After the introduction of the State System of Primary Education in 1831 an official school – originally a boys school – was established in Miltown Malbay in 1834. It was accommodated originally in what was the old thatched church at the gateway of the present Church and continued there after the present Church was built (1839) until 1862 when a new three room school was built in the Ennistymon Road. The thatched structure was then torn down. Before 1834 Education had been provided in several hedge schools – in the town itself, in Legard, Clonbony, Spanish Point and Kildimo. The new three-room school eventually accommodated the boys school, a girls school, established in 1843, and an infant’s school. These three schools with their six-teacher staff moved to the new St. Joseph’s N.S. in the Mullagh Road which was completed in l963 and became operational in 1964. The new school was very well planned to accommodate the new Curriculum and had abundant yard space for sport and play.
Some years later the Department of Education decided to amalgamate the three Miltown schools and Dunsallagh national school and to this end 4 new classrooms, an office and toilets were built at the southern end of the existing school. The amalgamation took place in September, 1975 and since then Scoil Naomh Íosaf has been co-educational.
Famous past pupils include Dr. Patrick Hillery, former President of Ireland and renowned piper Willie Clancy.
Over the years the school has been well maintained and provides an inviting and versatile learning and developing space for the children of the town and locality. Since 2000 the school building also houses the “Forever Friends” playschool.