The history of Curraghs National School, i.e. the school in operation until 1972, dates back to August 8th,1861, when a letter requesting aid towards building a school-house was written by Rev.Timothy Buckley PP. to the Commissioners Of Education. The completed application form was received by them on August 21st, 1861. It is worth noting that, according to the initial application form, the school-house was to be built "in the townland of Knockardfree", yet it states that it was to be called the Curras National School". The Inspector’s report which followed stated that the site of the proposed school-house was to be in the townland of "Currass". (Note not only the conflicting pieces of information regarding the townlands, but also the different ways of spelling the latter. Incidently, it is clear from the map of townlands that the school was built in the townland of Curraghs. The letter which accompanied the Initial Application is as follows:-

Ballyclough, Cecilstown, Post town.

Nov.19th, 1861.


I hereby beg leave to apply to the Commissioners Of National Education for aid towards building a school—house in the locality above described - a very eligible site has been given by Nicolas P.Leader Esq., M.P. for County Cork - a satisfactory lease at a nominal rent will be given. I wish to build a house, consisting of two rooms, both on the ground and capable of accommodating in each 75 children, Males in one and females in the second. The Premises to be vested in trustees to be named by me.

I remain, Gentlemen, your obedient servant.

Timothy Buckley RR

Thomas O'Loughlin, District Inspector of National Schools, visited the locality on December 16th, 1861, with a view to furnishing a report upon this application. As previously stated, he noted the site of the proposed school-house as being in the townland of “C1u·rass”. He gave the post—town nearest it being Liscarroll, a distance of 3 1/2 miles away. He also noted that the site was on the “road from Kilbrin to Freemount”, and “the number of dwellings or families within a circuit of half a mile of proposed site (was) about 55”. When queried on the extent of the site, O’Loughlin wrote: “Landlord will give quantity required”. The site was to be enclosed "by a stone wall on three sides - a stream bounds its rear”. None of the ground was to be used "for agricultural purposes … but Manager intends to get as much as will make a garden and site for house for teachers”. Asked as to who the proprietors of the land and tenements in the locality were, O’Loughlin answered, “The plot is bounded in front by the public road and on the other sides by ground in the possession of Mrs.Mary O’Connor". All this would seem to indicate that the site on which the school-house was built was not the one originally intended in 1861.

When questioned on the number of children who may have been expected to attend the school, as well as the population of the parish and the portion of it likely to need such a school, the Inspector wrote: “75 males, 75 females, 150 total. The population of Kilbrin (in 1851) 2,806, but this school is intended to supply portions of Liscarroll and Clonfert and Churchtown, comprising in all over 1,000 inhabitants". The Inspector reported that he had the "Manage1·’s assurances (that) the usual proportion of the expense of building and enclosing" would be raised by way of local subscription. He was asked if the necessity existed for the building of a new school-house here and to give reasons for his opinion, fully and explicitly. He replied:- "Yes - Manager established the Curras temporary National School in order to test the point: and even now in the depth of Winter the house there is not able to contain the pupils in attendance. He feels convinced that two rooms now contemplated, will not be more than sufficient for the wants of the locality – I am of the same opinion, considering the extent of area from which pupils will be drawn, the density of its population, and the suggestive fact of the success of the temporary school".

O’Loughlin records Ballygraddy Male and Female schools as being a distance of 3 1/4 miles away, with an average attendance of 48 and 51.6 for the year respectively. As to whether he had “consulted the Clergymen of different denominations as to making any arrangement for giving religious instruction in the proposed school" he wrote : “Rev.N.Wrixon, the Rector of Kilbrin, was not at home, but he told me some time ago he would do anything in his power to further the success of the school. There are, however, no Protestants in the neighbourhood”. As it was proposed to vest the site in Trustees, he gave their names, residences, professions/occupations and Religious Denominations as follows:- “Rev.Timothy Buckley, P.P., Ballyclough, R.C.; Richard Burton, Corbally, Farmer, R.C.; Cornelius Guinee, Cloughboula, Farmer, R.C.”.

Thomas O’Loughlin, the District Inspector, concluded his report by recommending "That this application be entertained … as the schools are evidently required”.

The most worthwhile information available about the school after 1861, is to be learned from the records of “Correspondence, Board’s Orders, etc." A selection from these entries gives us an insight into the progress (slow as it was) from the date of application to the establishment of the school, and developments thereafter.



Taken into connexion by board. B.O. £240 to build on expenditure of £360. £25.10 to enclose on expenditure of £38.5. Plan for 150. Lease of 99 years to Trustees. Correspondent – Rev.T.Buckley, Ballyclough,


The Bishop objects to grant. Teacher: Daniel Collins. Manager is taking steps to avail himself of grants.


Requesting postponement of execution of lease - lease will be deferred until Manager can accept the trusts.


Correspondent Rev.T.Leader. Building not yet completed.


Send him (Manager) a copy of the new form of lease to trustees and ask him if he is now in a position to accept the grant and have the lease executed.


B.O. strike off Roll No. and cancel grants made as Manager will not avail himself hereof.


Cancel B.O. 19.3.1972 as order was made through a misconception of the applicant's wishes.


Manager requesting an increase by the Commissioners of the amount granted to build on account of increased cost of labour and materials. Informed that a copy of his letter has been sent to B.W.


Grant to build increased to £264 expenditure £396; grant to enclose increased to £28/1/-, expenditure £42/1/6.


Lease executed.


Grants advised to B.W.


Letter from B. of Works with enclosure attached. Manager informed that there are not any grounds to justify an increase of grant.


Copy of letter from D.W O’Shaughnessy touching the bad material used in the building of this school sent to B.W


£38 per annum to Daniel Collins as Principal. Books for 75 (£4-10·0) on condition that stock to the amount of £1-7-6 be ordered. £30 per annum to J .Collins as Principal and £25 to N.A.Guinee as assistant.


State of school, rules, house, accounts and Order etc satisfactory. Supply of books middling; Efficency of teacher pretty fair; proficiency generally fair except grammar and geography.


Teacher Johanna Collins reprimanded severely on violation of Rule - "Religious Instruction".


Manager informed that secular and religious instruction must be carried on simultaneously.


Salary to be paid to second monitor to 30/9/86 in view of medical cert as to prevalence of epidemic in June’86 but then to cease if average for September quarter 1886 be under 50.


Constabulary reports received from Chief Security Office 4/7/88 were returned, having reference to the conduct of pupils towards John Quirke, a caretaker on a boycotted farm. No action taken.


Salary withdrawn from M.Guinee from 30/6/94. Claim for Gratuity referred to T.Pension office. Gratuity £93 given.


Application for loan for teacher’s residence.


Loan £350 for erection of teacher’s residence sanctioned.


Teacher Daniel Collins admonished on discreditable answering of pupils, especially of seniors in arithmetic, warned that should next report not be more favourable, the propriety of continuing to pay him 1 (1) salary will have to be considered.


Residence completed and loan ordered to be paid. Trustees- Most Rev.D.Robert Browne, Bishop of Cloyne, V.Rev.Cannon Kelleher, Youghal, Rev.D.J.O’Callaghan PP, Ballyclough, Mallow.


Rev.O’Callagan recognised as Manager on nonimation of Trustees.


Manager advised Miss Collins is ineligble for Principal Teachership until trained - also that a substitute could not be recognised under circumstances (i.e. for Miss Collins when in training).


Recognised as Curraghs Mixed N.S. from 26/8/1901.


Schoolroom reported in need of repair especially woodwork, plastering.


Manager will speak to teacher re unpunctuality.


Grant of £7 7/6/8 on estimated expenditure of £116 made towards carrying out the following works of improvements- plaster dash walls in cement, provide four new sashes and frames in each school and two on stair-case, two doors and frames; dado to the stair-case and two new closets. Award of this grant is conditional upon necessary works of repair and maintenance being effected without state aid.


Miss M.Collins recognised as Manual Instructress from 1-10-04.


Miss Nora Barry recognised as Manual Instructress from 28/11/1904.


Already mentioned in the “Correspondence Board Orders etc., was an incident in August, 1888, "having reference to the conduct of pupils towards John Quirke, a caretaker on a boycotted farm". This incident holds special interest when viewed in the content of the “Curraghs Campaign”, dealt with in greater depth in a separate article. There was quite a lot of correspondence relating to the allegation and it is sufficient, in the context of the school’s history, to give a summary of this.

The Board Of Education first became involved when the following letter was written to them on June 15th, 1988:


I beg to draw your attention to the conduct of Mr. Collins, the Master in the Curraghs National School, in the parish of Kilbrin, Co.C0rk. On the 11th inst.., as my caretaker was passing the school the children were all turned out to insult and intimidate the man. The matter has been reported to the police and a prosecution likely to result from it. I may further mention that the school-house has before this been searched for armory. Suppose if the case is proved against the man, your board will scarely consider him a suitable person to instruct the children of the district.

I am Sir,

Your obedient Servant,


The Board’s response was to inform their inspector in Millstreet of information having reached them, that on June 11th "while John Quirk of Lismire, caretaker in the employment of Wm.Leader Esq., of Dromagh, was driving cattle past the Curraghs National School, the whole of the scholars, male and female, ran out of the school and commenced to boo him and call him Boycott and that Mr.Daniel Collins, the School-Master and his wife were present at the time". They instructed the Inspector to carry out an enquiry and enter a report to the Commissioners, giving due notice to the Manager, the teachers, and Mr.John Quirk.

The Manager, Rev.Thomas Leader P.P., wrote to James Ross, the District Inspector, expressing serious doubts about the allegations ("the circumstances are suspicious") and questioning "the necessity of an enquiry". He offered his support for the teachers and pupils, who he suggested had merely failed to co-operate with "those who were co-operating or lending aid to ruin them, to turn out on the roadside those who had not been homed .... and its hard to blame them."

James Ross, District Inspector wrote to The Board Of Education on August 11th,1888. He informed them that he "attended at Curraghs N .Schoo1 on Friday, 10th instant”. He was there from eleven o’c1ock to two o’clock. The Manager, Fr.Leader attended. Ross wrote:-

John Quirk did not attend; neither did Mr.Leader. No enquiry was held. I afterwards visited Lismire to ascertain had my notice appraising John Quirk of the hour and place and date of enquiry reached him. It can, I am informed, be proved that Quirk received this notice. He was attending to his ordinary duties on 10th instant, and had left home for Kanturk to transact some business before my arrival at Lismire".

The Inspector again visited the school of August 10th, he took statements from Mr. and Mrs. Collins and two boys who were pupils in the school. He forwarded these statements to the Board Of Education, along with a letter from RevLeader. John Quirk once again did not attend; neither did William Leader. Ross was given to understand that Quirk had emigrated. Ross included the following map when forwarding the statements, to assist understanding them.


I remember the 11th of June. I left for school on that morning at my usual hour. I sent my son a few minutes before with the key to open the door and admit any children who happened to be present when he arrived. When I reached the hill, at some distance to the north of Mr.Guinee's gate, I saw on the opposite side of the valley, which the road crosses, a large herd of cattle being driven in the direction of the school. They were then in advance of me about 650 yards. I could not at that distance recognise who were the men in charge of the cattle, though on afterwards ascertaining their names I found I knew two of them well.

While descending the hill I had a view of the cattle until they reached the point at which the road I was travelling, and the road leading past the southern boundary wall of the school grounds meet. This is locally known as the “School Cross”. When the cattle turned here, the hedgegrow on the road fence concealed them from me. When, a moment or two afterwards, I reached “Barrys Cross Roads” I lost sight of the school and did not again come in view of the school gate until I came to the “School-Cross". Arrived there, I found the cattle had passed the school, and when I was entering the gate I saw them about 400 yards beyond the school to the west. I found 13 boys present when I went into school, among those being Patrick Daly, now a Monitor, and James Shea a pupil of 6th class. I would ask that both these boys be examined in reference to the charge preferred against me by J.Quirk who was one of the men driving the cattle when they passed the school.

The attendance on 11th June was 68, 13 of these being, as I mentioned, present when I arrived at school about twenty minutes past 9 o’clock. I would desire to add that I endeavoured to secure the attendance her of the two men who accompanied J.Quirk with the cattle to Lismire. I got my Manager to write to Mr.Hutchinson, and request him to allow them come to the school to-day, but one of them happened not to be in Curragh’s and the other in charge of cattle from which he could not absent himself.

Daniel Collins, Curraghs N.S., August 31st, 1888.

Johanna Collins, in her statement, denied ever seeing John Quirk or the cattle on that day. She had gone to the school a little later than her husband.


I recollect the 11th June, 88, I was coming on the road. I saw John Quirk and Michael Sullivan and Jeremiah driving cattle; they were behind me coming on to the forge.· there was a shower of rain there and I went under a tree. From it and these people passed me out. I followed them on and I came to the school gate. I saw Quirk stoop for a stone and he said some words to one of the children standing inside the school. He said some curses and said “I’ll brain you". Myself and two more little boys came into school. Quirk had, before we came in, passed the school gate. I asked one of the other boys to know why so was he (Quirk) stooping for a stone. And James Shea told me, that it was he (Shea) wouldn’t stop the cattle from going into the field.

How do you recollect 11th June in particular? Only by seeing Quirk that day. Was coming to school about 9 1 /4 o’clock. When I got to school, about ten or eleven children were present. Quirk and the others were driving cattle. I was up there behind Quirk when he was driving the cattle.

Were the other men together driving the cattle? Michael Sullivan asked to leave the other men and ran before the cattle at the crossing. I was up close behind Quirk all the way from where I met him, up to the school. I heard no one speaking to Quirk. Only saw James Shea running in to school when Quirk stopped for the stone- there were no children along the road and I heard no one saying anything to Quirk.

What field do you mean to stop cattle from going into? Into the playground. No cattle went into the playground but they were turning as if to go into it. When I came up to the school the Master was not present. He came in a few minutes afterwards very soon he came in, but I cannot say how long after exactly. I saw the Master coming on the top of the hill above - when I was at the gate of the school the Master was not within sight. I went out of the school out the gate to know was the Master coming. The cattle were then below on the hollow of the road to the west, the Master was coming on near the school. I saw no fire that morning coming along the road. I saw no fire on the playground nor at the gate when the cattle were passing.

Signed: Patrick Daly , 31 / 8/ 88

James O’Shea, in his statement offered little more information, except to support what Patrick Daly had stated. He also insisted that “the Master was not in the school, then nor for about ten minutes after". He himself was outside the school, though he lived "about a mile and a half to the west of the school".

It seems clear from the many exchanges that there was no real foundation to John Quirk’s allegation against Mr.Col1ins. What is perhaps just as significant though is the implied underlying bitterness that prevailed between the parties. Feelings ran high and an issue was made of an apparently minor incident. The Board of Education, however, were satisfied that Mr.Collins was not guilty of any misconduct and, therefore, no further action was taken.


Added to the fact that fewer Teachers and Monitors taught in Curraghs N.S. than in Ballygraddy N.S., records surviving on them are more limited. Thus the following list is also incomplete. Teachers and Monitors are presented in alphabetical order. All appointments are as Assistant Teachers in Curraghs N.S., unless otherwise stated.

Nora Barry

Appointed Manual Instructress - 28/ 11/1904

Mary Broderick

Sub. - 19/4/1968-22/6/1969

Daniel Collins

Appointed Principal of Male school — 24/9/1877.

Johanna Collins

Appointed Principal of Female school - 24/9/1877.


Appointed Manual Instructress — 1/10/ 1904.

Margaret Dillon

Appointed - 9/9/1968; left - July, 1972;

Scoil Eoin Baiste - September, 1972.

Nora Fitzgerald

Sub. - September, 1944.

Katherine Fitzgerald

Sub. - September-October, 1944.

Mary Gleeson

Sub. - September, 1943.

Mary A.Guinee

Appointed - 24/9/1877; left - 30/6/1894.

Mary Hudner

Sub. - September, 1947.

Hannah Looney (nee O’Callaghan)

Born — January, 1897; Ballygraddy N.S. (as

Monitor and Assistant) 1913-1936; left - 1957.

John McCarthy

Born - November, 1891; trained - St.Patrick’s

College, Drumcondra (1910-1912);

appointed - October, 1917; left — 16/7/1935.

Nora McCarthy

Born - June, 1896; appointed - January, 1919

Con Murphy L

Born - 3/11/1943; trained - St.Patrick’s College,

Drucondra; appointed - October, 1964; Principal;

left - 8/7/1966.

Kathleen Murphy

Sub. - 10/2/1968.

Julia Murphy

Sub. - 1/4/1946

Theresa Nash

Trained - Mary Immaculate College, Limerick

(1956-1958); appointed - ]./9/1966; left - 17/7/1968.

Nora O’Brien

Sub. — November, 1945.

Bridget O’Sullivan

Born - September, 1901; appointed Monitor - July,


Pat O’Sullivan

Principal 1957-1963.

Theresa O’Sullivan

Sub. — 1946.

Kathleen Reardon

Born - September, 1882; appointed Monitor - July,

1898; Junior Assistant Mistress - March, 1905.

John C.Roche

Born - December, 1885; appointed Monitor - July,

1900; trained - St.Patrick’s College (1907-1908);

diploma - 1910; appointed - 5/6/1916;

left - 30/9/1917.

Eibhlin Ryan (nee O’Gorman)

Trained - Mary Immaculate College, Limerick;

appointed - 14/1/1952; Principal - 1969-1972;

Scoil Eoin Baiste - 1972-1988; Principal 1981-88.

Eileen Twomey

Appointed - September, 1942; left - 19/12/1944

Sources (Education in Kilbrin):

Coolahan, John, Irish Education - History and Structure, (Dublin: Institute of Public Administration, 1981).

Hickey, D.J. and Doherty, John E., A Dictionary of Irish History, (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1980).

House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, (1826).

Folklore Commission, (1938)

National Archives Office,


EDI/14 No. 248



ED1/14 No. 284


ED1/17 No. 220


ED1/18 No. 70


ED1/18 No. 127


ED1/18 No. 276



ED2/10 Folio 112


ED2/10 Folio 118


ED2/200 Folio 42


ED2/200 Folio 43


ED2/200 Folio 49


ED2/200 Folio 50


ED2/201 Folio 38


ED2/201 Folio 39


ED2/202 Folio 5


ED2/202 Folio 7


ED2/202 Folio 12

ED2/202 Folio 13

ED2/202 Folio 90

ED2/202 Folio 91


John Hannon

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