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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.