Amalgamation 1939

Worsening Conditions

Amalgamating the boys and girls 

Numbers in the boys’ school were falling and this led to bitter feuds between the two principals.

The Infant boys attended the girls school. As sometimes children started when only 3, the girls’ principal claimed the older girls were better at minding them. However she sometimes kept the boys until 2nd class. When both principals died within a year of each other the two schools were amalgamated.

 

Worsening Conditions

  • In 1931 the priest wrote to the department complaining about conditions in the school
  • For the next twenty years a new school was promised so no improvements were made to the old school
  • Electricity was installed in the early 50s
  • In 1955, the plans were deferred as Blanchardstown was getting a new school.
  • By 1970, the outdoor boys toilet had no roof and a prefab was being used as a classroom
  • When Harry Allen was appointed principal he renewed the campaign for a new school

A New School

  • On Feb 1st 1971 Harry Allen led the pupils up the “side road” (Beechpark Ave) to our current school where they were joined by 31 pupils from the lower road school
  • The new school grew rapidly and Harry Allen became a walking principal in Sept 1971.

Lessons and Lunches 1900s

A Day in School

What did the children learn at school?

  • The subjects taught were listed as Reading, Spelling Writing Arithmetic, Algebra, Grammar, and Geography.
  • Boys also learned Agriculture and the girls learned needlework.
  • In the early records there was no mention of PE, Irish. or Religion.
  • Music and Catechism were taught later. A favourite song recalled by a past pupil was Frere Jacques
  • Children learned by rote. They recited tables, poems and spellings
  • Books never changed and were handed down from brother to sister so after listening to the other classes chanting you often knew a book by heart before you got it.
  • If children didn’t know their lessons they got 2 slaps of the cane or the strap. Past pupils said the cane was much worse.

What did they do at lunchtime? 

  • Children brought cold tea or milk in glass bottles. They were placed by the fire to heat them so they could have a warm drink before going out to play.
  • Lunch was usually bread and jam and the lunches were hung on wall hooks so the rats did not eat them.
  • Rats were often seen eating crumbs in the yard.
  • Children who lived nearby went home for their lunch

 

The Yard

  • The yard outside was small and mostly covered in grass. , There were lots of tree stumps that children fell over, probably because the trees were cut for firewood. In much later years the principal Dan O’ Leary went out with a pick axe and dug them up.
  • The children played football, hide and seek, tag, ring a rosie, hopscotch, marbles, conkers and skipping, Spinning tops were bought or made.
  • In 1931 a small area of the yard was converted into a school garden

 Religion

  • The school was Catholic. Children had a green catechism and had to learn complicated answers to questions like “Who made the world?”.
  • The priest came to school regularly to “examine” the children on their catechism especially before communion or confirmation.
  • Once a month children aged from 7 walked to Blanchardstown to attend confessions and every Saturday to attend mass. They had a special area in the church to sit in.
  • On the way to mass, a Mrs. Henry always left a bucket of water and a cup at her gate so the children could have a drink.

Plumbing and Heating

Inside the School

Plumbing

  • There was no toilets indoors. The toilets were outside and had no running water or sinks or toilet paper.
  • Everyday water had to be fetched from the pump for the teacher’s tea and from a water barrel across the road for washing dishes and “flushing” the toilets
  • The children loved to get the job of “flushing “ out the dry toilets with water as they were outside missing school.

Heating

  • The classrooms were heated by an open fires. If you sat near the front you were warm and if you were at the back you were cold.
  • Children brought a sod of turf to school to pay for their education
  • One boy came early to school and lit the fires
  • Lack of heat meant every winter children got chilblains among other illnesses.

Classrooms

  • Children sat on benches and stored books under the desks. The floors were timber and were swept each day by the children. Furniture was sparse. The windows were high so the children wouldn’t  look out!
  • Juniors used slates and chalk and older children used pens and nibs.
  • The teacher mixed ink from powder and this was poured into ceramic inkwells on each desk.
  • Children used blotting paper to dry their writing but it was really hard to write neatly and not blot the page .

 

 

Staff and rooms

The Rooms

The Building

  • In 1865 Mr. John Friel and Ms. Mary Friel were the master and mistress of the boys and girls and lived upstairs.
  • The principal of the boys was called The Master and The Mistress was principal of the girls.
  • The Junior Infants were called Low Babies and Senior Infants High Babies.
  • In 1865 it’s thought there was one apartment upstairs but according to the 1911 census, the school had 13 rooms. 5 upstairs where the Master Michael Mc Donnell lived with his wife.
  • A second flat upstairs had 5 rooms for the Mistress, Elizabeth Mangan who lived there with her mother, daughter and a friend.
  • The two large rooms downstairs were the classrooms.
  • Later the upstairs rooms became classrooms , the juniors upstairs and the seniors downstairs with four teachers in the school. One of these upstairs rooms had a kitchen range in it.
  • When the two schools were amalgamated 1st/2nd and 5th/6th were upstairs.

Classrooms

  • Children sat on benches and stored books under the desks. The floors were timber and were swept each day by the children. Furniture was sparse. The windows were high so the children wouldn’t’t look out!
  • Juniors used slates and chalk and older children used pens and nibs.
  • The teacher mixed ink from powder and this was poured into ceramic inkwells on each desk.
  • Children used blotting paper to dry their writing but it was really hard to write neatly and not blot the page .

 

1871 Record Books

Keeping Records

Schools had several important books

  • The register kept the names, addresses , fathers occupation of children and dates enrolled.
  • Attendance was marked each day in the roll book
  • The daily report book kept records of each classes’ attendance and grants the school received and teachers pay.
  • If the books were damaged or lost the principal had to pay for new ones from his salary.
  • Most of the old record books are in the National Archives and we still use these today.
  • Some schools kept corporal punishment record books.
  • There are records of children paying varying amounts to the school though many did not pay at all.

Who went to the old school.

The old record books tell us

  • The first boy’s name on the new register in 1865 was a Michael Mc Kenna and was 15 years old. His Dad was a farmer. Four other boys were registered aged between 6 and 16 years old. Occupations were listed as farmer, miller and bootmaker.
  • Other occupations listed were railway porter, orphan, professor, cowman, pauper and ploughman. Amazingly, the ploughman lived in Deer Park!
  • In the girls’ school Mary Healy was the first name on the register, the daughter of a laborer. The other girls registered this day were aged were 7,10,11 and 13 but it was their first time to attend school. One girl, Emily Hunt was listed as an orphan.
  • 123 children were on the rolls but only 64 were marked present on that day.

The New School of 1865

The Early Days

  • On May 8th 1865 boys and girls moved into the new school in Castleknock.
  • It stood at the corner of Beechpark Avenue ( called the side road then ) and Castleknock Road. There are apartments on the site now.
  • Prior to this the school was a little thatched house on the same site as our school now.
  • The new school was actually two schools, boys and girls. The roll numbers were 697 (same as now 00697s) for boys and 698 for the girls.
  • There was two separate entrances, one for boys and one for girls. The girls went in the gate and to the left. The boys went to the right.
  • A wire fence divided the yard.
  • The  boys and girls schools were amalgamated in 1939,


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