Drumbonniv National School, Drumbonniv townland, Co. Clare
NGR: 140469, 183557
The townland of Drumbonniv (sometimes spelled Drumbaniff) is situated in the parish of Crusheen in Co. Clare, not far from the towns of Gort and Ennis. It is a quiet, rural area which suffered from rural depopulation until recent years – in winter it can a particularly damp and cold landscape. The bare and harsh land is on the fringes of the Burren, with shallow soils and frequent limestone outcrop and hazel scrub. Small trees and shrubs that today encroach on the school house today provide some shelter from the elements.
The building that stands today dates to 1890 and comprises a detached, three-bay single storey, single classroom school house with a projecting entrance porch. It has a pitched roof with brickwork chimney stacks and plaster rendering. The plaster rendering is scored to give the impression that the building is constructed of cut-stone blocks. The walls are rubble built with the original sash windows still in place. A hole in the ceiling reveals the lattice and plaster-work construction in the roof – typical of school houses of this time.
Although much of the interior remains in a relatively good state of preservation, a large hole has recently been knocked in the gable end of the building to allow large machinery into the building. To the rear of the school stand the remnants of a stone built toilet block, now collapsed.
The attached entrance porch also served as a coat-room and still retains the original built-in cupboards.
The false block-work rendering gives this school house an appealing pseudo-Victorian appearance. Sadly, like many of these school houses, there is clear evidence that the building is under threat, and the large hole that has been knocked in the gable seriously threatens the stability of the structure, and of course destroys its architectural integrity.
In 2013 a reunion for past pupils was held – the original school building opened in 1844 and closed in 1972 when the pupils transferred to Inchicronan Central National School in Crusheen. Past pupils of the school from the USA, Britain and around Ireland returned to the building where they first went to school as well as descendants of former pupils and teachers.
If you or someone you know attended this national school, please do get in touch and share any stories, anecdotes, photographs, or any other memories you may have.