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A History of Education in Our Parish
In Greencastle parish there were five schools. Greencastle, Cashel, Crock, Ligatraght (Coneyglen) and Broughderg.
These schools were built in the early 1800s and had two classrooms with two entrance halls and playground.
The classroom had an open grate. Parents took a load of turf each year for the fires and some children carried a few daily.
There was little money to spare on the upkeep of the school. There were no caretakers so the teachers had to put on school fires as well as sweep the rooms daily and do the dusting.
According to today’s standards, school furniture and equipment was meagre consisting mainly of some long modern desks which held 8 to 10 children as well as a large cupboard, high desk and store for the teacher.
Toilets were outdoors and near the turf shed at the back (no indoor sanitation). Water was carried from neighbouring houses.
The assistant teacher taught the infants as well as classes one, two and three. The Principal taking classes four, five and six. Children started school at five years old and left after their 14th birthday.
Greencastle Public Elementary School
Education records show that this school was established in January 1862. The first Principal was Michael Clarke, next appointment CJ Donnelly (1887 – 1929) followed by J.A. Rodgers and Bernard O’Boyle, Maurice Rodgers, Michael J. McElduff, John Ward, Malachy McAleer, Miss Mary Morris, Jenny McAleer, Mary O’Kane Kelly and Alice Keenan.
Photograph: Christina Morris
Cashel School was established in 1886. The first Principal was Solomon Morris with his wife acting as assistant teacher, other teachers were Rhona Morris, Sara Collins, Cissie Fox, Mary Gormley, Mary Keenan, Miss Sally, Rose O’Hagan, Kathleen Donaghy, Mrs. Long and Frances McCrory.
Photograph: Mickey Fox
Crouck / Crock
The first reference to Crock School dates back to 30th November, 1886. The Education Board approved a grant of £224 to accommodate 120 children. The house was to be built with one room and the land was leased from Mr. C. Morris. Fr. G. Nelson appointed manager, an extension added in 1892.
Teachers: Patrick McAleer was appointed principal in January 1888 assisted by William Sharkey. Other teachers in Crock were Master Rodgers, Susan Rodgers, Miss Brigid Monaghan, Miss Celia McConnell, Miss Mary Josephine Clarke, Miss Monaghan, Mrs. Mary Sally, Peter A. McCullagh, Alice Keenan and Catherine Donnelly.
Coneyglen (Ligatraght)
Established to educate the children of the employees of Dorvail Farm.
The patron of the school is E Greer Esq. It dates from 1861. It always had Catholic teachers.
The school closed in 1961; one hundred years after it opened.
Teachers: Francis Kelly (resigned in December 1878). Pat Conway, Michael Morton (1880), Miss Mary A. Conway, Miss Margaret Bradley, Miss A. Conway, Mr. Maurice Rodgers, Miss Brigid Monaghan, Mrs. Sally (nee Kelly), Miss Kathleen McCullagh, Miss Mary McCullagh.
Broughderg National School was set up in 1829. A report shows 36 male and 24 female pupils on the roles. The teachers were Robert and Pat Conway and paid £5-10s (five pounds and ten shillings) for six months.
A new school was built in 1910. Built on a new site, a 1921 report states average numbers of pupils on roll was 56.
Teachers: Miss Eileen Loughran, Miss McGurk, Mr. McGlynn, Miss Bradley, Miss Mary McConnell and Miss Lucy McCullagh (all Principals). Miss Annie Kelly, Miss Annie Toner, Miss Sheila Campbell, Miss Mary O’Neill, Miss Rita Loughran, Miss Mary McCullagh, Miss Sarah Donnelly, Miss Margaret Lynch, Alice Keenan, and Mrs. Sarah Warnock (assistant teachers).
Our Lady of Lourdes
When Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School Greencastle opened in September 1980 all other schools in the parish closed.
Teachers: Peter A. McCullagh (Principal), Mrs. Rose O’Hagan (Vice Principal), Mrs. Catherine Donnelly, Mrs. Marie Bradley, Mrs. Sarah Warnock and Alice Keenan.
School Closures
At the beginning of the 1960s secondary education changed the picture for primary schools. The transfer of pupils at eleven years of age reduced the primary school population by half. St. Colm’s in Draperstown was one of the earlier secondary schools. Children from Broughderg and Crock transferred to Draperstown travelling on the newly introduced school bus service between Broughderg and Draperstown.