Tag Archives: Co. Cork

Carrigagulla National School, Carrigagulla townland, Co. Cork/Scoil Carraig an Ghiolla, Co. Chorcaí

Carrigagulla National School, Carrigagulla townland, Co. Cork/Scoil Carraig an Ghiolla, Co. Chorcaí

(dated 1934)

NGR: 138313, 084161

The parish of Macroom in Co. Cork is situated about halfway between Cork city and Killarney on the modern N22 roadway. Each day, significant volumes of traffic pass through the town of Macroom, with drivers unaware perhaps, of the locality’s rich and diverse cultural landscape. Crossing the River Sullane, the charred and imposing ruins of Macroom Castle overlook the the river below. Within the town, Macroom Market House (built c.1820) is a focus for remembrance, with many memorials and commemorative plaques including one to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the granting of market rights to the town of Macroom by Queen Anne on 30th September 1713.

There are few counties to rival Cork for the scale of its post-medieval and industrial heritage. But exploring the area around the parish in search of a disused school house in the townland of Carrigagulla, it was an obscure and understated industrial project from the mid-18th century that attracted my attention.

The townland of Carrigagulla is surrounded by the amphitheatre of the Boggeragh Mountain foothills. Here in the townland, adjacent to the Millstreet-Rylane roadside, are the ruins of Carrigagulla National School. But the Millstreet-Rylane roadway has its own story to tell about life in this rural area through the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Cork-Tralee turnpike road, better known as the ‘Butter Road’ was completed in 1748.Its construction was undertaken by John Murphy of Castleisland, who constructed the 56 miles of road including nine large bridges, 15 small bridges, toll house and turnpike gates. It was a requirement of the construction that the road be 30ft (9.14m) in width with drainage ditches and a 15ft wide (4.57m) gravelled surface. It became the main route by which farmers from Kerry and western Cork took their butter to the Cork Butter Exchange in the city (Rynne 2006, 317).

The turnpike system had been introduced into Ireland in 1729. Intended to provide good inter-county roads, turnpike roads were built and maintained by turnpike trusts which were generally run by local landowners. The turnpike act empowered named trustees to erect gates and toll houses on the roads and provided a loan for their construction. The toll monies, collected from all but pedestrians and local farmers who used the roads daily, were intended to maintain the road and repay the loan (ibid., 315).

Carrigagulla First Edition 25 inch map

The Cork-Tralee turnpike road is today but a back-road, with the majority of traffic passing along the N22 between Cork and Kerry. The area is quite, the hills are largely forested, or bare and boggy, and the once bustling highway is often empty of traffic. However, at Aghalode Bridge, and adjacent to the Aghalode River, there is an old school house that is perhaps a reminder of a more thriving time in this rural spot. On the west side of the Butter Road you’ll find the remains of Carrigagulla National School/Scoil Carraig an Ghiolla.

Carrigagulla National School Co Corkk 1930 VI
Carrigagulla National School, Co. Cork – 1934

Constructed in 1934 it is a simple, detached, two-bay, single-storey national school on a T-shaped plan, having a gabled projection to the centre of the east elevation.Though still roofed, it is in a poor state of repair. From the outside the building is certainly institutional in appearance; the rough grey rendering is not inviting, the surrounding schoolyard is overgrown, and the foreboding hum of a wasp’s nest deters visitors. The dull-green, pealing paint on the window frames and rainwater goods only seem to emphasise the buildings predicament. A squadron of wasps emerge from the brickwork chimney stacks and air vents as I get a little closer.

Carrigagulla National School Co Corkk 1930 I
Carrigagulla National School, Co. Cork – 1934

Continue reading Carrigagulla National School, Carrigagulla townland, Co. Cork/Scoil Carraig an Ghiolla, Co. Chorcaí

The Disused School Houses on Dunmanus Bay, Co. Cork

Dunmanus Bay is located on the western shore of County Cork. The bay lies between Mizen Head to the south, and the Sheepshead Peninsula to the north. The landscape of both peninsulas is wild and rugged, not dissimilar to the rough, low-lying lands of southwest Connemara on the northern shore of Galway Bay.

The Sheep’s Head looped walking routes extend across the peninsula and through the villages of Kilcrohane, Ahakista and Durrus, attracting plenty of visitors throughout the year. But perhaps the most ideal singular place to take in the landscape of Mizen, Dunmanus Bay and the Sheepshead Peninsula is Mount Gabriel; the highest eminence in the area, located just north of the village of Schull. From the peak of Mount Gabriel, there are spectacular views of Roaring Water Bay and Carbery’s Hundred Isles; a Bronze Age Copper mine is noted on the slopes of the low mountain, and at the summit there are two radar domes which make the mountain easy to distinguish in the landscape.

If your eyesight was strong enough, then facing in a general northerly direction from this vantage point, you would also be able to pick out four abandoned school houses in the landscape below; Dunbeacon, Derreenalomane, Glaun and Kilthomane National Schools.

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The location of Dunbeacon, Derreenalomane, Kilthomane and Glaun National Schools

Glaun National School

The first of these school houses is located at Glaun. The little one-roomed school house at Glaun is but a grey, empty, shell, and stands overlooking a small local road which crosses the crest of a low rise on the western side of Mount Gabriel, just a bit north of little Knocknageeha (the windy hill). The school no longer retains it’s date plaque although the building is marked on the First Edition 25 inch sheet for the area indicating that it predates the revision of the map during the late 19th century.

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First Edition 25-Inch Map showing Glaun National School

It’s architectural form does not have a directly comparable local relation, but it is broadly similar to the example at Kilthomane (below); at Glaun, the doorway is at the gable end and the building includes a gable porch, while at Kilthomane it is located to the side of the building. The example at Kilthomane dates to 1909, and one identical example from Mullaghmore East in Co. Monaghan dates to 1903, further suggesting this building dates to the turn of the century.

Continue reading The Disused School Houses on Dunmanus Bay, Co. Cork

Cloghboola National School, Drishane, Co. Cork/Scoil An Clochbhuaile, Driseán, Co. Chorcaí.

Cloghboola National School, Drishane, Co. Cork/Scoil An Clochbhuaile, Driseán, Co. Chorcaí.

(dated 1868)

NGR: 126725, 086631

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Driving south from the village of Millstreet to the town of Macroom in West Cork, and just past Kilmeedy Bridge, you pass the rural village of Cloghboola. Nestled in the low hills of West Cork, today the village comprises just a few scattered houses and the modern local national School. However, to the east side of the road lies a curious 19th-century derelict building with two defunct 1950s petrol pumps outside.

Dating to 1868, this neglected structure is in fact a two-roomed school house. With a detached cruciform plan, this school is not of conventional design like many school houses of standard plan from a little later in the 19th century. It is a  single-storey school, having four bays to projecting long faces and three bays to projecting short faces.

The building has a slate roof, hipped to the front long face and double-hipped to rear. It retains it’s original cast-iron rainwater goods and clay ridge tiles. The walls are rendered with a render plaque to the centre of the front elevation. It includes square-headed window openings having some tooled limestone sills. These window opes are blocked to front and south elevation, though to the rear nine-pane fixed timber windows are evident (text adapted from the NIAH).

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Continue reading Cloghboola National School, Drishane, Co. Cork/Scoil An Clochbhuaile, Driseán, Co. Chorcaí.

Whiddy Island National School, Trawnahaha townland, Whiddy Island, Co. Cork

Whiddy Island National School, Trawnahaha townland, Whiddy Island, Co. Cork

(dated 1887)

NGR: 096974, 049791

Whiddy Island NS Co. Cork 1887 Doorway Looking in

Whiddy Island is a small, near-shore island located at the head of Bantry Bay in Co. Cork. Not far from the modern quayside and in the townland of Trawnahaha is a small late 19th-century one-roomed school house overlooking Bantry Bay below. Painted bright blue with a white lime-wash, in recent years the building had been used as a local museum though it has now fallen into a state of disrepair.

Whiddy Island NS Co. Cork 1887 Classroom Interior

Like so many offshore islands in Ireland, the permanent population has dwindled through the 20th century and can no longer support a local national school. John Chambers’ “Islands – Change in Population 1841 – 2011” clearly shows the island’s decline from a peak population of 729 in 1841:

Year Pop ±%
1841 729
1851 561 −23.0%
1901 259 −53.8%
1951 104 −59.8%
1996 34 −67.3%
2002 29 −14.7%
2006 22 −24.1%
2011 20 −9.1%

Whiddy Island NS Co. Cork 1887 Doorway

Continue reading Whiddy Island National School, Trawnahaha townland, Whiddy Island, Co. Cork

Coolmountain National School, Coolmountain townland, Co. Cork

Coolmountain National School, Coolmountain townland, Co. Cork

(dated c.1950)

NGR: 118544, 60287

ADSC00290

This school building is especially unusual in Ireland as it is constructed largely from corrugated-iron. The ruins of Coolmountain National School comprise a detached gable-fronted three-bay single-storey school, built c.1950. It has a pitched asphalt roof with cast-iron rainwater goods. The windows comprise square-headed openings with metal casement windows and timber sills. It also has a square-headed door opening with timber battened door, overlight and concrete steps. There are also rendered walls to front and sides of plot with wrought-iron gate. The building ceased being used as a school in 1969 but was lived in until 2005. It is near collapse and unlikely to survive much longer.

Coolmountain School 1st Ed OS

Though constructed in the 1950s, there has been a school at this site since the 1830s. Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary of 1837 records that; Continue reading Coolmountain National School, Coolmountain townland, Co. Cork