St Johnston - Carrigans
~ Co Donegal.
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.
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
In 1997, Mrs Kathleen Burke was the
principal of St Baithin's School. There were 203 children on the rolls at
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.
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
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.
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.
First exam 17th October 1883
Principal Roger McGinley from 1 - 10 -
Assistant Ellen Mc Ginley
Exam 1 - 4 - 84
Principal John Ward from 15 - 11 - 83
Assistant Catherine Ward
Exam 1895 - 53 pupils present
Exam 1896 - 58 pupils present
Exam 1897 - 66 pupils present
"Jnrs - on the floor being 'taught'
by other pupils"
Exam 1900 - 49 pupils (July)
Exam 1901 - 63 pupils
Exam 1903 - Principal - J Ward
Assistant Mary F Casey
Exam 1923 Principal Mr JJ Mc
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
St Baithin's Old National School,
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.
||1905 (July to September)
|Robert J James - from County
|Mrs Maude - nee Bolster
|Mrs Starritt Principal
|Mrs Sarah Miller Assistant
|Mrs Evelyn Buchanan, she became
principal in 1979 after being asked by Reverend McSparron
||4 Dec 1979
|Miss Lorraine Starritt
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
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
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
In 2001, the school was extended to add another classroom, an office. store room
and a staff room.
By Gillian Graham
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.
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.
table provides an overview of the enrolment and staffing in the school at the
time of the evaluation:
enrolled in the school
classes in the school
on the school staff
working in support roles
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
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 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.
(Alt Achadh Doire) National
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
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
First female pupil registered was
Ceceilia McLoone born 18 April 1894 from Killea. She also came from
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
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."
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
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
On 7 July 1895, the School Inspector
recorded that the school had no globe and the floor was in a bad state of
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.
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
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
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
Bradley was the last Sexton to live in the house.
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
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.
The Story of the Local Schools
Castletown National School
In the Footsteps of St Baithin,
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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