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From the early years of the 19th Century other religious orders opened schools for boys and girls.

Following the relaxation, small Catholics schools (some fee paying) were set up on an open basis to replace the clandestine Hedge Schools. In 1811, Mrs Helen McCarthy O'Leary donated two acres of her estate for the building of a boys school, a church and a convent at the West End of the town (Coomlegane). According to Pigot's Directory for 1824, Millstreet is described as a "smart town". A schoolhouse endowed by Mrs McCarthy was about to be built to supplement two Protestant schools, one of which was located at Minor Row. Records suggest that it was already functioning in 1825, though Denis Tagney gives a later date. The school was built of stone and lime and slated, at a cost of £156, from the bequest of the late Mr McCarthy. The rolls averaged 92 pupils per quarter. The Master was Patrick Collins. His annual income was £13-4s-9d. Mr Tadg O'Driscoll informed me that older parishioners would have recalled this as a derelict, overgrown building with a red door, which was located on the site later occupied by the West End cinema and now by the Claragh Furniture Store. In 1934, Canon Brosnan sold the site to Denis McSweeney, who operated a cinema there until 1973.

The Report of the Board of Education 1826.

Towards the end of 1824 the Board of Education undertook a survey in which they invited both Protestant and Catholic clergy to report on all schools in their parishes, both free and fee paying. The report of this survey was published in 1826 and from that account we gain a fairly accurate picture of the state of education in Millsteet Parish at the end of the first quarter of the 19th Century.

There were five schools in Liscahane, two in Coomlegane, one each in Ballydaly and Cahirbarnagh, five in Cullen, two in Knockgurrane, two in Eaglaune, one in Gurteenafinoge and one in Carrigaline, which was run by Phillip 0'Sullivan.

From the Liscahane group we can identify two Protestant schools listed above in Pigot's Directory of 1824, One was run by William Heffernan who taught 19 pupils in hired rooms, where the Scriptures were read in Greek. His income was £20 per annum.

John Leader was the Master in the other school. He taught 40 pupils (8 Protestant) in a stone walled building, roofed with timber and straw. His income was not declared.

Another school, possibly Protestant, was run by James Stack in a building of stone and mortar with 70 pupils (4 Protestant). His income was £12 - £20 per annum.


At Liscahane, John McCarthy taught 82 pupils in a thatched stone house, for £12 per annum.

At Coomlegane, Jeremiah Collins taught 60 pupils in a stone walled building, roofed with straw, for £6 per annum.

In the other school at Coomlegane, Timothy Sullivan taught 80 pupils in a low thatched house, for £1 l-12s per annum.

Peter O'Riordan had 37 pupils in Ballydaly and Jeremiah O'Callaghan had 52 in Cahirbarnagh.

The teachers in Cullen were Timothy O'Shea, with 10 pupils (3 Protestant), who taught in the Parish school and whose income of £20 was derived from the local incumbent and the Kildare Societies. Denis Scully, 51 pupils on £4 per annum. Henry Keeffe, 60 pupils, on £5-8s

per annum.

Edward Corbett, 55 pupils, at £6 per annum and Owen Riordan at Gurteenafinoge who had 35 pupils on an income of ls-6d to 5s per quarter.

These details were derived from the 'Cumann Luachra Journal', Vol.1 No XI 2003, p.87.


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