Donnelly Canada

Recording the memories

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Cormeen Old National School

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by Catherine McCormack

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In 1835 a Board of Education was established by the government to standardise education in Ireland. In 1840, Mr Algar gave a site for a new Board of Education National School in the townland of Cormeen.  This was to replace Carrigagh and Feagh Hedge Schools and Newcastle Hall School. The school was built in 1840 with funds raised though a collection in Newcastle and grants received from the Board of Education. 


Edendugally National School

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In the 1940s, the children of the McGaurans, McCabes, Farrellys, Reillys, Clarkes, and perhaps a dozen other families living in the townlands to the south of the Loughanleagh Mountain, went to Edendugally National School which was built in the years 1838 – 1842. During most of the 1940s, and until the school was closed, there were about 45 pupils – boys and girls – in attendance, with only one teacher, and occasionally two, for 8 classes of children ranging in age from 5 to 14 years.


1976 edendugally school front 1

Edendugally[1] National School[2] (1976)

“And many a gambol frolick'd o'er the ground”[3]

 The original building stood empty for several years after it ceased to be used as a school in the 1960s, and it has since been modified and converted into a seasonal residence. It had two classrooms, with playgrounds at the front and back of the building.


The Eyes That Shone - from Ireland to Canada in the 1950s

But a word of warning! The Eyes That Shone is not a saga filled with horrible tragedy and dysfunctional relationships, but rather a celebration of family lives in Ireland and Canada, in other words, a happy story featuring:

  • Memories of life on small farms in Ireland before 1950 and before tractors and electrification, when growing food depended largely on human sweat and muscle
  • Recollections about people and events in the Department of Public Works of Canada where the author worked during the period 1957 to 1991
  • Intimate perspectives on living and dying, politics and religion, home and family