Brooklawn National School, Fartamore townland, Co. Galway
In 1937 Margaret Dunne, (then only a school girl at Brooklawn NS) wrote of her local district: ‘All those old people can speak the Irish language… …a good deal of people went to America… …each farmer has only nine or ten acres.’ Brooklawn National School is situated in the townland of Fartamore in the parish of Kilconly in east County Galway. It is now derelict but in relatively good condition (although recently a large hole has been knocked in the rear wall). The place-name Fartamore means ‘great/big grave’. Like so many of the disused school buildings that punctuate the rural Irish landscape, Brooklawn represents a time now past when there was a need to provide easily accessible local education for the children of a rural farming population. Today its empty, collapsing shell also poignantly reflects social change and the impact of rural depopulation and migration to the larger urban centres in Ireland – the movement away from the land and farming.
The building itself comprises a detached eight-bay single-storey school-house, dated 1885, having entrance doorways to each end bay for boys and girls. It has a pitched slate roof, with brick chimneystack and with round vents to upper gables, and cast-iron rainwater goods. It has rendered rubble limestone walls, with inscribed limestone plaques above doorways, that to west reading ‘Brooklawn Male National School 1885’. There are square-headed window openings, with limestone sills and remains of timber sliding sash windows having three-over-three horizontal panes.
To the rear of the school building stands the former toilet block which still retains a wooden-topped latrine. The school is one of the larger school buildings dating from the late-19th century and is an indication of the population at that period. It is relatively intact and retains most of its original features.
In 1937 the Irish Folklore Commission, in collaboration with the Department of Education and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, initiated a revolutionary scheme in which schoolchildren were encouraged to collect and document folklore and local history. Over a period of eighteen months some 100,000 children in 5,000 primary schools in the twenty-six counties of the Irish Free State were encouraged to collect folklore material in their home districts. This of course included Brooklawn in Co. Galway. Below is an extract from this collection regarding local legends:
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.