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Schools from 1826

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Schools of Killeshandra from 1826

In 1824 a commission was set up to inquire into the state of Irish education. Its report, published in 1826, gives a picture of the state of primary education in the country on a parish by parish basis. It gives details on schools which we do not have from any other source. It outlines the townland in which the school was situated, the name and religion of the teacher and whether the school was a pay-school or a free-school. The free-schools obtained financial help from the London Hibernian Society or from the Kildare Street Society or from some other source.

According to the report Killeshandra had 17 schools, 13 pay-schools and 4 free-schools. The free-schools were the Protestant schools of Drumalt (Arva) and Derrylane, the Presbyterian school at Drumbess and a Catholic school at Behy. Almost all the non-Catholic free-schools received some financial assistance from either the London Hibernian Society or from the Kildare Street Society. The former was established in 1806 'to promote true religion in Ireland' and the latter in 1811 as a non-sectarian society to promote education among the poor of Ireland. They were both condemned by the Catholic bishops in 1820 for alleged proselytising activities. With the exception of Behy, all the Catholic schools were pay-schools. Most of them were private enterprises conducted in very poor conditions by a master who received an uncertain salary ranging from 5 to 15 per annum. The attendance returns given by the Catholic clergy report a total of 1,138 pupils (674 boys and 464 girls) attending the various schools in the parish.

The 1826 List of Schools in Killeshandra

Names and spellings as in the original report

Townland Teacher Religion Type Description of School
Drumalt John McCarrol Protestant Free Mud walls
Drumbess George Lang Presbyterian Free Stone and mud
Cornafane Michael Fitzpatrick Catholic Pay Stone and mud
Dernawill William Scott Protestant Pay Wretched mud cabin
Lakeville John Morris Catholic Pay Stone and mud
Killisandra Michael Carbin Catholic Pay Stone and lime
Derrylane John Vaghy Protestant Free Stone and lime
Dareskil James Ennis Protestant Pay Mud cabin
Behea Ter. Donnery Catholic Free A barn
Drumalt Bernard Mooney Catholic Pay Wretched cabin
Killisandra Michael Heslin Catholic Pay Stone and lime
Killesandra James Simonton Protestant Pay Stone and lime
Creenagh Hugh Smith Catholic Pay Master’s dwelling house
Portlongfield Owen Smith Catholic Pay Thatched cabin
Drumhart Francis McCabe Catholic Pay Mud wall house
Drumkeary John Kiernan Catholic Pay Mud cabin
Portaliff Peter Murphy Catholic Pay Rented stone house
Drumgoon Patt Kiernan Catholic Pay Mud wall

Killeshandra Classical School was one of the best known of the West Cavan Classical schools. According to tradition it existed from the early years of the century. The 1826 report gives Michael Heslin as the teacher. It had seven pupils on the roll, five Catholic and two Protestant. Mr Heslin was paid the rather good salary of 34 per annum. The school continued to exist down to 1860.

In 1831 the Stanley Act established the National School system in Ireland. In 1835 the report of another education commission was published. This report shows that Portaliffe and Derrylane Protestant schools were supported by Lord Farnham. The other non-Catholic schools were still in receipt of some help from the London Hibernian Society. The catholic schools were all pay-schools and there was still no National School in the parish. The subjects taught in the schools were reading, writing, arithmetic, sewing for girls. Religious instruction was given in Sunday schools.


The 1831 Commission Report on Killeshandra Schools

The following list of Killeshandra schools comes from the 1831 Commission Report.

    PORTLONGFIELD: A male and female day-school supported by Lord Farnham and conducted by Henry Fleming, who received a salary 36.18.6 per annum as well as a house and two acres of land. It had 70 boys and 76 girls on roll, with an average attendance of 82.

    DERRYLANE: A male and female day-school. It was also supported by Lord Farnham. The teacher was Henry Kennedy and it had 85 boys and 79 girls on the roll, with an average attendance of 94.

    BRUCE (HALL): A male day-school run by John Vahey. It had 49 boys on the roll with 23 as the average. It received grants of books from the London Hibernian Society as well as an annual subscription of 1.1.0.

    BRUCE (HALL): A Female school taught by Mrs Vahey. It had a roll of 77 girls (average 30). It received 11 from the London Ladies' Society and also an allowance from the London Hibernian Society.

    GEORGE VAHEY: Also conducted a Sunday School at Bruce Hall, free of charge. It was attended by 32 boys and 57 girls (average 65).

    CORRANEA: A hedge school run by Thomas Sheridan. It had 46 boys and 19 girls (average 60). They made payments of between 1/- and 2/6 per quarter.



  • Protestant School

    The Old Protestant School, built in 1876

    KILLESHANDRA PROTESTANT PAROCHIAL SCHOOL: A male day-school taught by George Wilson. It was supported by London Hibernian Society who made grants of books and a 12 subscription. It had 72 boys on roll (average 40).

    KILLESHANDRA: A female school taught by Eliza Simonton. It received 9 from the London Ladies' Society and pupils made payments of a half-penny per week. It had 91 girls on roll (average 45)



    DRUMCOIL HEDGE SCHOOL: The teacher was James Harte. It had 32 boys and 11 girls (average 41) who made payments from 1/- to 2.6 per quarter.

    KILLESHANDRA HEDGE SCHOOL: The teacher was Arthur Fox. It had 46 boys and 11 girls (average 40) who made payments of 3/- to 15/- per quarter.

    CASTLEPOLES HEDGE SCHOOL: The teacher was John Rourke. It had 43 boys and 14 girls (average 30) who made payments of 1/- to 1-6 per quarter.

    DRUMCAHILL: A day school taught by Edward Kenny and his wife. The school was supported by the London Hibernian Society. It had 13 boys and 54 girls on roll (average 52) and was only 6 weeks in existence.

    DERNAWINCLE: A day-school taught by William Scott. It was supported by allowances from the London Hibernian Society and a subscription of 3.3.0. It had 66 boys and 64 girls (average 60). Mr Scott also conducted a free Sunday school in Dernaweel for 42 pupils.



In 1858 there were ten schools in the parish: Corraneary, Dernaweel, Derrylane, Arva (Church Education Society School) , Arva (National School in Pound St.), Drumcoghill, Gorteenaterriff, Portaliffe National School, and Portlongfield. Killeshandra had two other schools, one in Castle St. and the other in Church St.



The Catholic Schools
The first Catholic school at Coronae to be established by the clergy was erected by Fr. Edmund O'Reilly in Coronae Chapel yard some time after 1798. It was a thatched building and the teacher was a Miss Fitzsimons. Fr O'Reilly also built the first Catholic school in Killeshandra. It was on the grounds of the church of St Brigid. The site of that school and its playground has now been incorporated into the cemetery. The next great church and school builder in the parish was Fr John O'Reilly, parish priest from 1853 to 1889. In addition to building the present church of St Brigid, he built schools in Coronae, Corlis, Dernacross and Killeshandra.
1925 National School

he Old National School built in 1925


The school in Killeshandra continued in use down to 1925 when it was replaced by another new school. In the early 1980's this school was, in turn, replaced by the new school sited adjacent to St Brigid's Church.

Killeshandra RC National School

The new Catholic National School, Killeshandra


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