Category Archives: Co. Cork

Milleen National School, Milleenduff Townland, Séipéal na Carraige (Rockchapel), Co. Cork

 

Milleen National School, Milleenduff Townland, Séipéal na Carraige (Rockchapel), Co. Cork

(Dated 1914)
NGR:  122001, 119413

The village of Roundwood in Co. Wicklow claim that at 238 m OD, their’s is the highest village in Ireland. However in recent years, the village of Meelin in Co. Cork has erected a braggadocious signpost at the edge of their humble home stating ‘Welcome to Meelin – Ireland’s Highest Village’. The  brazen folk of this tiny north-Cork hamlet claim that their little settlement, located just south of the Mullaghareirk Mountains, is 15 m higher than their Wicklow rivals. If you investigate the issue online, you might find various reasons why one village believes the other’s claim to the title of the most elevated settlement is illegitimate. In all honesty, the argument could probably be settled in minutes by pulling out an Ordnance Survey Map… but what’s the fun in that?

The plucky village of Meelin is located in northwest Cork. It is one of a handful of small villages located north of Newmarket near the Cork-Kerry-Limerick border. It is unlikely that your travels would ever take you through this area; much of the land close to the village is planted with coniferous trees, mainly of lodgepole pine and Sitka spruce. The area is sparsely populated though the woodlands are filled with ruined cottages and farmsteads which remind you that there was a time when the lands here were farmed rather than planted with commercial forests.

Old Milleen National School - 1914 (Cassini Map Extract c.1940)
Old Milleen National School – 1914 (Cassini Map extract c.1940)

It is here amongst the plantations just north of the village of Rockchapel that you will find the now disused Old Milleen National School in the townland of Milleenduff. The building is hidden from view by mature evergreens, with the Caher River flowing just to the south. On a bright day, sunlight flashes through moving branches of the surrounding woodlands onto the south-facing gabled entrance with it’s centrally placed name and date plaque. The planted woodlands have largely consumed the surrounding vernacular farming landscape that existed to the east here when the school was in use. 

Old Milleen National School - 1914
Old Milleen National School – 1914
Old Milleen National School - 1914
Old Milleen National School – 1914

Continue reading Milleen National School, Milleenduff Townland, Séipéal na Carraige (Rockchapel), Co. Cork

Carrigagulla National School, Carrigagulla townland, Co. Cork/Scoil Carraig an Ghiolla, Co. Chorcaí

Carrigagulla National School, Carrigagulla townland, Co. Cork/Scoil Carraig an Ghiolla, Co. Chorcaí

(dated 1934)

NGR: 138313, 084161

The parish of Macroom in Co. Cork is situated about halfway between Cork city and Killarney on the modern N22 roadway. Each day, significant volumes of traffic pass through the town of Macroom, with drivers unaware perhaps, of the locality’s rich and diverse cultural landscape. Crossing the River Sullane, the charred and imposing ruins of Macroom Castle overlook the the river below. Within the town, Macroom Market House (built c.1820) is a focus for remembrance, with many memorials and commemorative plaques including one to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the granting of market rights to the town of Macroom by Queen Anne on 30th September 1713.

There are few counties to rival Cork for the scale of its post-medieval and industrial heritage. But exploring the area around the parish in search of a disused school house in the townland of Carrigagulla, it was an obscure and understated industrial project from the mid-18th century that attracted my attention.

The townland of Carrigagulla is surrounded by the amphitheatre of the Boggeragh Mountain foothills. Here in the townland, adjacent to the Millstreet-Rylane roadside, are the ruins of Carrigagulla National School. But the Millstreet-Rylane roadway has its own story to tell about life in this rural area through the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Cork-Tralee turnpike road, better known as the ‘Butter Road’ was completed in 1748.Its construction was undertaken by John Murphy of Castleisland, who constructed the 56 miles of road including nine large bridges, 15 small bridges, toll house and turnpike gates. It was a requirement of the construction that the road be 30ft (9.14m) in width with drainage ditches and a 15ft wide (4.57m) gravelled surface. It became the main route by which farmers from Kerry and western Cork took their butter to the Cork Butter Exchange in the city (Rynne 2006, 317).

The turnpike system had been introduced into Ireland in 1729. Intended to provide good inter-county roads, turnpike roads were built and maintained by turnpike trusts which were generally run by local landowners. The turnpike act empowered named trustees to erect gates and toll houses on the roads and provided a loan for their construction. The toll monies, collected from all but pedestrians and local farmers who used the roads daily, were intended to maintain the road and repay the loan (ibid., 315).

Carrigagulla First Edition 25 inch map

The Cork-Tralee turnpike road is today but a back-road, with the majority of traffic passing along the N22 between Cork and Kerry. The area is quite, the hills are largely forested, or bare and boggy, and the once bustling highway is often empty of traffic. However, at Aghalode Bridge, and adjacent to the Aghalode River, there is an old school house that is perhaps a reminder of a more thriving time in this rural spot. On the west side of the Butter Road you’ll find the remains of Carrigagulla National School/Scoil Carraig an Ghiolla.

Carrigagulla National School Co Corkk 1930 VI
Carrigagulla National School, Co. Cork – 1934

Constructed in 1934 it is a simple, detached, two-bay, single-storey national school on a T-shaped plan, having a gabled projection to the centre of the east elevation.Though still roofed, it is in a poor state of repair. From the outside the building is certainly institutional in appearance; the rough grey rendering is not inviting, the surrounding schoolyard is overgrown, and the foreboding hum of a wasp’s nest deters visitors. The dull-green, pealing paint on the window frames and rainwater goods only seem to emphasise the buildings predicament. A squadron of wasps emerge from the brickwork chimney stacks and air vents as I get a little closer.

Carrigagulla National School Co Corkk 1930 I
Carrigagulla National School, Co. Cork – 1934

Continue reading Carrigagulla National School, Carrigagulla townland, Co. Cork/Scoil Carraig an Ghiolla, Co. Chorcaí

The Disused School Houses on Dunmanus Bay, Co. Cork

Dunmanus Bay is located on the western shore of County Cork. The bay lies between Mizen Head to the south, and the Sheepshead Peninsula to the north. The landscape of both peninsulas is wild and rugged, not dissimilar to the rough, low-lying lands of southwest Connemara on the northern shore of Galway Bay.

The Sheep’s Head looped walking routes extend across the peninsula and through the villages of Kilcrohane, Ahakista and Durrus, attracting plenty of visitors throughout the year. But perhaps the most ideal singular place to take in the landscape of Mizen, Dunmanus Bay and the Sheepshead Peninsula is Mount Gabriel; the highest eminence in the area, located just north of the village of Schull. From the peak of Mount Gabriel, there are spectacular views of Roaring Water Bay and Carbery’s Hundred Isles; a Bronze Age Copper mine is noted on the slopes of the low mountain, and at the summit there are two radar domes which make the mountain easy to distinguish in the landscape.

If your eyesight was strong enough, then facing in a general northerly direction from this vantage point, you would also be able to pick out four abandoned school houses in the landscape below; Dunbeacon, Derreenalomane, Glaun and Kilthomane National Schools.

sheepshead-schools-location-v
The location of Dunbeacon, Derreenalomane, Kilthomane and Glaun National Schools

Glaun National School

The first of these school houses is located at Glaun. The little one-roomed school house at Glaun is but a grey, empty, shell, and stands overlooking a small local road which crosses the crest of a low rise on the western side of Mount Gabriel, just a bit north of little Knocknageeha (the windy hill). The school no longer retains it’s date plaque although the building is marked on the First Edition 25 inch sheet for the area indicating that it predates the revision of the map during the late 19th century.

glaun-national-school-co-cork
First Edition 25-Inch Map showing Glaun National School

It’s architectural form does not have a directly comparable local relation, but it is broadly similar to the example at Kilthomane (below); at Glaun, the doorway is at the gable end and the building includes a gable porch, while at Kilthomane it is located to the side of the building. The example at Kilthomane dates to 1909, and one identical example from Mullaghmore East in Co. Monaghan dates to 1903, further suggesting this building dates to the turn of the century.

Continue reading The Disused School Houses on Dunmanus Bay, Co. Cork

Cloghboola National School, Drishane, Co. Cork/Scoil An Clochbhuaile, Driseán, Co. Chorcaí.

Cloghboola National School, Drishane, Co. Cork/Scoil An Clochbhuaile, Driseán, Co. Chorcaí.

(dated 1868)

NGR: 126725, 086631

DSC03887

Driving south from the village of Millstreet to the town of Macroom in West Cork, and just past Kilmeedy Bridge, you pass the rural village of Cloghboola. Nestled in the low hills of West Cork, today the village comprises just a few scattered houses and the modern local national School. However, to the east side of the road lies a curious 19th-century derelict building with two defunct 1950s petrol pumps outside.

Dating to 1868, this neglected structure is in fact a two-roomed school house. With a detached cruciform plan, this school is not of conventional design like many school houses of standard plan from a little later in the 19th century. It is a  single-storey school, having four bays to projecting long faces and three bays to projecting short faces.

The building has a slate roof, hipped to the front long face and double-hipped to rear. It retains it’s original cast-iron rainwater goods and clay ridge tiles. The walls are rendered with a render plaque to the centre of the front elevation. It includes square-headed window openings having some tooled limestone sills. These window opes are blocked to front and south elevation, though to the rear nine-pane fixed timber windows are evident (text adapted from the NIAH).

DSC03857

Continue reading Cloghboola National School, Drishane, Co. Cork/Scoil An Clochbhuaile, Driseán, Co. Chorcaí.

Whiddy Island National School, Trawnahaha townland, Whiddy Island, Co. Cork

Whiddy Island National School, Trawnahaha townland, Whiddy Island, Co. Cork

(dated 1887)

NGR: 096974, 049791

Whiddy Island NS Co. Cork 1887 Doorway Looking in

Whiddy Island is a small, near-shore island located at the head of Bantry Bay in Co. Cork. Not far from the modern quayside and in the townland of Trawnahaha is a small late 19th-century one-roomed school house overlooking Bantry Bay below. Painted bright blue with a white lime-wash, in recent years the building had been used as a local museum though it has now fallen into a state of disrepair.

Whiddy Island NS Co. Cork 1887 Classroom Interior

Like so many offshore islands in Ireland, the permanent population has dwindled through the 20th century and can no longer support a local national school. John Chambers’ “Islands – Change in Population 1841 – 2011” clearly shows the island’s decline from a peak population of 729 in 1841:

Year Pop ±%
1841 729
1851 561 −23.0%
1901 259 −53.8%
1951 104 −59.8%
1996 34 −67.3%
2002 29 −14.7%
2006 22 −24.1%
2011 20 −9.1%

Whiddy Island NS Co. Cork 1887 Doorway

Continue reading Whiddy Island National School, Trawnahaha townland, Whiddy Island, Co. Cork

Slievereagh/St.Michael’s National School, Slievereagh townland, Ballyvourney, Co. Cork

Slievereagh/St.Michael’s National School, Slievereagh townland, Ballyvourney, Co. Cork

(dated: Late 19th Century)

ING: 118123, 078939

Scoil Micil Naomha, Sliabh Riabac Scoil Naisunta, Co. Cork

The ruins of Slieveragh/St. Michael’s National School can be spotted when driving from Killarney to Cork on the N22 – situated about 2.5 km before the village of Ballyvourney in Co. Cork. The school house is located just north of a re-aligned stretch of roadway, away from the modern carriageway. From the roadside, this detached, four-bay, two-roomed school building stands in open rough grazing, grey and weather-beaten, with boarded up windows and a collapsing roof.

Scoil Micil Naomha, Sliabh Riabac Scoil Naisunta, Co. Cork

Nature is creeping in through every available opening, with nesting birds now being the main occupants of the collapsing structure. Most notable in the hallway, are the heavily corroded numbered cast-iron coat hooks and fine tiled floor. From the hall, two small classrooms can be accessed with matching fireplaces in each. Inside the few remaining school desks have collapsed through the remnants of the suspended timber floor.

Scoil Micil Naomha, Sliabh Riabac Scoil Naisunta, Co. Cork

Scoil Micil Naomha, Sliabh Riabac Scoil Naisunta, Co. Cork

Scoil Micil Naomha, Sliabh Riabac Scoil Naisunta, Co. Cork

Scoil Micil Naomha, Sliabh Riabac Scoil Naisunta, Co. Cork

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.

Ballykinealy/Kilmacdonogh National School, Ballykinealy townland, Co. Cork

Ballykinealy/Kilmacdonogh National School, Ballykinealy townland, Co. Cork

(dated 1930)

NGR: 205929, 070231

Ballykinealy National School, Co. Cork

Ballykinealy/Kilmacdonogh national school is situated in the rural East Cork townland of Ballykinealy. The surrounding landscape comprises rolling rich farmland with deep soils, and the area has a strong tradition of both tillage farming and animal husbandry.

Kilmacdonagh-Ballykinealy National School, Co. Cork

The school building itself comprises a detached five-bay single-storey former national school, built c.1930, having single-bay gabled porch to front (south) elevation and single-bay flat-roofed extension to rear (north) elevation. It has a pitched slate roof with rendered chimneystacks to gables. There are roughcast rendered walls with smooth render plinth, and a cut stone name plaque to east gable. Also included are square-headed window openings throughout, with timber sliding sash windows, six-over-six pane to front and rear elevations and gables, two-over-two pane to porch and extension. There are square-headed openings to porch and extension with timber battened doors (probably original). Surrounding the building is a rubble stone boundary wall to the north, and a rendered boundary wall with stile to east. Continue reading Ballykinealy/Kilmacdonogh National School, Ballykinealy townland, Co. Cork

Coolmountain National School, Coolmountain townland, Co. Cork

Coolmountain National School, Coolmountain townland, Co. Cork

(dated c.1950)

NGR: 118544, 60287

ADSC00290

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; Continue reading Coolmountain National School, Coolmountain townland, Co. Cork

Mountpleasant National School, Curravordy townland, Co. Cork

Mountpleasant National School, Curravordy townland, Co. Cork

(dated 1876)

NGR:144835, 60346

Mount Pleasant School, County Cork 2ND ED

The Second Edition 25-inch map for the area around the Mount Pleasant Estate in Co. Cork marks the location of Mount Pleasant National School. The school was built in 1876 to the east of Mount Pleasant Cottage near Tanyard Bridge and the local R.I.C. Barracks. It was constructed on the lands donated by the Baldwin family – local land-holders in the area at the time. Much of the original structure remains today, though with some modification and later additions to the site including an indoor toilet-block which replaced the now collapsed outdoor one to the rear of the main building. Inside, the building itself is stable and in a fair condition.

Mountpleasant NS Co. Cork 1876 Interior

The structure comprises a detached six-bay single-storey national school, dated 1876 on the carved limestone plaque to front, with flat-roofed extension to the rear (west). It has a pitched slate roof with rendered chimney-stacks and cast-iron rainwater goods. The windows comprise square-headed window openings with rendered sills and two-over-two pane timber sliding sash windows with horizontal glazing bars. Plastered walls and ceiling to interior with stone framed fireplace with cast-iron fittings. Square-profile dressed sandstone gate piers with cut limestone caps and remains of rubble stone boundary wall.

2DSC00141 Continue reading Mountpleasant National School, Curravordy townland, Co. Cork