Carrigeencor National School, Carrigeencor townland, Co. Leitrim
NGR: 184325, 333970
Carrigeencor National School is located in the townland of Carrigeencor in Co. Leitrim. The surrounding landscape comprises rural blanket bog with a sparse population. Nonetheless, Carrigeencor is one of two school houses located in the area, the other being Kilcoosey National School just 1.5 km away. Leitrim has suffered from rural depopulation more than most counties and today it is difficult to imagine that this area once required two schools.
The school house comprises a detached single-storey one room building with a lower projecting pitched-roof gable porch, and a rear extension with a lean-to roof. It has a pitched roof and the walls are rendered and scored to imitate cut-stone blocks. It was constructed in 1872. There is a low coarsely built rubble and mortar wall to the front with a wrought-iron gate. To the rear is the former toilet block. It is a simple stone and mortar construction with brick lintels over the doorways and a sheet-metal roof that has managed to stand the test of time.
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, information about local traditions, games and pastimes in their home districts. This of course included Carrigeen National School and the extract below includes a description of the townland of Bohey in 1937, as gathered by Peggy Maxwell. Particularly poignant is her sad description of local houses often being in ruins as the people of the townland were continuously forced to emigrate to Scotland and America:
This simple school house is a modest and functional building. The imitation cut-stone gives the building a pseudo-Victorian appearance despite it’s simple construction. Although it is not particularly striking from an architectural perspective, it stands as a testament to the scale of rural depopulation in the locality.
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.