Réidh Reamhar (Reyrawer) National School, Reyrawer townland, Co. Galway
NGR: 153849, 201664
Reyrawer (meaning thick field or mountain plain) National School is situated in the uplands of the Slieve Aughty Mountains in the parish of Peterswell (Kilthomas), south-east Co. Galway. Today, when standing in the doorway of the school house, surrounded by the coniferous forestry plantations, the elevated aspect affords excellent views of the karstic landscape of the Gort lowlands to the south. Despite the fact that the uplands are today abandoned, there are a maze of small roads and field boundaries through the forest lands and across the fresh hillside. The 1911 census shows 14 families living in the townland of Reyrawer at that time. Nonetheless there is now a great sense of emptiness in this landscape. With many of the vernacular houses of those who once lived here being swallowed up by the forestry plantation, the school building feels like the last reminder of the communities that once populated this area.
This is a detached one-room school house with an attached entrance hall to the south. Inside, the suspended timber floor has begun to collapse, though the pitched roof remains in good condition, with the interior remaining protected from the elements. To the rear of the main building is the former toilet block while to the west lies the cast-in situ concrete schoolyard shelter.
Among the past pupils of the school is Patrick Glynn, member of Kilbecanty Coy. Irish Volunteers, Co. Galway, 1917-21. Glynn was born on the 17th February, 1891 at Lisbrien in the parish of Kilbecanty, Co. Galway and attended the Reyrawer National School until he was about fifteen years of age. Continue reading Réidh Reamhar (Reyrawer) National School, Reyrawer townland, Co. Galway
Baile Mhic Citheóla (Ballymackeehola), National School, Ballymackeehola townland, Co. Mayo
NGR: 116130, 325294
This rural two-roomed national school is situated in the sparsely populated and boggy townland of Ballymackeehola in north-west Mayo. With little tree cover, the area is often wind-swept, with the Atlantic Ocean sometimes bringing a damp and harsh gale. Lough Conn lies to the south with Kilala Bay lying lying to the east. The nearest urban centre is the town of Ballina located approximately 9 km to the south-east. The surrounding farmland is poorly drained with little or no tillage farming. The First Edition Ordnance Survey sheet for the area shows a number of small Clochan settlements in the townland, although this isolated and now disused school house is perhaps the only evidence of infrastructural investment in the area over the past 200 years. The plaque above the doorway dates the construction of the school to 1895. It remained in use until 1969.
The building comprises a detached four-bay single-storey national school with a pitched slate roof with clay ridge tiles, red brick running bond chimney stack having lichen-covered chamfered capping supporting terracotta pots, timber barge-boards to the gables on timber purlins, and no rainwater good surviving on exposed timber rafters retaining cast-iron down-pipes. The interior of the school house remains in a good state of preservation with many of the original fittings and fixtures still in place. Unfortunately, the northern gable of the building has had a hole recently knocked in it to allow livestock enter the smaller classroom. Entering through the hallway/cloakroom, standing in the main classroom and facing the charred chimney breast, it is easy to imagine lessons taking place in this setting, though nothing of the sort has occurred here in nearly 50 years.
This dilapidated national school represents an integral component of the later nineteenth-century architectural heritage of County Mayo. A prolonged period of neglect notwithstanding, the elementary form and massing survive intact together with substantial quantities of the original fabric, thus upholding the character or integrity of a national school making a pleasing, if increasingly forlorn visual statement in a sylvan setting. Continue reading Baile Mhic Citheóla (Ballymackeehola), National School, Ballymackeehola townland, Co. Mayo
Lisglennon National School, Lisglennon townland, Co. Mayo
NGR: 119452, 327424
Lisglennon National School is situated to the west of Killala Bay in the rural townland of Lisglennon in north Co. Mayo. The building lies immediately adjacent to the ruin of Ballysakeery Church, with a former Presbyterian Meeting House lying further to the east. The exact date of construction is not known though it may have been built around the same time as the adjacent Church (Board of First Fruits Church of Ireland church, under construction 1806 – complete 1810). It is certainly a relatively early school house in Ireland, and can be identified on the First Edition Ordnance Survey sheet for the area which dates to the late 1830s. Today, both the Church and the school buildings are in a ruinous state, though unlike the church, the school retains its roof. The 1901 census suggests that the school was in use at that time, but it had fallen out of use by the time of the 1911 census.
The building itself comprises a detached three- or four-bay single-storey school house with half-dormer attic on an L-shaped plan with an outline of single-bay single-storey gabled advanced or projecting porch. It has a pitched slate roof of timber construction with clay ridge tiles, ivy-covered rendered chimney stack with capping not visible, and no rainwater goods surviving on cut-limestone eaves. The north-eastern rough-cast walls include square-headed window openings with cut-limestone sills, and concealed dressings framing the remains of six-over-six timber sash windows with a one one-over-one timber sash window in the western gable.
It is a dilapidated school house forming part of a neat self-contained group alongside the ruined Ballysakeery Church with the resulting ensemble making a pleasing visual statement in a sylvan street scene.
Continue reading Lisglennon National School, Lisglennon townland, Co. Mayo
Saint Patrick’s National School, Gortatooda townland, Tipperary North
NGR: 198741, 161486
Saint Patrick’s National School is situated in the rural North Tipperary village of Upperchurch. The complex includes the school building, playground shelter and outdoor toilet block. Its design represents the quintessential 1950s style national school in Ireland – simple in form and filling primarily a functional role. Many of the fixtures and fittings appear original. Though this building dates to the 1950s, an earlier school house was present in the centre of the village, as indicated on the First Edition Ordnance Survey sheet for the area. The school building documented here fell out of use in the 1980s – in September 1984 Scoil Ioasgáin officially opened nearby in the village. At this time three local schools amalgamated together to form Upperchurch Central NS.
The school building comprises a detached six-bay double-height national school with a four-bay single-storey flat-roofed block to the rear, flanked by flat-roofed porches at the gable ends with concrete canopies over doors to the side. It has a sprocketed slate roof with roughcast rendered chimneystack and cast-iron rainwater goods.
The exterior of the building has a roughcast render with rendered plinth and a slate date plaque. The windows are square-headed with six-over-six pane timber sash windows and concrete sills. The timber battened doors are original.
Continue reading Saint Patrick’s National School, Gortatooda townland, Tipperary North
Garrycloher National School, Clonmore South townland, Tipperary South
NGR: 202737, 122441
This is a typical example of a particularly attractive 19th-century rural school building. The entrance doorways on either side of the projecting entrance gave separate access to boys and girls. The masonry is of good quality and the windows, though renewed, echo the former type. Like so many such schools, this building served a functional role but would also have been a focal point for the surrounding hinterland.
The building comprises a detached T-plan gable-fronted single-storey school, built c.1840, with recent extension to rear. It has a hipped slate roof with rendered chimneystack and cast-iron rainwater goods. The walls are constructed of dressed limestone except to the rear rear,which comprises coursed rubble with dressed limestone quoins. The surrounding boundary wall includes a wrought-iron double-leaf gate set to dressed limestone gate piers with caps.
Continue reading Garrycloher National School, Clonmore South townland, Tipperary South
Ballintogher National School, Tiratick townland, Co. Sligo
NGR: 176104, 328245
This school house is situated in the townland of Tiratick in the parish of Ballintogher in rural Co. Sligo – just northwest of the village of Balllintogher. The building dates to the 1840s and served the village, though the First Edition Ordnance Survey sheet for the area which dates to the late 1830s, shows an earlier school house marked just to the southwest of Ballintogher village. Sadly the 1840s school house is in a poor condition today, having been crudely converted into a shed. In the nearby village there are two town houses of mid-to-late 19th century date listed as protected structures. At the time of the 1901 census in Ireland, some 41 families lived in Ballintogher, and village included 3 public houses and a shop. The Second Edition Ordnance Survey sheet dating to the late 19th century shows a creamery, post-office, ball court and Temperance hall in the village. A railway line, the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway, which was constructed in the 1870s ran near the village. This railway linked Sligo town with Enniskillen and was in operation until 1957.
Like so many rural villages and towns in Ireland during the 19th and early 20th century, school houses along with buildings such as the local church and public houses were at the centre of rural Irish lifeways. They were an intrinsic part of the social fabric of Irish rural life which nearly every member of a community was familiar with.
Continue reading Ballintogher National School, Tiratick townland, Co. Sligo
Loughwell National School, Laughil townland, Co.Galway
NGR: 117846, 228891
May – Driving between Moycullen and Spiddal in Co. Galway: Loughwell is a townland of Moycullen in the Galway Connemara Gaeltacht. Loughwell school stands on the Moycullen Spiddal road there. The school house that stands there today dates to the mid-1950s, but replaced an earlier building that stood on the site. The earlier building is identified on the Second Edition Ordnance Survey sheet for the area:
The two-classroom school was constructed probably during the first decade of the 20th century. In the 1970s the small national school at Loughwell closed and was amalgamated with Scoil Mhuire in Moycullen when the new central school was built there and opened in 1979.
Continue reading Loughwell National School, Laughil townland, Co.Galway
Gortavalla National School, Gortavalla East townland, Co. Limerick (Scoil Náisiúnta Gort an Bhaile)
NGR: 180869, 149139
The townland of Gortavalla East is located in the parish of Doon, to the east of the village Doon in Co. Limerick. The Slieve Felim and Mauher Slieve mountains lie just a few kilometres to the northwest but the lands surrounding the school are relatively flat. This is a rural area with fine grassland. The school building that stands here today is believed to have been constructed c.1880 though an earlier school existed in the area constructed by Danaher Brothers of Doon in 1831.
At the time of the 1901 census in Ireland, 13 families lived in the townland of Gortavalla East. Local family names included; Gallagher, Ryan, O’Donnell, Lonergan, Aherne, Buckey, Kearney, O’Brien, Real [sic] and Franklin. Undoubtedly the children of each of these families would have attended Gortavalla National School.
Continue reading Gortavalla National School, Gortavalla East townland, Co. Limerick (Scoil Náisiúnta Gort an Bhaile)
Crossboy National School, Crossboy townland, Co. Sligo
(dated late 19th century)
NGR: 177316, 329561
Crossboy National School is situated in the townland of Crossboy in the parish of Killerry near Lough Gill on the Sligo/Leitrim border. I passed this school house by chance and managed to take a few snaps before the rain came down. The building comprises a detached L-plan (extended to the rear from the original building at possibly a later date) single-storey structure located at the Crossboy junction.
Much of the external surface of the building is overgrown with ivy and no name/date plaque could be found. Drawing on a comparison with other school houses of similar design, a late-19th/early-20th century construction date for this building is suggested here. There are two entrances to the front of the school house, and two corresponding gateways in the boundary wall with stepped approaches to the building – like many of the school houses of this date, these are probably segregated entrances for boys and girls. Internally, the building comprises two classrooms separated by a partition wall. At the time of my visit the later extension was inaccessible. Continue reading Crossboy National School, Crossboy townland, Co. Sligo
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. Continue reading Carrigeencor National School, Carrigeencor townland, Co. Leitrim