St Johnston - Carrigans     ~ Co Donegal.


Schools Background

 

The Hedge School

There would have been hedge schools locally.  The teacher was smuggled into the locality and the parents of the children would have given him free lodgings and food during his stay. 

The Schools Model

The first schools model was just to have one room with one teacher.  Later the schools were meant to cater for two separate groups of students and had two classrooms with a principal and an assistant teacher.  The state exam, the Primary Certificate, was introduced in 1929.  Its focus was on reading, writing and arithmetic.  With arithmetic, making correct calculations in their heads was the prime goal.    The Primary Certificate ceased in 1967 with the rise in secondary schools.  The secondary schools offered the Group Certificate, the Intermediate Certificate and the Leaving Certificate.

Most schools in the area were controlled by the Roman Catholic diocese of Raphoe.  When the Stanley Act 1831 legislated for the creation of National Schools, the plan was to create schools that for all religious denominations.   However, it came to pass that each Church, Presbyterian, Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic granted patronage to schools resulting in denominational schools.  However, this did not stop some Catholics attending Protestant Schools and some Protestants attending Catholic Schools.  The Diocesan Examiner visited Catholic schools once a year to ensure that the children were being taught the catechism properly.  He asked them catechism questions If they couldn't answer their confirmation could be postponed.  Religion was taught a lot in denominational schools.  The school day was started with prayer in the mornings and finished with prayers in the afternoon.

Toilets were usually a bucket in a shed type structure out the back of the school.  It was the practice for a child to take took sticks and a sod of turf to the school for the fire.

All active local schools participated in the Schools Folklore Scheme of 1938 facilitated by the Department of Irish Folklore.

 

The Local Schools

St Baithin's National School

St Baithin's National School is situated between the old cemetery and the St Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre .  It opened for the first time on Monday 5th of May 1980.  It was then that the pupils of Trentamucklagh National School, Drumucklagh National School (Raphoe), St Baithin's Old School all came together to form one new school.  The Ballylennon and Craighadoes roads were served at the time by McGee's bus which brought the pupils to the school. 

Mr Joe McGinley was the first principal of the school until his retirement in 1983 which was marked by a social function in the Old School Hall.  Ms Mc Ginley, Mrs Molloy, Mr Jim Callaghan, Mrs Ann Gallagher, Mrs Kathleen Burke and Mr Brian Harkin were the teachers at the time.

The next principal of the school was Mr Art McLoone.

In 1997, Mrs Kathleen Burke was the principal of St Baithin's School.  There were 203 children on the rolls at the time. 

Ann Marie Meehan is the current principal at time of writing 2008.

In July 2005, due to the need for more space for the pupils prefabricated rooms were erected next the school.  

The school celebrated its 25th birthday in 2005.  Pupils who had started in the school in 1980 or who transferred from Trentamucklagh School or Drumucklagh School or St Baithin's Old School attended the celebration.  The teachers of those times were also invited.  There was a Mass first in St Baithin's Church to mark the occasion.  Then another celebration, one of the nostalgic past, was held in the school itself and involved displaying old school roll books and also old photographs of children from the various schools.  A social evening with a buffet served in a marquee adjacent was held in the Main Hall of the St Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre.


Scoil an Leinbh Iosa, Coxtown Carrigans

Scoil an Leinbh Iosa or School of the Infant Jesus to translate it from Irish was opened in 1949 when it was blessed by Archdeacon John Deeny Parish Priest of St Johnston and Carrigans.  Committee members for the School at the time were Flora Patton, Nora McGee, Nan Toland, Lizzie Patton, Grace McGee, Mary Dillon, Vera Hagan, Claire McGee, Peg Howard, Maggie Ann Patton, Ruby Houston, Martha McGee, Joe Finegan, Dan Diver, Mrs Finegan, Marjorie Dillon, Peggie McGee, Henry Toland, John McGee, W Crawford, Michael McHugh, John Bond.

In 1997, Scoil an Leanbh Iosa, Coxtown, Carrigans, had 62 on the rolls.  The principal was Mr John O Donnell who is still principal at time of writing (2015).

In 2012, 40 boys and 37 girls were enrolled in this school.

From the school website carrigansns.com 

"Scoil an Linbh Iosa is situated just outside the village of Carrigans. It was opened in 1949 and a ‘One –room extension’ was built in the 1960s with a further ‘three-room extension built in the 1970s.

It provides primary education to a wide catchment area, primarily taking in the villages of Carrigans and Killea, and the townlands of Castlethird, Lusticle and Dunmore. Its’ pupil base, however, extends as far afield as Burt, Newtowncunningham and St. Johnston.

The school is a mixed one with a pupil population of around 70 and a staff of 5 Teachers (3 mainstream class teachers, a Resource Teacher and a Shared Learning Support Teacher). The school also has two part time Resource teachers and 2 Special Needs Assistants. Along with the full time staff we have the services of 2 part-time Secretaries.

The school has 3 mainstream classrooms, one general purpose room (hall), one learning support room (located in the general purpose room), one smaller room for resource teaching, a sensory room (not yet furnished), an office and a staffroom."


St Johnston National School No 2

This School, Roman Catholic ethos, which is currently the sacristan's house - now vacant - opposite the Roman Catholic Chapel closed to make way for the opening of St Baithin's National School, Blueball in 1931.

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First exam 17th October 1883

Principal Roger McGinley from 1 - 10 - 1882

Assistant Ellen Mc Ginley

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Exam 1 - 4 - 84

Principal John Ward from 15 - 11 - 83

Assistant Catherine Ward

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Exam 1895 - 53 pupils present

Exam 1896 - 58 pupils present

Exam 1897 - 66 pupils present

"Jnrs - on the floor being 'taught' by other pupils"

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Exam 1900 - 49 pupils (July)

Exam 1901 - 63 pupils

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Exam 1903 - Principal - J Ward

Assistant Mary F Casey

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Exam  1923  Principal Mr JJ Mc Glinchey

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Exam 1928 Principal Mr Francis Cassidy

In an essay written at Altaghderry School in the thirties we read that Kathleen McAnaney's mother, Mary, went to this school.   The teachers Miss Casey and Mr Ward are mentioned and we are told they "were not strangers" meaning they were local people.  The story says the writing was done in pencil and there was a blackboard and the teachers lodged locally.


St Baithin's Old National School, Blueball

St Baithin's National School was opened in 1931.  It served the pupils of the community until its closure in 1980.  After that it became known as the Old School Hall.  It was used for the annual parish bazaar on a Friday and Saturday night in November.  The parish bingo was held there and old time dancing events.  Concerts and plays were occasionally held there too.  The school was no longer used since the Resource Centre was completed.

The school was sold in 2005 by the Roman Catholic parish.  The sales price was 70,000 Euro.  The expenses of sale were 1,267.65 Euro.  The Department of Education and Science recouped 23,125.00 Euro.

The school was demolished in May 2008.


St Johnston No 1 School

This school, Presbyterian ethos, was opened in 1909.  It was a National School and can be seen next the Presbyterian Church in St Johnston.  Today it is used for Masonic meetings.  

John Bartley Shannon, Church Lane, St Johnston, died 2005, was the best known Principal of the School.

The school closed in 1975 and Mr Shannon took up a teaching post in Monreagh National School and many of his students went there as well.


Monreagh National School

Monreagh National School was built in 1852 .   It was opened November, 28 1852.  Back then it was all one room.  An extension, a new classroom, was created in 1907.   The cost was around £107.  Then in 1931, a house for the teacher was built on to the school.  This was later demolished.   The school serves children mainly of a Presbyterian background. 

The current school, and the old school and the Church itself are not in Monreagh.  They are in the townland of Tonagh.  The original Presbyterian Meeting House, the term Church was forbidden by Penal law, was built in Monreagh.  This led to the current Church and the schools being referred to as being in Monreagh.

Mr Henry Allen was paid an annual salary of £22 in 1854.  The Inspector was Christopher Graham. 

Teachers:

NAME FROM TO
Henry Allen 1853 1892
Mrs Allen 1871 1892
John Harper 1892 1902
Thompson Hunter 1902 1905
Alexander Lyttle 1905 (July to September) 1905
William Stewart 1905 1947
Robert J James - from County Clare 1907 1947
Miss McLaughlin 1911 1914
Mrs James 1914 1947
Mrs Maude - nee Bolster 1947 1970
Mrs Starritt Principal 1970 1979
Mrs Sarah Miller Assistant Teacher 1971 1997
Mr Shannon 1975 1977
Mrs Evelyn Buchanan, she became principal in 1979 after being asked by Reverend McSparron 4 Dec 1979 2009
Miss Lorraine Starritt 1996 2003
Mrs Lane 2009 2011
Mrs Harris 2003  

The school once had a big black stove for heating.

Martha and Cunningham Duncan were caretakers of the school and they lived adjacent to the school. They started in 1957.  Cunningham died in 1995.  Martha retired as caretaker in 2006.

The school closed down in 2011. A new school was built a short distance away.  Mrs Buchanan laid the first block for the new school on the 23 November 2010.

A booklet complied by Josephine Duncan was launched in St Johnston and Carrigans Family Resource Centre by Joe Mahon on 30 September 2011.  The booklet is called Memories of Monreagh National School 1853 to 2011.


Castletown National School

Castletown N.S. in the townland of Moness, Parish of Taughboyne, Barony of Raphoe was built in 1839 with funds from the Duke of Abercorn on a site of 1 rood and 20 perches.

The building was first opened as a school in 1841 and as a National School on 1 March 1859.

The school room was 40 feet in length by 18 feet wide and 10 feet high. There was a curtain across the middle of the room to separate into two classes.

It was furnished with six desks, 9 feet long and 9 forms 9 feet and 6 inch long.

There was a free residence attached to the school. And the school was improved over the years with state grants and local contributions.

In 1962, the original school was demolished to make way for a new school which was officially opened in March 1963.

The school was one large room divided with a wooden partition, giving two rooms 20 feet long by 15 feet wide and 12 feet high. There were 17 desks of 3 feet three inches. There were girls and boys cloakrooms and toilets and a room where the electricity meters were and which doubled as a store for P.E. equipment. A play shelter was built and a tower to hold the water tank.

The playground was 25 by 50 yards.

The school was paid for with 7/8 government funding and a 1/8 local subscription.

In 2001, the school was extended to add another classroom, an office. store room and a staff room.

By Gillian Graham


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The original Castletown school had a private house attached to it.  The new school, the present one, was officially opened March 1963.  Castletown National School has a Presbyterian ethos but welcomes children of all faith backgrounds.

From inspection report  2008

Castletown National School is a co-educational, rural primary school located some three kilometres from St Johnston, Co. Donegal. Pupil numbers have decreased significantly since the last school inspection, which was held in 1996. The school then had forty pupils. Projected enrolment figures, however, indicate that the pupil numbers will increase. School attendance figures are very satisfactory.  

The following table provides an overview of the enrolment and staffing in the school at the time of the evaluation:

 

 

Number

Pupils enrolled in the school

23

Mainstream classes in the school

2

Teachers on the school staff

2

Mainstream class teachers

2

Teachers working in support roles

2

Special needs assistants

1

From Derry Journal Friday 14 May 2010

The two Inishowen schools caught up in the bomb alert at Templemore Sports Complex have confirmed that they will not be travelling to Derry while a dissident security threat remains.

A group of 42 school children and four staff from Castletown National School in St. Johnston and Monreagh National School in Carrigans had to flee Templemore wearing only their swimming costumes following a security alert on Tuesday.

Mrs Evelyn Devenney at time of writing (2015) is principal of Castletown National School.


Carrigans School

Carrigans Parish School, which belongs to the Church of Ireland, was built from funds bequeathed by Colonel Robertson which was willed in 1790.  The Schoolmaster used to have living quarters above the school.  The School closed in 1949 for grants were cut off due to the small number of pupils.  The Roman Catholic children at the time started leaving the school and going to Coxtown School.  The School was renovated in 1985 and then in 2005 and is now Killea Parish Hall.


Altaghderry (Alt Achadh Doire) National School, Killea

Altaghderry National School, Townland of Altaghderry, Parish of Killea, Barony of Raphoe, Poor Law Union, Derry opened on Tuesday 1 October 1901 and closed in April 1967.  There was an extension added in 1935.

Manager was Father D McGinley PP, St Johnston. 

Mr McMonagle was the first principal.  From 1901 to 1937.   Annie his wife was assistant for forty years.   Their little boy aged three died after a kettle of boiling water fell on him. 

His successor was Paddy McDermott from 1937 until the school closed.  His name appears as Pádraig L. Mac Diarmada during the Schools Folklore Collection in the 1930's in which the school participated.

First male pupil to be registered was John McAnaney born 9 October 1893 from Dunmore.  He came from Balloughery School.

First female pupil registered was Ceceilia McLoone born 18 April 1894 from Killea.  She also came from Balloughery School.

The land the school was erected on formerly belonged to the estate of Colonel William McClintock.  It was purchased for the poor children of the parish.   There seems to be no reason for why the school was erected in Killea.  At the time there were no shops and there was only Alice's Pub which was there for over fifty years.

The summer holidays in 1914 are on record as being from 28 August to 12 September! 

There was a hiring fair in 1923 on the 14th November.  There was also one the following year on May 14.  There was a parish mission in 1924. 

The school records speak of sickness.  There was a five week long Whooping Cough Epidemic in 1916.  In 1918 there was a measles epidemic.  The school was closed in January 1925 on doctor's orders as a temporary measure because of infectious disease. 

 St Patrick's Boy's Club/Killea  Youth and Social Club bought the vacant school building at public auction in 1968.  They paid £850 and had expenses to pay on top of that.

During its existence the school had children who previously attended other schools as far away as Dunfanaghy and Morlogh, and even Glebe in Tyrone and St Kevin's in Dublin,

Pupil Dan Watson served in both world wars.

From Derry Journal 2015: "This week’s Friday’ Child is Richie Kelly, the former BBC Radio Foyle sports commentator who retired a few weeks ago.  Richie was born in Dublin and brought up in Co. Donegal but has lived for more than 30 years in Derry.  As a child he attended Altaghaderry National School in Killea and then St Columb’s College in Derry. Richie is married to Dolores and they have three daughters."


Craighadoes School

On the 24 April 1810, it was decided to allocate sixteen guineas to build a school at Craighadoes. 

However, it seems this money may not have been used for it seems that there was no school in Craighadoes until 1834.

In 1836, 2 November, Reverend Edward Bowen was permitted to use the schoolhouse as a Church.  It doubled as a school and a Church.

It was used for worship only from 1850 and it was converted into the present chapel of ease in 1869.  A new school was built behind this chapel and it was opened on December 1st 1869.  David Johnston was the first teacher.

On 7 July 1895, the School Inspector recorded that the school had no globe and the floor was in a bad state of repair.

In the early 1900's the school was found to be in bad repair and didn't even have a clock.  Corporal punishment was recorded and was limited to using a light rod.  Using it too much was seen as a bad sign. 

On 1929, the first day of August, Miss Marion Clarke was the teacher at the school.  She taught there until 1933.

In 1890 the school had fifty pupils and in 1960 it had twenty-seven.  When it closed on 30th June 1969 there were only three.  They were Sidney, Valerie and Michael Pearson. 

Miss Ruby Clarke taught at the school from 1941 to 1952.  Mrs Isobel Galbraith took over until the school closed.

APPENDIX
 

An article
 

The first school at Craighadoes was probably built around 1834. It was then licensed for public worship by the Bishop in 1850. In 1869, a new school was built and then the old one was used as a chapel of ease. The new school was opened on 1 December 1869 and the first teacher was David Johnston. In 1900, the school was said to be in moderate repair and by 1904 it was said that the school needed cleaning and painting.
 

In 1916, the Duke of Abercorn handed over the patronage of Craighadoes School to the governors of the Robertston School Board.
 

Miss Marion Clarke was appointed teacher on August 1st 1929 and she taught for four years. Mrs Laura Watt nee Rountree taught from 1939 to 1940.
 

The last two teachers were Miss Ruby Clarke, 1941 to 1952, and Mrs Isobel Galbraith nee Stewart from 1953 to 1969.
 

When the school finally closed on June 30th 1969 there were only three pupils on its rolls, Michael, Sidney and Valerie Pearson.
 


Ballylennon School

Between Ballylennon Presbyterian Church and Drumucklagh National School there is a house that used to be Ballylennon School. The School has been closed for several years.  It was then used as residence of the Presbyterian Church caretaker, called the Sexton.  Mary Jane Bradley was the last Sexton to live in the house.


Taughboyne School

Money and funding was raised to set up a School at Taughboyne near the Church of Ireland there in 1824.  The Teacher's Residence was built beside the school.  It was demolished and replaced by the current house in 1907.   In 1917, because of declining attendance at the school, it was supposed that it would be best to amalgamate Taughboyne with Monreagh School.  Miss Dickson the teacher didn't get paid and so in January 1919 the school closed. 


SAMPLE OF WHAT THE SCHOOL REGISTERS USED LOCALLY WOULD HAVE LOOKED LIKE IN THE 1880'S

APPENDIX: DRUMUCKLAGH

Drumucklagh School was attended by children from the St Johnston region and Raphoe and others.

This is a list of National Schools at which the children attended before Drummucklagh N.S. opened in 1909: Craigadoes, Drumbeg, Castletown, Ballyholey, Boyagh, Cloughfin, Drummoughill, Brow of the Hill Derry, Raphoe Boys, St. Johnston.

Drumucklagh National School opened in September 1909 with 57 pupils.  Children started school at 6 years of age and left at fourteen years.  During its lifetime, 411 boys and 355 girls passed through the school.  There were two class rooms with a sliding partition and it was heated by two open fires.  The school finally shut in 1980.   The pupils amalgamated with those of Trentamucklagh National School and the former St Baithin's National School to become one new school, St Baithin's National School which opened for the first time on Monday 9 May 1980. 

When Drumucklagh closed, Daniel and Karen Devine acquired the property and converted it into their family home.  They are very proud of their home which still sports the plaque to its history.  "The plaque has never been taken down - the outside of the building hasn't been changed at all" says Karen Devine.

 

Schools History

The Story of the Local Schools

Castletown National School

Drumucklagh History

 

 

Booklist

In the Footsteps of St Baithin, A History of the Parishes of Taughboyne with Craighadooish, All Saints, Newtowncunningham, Christ Church, Burt and Killea, Carrigans by Canon DWT Crooks MA BD, published by Donegal Democrat Ltd, Ballyshannon 1992

The Laggan and Its People, by S M Campbell,  Donegal Democrat Ltd, Ballyshannon

Memories of Monreagh National School, Josephine Duncan, 2011

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