Tag Archives: Co. Monaghan

Borderlands; ‘generally wet, sour, and moory’ – Samuel Lewis, 1837 (Heritage Week 2016 Series)

This is the third in the series of daily posts to the Disused School Houses blog to mark National Heritage Week 2016 (August 20th- 28th). This post presents images of abandoned school houses from Ireland’s ‘Borderland’ region, along with a brief narrative outlining the changing social landscape of the area over the past 100 years.

Gaigue NS Co. Cavan 1890 - 1900: Now a mechanic's workshop
Gaigue National School, Co. Cavan

aThere are a number of reoccurring motifs and themes that I have come across in the course of researching and photographing the disused school houses I visit. Rural depopulation and changing rural settlement patterns are amongst those themes. In some rural areas, the negative affects of this depopulation are partly offset by a thriving modern tourism industry. However, along the border region between the Republic and Northern Ireland where fewer tourists visit, the affects of demographic change have only been exacerbated further by social upheaval over the past century or so.

Drumreilly NS Co. Leitrim 1897 Fireplace
Drumreilly National School, Co. Leitrim (built in 1897)

The social history of the border already fills countless tomes and theses. The borderlands of Northern Ireland and Ireland are amongst the most disadvantaged and deprived areas of the island, and the proliferation of abandoned national schools in the area tells that story in itself. In March of this year, I spent a few days travelling through counties Monaghan, Cavan and Leitrim. These counties make up a significant percentage of the north/south border, and in terms of looking for derelict school houses, this is prime territory.

Corvoy Ns Co. monaghan 1902 Piano Through the Door
Corvoy National School, Co. Monaghan (built in 1902)

Besides dramatic social change, the creation of the custom barrier in 1923 significantly affected the movement of goods. Duties were payable on items such as tobacco, clothing and other manufactured goods. This had significant implications for retailers who formerly served areas that were now on either side of the border and for ordinary people whose patterns of shopping were disrupted by the new customs barrier.

Latton Co. Monaghan 1941 Classroom
Latton National School, Co. Monaghan (built in 1941)

Even before the decades of violence, the creation of the border badly affected existing retailers, manufacturers and services near the border. For many business the cost and inconvenience of new customs system – duties, paper work, delays and longer journeys – as well as the growing divergence in the administrative systems on either side created difficulties which led to a dramatic decline in trade across the border.

Continue reading Borderlands; ‘generally wet, sour, and moory’ – Samuel Lewis, 1837 (Heritage Week 2016 Series)

Killymarly National School, Killymarly townland, Co. Monaghan

Killymarly National School, Killymarly townland, Co. Monaghan

(dated c.1840)

NGR: 270176, 333199

Killymarly NS, Co. Monaghan c1850 Exterior

Travelling east from Monaghan Town toward the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, there is a small rural townland named Killymarly located on the northern side of the N 72. The surrounding landscape is characterised by elongated low drumlin hills, interspersed with damp bog-lands and small lakes. On the western side of one of these low drumlins, and set just off a narrow local road, are the crumbling remains of a two-storey school house dating to the mid-19th century. The building is marked on both the First Edition 6 inch Ordnance Survey Sheet (1834-1846), and the later 25 inch Ordnance Survey Sheet (dating to the turn of the 20th century), and the school was probably constructed in the 1840s.

Continue reading Killymarly National School, Killymarly townland, Co. Monaghan

Corvoy National School, Cornahoe townland, Co. Monaghan

Corvoy National School, Cornahoe townland, Co. Monaghan

(dated c.1902)

NGR: 272335, 324722

Corvoy Ns Co. monaghan 1902 Piano Through the Door

Through the closing decades of the 19th century, there was a notable increase in the construction of new school houses in Ireland. During this time a number of ‘to-standard’ designs were utilised across the country including the detached eight-bay single-storey school house like example featured here from Corvoy in Co. Monaghan (built in 1902). Further almost identical schools can be found at Carrigan Co. Cavan (built in 1897) and Brooklawn Co. Galway (built in 1885).

Built in 1902 and replacing an earlier school house once located adjacent to the local Roman Catholic Church (see the First and Second Edition Ordnance Survey sheets above), this detached eight-bay single-storey school remains in good condition both internally and externally, and so it is a fine example of this ‘to-standard’ design’. It has a standard double entrance, one entrance for boys and one for girls. Sometimes there were local variations in the design, like the example from Gortahose, Co. Leitrim (built in 1890) with it’s centrally located doorway. Corvoy School includes a pitched slate roof with single red brick chimneystack to mid-roof, and cast-iron rainwater goods and harl-rendered walls, having carved stone date plaque to the centre of the front (west) elevation.

Corvoy Ns Co. monaghan 1902 Classroom

Inside, it is white-washed and bare, bright, but empty. It retains the majority of it’s original features including a built-in cloak cupboard inside the northern doorway. Outside, the surrounding rubble limestone boundary wall also separates girls’ and boys’ yards, and includes a post-Independence postbox, another common feature of schools of this era.  Continue reading Corvoy National School, Cornahoe townland, Co. Monaghan

Latton National School, Latton townland, Co. Monaghan

Latton National School, Latton townland, Co. Monaghan

(dated c.1941)

NGR: 268647, 314073

Latton Co. Monaghan 1941 Classroom II

In the village of Latton in Co. Monaghan there has been a progression of four school houses since the first school building was marked on the First Edition Ordnance Survey in the 1840s. The national school featured in this blog post dates to 1941, and was replaced by the modern school building situated closer to the centre of the village.  Broadly similar in form and fabric to the school at Gortadooda in Co. Tipperary, this was a standard design by the Board of Works that was used throughout the country in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Now standing in open pasture, the structure is gradually giving way to the elements. To the front of the building there is an inscribed limestone date and name plaque reading ‘Scoil Mhuire Leacht Fhinn Scoil Náisiúnta 1941’. However, inside many of the fixtures and fittings remain, and each classroom retains much of the original furniture giving the environment a particularly spooky feeling.

Latton Co. Monaghan 1941 Hallway

Continue reading Latton National School, Latton townland, Co. Monaghan