Thursday of last week, 27th June 2019, was without a doubt the best start to the holiday season for primary schools – bright blue skies, high temperatures, a shining sun and no school. Seeing how excited the children were having no school to go to it made me think about the children in 1901 and their schooling so I took a look.

In the 1901 census there was a number of different ways that children were recorded as attending school, scholar, school boy/girl, attending school, farmer’s daughter scholar and so on. When these are all grouped it is interesting to see some figures; in the DED for Blarney in 1901 there was 391 students, Matehy had 337.

I am quite sure that I am not the only person who wishes that they could get their hands on any of these school records to further our research into both local and family history. But unfortunately there are no records left.

In an attempt to future proof this for the coming generations there is a fantastic initiative being undertaken by a post-graduate student in conjunction with NUIG;, to create a virtual archive of all National School records, starting in the North-West of Ireland. This is a fantastic initiative and hopefully will grow so that the whole of Ireland is covered and future generations will have access to this data.

All children had to learn reading, writing and arithmetic; girls had to learn needlework, cookery and laundry and boys learnt agricultural skills. The teacher had to light the fire each day to keep the classroom warm, usually with turf supplied by the young students. And the young pupils were also responsible for cleaning the school! A big change from the students today.

Blarney 1901:

Townland Children
Ardamadane 2
Ballygibbon 18
Ballymaraha 5
Bawnnafinny 3
Blarney 6
Boolypatrick 3
Clogheenmilicon 2
Curraghnalaght 10
Dawstown 9
Killowen 25
Kilnamucky 20
Knocknacorbally 10
Knocknasuff 25
Monacappa 232
Shean Lower 11
Shean Upper 10
Grand Total 391

The school in Blarney was opened by the Colthurst family on a site leading out of the village towards Tower on St Ann’s Road in 1897; the same building is still used today as a primary school.

Matehy 1901:

Townland Children
Cloghphilip 31
Cloghroe 32
Coolflugh 58
Courtbrack 57
Dawstown 13
Dromin 8
Gilcagh 14
Gortdonaghmore 13
Kilclagh 34
Killeen 10
Loughane East 5
Loughane West 13
Tower 35
Vicarstown 14
Grand Total 337

Cloghroe Girls School was opened about 1882 in a building that was used as a church in Currabeha; the new school was opened in 1968 on a site next to St Senan’s Church.

This is a gorgeous photo of students from Cloghroe Boys National School, sometime in the early 1900s. The students are turned out in their Sunday best, with neat hair and not a sign of a smile! Unfortunately there is no names which is a pity as they more than likely, could be matched to the census returns.

There is more interesting history here on the history of the school itself.