A List of Schools in the Parish of Lorrha in 1825
First appeared in The Lamp, 2014 Edition, p.20 (Lorrha & Dorrha Historical Society)
When researching the article on the schools at Redwood in the National Archives, I came across a fascinating list of persons who ran schools in the parish in 1825.
The list was particularly interesting because the date of the opening of the first primary school in Redwood, 1879, was very late in comparison with the opening of schools elsewhere in the parish and in the rest of the county as well. The National School Act came into being in 1828 and many schools were established during the course of the 19th century. Why was the school at Redwood Castle so late coming into existence?
Maybe is was due to the fact that there were many independent schools already in existence! We do know that a Brian Carroll ran a hedge school at the back of Tom Quinlan's old house near Redwood Chapel in the years before the school at Redwood opened but the House of Commons Commission of Irish Education Inquiry, which was published in 1826-1827 gives us a detailed picture of the many teachers who were running schools in the parish at that time.
The list is divided into two parts, one for Dorrha and the second for Lorrha. The information supplied includes the name of the Townsland, the name of the Master or Mistress, what religion, if the school were free or a pay school, what the total annual income to the master or mistress from the school and a description of the school house and the probable cost of it.
In Montorre (sic) Thomas Greelis, a Catholic, ran a pay school, from which he received £7 a year in a thatched house that was worth about £5.
In Armaghanery (sic) Pat Coonan, a Catholic ran a pay school, from which he received £10 a year in a thatched house worth about £3.
In Togher Pat Mara, a Catholic, ran a pay school, from which he received £10 a year in a thatched house worth about £3.
In Rathcabbin John Kelly a Catholic ran a pay school, from which he received £22 – 15s a year in 'a tolerably good thatched house' worth about £12.
In Bonnham Peter Shea a Catholic ran a pay school from which he received £17 a year in a cow house!
In Two Bushes (sic) Tomothy Moylan a Catholic ran a pay school, from which he received £20 in a thatched house worth about £5,
In Coolagown Peter Byrne a Catholic ran a pay school, in which the children paid between one and a half and three pence per week, but his overall income isn't stated, in a very bad thatched house worth nothing.
In Comnegella (sic) Michael Cunneen a Catholic ran a pay school, from which he received £20 a year in a thatched house worth about £4.
In Ballycairn Edmund Ford a Catholic ran a pay school, from which he received £9 – 4s a year in a structure of 'mud walls covered with rushes'.
In Curahy Gerald Boate a Protestant ran a free school in a poor cabin. He had an income of about £2 a year from a quarter acre of land.
In Kilcarron the master wasn't yet appointed but the school was worth £20 a year and was held in a 'very good, slated and well-finished house' worth £30.
In Harvest Lodge Matthew Troy a Catholic ran a pay school worth about £10 – 10s in a very good thatched house, which cost about £40.
In Lahinch Thomas Ward a Catholic ran a pay school, in which the children paid from 1s 8d to 7s per quarter, but the yearly income isn't stated, in 'a wretched cabin.'
In Loughglin Pat Smith a Catholic ran a pay school, from which he received about £8 a year in a thatched cabin.
In Moatefield the Miss Clarkes, who were Catholics ran a free school in Moatefield House.
In Kilnacross John Hogan a Catholic ran a pay school worth about £10 a year in a barn!
That makes for a total od sixteen schools in the parish in 1825. It would be nice to think we were unique, the best educated population in the county but it appears there was a proliferation of schools in other parishes also.
Was the failure to set up a primary school in Redwood between 1828 and 1879 an indication that the people were satisfied with the education opportunities they had from these independent masters and mistresses? On the other hand was the decision taken in 1879 due to a decline in the number of inependent teachers, and if so, what were the reasons for the decline?