Carrigan National School, Carrigan townland, Co. Cavan

Carrigan National School, Carrigan townland, Co. Cavan
(Dated: 1897)
NGR: 238860, 293490

Carrigan Co. Cavan 1897 Interior School Room Blue
Carrigan Co. Cavan 1897 Interior School Room

Carrigan townland is situated in the Parish of Ballintemple in County Cavan. Here, just off a small country roadside, are the remnants of a late 19th-century detached, U-plan, single-storey school, built 1897.

Carrigan Co. Cavan 1897 Interior School Room Blue Interior Doorway
Carrigan NS Co. Cavan Interior School Room Blue Interior Doorway

The building includes the typical double entrances at each end for boys and girls, with the schoolyard to the rear also being segregated. A Stone plaque to centre of front elevation is inscribed ‘CARRIGANS NATIONAL SCHOOL / 1897 / ENLARGED BY REV T. MAGUIRE CC / 1929’.

Carrigan Co. Cavan 1897 Interior School Room Blue Main Doorway

It would appear that the original construction comprised a two-roomed school with two further classrooms added to the rear in 1929.


The tall windows in pairs of three for each of the two front classrooms allowed adequate light to get a few snaps late in the overcast evening. Inside, the faded colour of the once brightly painted walls in the evening light made for some pleasing images.

Carrigan Co. Cavan 1897 Interior School Room Red

This is a late-19th century school retaining many historic features, including original grouped windows in raised position, carved rafters, and characteristic stone plaque. The dual entrances and divided yard reflect the gender segrated nature of primary schooling in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Carrigans Co. Caban Second Edition OS Sheet

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.

6 thoughts on “Carrigan National School, Carrigan townland, Co. Cavan”

  1. Hello, My father attended this school. He told us some stories from his time going to this school, I guess sometime around 1936. His name is James A Scanlon from Carrigans Upper… enjoy
    “I went to primary school, a good primary school. We had a good teacher, two teachers, three teachers. They were pretty good. The name of the school was Lower Carrigans. We walked across the paddocks to get the school. I started school when I was not quite four years of age. The school was a couple of miles from home. Two teachers had classes one, two, and three in one room. There were about fifty children in those three grades. Another teacher had twenty-five to thirty students in grades four, five, and six, in another room. I didn’t get up to mischief at school. I did get the cane once because it was a very cold morning with snow on the ground, and somebody on my way to school across the paddocks
    was kicking a football. I stopped to play with them for a while, and as a result I was 15 minutes late, and I got three whacks of the cane on my hand. That was the only time I was late. My favourite subjects were Maths, English, History and Geography. In my spare time, I played football. You must remember that in those days we had no electricity. Being that far north in Ireland, the days were long sometimes, especially in Summer. In Winter they were very short, and we had to do our homework if any, by the light of a kerosene lamp which is hard to do, but we didn’t have a lot of homework. Some countries, Finland and Spain have banned homework for the kids. That’s not right. It’s okay, I can’t complain about the education. I went then to a Tech school in Ballymote.

    Prior to that, in my first year… was that six, yeah, one, two, three, four, five, six – when I finished primary school, the teacher came around. The headmaster came around to my house one day on a push bike, and told my mother, “James is the best pupil in the school this year,” and I would be awarded a three-month scholarship at a Gaelic speaking college at Spiddle, County Galway. So, in those days I didn’t know they were giving out scholarships, that was it. I didn’t speak Gaelic. I hated it. It was taught in primary school it was. The headmaster told me I was the best pupil in the school.
    I said, “I’m not the best pupil in school, another young boy in my class, Eddie Mullins, he is the best student in my mind,” but I was the best in his mind.

    PS You know when I was young, there is five or six kids in the house in the morning, everyone getting ready for the school. One day I couldn’t find a comb to comb my hair. I’m telling you this because it comes into reference later.

    As I was passing the cow shed, the door was always open in the morning, and we had one little small blue cow, which was blue in colour, which was unusual, and as I was passing, I thought, oh, I’d go down to this cow and see she whether she’d
    lick my hair. So, I went in and went up to her front, and kneeled down and put my head to her snout, and she licked away at my ear. You know cows have got like thorns in their tongues – about that size, and she licked my hair, and got it into
    condition enough to go to school. Nobody else has heard that before, and then from time to time if I didn’t find a comb, I would pop into the cow shed. She didn’t have a name, and I got her to do it. I was pretty young, seven or eight.”


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