Consequently, much of the data and discussion relates to the period between the mid-1940s and late 1970s – one not characterised by pedagogic innovation in ITE, or education generally, in Ireland as successive governments struggled with economic challenges, the most prescient of which are discussed later in this study. All universities offering post-primary ITE in Ireland during this period were attended by at least one of the cohort and collectively they taught in 17 of Ireland’s 26 counties, while one respondent taught for a time in Northern Ireland. The majority of the cohort (63%) taught in rural towns, 28% in urban towns or cities while 9% taught in rural locations. The diversity of school-type is noted, as is the year in which the respondent began teaching. The respondents’ experiences of ITE demonstrate negligible differences depending on geographical location. Twenty were female and seven male. The age range was 96 (Sr. Boniface) to 65 (Mike). All of the respondents were accorded anonymity. Based on oral testimony the study suggests that ITE offerings in this period were conservative and consensualist in nature, that the social changes that characterised Irish society in the 1960s failed to impact upon teacher education programmes but that, according to respondents, the last decade has seen significant changes in ITE and in the dispositions of those entering secondary school teaching.