Its first intake of pupils
comprised very interesting
students. The need for a
National School in this area is
shown by the fact that very
many of the pupils, particularly
the girls, transferred from other
schools, situated some
distance away, to this new
school. Among the forty-five
girls enrolled in March 1892, eleven had previously attended Ballinglen School, one girl came from Carramore School, two from Ballycastle School, three from Heathfield School, two from Ratheskin School, one from Ballina Convent, three from Carrowcullen School and two from Doonanarrow in the neighbouring County of Sligo. The two girls who came from Sligo were members of a MacHale family, who came to live in Clydagh. Bridget MacHale, aged twelve, was enrolled in Second Class and Maria MacHale, aged fifteen was enrolled in Third Class.
Sixty five boys were enrolled on the opening day. Among them were several boys, aged eleven, who had never been at school previously and these were enrolled in First Class. Eighteen boys were placed in Infants Class, whose ages ranged from three to eight years of age.
Some boys transferred from other schools. Nine boys came from Ratheskin School and twelve from Ballinglen School. One boy came from Heathfield School. Approximately half the boys had attended other schools previously.
It is needless to remark that these high enrolments did not continue. In 1893, five girls were enrolled, four in 1894, seven in 1895, three in 1897 and nine in 1900. Two new boys were entered on the Roll in 1893 and three in 1896. In 1917, ten new girls and three new boys were enrolled. One of these boys was most unusual, even by the poor standards of attendance prevalent over much of the country at that time. He was aged sixteen when enrolled on June 16, 1917. He attended school for thirty six days in that school year and was placed in Fifth Class. He was struck off the Roll for non-attendance on May 18, 1918. He was enrolled once again on June 30, 1918 and attended for twenty nine days. Once again, he was placed in Fifth Class. Distance from school was not a factor in his absenteeism, as he lived quite close to the school.
How long did these pupils spend in school and what standards did they attain? Of the first group of boys who attended the school, five left both in First and Second Classes, six in Third Class, nine in Fourth Class, ten in Lower Fifth, seven in Fifth, eight in Lower Sixth Class and one in Sixth Class. Others left school almost immediately. Of the original group of girls, five left in Second Class, nine in Third Class, fourteen in Fourth Class, eight in Fifth Class, six in Upper Fifth, nine in Lower Sixth and four in Upper Sixth Classes.
Of the ten girls who enrolled in 1917, two left in Infants, three in Fourth Class, two in Fifth Class, two in Sixth Class and one in Seventh. Of the girls who enrolled in 1941, two left at once, two were placed in Senior Infants and two remained until Seventh Class. Among those who attended the School for a brief period that year was Sylvia Collidge, with an address in Ballinglen. Her father was a soldier in the British Army and she had previously been educated by a private tutor. It would seem that she was a war-time evacuee.
Poor attendance was a characteristic of the pupils of this school, and was quite common in schools throughout the country during this period. Even those pupils who lived nearby were poor attenders. In the eighteen-nineties, one girl was enrolled for one year in Second Class. She spend a mere sixteen days of that year in school. Another girl spent four years (in theory) in Lower Fifth Class. Her attendance figures for those years were as follows:
Yet another girl, who lived in close proximity to the school was enrolled in First Class in 1892. Her attendance over several years was as follows:
This girl attended again in 1901 and passed her examination in Writing and Arithmetic at Grade Two level in that year. Another girl, who had been enrolled in Infants Class, attended for ten days in the first year, twenty four in the second, fifty nine in the third and sixty four in her fourth year of schooling.
The attendance of some boys was also very poor. Among them was one boy, enrolled In 1892, who spend five years in Third Class. He came out to School in May of each year for each of these five years.
Most children seem to have been kept at home during the Winter and sent to school in late Spring. It is little wonder that the Government of the days saw fit to pass the Compulsory School Attendance Act in 1926. One of the results of this measure, in the short-term, was the number of pupils who had previously left school, who were now compelled to return to school, until they reached the mandatory age when they could leave school. One found boys and girls re-enlisted in Junior classes. It is easy to imagine the frustration felt by both pupils and teachers alike faced with this situation, even if it did help the average of school attendance. Some of the names on the Roll on the day the school opened are still in the area, names such as Cavish, Commons, Cooper, Burke, Gillespie, Walshe, and Timlins (whose father had come from the Rosmuc area of County Galway to work as a caretaker in Ballinglen). Of interest is the fact that names were entered on the Roll in Irish for the first time in 1927, Of greater interest to pupils, who then as now, appreciate a free day is that fact that St. Patrick’s Day was NOT a school holiday in the early years of the school’s history.
Among those who enlisted on that first day in 1892 were Teresa McDonnell, whose father was a farrier in Doonfeeney and Margaret Golden, aged fifteen, whose father was a teacher in Ballycastle. Another lady whose name was placed on the Roll in 1892 and who left school on June 27th 1896 was Ann Morris from Clydagh, whom I remember very well as a stately, dignified old lady, who regularly attended Mass in the school on one Sunday morning each month, when the school was used as a chapel of ease. Indeed, I attended the school with most of her nephews and nieces.
On the occasion of its centenary, I wish Annaghmore National School very many successful years in the future. A word of thanks is due to the present staff of the school, who made me welcome, when I researched some of the data there for this paper. It gave me great pleasure to meet the pupils attending the school at the present time and to meet the families of so many of my school friends. Go soirbhí Dia daoibh go léir.
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