Coolmountain National School, Coolmountain townland, Co. Cork

Coolmountain National School, Coolmountain townland, Co. Cork

(dated c.1950)

NGR: 118544, 60287


This school building is especially unusual in Ireland as it is constructed largely from corrugated-iron. The ruins of Coolmountain National School comprise a detached gable-fronted three-bay single-storey school, built c.1950. It has a pitched asphalt roof with cast-iron rainwater goods. The windows comprise square-headed openings with metal casement windows and timber sills. It also has a square-headed door opening with timber battened door, overlight and concrete steps. There are also rendered walls to front and sides of plot with wrought-iron gate. The building ceased being used as a school in 1969 but was lived in until 2005. It is near collapse and unlikely to survive much longer.

Coolmountain School 1st Ed OS

Though constructed in the 1950s, there has been a school at this site since the 1830s. Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of 1837 records that;

There are four National school-houses in the parish; three were erected by the R. C. clergyman and his parishioners, one at Kilbarry, one at Inchegeelagh and one at Ballingearig; the fourth was built at Coolmountain in 1836, in aid of which the Commissioners of Education granted £30. They also gave a gratuitous supply of books, as a first stock, to each of these schools, and continue to furnish them with books and school necessaries at half price; they also grant an annual sum of £40 towards the salaries of the teachers: the average attendance of children, both male and female, at these four schools, is 500. There is also a private school, in which are about 20 children, and a Sunday school….


This structure was strategically positioned for use by the local rural population and its educational and social importance is highlighted both by its commanding views of the surrounding landscape and by the large plot of land on which it is sited. The use of corrugated-iron as wall cladding adds texture and interest to a building of modest dimensions and materials.


If you or someone you know attended this national school, or if you have any further information about this school – please do get in touch and share any stories, anecdotes, photographs, or any other memories you may have. If you know of  further schools that I could visit, please do let me know.

7 thoughts on “Coolmountain National School, Coolmountain townland, Co. Cork”

  1. I came across your blog today for the first time.

    I think it is a great idea and excellent content so just wanted to say a small note of Thanks


  2. What beautiful photos of a building i have walked past a lot! Growing up just down the road and having prettt much free reign of our surroundings we were however not allowed to go into the school. Article says it was lived in until 2005 but it wasnt as far as i remember ever lived in, my memory probably goes back to mid 90’s. The entire front garden was covered in all different coloured primroses until the fir tree in the corner fell few years back in that storm. It always had an eery feeling about it and i never went further than clambering along the wall! Anyway keep up the good work…its beautiful. Have you paid a visit to old secondary in dunmanway….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Emerald. A local man in Coolmountain has been in touch recently and I have some new information. I’ll be updating this post soon and adding in the new details. Thanks for getting in touch


      1. Oh thats great. I am actually currently writing a community profile and looking for any info historically i can use so that will be helpful 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi,

    My Grandfather attended this school and his home was situated at the very top of the driveway adjacent to the school. I am told that the original structure was destroyed by a fire some years ago. Apparently the father of the renowned Dublin goalkeeper John O’Leary taught there for a spell in the 1930’s.

    I also would have visited Coolmountain on and off as a child in the 90’s and never remember the school being lived in.

    Liked by 1 person

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