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.
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Clashmore-Coolbooa National School, Coolbooa townland, Co. Waterford
NGR: 212828, 84234
Coolbooa-Clashmore National School in Co. Waterford comprises an attached three-bay single-storey Tudor-style national school, dated 1887, possibly originally detached on a T-shaped plan retaining some early fenestration with single-bay single-storey gabled projecting lower porch to centre, two-bay single-storey side elevation to north-east, and single-bay two-storey lower return to south-east. Part refenestrated, c.1965. It has pitched slate roofs on a T-shaped plan (gabled to porch) with clay ridge tiles, rendered chimney stacks, gabled lucarnes having louvered panel fittings, rendered bargeboards to porch, and cast-iron rainwater goods on rendered eaves. The structure comprises painted rendered walls over random rubble stone construction with an inscribed plaque to gable to porch, rendered date stone to gable to side (north-east) elevation having moulded surround, and some sections of exposed random rubble stone construction.
There are a number of triangular-headed window openings with rendered sills (some without sills), and rendered hood mouldings on decorative drops. Replacement aluminium casement widows were added c.1965, to front (north-west) elevation retaining early fixed-pane timber windows to remainder. Triangular-headed door opening with rendered hood moulding over on decorative drops, replacement timber panelled double doors, c.1965, and overlight. Set back from line of road on elevated base with painted rendered wall over random rubble stone construction, rendered coping, hoop iron railings over, and painted rendered piers to left with rendered capping, and hoop iron double gates. Continue reading Clashmore-Coolbooa National School, Coolbooa townland, Co. Waterford
Carrowcrory National School, Corrowcrory townland, Co. Sligo
NGR: 173274, 308836
Carrowcrory National School is situated in the shadow of the Caves of Kesh in the townland of Carrowcrory in Co. Sligo. To the east lie the Bricklieve Mountains, Lough Key and Lough Arrow. The tall water-tower to the rear of the school building makes it identifiable from a distance in this beautiful landscape. According to cartographic sources, there has been a national school on this site since at least the time of the Second Edition Ordnance Survey in the late 1800s; although no trace of the earlier school house remains here today. At the time of this buildings construction in the mid-50s, it was provided with all modern amenities: a playing field and concrete play place, play shelter, toilets, cloakroom accommodation and a water tower. It’s design is typical of national schools built at this time but with architectural oddities including ocular windows to the rear and the inclusion of a water-tower next to the shelter in the former rear schoolyard.
Internally, many of the original 1950s fixtures and fittings remain including the original doors. This building is in an excellent state of preservation and is currently being renovated.
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.
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.
Continue reading Brooklawn National School, Fartamore townland, Co. Galway
Hollygrove National School, Hollygrove townland, Co. Galway
NGR: 178226, 257469
Like so many disused national school buildings present in the rural Irish landscape, the simple ‘to-plan’ architecture of Hollygrove and it’s isolated location in north Co. Galway reflects somewhat juxtaposed concepts of rural homogeneity (a school building like many others, built cheaply and ‘to-plan’ by the state administrators for a homogeneous local rural population) and the uniqueness of each rural area in its isolation (built in a isolated spot near the shore of Ballaghdacker Lough, seemingly far removed from the offices of design and planning – like so many other civic buildings planted in these locations from afar).
Above is the Second Edition 25 inch to 1 mile OS sheet for Hollygrove showing the location of the School to the southwest of Ballaghdacker Lough at the turn of the 20th century
Each of these schools is undoubtedly similar in a broad sense (each school was to serve the same general role as an institute of education), but also undoubtedly unique. For the casual onlooker today, this school house could be confused with many others of a similar design, however, for those children who attended the school, the building was unmistakable – identifiable through minor unique qualities or its landscape setting. Hollygrove, or sometimes Holly Grove, is a townland of 283 acres in Athleague parish, Killeroran district, Killian barony, Union of Mountbellew, in County Galway. The townland is on the border of Roscommon and Galway. Hollygrove National School is situated to the southwest of Ballaghdacker Lough in the townland.
Continue reading Hollygrove National School, Hollygrove townland, Co. Galway
Toberroe National School, Toberroe East townland, Co. Galway
NGR: 169382, 265952
Toberroe National School is located in the townland of Toberroe East in North Galway. Although constructed around 1901 Griffiths Valuation of c.1855 shows that lands belonging to John Cheevers were at that time exempt from taxation as part school grounds and buildings. This would indicate that an earlier school house was in existence in the townland at this time.
This earlier building can be identified on the north-eastern boundary of the townland on the First Edition Ordnance Survey sheet for the area (dating to c.1840). The present building continued in use until recent times and is in a good state of preservation with much of the old school furniture still inside.
The present building comprises a detached eight-bay single-storey national school with separate entrances to rear for boys and girls. It has a pitched slate roof with render eaves, red brick chimney-stacks and cast-iron rainwater goods. The walls are rendered ruled and lined, having an inscribed limestone plaque. it includes square-headed windows having timber six-pane upper flaps over nine-pane fixed lights. There is a garden to front bounded by rubble limestone wall with gateways having square piers with chamfered caps and metal gates. To the rear is the former toilet block for male and female children.
Continue reading Toberroe National School, Toberroe East townland, Co. Galway
Coolmountain National School, Coolmountain townland, Co. Cork
NGR: 118544, 60287
A few miles north of Dunmanway in west Cork is the rural hamlet of Coolmountain. In summer, this is a particularly lush and green place, wooded and mountainous, isolated and peaceful. The land is rough but resourceful. The landscape of Coolmountain seems to have retained an authentic rural feel: the roads are poor, the houses sparse and there is a sense of timelessness about the place.
Here, just off a small local road and partially hidden by trees, is the disused Coolmountain National School; a diminutive one-room corrugated asbestos structure that is among the more unusual schoolhouses in the country
The ruins of Coolmountain National School comprise a detached gable-fronted three-bay single-storey school, built c.1945. It has a pitched asphalt roof with cast-iron ‘rainwater goods’ (i.e. gutters and drainpipes). The windows comprise square-headed openings with metal casement mullions and timber sills. It also has a square-headed door opening with a timber battened door, overlight and concrete steps. Rendered walls to the front and sides of the plot enclose a small schoolyard which can be accessed through a 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.
Though constructed in the 1940s, there has been a school at this site since the 1830s. Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of 1837 records that:
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Mountpleasant National School, Curravordy townland, Co. Cork
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.
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.
Continue reading Mountpleasant National School, Curravordy townland, Co. Cork
A disused National School at Tullaghan, Co. Leitrim
(Dated mid-20th century)
ING: 179441, 358747
I passed this disused National School just outside the seaside town of Bundoran in Co. Donegal early one Monday morning. It is situated just off the N15 on the Sligo side of the town. It had no name plate or date that I could see, though it appears to be a recently abandoned mid-20th century school house.
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.