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(By Declan Quaile)

(First published in our Review 2004 journal)
Education as we know it in Ireland only became officially established following the passing of the Education Act of 1831. Prior to this a chaotic mixture of state sponsored education experiments together with ad hoc local teaching practices had resulted in a huge disparity of standards from county to county and parish to parish. The 1831 Act helped bring about some lasting conformity to the system, but in doing so it also signalled the demise of the native language due in no small part to its absence from the curriculum for ninety years.  
     The following account sketches the early years of education in the parish, encompassing the setting up and development of the various schools in Termonfeckin and Carstown subsequent to the 1831 Act while also dealing with the many teachers who came and went over the decades. While listing these early educators it is worth noting that for all their early struggles through the 19th century school system our knowledge of them comes through the archives in the form of written chastisements over faults and failings noted by their inspectors. And yet while the names of the supervisors are forgotten, those of the teachers live on.   
1: History of Education in Termonfeckin:

Some early Details:
The earliest account of education in the locality comes from a Government report from 1690, which mentions a Mr. Matthews being schoolmaster in the area and of a Bernard McMahon who had been a previous incumbent.1 These men were probably teachers in one or more local ‘hedge schools’ at the time.
      Just over a century later an agricultural report from 1803 refers to three schools in existence in Termonfeckin. One was administered by the Brabazon family of Rath House,2 while two were “very well attended Popish” schools.3  There is also a tradition of a school run by a Mr. Brady, who was a school-master at Belaveathy (Betaghstown) in the early part of the 19th century. One of the subjects Brady was famed for was teaching the Irish language.4
Private schools in Termonfeckin in the early 19th century:
With the search for an acceptable method of national schooling in the country bearing little fruit a Commission of Enquiry was established in 1824 to survey the state of education in Ireland. Over a three month period, in the summer of 1824, a national census was undertaken, which gathered information on the number of schools, pupils and teachers in each county.
      The subsequent report, published in 1826,5 catalogued four separate education establishments in the Termonfeckin area. The following table shows extracts from that census:








Queensboro  John Carroll Prot.  Pay £8 per  annum  8 R.C. 
 7 Pro.
 "Parish School"
Termonfeckin William Tighe  Prot.  Free £10 p.a.   15 Pro.
 5 R.C.
 "Private House"
Termonfeckin  Patrick King R.C. Catholic  Pay £10 p.a.  50 R.C.  "R.C. Chapel"*
Milltown Patrick Berrill  R.C. Catholic   Pay £10 p.a.  40 R.C.  "R.C. Chapel"*

*It is apparent from the above that both Patrick King and Patrick Berrill taught at the two Catholic chapels in the parish; at Thunderhill and at the chapel situated at Connors of Sandpit. These schools were essentially fee paying ‘hedge schools’. In addition it is noted that an ‘R. Pentland’ of Blackhall6 paid Patrick Berrill a gratuity of £1 per annum for his services at Milltown.
Protestant ‘Estate’ Schools:
Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries schools were set up countrywide to cater specifically for the education of Protestant pupils. The 1835 Ordnance Survey map denotes a school at ‘Halls Cross’ junction, just north of Termonfeckin village. This school was established before 1796 by Anne Brabazon of Rath House (1731-1800)and was probably the same school mentioned in the 1803 agricultural report. It may also have been where William Tighe taught, the teacher noted in the 1824 survey. In Griffith’s Valuation notes from May 1839 the building is described as a ‘Loftus Codd school-house and post office’.8 This building is noted as being quite new in 1825 and not yet completed for lack of funds.9 A school inspection was carried out on 8th September 185610 when the inspector noted: ‘This is a poor school and in a declining condition. The state of instruction was by no means satisfactory. I examined a mixed class, comprising four girls and three boys, in reading, geography and grammar. The reading was incoherent and the answering in geography (with the exception of one boy) bad. None of them were able to parse and in explaining the meaning of words very little intelligence was exhibited by any of the pupils. The school being situate near the coast, and only a few miles from the flourishing port of Drogheda, it would be desirable that some instruction should be given in the principles of navigation.’  
     The school is included in an 1858 report showing that it had been initially funded by the Lord Lieutenant and Wallop Brabazon. The report also noted that the following subjects: reading, writing, grammar, geography, arithmetic, needlework, scripture and church catechism were on the curriculum for the 27 pupils on the roll. There was a separate entrance for the children with the classes held upstairs in the two-storey building, while the teacher’s living quarters were downstairs. The building was in use as a school until the early 1870’s when it was obtained by the R.I.C. and converted into a residence for constabulary personnel.
      The Protestant schoolchildren were then taught for some years at the Rectory house where a wing had been added for the purpose.11 Teaching continued there until the early years of the 1900’s. Tutors associated with this school include a Stephen Smyth and a Miss Hopkins.  
An 1837 survey notes that there were two schools at Beaulieu,12 one a parochial school teaching ten boys and ten girls together with a fee paying school accommodating twenty boys and ten girls. The latter one was probably where John Carroll taught (see above table). An article in an 1848 Drogheda newspaper mentions a Mr L. Clarke as the teacher at Beaulieu.13 
      Two decades later, on the 1867 Ordnance Survey map, a school in the area was recorded and around this time Bob Ridley was noted as a teacher in a fee-paying school there.

                                        Protestant School at Hall's Cross, c. 1800-1870

The Board of Education school at Termonfeckin:
Following the 1826 Report an Education Act was introduced in 1831. This provided a national grant of £30,000 for the setting up and funding of schools in the country. The gradual acceptance of the provisions of the Act (albeit initially from the Catholic side) led to many schools applying for connection to the Board of Education; those in Termonfeckin parish being no exception.
      A request to join a Termonfeckin school to the Board of Education was made on 31st August 1833. Two clerics acted as signatories, T. Kelly14 and the parish Administrator Rev. Eugene Mulholland, together with seven guarantors, four Catholic and three Protestant. On 24th May 1834, confirmation was received that the application had been successful.
     The approved school, which had been set up in 1828, was located on the Strand Road.15 It contained two rooms, measuring 19’ x 15’ and 14’ x 15’. The school’s first teacher was a Peter King, who received an annual salary of £12. Details from his first roll-book showed he had 127 boys and 78 girls in attendance, while the numbers on the roll the following year (1835) showed 166 boys and 59 girls. 

Site of the first Board of Education School on the Strand Road (Photo courtesy of the late  Gus MacAmhlaigh)

An 1837 survey16 suggests that around 120 children were taught in two public schools in Termonfeckin, with two private schools supplying education to another 80 children. The two public schools may have been the Board of Education school on the Strand Road together with Patrick King’s ‘hedge school’ in the chapel at Thunderhill, while the private schools may have been the Loftus Codd school at ‘Halls Cross’ and another one possibly at Newtown.17 
          By 1839 the school on the Strand Rd. had an additional teacher, a Michael McCabe, assisting Peter King. Mr. King continued at his post as principal in Termonfeckin until July 1845 when he was requested to resign his position by the Board. This led to an incident where the school sign was removed temporarily from the building!
Termonfeckin Boys’ school:
In late 1844 with the setting up of a separate school for boys and girls the boys were transferred up the Strand Road in a building close to where the present day cottage ‘Ismailia’ is located.18 
      This school closed down temporarily from November 1845 to March 1846 following the dismissal of Peter King. The Board went on to appoint a number of teachers in quick succession, commencing with a John Reilly in 1846. He was followed shortly afterwards by a Mr L. Lennon, who in turn was replaced by Pat McEnerney in February 1847. McEnerney was quickly succeeded by a Mr. Mansfield who proceeded to tender his resignation in March 1849! Following this tutorial turmoil the school was closed down for a second time.
      Sometime around 1850 Pat McEnerny was re-appointed to the school and would go on to spend fifteen years as principal in Termonfeckin. With the rigours of the inspecting system of the time he was regularly admonished for inadequacies such as ‘want of neatness’, ‘low proficiency of pupils’ 19 and even at one time, in August 1864, for being drunk in class.
      He was succeeded as principal around 1865 by a Thomas Carron. Born in c1842 Mr. Carron had been monitor at Tullyallen in 1861 where his father, also Thomas, was the principal.20 Thomas drew the attention of the inspectors almost immediately on arrival and after several warnings their disapproval peaked in 1874 when he was severely reprimanded over his general proficiency and was threatened with dismissal. He, however, lived to fight another day and continued as principal up until 1881. In November 1870, in Termonfeckin chapel, he married Elizabeth Brodigan, daughter of Anthony Brodigan and sister of his successor.
      Thomas Carron was succeeded in 1881, by a Termonfeckin native, Patrick J. Brodigan. Twenty-three years old on his appointment he had only been assigned for a brief period when the school inspectors began an inquiry regarding his place of abode. In November 1882 he had married a widow, Mary Horan, who was the proprietor of a grocery shop cum public house in Termonfeckin and, presumably, had moved into living quarters at the hostelry, which would have been against Board of Education regulations. An inspector’s note, from May 1883, advised that Mr. Brodigan’s salary was to be withheld so long as he continued to reside at the public house.21 Sometime later correspondence was sent to the manager (and parish priest), Fr. Segrave, querying Brodigan’s connections with the owner of the establishment. At a later stage, because of the Board’s continued agitation, Brodigan was obliged to move to lodging in a house on Kelly’s Lane at Thunderhill.22
     By 1884 two monitors, Patrick Belton and James Garvey were assisting at the boys’ school. Master Brodigan, as well as teaching the authorised subjects of reading, writing and arithmetic, also taught navigation and was so highly regarded on this subject that on occasion pupils from Clogherhead were sent to Termonfeckin for tuition.
      With the dedication and opening of the new Catholic Church in August 1883 the old chapel at Thunderhill had become vacant. Some refurbishment work was done and in 1885 the boys and girls were relocated from the Strand Road, though continuing to have separate rooms and principals. However concerns were soon expressed as to the adequacy of using an old chapel as a school. Reports noted that there was a lack of toilets facilities, that the floor was not boarded properly and that the ventilation and light were poor. 
      In January 1885 an assistant teacher, Patrick Cunningham, aged eighteen, was appointed to the boy’s school at Thunderhill. He had previously taught in St. Johns, Blackrock, Co. Dublin and prior to that had been a monitor in St. Mary’s national school, Drogheda. In later years other assistant teachers taught at Termonfeckin, including a Thomas Grelly in 1889, a Mr. Whiteside and a Thomas McGuirk together with a James Rourke who were assisting in the 1890s.
      However the spectre of his association with Horan’s pub was never far removed from Patrick Brodigan. As late as 1896, some fifteen years after his appointment, the school inspectors were still continuing with their enquiries regarding his connections there. At the end of that year the Board expressed unhappiness with Brodigan’s replies to their questions and early the following year payment of salaries was suspended pending his future. At this stage he must have seen the writing on the wall regarding his career because he proceeded to resign his position on 31st March 1897.23 
      Edward J. Feran, from Tinure in Monasterboice, was appointed principal of the boys’ school on 1st April 1897. He lodged with Mary Johnson in her house opposite Byrne’s forge for several years and would return to his home in Tinure at weekends. He was a strict disciplinarian, as were many of the teachers of the period, and few escaped his attentions during his reign at Thunderhill and latterly at Yellow Gap. However, only a year after he was appointed both he and the girl’s school principal Ms Anglin were to endure the displeasure of an irate inspector, a Mr. Seymour, who arrived (obviously unannounced) at Thunderhill on Friday 22nd April only to find “…that the above named schools closed at 2.20 p.m.…and the people had left at 2 p.m. to attend a mission at a nearby chapel, and had done so during the (school) week. As no notice was given beforehand to close the school…I am directed to request you (the manager, Fr. Segrave) to admonish both the teachers Mr. E.J. Feran and Miss Anglin.” 24  
        Ned Feran c.1921
Ned Feran served as principal in Termonfeckin for forty years until his retirement in 1936. His wife Nellie Kehoe, from Wexford, was his assistant from 1910 until her retirement in 1939. She passed away in February 1956. 
A Note on the Irish Language:
The 1831 Education Act proved, in many respects, to be the death knell for the Irish language. Prior to this Act Irish had been taught by hedge school masters but it was precluded from the Board of Education’s curriculum. So a gradual decline ensued and for nearly seventy years generations of children would lose the ability to speak the native tongue. As early as 1820 a report advised that English was generally spoken in the locality and that the Irish language was in decline.25 By 1850 Fr. Bernard McKeown used a translator at ceremonies for those few still speaking Irish.  With pupils doing all subjects through English, only very few held a tenuous grasp of the old tongue.
      Early attempts were made locally to resurrect the language. In 1879 a branch of the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language was formed but petered out a year later, and it was only the setting up of the Gaelic League in 1893 which finally rescued the language. Through the efforts of enlightened individuals (in Termonfeckin’s case Fr. Thomas Gogarty and later Dominic Maguire from Drogheda, who taught Irish locally), parish groups were set up to encourage the revival of the native tongue. With the foundation of the State and with it the Dept of Education in the 1920’s the future of the language as part of our heritage was finally secured.  
Termonfeckin Girls’ school:
Termonfeckin girls’ school was set up in the village in April 1844 and by November of that year had been connected to the National Board of Education. This school building was adjacent to Carroll’s public house at the bridge and consisted of two rooms each measuring 17 feet by 16 feet.26 In an application for financial assistance for this school, made in 1844, the then Administrator in Termonfeckin, Fr. Thomas Callan, gave the following details of a typical school day for the girls: “School begins at 9 o’clock in the morning and closes at 4 in the afternoon; an hour being allowed for dinner at 12. The 1st hour of each day and Saturday are devoted to religious instructions.” 27 A similar regime would also have been in place for the boys with the main subjects being reading, writing and arithmetic. 
      Mary Levins was the first principal of the girls’ school and she received a salary of £8 per annum. She was subsequently dismissed, after five years service, in October 1849 and was replaced by a Maria Collins the following month.
      Ms. Collins was warned regarding the low state and profile of pupils in her classes. She also received an unusual reprimand in August 1856 for allowing an unsuitable publication, ‘The Flirt’, to be read in class! In 1858 the manager, Fr. McKeown, was informed that the Christmas holidays being taken were too long. Previously the school had been off from 22nd December to 27th January! A maximum of two weeks was recommended.
      Maria Collins left Termonfeckin on 23rd October 1858 and was replaced temporarily by a Martha Kane.
      Ms. Kane was succeeded the following year (1859) by Mary Downey, who was principal for three years. She was admonished in May 1860 for failure to have the school open at 2.10 p.m. She advised the inspector that on the day in question she had a toothache and had no clock to tell the time!  She was reported as ill in June 1861 and the following year the inspector noted that if the classes had not improved by their next meeting that “Ms. Downey will be further depressed (demoted), if not dismissed”.28 In October of 1862 she was eventually let go and on 1st November Margaret Collins was installed.
      Margaret Collins seems to have taken over as principal at a very unsettled time. She was cautioned in 1864 on the poor state of the classes and that “…pupils were found by (the) inspector on the roadside looking at people going to the races.” 29  In January of the following year a report noted that the girls’ school was suspended and was “…incorporated with male department.” 30  It is unclear as to why this occurred, but in the event the girls had to leave their classrooms adjacent to Carroll’s public house and depart for the boys’ school-house on the Strand Road.
      For the next twenty years this unsatisfactory situation was to continue with the two schools being housed in one building. Reports suggest a lack of space and a general shortage of school supplies; with this only partially remedied by the move to Thunderhill around 1885.
      Margaret Collins would continue as principal for twenty-five years, her last two in the old chapel building. She appears to have improved the standards over her term as principal with few admonishments noted against her in later years. She eventually took voluntary retirement in 1887 with a pension of £23 per annum.    
       Meanwhile, in January 1885, an assistant, Mary Anne Morgan, was appointed for six months. Ms. Morgan had previously taught in Baggot St., Dublin as a monitor.31
     Another assistant was appointed to Termonfeckin in July 1885 and would become one of the most respected of those who taught in the parish. Her name was Harriet Anglin. From Kilkenny, she had previously been a monitor in that town and had gone on to teach at Baggot St. national school in Dublin before being assigned to Termonfeckin. Fr. Segrave acknowledged at the time of her appointment that her character was “good in all respects.” 32  At the same time as Ms. Anglin’s placement, the assistant Ms. Morgan had departed and a Bridget Garvey was appointed as monitor.
     On the retirement of Margaret Collins in November 1887, Harriet Anglin became principal and remained so until her retirement in July 1924. During much of her teaching career she resided at the Island House in the centre of the village. She was regarded as an excellent teacher and her name is still remembered with respect in the parish. Ms. Anglin passed  away in August 1924, less than a
month after her retirement. 

Harriet Anglin, Principal of Girls'School  1887-1924 (Photo courtesy of Marie Carolan)

She was buried in Termonfeckin graveyard and a shrine in the grounds of the Church of the Immaculate Conception is dedicated to her name.   

Margaret_FloodIn 1893 Ms Margaret Flood, from Banktown, was made assistant to Ms Anglin and she continued in that role, for over forty years until her retirement in the late 1930’s. In her later years Ms. Flood would issue instructions to bring her evening meal before departing the school; sending children to fetch vegetables and a rabbit for her tea!
      Following Ms. Anglin’s retirement in 1924 the position of girls’ school principal was taken up by Kathleen Watson,33 from Drogheda, who would serve in that capacity until 1936.

Margaret Flood taught in Termonfeckin from 1893 to c. 1937 (Photo courtesy Mary McDonnell)

The boys’ and girls’ schools at the Yellow Gap were officially merged on 1st January 1936 and following this amalgamation succeeding boys and girls classes would be mixed, though for several years with separate play areas. Also in 1936 Ned Feran retired after four decades of teaching and was replaced as principal by Thomas J. Corcoran. From Magdalene St. in Drogheda, Thomas Corcoran (known as Joe) attended the teacher training college in Drumcondra from 1927 to 1929. His first post was Blackrock national school, outside Dundalk, where he taught for eight years. In February 1937 he was appointed as principal to Termonfeckin and held that post until, suffering from T.B., his early death in June 1948.34 

Dolly Murphy, Principal of Girl's School 1924-1937 (Photo courtesy Frank Carroll

          Assistant teachers in Termonfeckin at this time were Miss Corry, Paddy Dowd from Dundalk, Henry McKenna and Seamus Somers, as well a young teacher from Donegal, Donal McGinley, who arrived in 1944.
      In 1948, Mr. McGinley succeeded the late Joe Corcoran as principal. His strict stewardship at Termonfeckin would extend for the next thirty-seven years. Other teaching staff in the late 1940’s included Aine McGlynn, from Glenties in Co. Donegal and a Bernard Long, while in September 1950 Tommy Simpson arrived from training school.
      Under Donal McGinley’s long tenure as principal many teachers passed through Termonfeckin national school. In the 1950’s these included Peter Mulligan from Darver, David Fitzgibbon from Kerry, Kathleen Shanley, Colm Herity, Ms. Briege McDermott, Eoin Maguire, who would become principal of Callystown national school in Clogherhead, and Alec McClean, who arrived in 1962 and who would also be promoted to Callystown six years later. Other teachers who taught at Yellow Gap during the 1960’s were Sheila McEntee, K. McIntyre, Margaret Rabbitte, Thomas Dalton, Mary Kinsella and Thomas McNally. 
      The 1970’s saw no let up in the numbers of teachers at the school with Tony Williams (who would become principal of Termonfeckin following Donal McGinley’s retirement in 1985), Mary Boyle and Ann Crotty, Gerry Kelly, Angela Vaughan, Rose Gilleran, Noirin McCabe, Pauline O’Toole, Tom Murphy, Frances McMahon, Aine King and Catherine Campbell all assisting Donal McGinley.
      With lack of space and antiquated facilities the school at the Yellow Gap, which had seen almost seventy years of pupils through its doors, was finally vacated in 1981 when the new national school on the Baltray road was officially opened.
      Tony Williams went on to act as principle in Termonfeckin for twenty-two years, eventually being succeeded by Eddie Rocks from Blackrock, Co. Louth in 2007. Eddie was succeeded in 2012 by Bryan Collins. 

The Board of Education School at Carstown:
The earliest evidence of a school-house in Carstown is from an application to connect a school there to the Board of Education in 1837.35 The correspondents on the application were the parish Administrator, Fr. Thomas Callan and Henry Chester of Carstown, the latter donating the parcel of land for the school’s construction. This school, with two rooms of 29 feet by 17 feet each in area, was eventually connected to the Board in 1839 and would appear to be the same building which nowadays is known as Sandpit Hall.
      A Mr. McCabe is noted as the first teacher assigned to the school with an annual salary, in 1840, of £12. He resigned in June 1842 and a Thomas Smith was appointed, but with a salary of only £8 a year!
      A superintendent’s report from May 1845 proposed the dismissal of Smith because of incompetency. A Miss Smith took over temporarily until a Pat McKernan was appointed in 1846. At this time 80 boys and 60 girls were on the roll books at Carstown. The school seems to have had the same problem with these early teachers as Termonfeckin because there followed in quick succession a series of teachers after McKernan. They included an M. Flanagan, a Peter King (the same teacher who had been let go from Termonfeckin in 1845?) who was dismissed (again?) in March 1853, a Peter Conlan and a John McDonnell who was appointed in February 1855.
      Mr. McDonnell was taken to task several times and was even fined ten shillings for neglect of the school accounts and inattention to cleanliness. He would finally leave in November 1858.
      His successor was a John Hodgers and his tenure was memorable from his early days there. He was berated for late attendance in June 1859 and four months later was fined fifteen shillings, a considerable sum, for irregularity of attendance, neglect of the school programme and the backward state of his classes. Yet the following year it was noted on his report that he had qualified to teach singing in school!
      However a somewhat remarkable event occurred on 14th February 1861 when an inspector arrived at the school to discover that John Hodgers had ‘run away with a farmer’s daughter, the young woman taking £75 from her father’.36  A note was later received by the manager (Fr. McKeown) from John Hodgers himself stating that he had married a Catherine Flynn on 26th January 1861 and as her father would not consent to their union they had to leave. Hence the short notice! A footnote by the inspector suggested that Mr. Hodgers salary be paid to a Mr. Kenny ‘with whom the teacher lodged.’ 37
      Following Mr. Hodgers swift departure a Pat Keenan was assigned but his stay was temporary and a Pat Owens replaced him in December 1863. Mr. Owens would remain as principal until the mid 1870’s. He appears to have been an efficient teacher with few reprimands noted against him, though in April 1874 he was pulled up for being late and not having the fire lit before the pupils assembled!
Alice_Moore2                   His replacement was a John Kelly who served for some years before leaving in June 1881.38  Just before Mr. Kelly departed an application was made to change Carstown from a male to a female teacher establishment. With this in place a Miss Alice Malone from Ardee was appointed in July 1881.39  Ms. Malone would remain in charge at Carstown until 1912 after which she retired and returned to Ardee.
      She was replaced briefly by a Vincent McGlew from Coolkirk who was followed by his sister Alice in 1914. Alice McGlew went on to teach generations of children around the Sandpit area and also several of the McGlew family. In January 1949, towards the end of her career, she broke her leg in an accident and had to secure the services of a stand-in teacher, Nan Dorian (nee Rogers) while she recovered. Mrs. Dorian deputised from March 1949 until Easter 1950. Alice McGlew returned to duty after Easter 1950 and officially retired in July of that year.

Alice Malone, Principal of Carstown School
(Photo courtesy of Briege Kerin)

                  Alice McGlew, Principal of Carstown School from 1914-1950
                           (Photo courtesy of the late Aidan and Alice Cunningham)

      She had been ably assisted in Carstown for many years by a local lady, Gertie Murphy. Originally a McKeown from Sandpit, Gertie began her teaching career in 1917 and continued as assistant there and later in Sandpit until her retirement in 1962; forty-five years of service; probably a record for a teacher at one school.
      Bernard Long (1928-2001), from Ventry in Co. Kerry and brother of Kerry Gaelic football legend Tom Long,  who had been teaching in Termonfeckin, succeeded Ms. McGlew in September 1950 and taught at Carstown for two years before moving on to teach in Dublin. His successor, in May 1952, was Tommy Simpson, from Elphin in Co Roscommon. He spent twenty years at Sandpit and would oversee the transfer of the school from the old building in Carstown to a new purpose built school at Sandpit in 1956; the site for the school being donated by Patsy Woods. Assistant teachers in Sandpit during Tommy’s era included Sheila Mullany (nee Sherlock), Kathleen Gargan, Maura Curtin, Catherine Kelly and Patricia Sweeney.

Gertie Murphy, Carstown and Sandpit Schools 1917-1962
(Photo courtesy of the Tommy Simpson)

     In 1972 Tommy Simpson moved to Dublin and taught in Tallaght. He was succeeded by Anne Conboy from Co. Leitrim. She was followed in 1979 by Gerry Campbell, from Scarlet Street in Drogheda. He retired in 2011 after thirty-two years as principal and was succeeded by the present incumbent Edel Victory. 
      Sandpit teachers up to the present day include Anne Cleary, Eileen Kennedy, Catriona Mulligan, Kathleen Griffin, Mary McCann, Phil Courtney, Eilis Deery, Julieanne Slevin, Anthony Lenihan, Margaret O’Broin, Heather Lee, Shane Reilly, Aoife Galavan and Laura Geraghty, with learning support from 1991 to 2005 being provided by Mary Murray.



                     Termonfeckin School Group Photos

Termonfeckin Boys School Yellow Gap c.1915

Termonfeckin Girls School, Yellow Gap c.1915 

Termonfeckin Boys School c.1915




Boys School c.1921
Back Row L to R – P. Faulkner, Kevin Collier, Tom Mulroy, Billy Fanning, Pat McGuirk, Harry Collier, Andy Fanning, Mick Reynolds.
Middle Row L to R – Jim Levins, Jimmy Byrne, Peter Mulroy, Pat Farrell, Jim Murphy, Kevin Duff, Dermot Mooney, Tom McGuirk, Jim Finnegan, Peadar Moore, Conie Connor, Edward  Feran (Principal)
Front Row L to R – Colm Patton, Seamus Rafferty, James McArdle, Matt Brennan, F. Feran, Addy Donnelly, P. Tiernan, Jack Gorman, Peter Gorman, Jack Feran, Barney Feran, John Leech.
(Photo courtesy of Marie Carolan)

Termonfeckin Girls School c.1930
Back Row L to R – Eileen Rafferty, ----, Maureen Mullen, ----, ----, ----, ----, ----, ----, ----, ----, ----, ----, Nano Donnelly.  
Front Row L to R – ----, ----, Nancy Reynolds, Angela Clinton, ---- (baby), Maureen Mooney, Kathleen Sheridan, ----, ----, ----, Mary Matthews, Olive Reynolds.
(Photo Courtesy of the late Gus MacAmhlaigh)

Termonfeckin Boys School c.1937
Back Row L to R – John Grimes, Stephen Fleming, Larry Quaile, John Murphy, Dermot Harmon, Pat Murphy, Tom Branigan, Paddy Quaile, Seamus Garvey.
4th Row L to R – Frank Murphy, Pat Mooney, Mick McCormack, Pat Bowden, Anthony Sinnott, John Murphy, Anthony McCormack, Peter Sheridan, Ultan Branigan, Andy Fanning.
3rd Row L to R – John McDowell, Tom Sheridan, P.J. McDowell, David Casey, Gerry O’Brien, Eddy Fleming, Paddy Fleming, Mike Mooney, Pat Gorman, Jim Owens, John Bowden.
2nd Row L to R – Enda Gorman, James Moore, John Moore, Joe Purcell, Shay Gorman, D.P. Mullen, Dermot Moore, Pat Campbell, Mick Duff, Gordon Casey, Paddy McDonnell, Paddy Sinnott, Oliver Moore.
Front Row L to R – Frank Faulkner, Larry Moore, Paddy Duff, J. Purcell, Joe Sinnott, Paddy Moore, Frank Carroll, Peter Flanagan, Joe King, Pat King.



Termonfeckin Girls School c.1937
Back Row L to R – Maggie Grimes, Maureen Mooney, Bridgie McDonnell, Tess Synnott, Kathleen Fleming, Patricia McDonnell, Kathleen Mullen, Rea Synnott, Mary Sheridan, Mary Duff, Fiona Cumiskey .
Middle Row L to R – Maeve Reynolds, Bridgie O’Brien, Lily Grimes, Kitty Moore, Betty Sheridan, Joan McCormack, Mab Kavanagh, Philomena Garvey, Ita Finnegan, Alice Sheridan, Nuala Sweeney, Joan Mullen, Mary Campbell.
Front Row L to R – May McCormack, Minnie Fanning, Claire McCormack, Ita Mullen, Nita Owens, Rhoda Faulkner, Kathleen Fanning, Phyllis McDowell, Gretta McDowell, Tessie Reynolds, Benny O’Brien, Joey O’Brien, Lottie Fleming, Eileen Fanning.
(Photo Courtesy of Marie Carolan)


Termonfeckin School c.1945
Back Row L to R – Ann King, Jimmy Fleming, Noel Moore, Mickey King, Frank McAuley, Norman Owens, Mal O’Brien, Paddy Reynolds, Patsy Fanning, Donal McGinley (Principal).
3rd Row L to R – Marie Molloy, Phyllis McArdle, Bridie Faulkner, Olive Gorman, Jean Rafferty, Marie Brannigan, Daphne McGuirk, Kitty O’Brien, Margaret Sinnott, Betty Leech, Doris Faulkner.
2nd Row L to R – Christy Molloy, Patrick Gorman?, Jim McEvoy, Brendan Hynes, Peter Fleming, Noel McEvoy, Dessie Gorman, Kitty Gorman.
Front Row L to R – Tommy Duff, Kevin Duff, Paddy McCormick.
(Photo courtesy of Frank Carroll)


Termonfeckin School (boys) c.1950
Back Row L to R – Brendan Hynes, Peter Fleming, Anton Winters, Joey Cumiskey, Noel Moore, Robert McAuley, Michael McGuirk, Frank McCormack.
4th Row L to R – Donal McGinley (Principal), Tommy O’Brien, Christy Molloy, Mal O’Brien, Jim McEvoy, Frank McAuley, Andy Sweeney, Micky Gorman, Jim Reilly, Peter Sheridan, Noel McEvoy, Barney Long (teacher).
3rd Row L to R – Sean Callaghan, John Maguire, John Feran, Sean Drew, David McAuley, David McAuley, Joey Sheridan, John Gorman, Brendan McAuley, Damien Reilly, (face hidden), Austin Reynolds, Owen McEvoy, Seamus Reynolds.
2nd Row L to R – Paddy Brannigan, Dessie Sheridan, Paddy Levins, Michael Carton, Jimmy McArdle, John McArdle, Dermot Levins, Dessie Reilly, Thomas Maguire, Francis Reynolds, Billy Hynes, Andrew McArdle, Aidan Gartland, Christy Reynolds.
Front Row L to R – Bob Fanning, Ned Briscoe, Jimmy King, Billy Reilly, Jim Rafferty, Gus McAuley, Nicky Moore, Hugh Callaghan, Peter Moore.
(Photo courtesy of Billy Hynes)


Termonfeckin School (girls) c. 1950
Back Row L to R – Ms. Aine McGlynn (teacher), Joan Corcoran, Sheila Gorman, Maeve McAuley, Rosemary Briscoe, Phyllis Fulcher, Ailish O’Connor, Annie King, Maureen Reynolds, Frances King.
3rd Row – Mary Leech, Bernadette Callaghan, Esther Fanning, Carmel McGuirk, Amy Carton, Phyllis Molloy, Patsy Fanning, Betty Leech, Daphne McGuirk, Jean Rafferty, Mary McEvoy.
2nd Row – Mary Moore, Mary Macken, Ann McEvoy, Joan McArdle, Dorothy Fanning
Front Row – Ann Ower, Josephine Taaffe, Briege Macken, Dora mcGuirrk, Maura Sheridan, Betty Rafferty, Teresa Fanning, Antoinette McAuley, Maura Corcoran, Jean McGuire, Ann McAuley, Margaret McEvoy, Gabrielle McEvoy, Mary Fox, Tessie Sheridan.
(Photo courtesy of Jo Mooney)


Termonfeckin School class c.1962
Back Row L to R - Mark Hartigan, Owen Kirwan, Gerard Reilly, Betty Briscoe, Susan McAuley, Barry O’Shea, James Duff, Liam Sheridan.
Front Row L to R - Nica McAuley, Pauline Murphy, Mary Murphy, Mary Fanning, Olivia Rafferty, Rose McDonnell, Jane Wogan. 
(Photo courtesy of Jo Mooney)

Termonfeckin School, Senior Infants, c. 1963
Back Row L to R – Patrick Macken, Peter Briscoe, Michael Rafferty, Noel Finnegan, Michael Dillon, Michael Duffy, Barry Reynolds.
Front Row L to R – Marie Sheridan, Margaret Murphy, Teresa Gorman, John McDonnell, Rose Rafferty, Anne McBride.
(Photo courtesy of Noel and Margaret Finnegan)


Termonfeckin National School c.1964
Back Row, L to R: Danny Gorman, Eamon Murphy, Billy Fanning, Peter Mackin, Marie Heijenga, Chris Johnson, Michael McElarney, Pat Lynn, Sean Callaghan, Johnny Johnston.
Middle Row, L to R: Marie Gorman, Betty Gorman, Cecily Feran, Mary Drew, Sheila McEnerney, Marie McDonnell, Mary Saurin.
Front Row, L to R: Charles McBride, Micheál O’Brien, Jimmy Kirwan, Charles Collier, Paddy Sheridan, Paddy McBride.
(Photo courtesy of Micheál O’Brien)

                     Cartown/Sandpit School Group Photos


Carstown School c.1928
Back Row L to R – Kevin Carroll, --- --- , --- --- , Kevin Carr (later Br. Kevin Carr), Kevin Tiernan, Oliver Toner, John Toner.
3rd Row L to R – Molly Toner, Peggie Whearty, Jimmy Toner, Billy Clinton, Tommy Carroll, Jimmy Cunningham, Paddy Toner.
2nd Row L to R – Cis Connor, Maisie Wogan, Peg Carr, Moira Sweeney, Beth Sheils.
Front Row L to R – Delia Briscoe, May Flynn, May Mooney, Oliver Cunningham, Dympna Flynn, Ms. Sweeney, Jenna Tiernan (later Sr. Jenna Tiernan).
(Photo courtesy of Anna Kelly)


Carstown School c.1933
Back Row L to R – Donald Byrne, Larry Carr, Kevin Tiernan, Paddy Tiernan, Gretta Sweeney, Kitty Campbell, Bridie Sweeney, Moira Sweeney, Sheila Clinton, Jimmy Cunningham, Frank Toner, Tommy Carroll, Oliver Toner.
Middle Row L to R – Oliver Cunningham, Liam Byrne, Kevin Carr, Michael Tiernan, Peggie Whearty, Carmel Tiernan, May Mooney, Vera Byrne, May Flynn, Bridie Flynn, Jim Whearty, Kevin Carroll, John Toner, Jim Flynn.
Front Row L to R – Martin Flynn, Fenton Tiernan, ----- -----, Eileen Cunningham, Kathleen Carr, Essie Flynn, Anna Clinton, Maureen Byrne, Paddy Flynn, Nicholas Whearty, George Tiernan.
(Photo courtesy of Mary Dempsey)


Carstown School c.1938
Back Row L to R – Essie Flynn, Anna Clinton, Vera Byrne, Maureen Byrne, Eileen Cunningham, Martin Flynn, Nicholas Whearty.
3rd Row l to R – Fenton Tiernan, Aidan Cunningham, Paddy Byrne, Paddy Allen, Paddy Healy, Jim Flynn, Paddy Carroll, Jim Healy.
2nd Row L To R – Philomena Carroll, Kathleen Allen, Johnny McGuinness, Maeve Devine, Ita Tiernan, Patty Cunningham, Tommy McGuinness, Lucy Devine, Gus Clinton, Nancy Flynn.
Front Row L to R – Betty Flynn, Alice Gillick, Julie Flynn, Nuala Tiernan, Ralph Byrne, Noel Tiernan, Mary Mooney, Dick Wogan, Jimmy McGuinness, May McGuinness.
(Photo courtesy of Mary Dempsey)


Carstown School, 22nd March 1950
Back row L to R – John Markey, Joe Corrigan, Paddy Levins, Mary Winters, Rita Mooney, Eamon Briscoe, Dick Murphy.
4th Row L to R – Michael Carroll, John Allen, Mary Mooney, Josephine Briscoe, Rita Levins, Paddy Mooney, Jim Meade, Teresa Meade.
3rd Row L to R – Nicholas Corrigan, Michael Wogan, David Wogan, Ann Markey, Josephine Levins, Detta Meade, Patty Wogan.
2nd Row L to R – Ann McGlew, Helen McGlew, Lelia McGlew, Sean Levins, Paddy Flynn, Paddy Briscoe, Sean Flynn, Paddy McGlew.
Front Row L to R – Gerard Murphy, Michael McGuinness, Michael Briscoe, Jim Mooney
(Photo courtesy of Mary Dempsey)



Carstown School, 4th July 1955
Back Row L to R – Gertie Murphy (teacher), Ann McGlew, Josephine Levins, Helen McGlew, Patricia Wogan, Jim Mooney, Maura Quaile, Tommy Simpson (Principal).
4th Row L to R – Noel Myles, Therese McGlew, Colm Quaile, Pauline Levins, Ann Campbell, Lelia McGlew, Mary Corrigan, Patricia Harmon, P.J. Dixon.
3rd Row L to R – Imelda Mooney, Ann McArdle, Sheila Flanagan, Olive Levins, Mary Meegan, Monica McGlew, Monica Wogan, Maura Myles.
2nd Row L to R – Damian Flanagan, Austin Flynn, Alex Wogan, Larry Corrigan, Peter Meegan, Anthony Flanagan, Gerard Corrigan, Thomas Corrigan, Jim Harmon.
Front Row L to R – Paddy Flynn, Michael Finegan, Jim Carroll, Martin Flanagan, Kieran Flynn, Johnny Flynn, Jim Quaile.
(Photo courtesy of the late Tommy Simpson)


Sandpit School, July 1963
Back Row L to R – Mary Dixon, Tommy Simpson (Principal), Imelda Mooney, Maura Simpson, Clare Mooney, Michael McEvoy, Noel McQuillan, Alf McGlew, Geraldine Collier, Benny Meade, Peter Collier, Breda Myles, Angela Mooney, Nuala Carr, Eileen McEvoy, Vincent McGlew, Seamus Meegan, Thomas Meegan, Sheila Sherlock (teacher), Vera Dixon.
2nd Row L to R – Gerard Myles, Noel Meegan, Anton Mooney, Michael Meegan, Raymond Meegan, Ruth Collier, Larry Carr, Nuala McEvoy, Sheila Tiernan, Marie Healy, Gene Healy, Susan McEvoy, Barbara Collier, Josephine Meegan, Mary Carr, Marian Levins, Mary Kavanagh, Eileen McQuillan, Teresa Dixon.
Front Row L to R – Jimmy Byrne, Francis McEvoy, Kevin McEvoy, Vincent Meegan, Martin Flynn, Eamon Sweeney, Jimmy Flynn, Aidan McEvoy, Raymond Woods, Ita Carr, Tomas Simpson, Bernadette Levins, Liam Byrne.
(Photo courtesy of the late Tommy Simpson)

School, July 1969
Back Row L to R – Peter Meegan, Jimmy Flynn, Liam Byrne, Roisin Meegan?, Anne Kavanagh, Anne Carr, Sheila Tiernan, Caroline Flynn, Mary Meegan, Vincent Meegan.
4th Row L to R – Jim Kavanagh?, Jimmy Byrne, Marty Flynn, Eamon Sweeney, Eileen McEvoy, Mary Tiernan, Nuala McEvoy, Bernadette Levins, Marie Healy, Francis McEvoy, Raymond Meegan.
3rd Row l to R – Kieran McEvoy, Gerard Meegan, Adrian Quaile, Teresa Clinton, Ann Meegan, Angela Meegan, Pat Pentony, Anne Pentony, Vivienne Dempsey, Mary Byrne?, Breda Carr, Bernadette Meegan, Claire Kavanagh, Vincent McEvoy, Aidan McEvoy, Ms. Maura Curtin (teacher), John Pentony (R.I.P.).
2nd Row L to R – Desmond Tiernan, Anne Tiernan, Muriel Flynn, Deirdre Flynn, Julie Byrne, Shane Simpson, Niall Simpson, Anne Bell, Johnny Bell, Declan Dempsey, John Meegan, Brendan McEvoy, Jim Pentony, Laurence Kavanagh.
Front Row L to R – Donny Byrne (R.I.P.), Mary Sweeney, Anne Sweeney, Anna Clinton, Gerry Clinton.
(Photo courtesy of the late Tommy Simpson) 


  1. Armagh Clergy and Parishes by J.B. Leslie (Dundalk  p 422.
  2. This school was at ‘Halls Cross’ junction at the house known as the ‘Old School House’.
  3. Journal of the Co. Louth Arch. & Historical Society (JCLAHS). 1976, p306.
  4. JCLAHS 1965, p29.
  5. Irish Education Enquiry - 2nd Report 1826, pps 718-720.
  6. Robert Pentland (1796 – 1836) of Blackhall House, son of George Pentland.
  7. Fanny Burney and the Burneys – R. Brimley Johnson, p251 (1971 reprint of 1926 orig)
  8. The school patron, Loftus Codd, was from Co. Wexford. In Slater’s Directory from 1846 he is noted as the proprietor of the Post Office at Termonfeckin, which, according to the 1835 Ordnance Survey map of the village, was in the same building as the school. He was killed on 26th October 1844 in a road accident whilst attending a funeral (Drogheda Argus, 26th Oct 1844).
  9. Fr. Gogarty’s notes from a 1825 Visitation Book.
  10. The Irish Quarterly Review, Vol. VIII (Dublin 1858), p376.
  11. Information received from Mrs J. Lush, Termonfeckin rectory.
  12. Lewis’ Topographical Directory 1837.
  13. Drogheda Conservative Journal, 13th May 1848.
  14. Thomas Kelly, the Archbishop of Armagh from 1832-1835. Termonfeckin was his mensal parish.
  15. The school building was at the present day house belonging to Elizabeth Rafferty, opposite the Strand Rd. entrance to Newtown House.
  16. Lewis’ Topographical Directory 1837.
  17. Another school is mentioned in 1844 when Fr. Thomas Callan stated that a school ‘for the poor’ existed in Baltray.
  18. This house was subsequently owned by Brodigan and Harmon families.
  19. National Archives, ED/2/106 – Folio 20.
  20. Memories of a Village School - Tullyallen, Co. Louth (2005), p19 - 21.
  21. Horan’s public house was situated on the hill in Termonfeckin, across from the graveyard entrance.
  22. Drogheda Independent, 17th January 1891. The house was known as Seaview House.
  23. The 1901 Census notes Patrick J Brodigan as a 44 year old grocer with his wife 56 year old Mary and 17 year old son Michael.
  24. N.A. ED/9/12216.
  25. William Shaw Mason’s Statistical Report quoted in C.L.A.J. 1965, p29.
  26. Shown on the 1867 Ordnance Survey map.
  27. Microfilm, Dundalk Reference Library.
  28. N.A. ED/2/106 – Folio 42.
  29. N.A. ED/2/106 – Folio 42. Horse racing was a regular event at Seapoint for much of the 19th century.  
  30. Ibid.
  31. Monitors were senior students in a school who were deemed fit to train for teaching and who were given authority to assist the Principal.  
  32. N.A. ED/1/59.
  33. She was married to Patrick Murphy and was known to many as ‘Dolly Murphy’.
  34. Tom Corcoran details from Pat Mulligan’s 1999 book ‘To School Through the Rock’, p17-18.
  35. A ‘national school house’ is noted in Griffith Valuation notes at Carstown, on 28th March 1837.
  36. N.A. ED/2/106-Folio 38.
  37. Ibid.
  38. A John Kelly was listed in 1892 as principal in Ballymakenny.
  39. Alice Malone would later marry Patrick Moore from Sunhill, who drowned off Dunany in June 1886 in the yacht ‘The Garrawog’.


Termonfeckin Schools Chronology:
1834-1844     Strand Rd (at present-day Rafferty house) (mixed)
1844-1865     Strand Rd (at present-day Harmon house) (boys)
1844-1865     Adjacent to public house (at the bridge) (girls)
1865-1885     Strand Rd.(at present-day Harmon house) (segregated)
1885-1912     Thunderhill (segregated)
1912-1936     Yellow Gap (segregated)
1936-1981     Yellow Gap (mixed)
1981 to date  Baltray Rd (mixed)
Chronology of Principals at Termonfeckin N.S.-
Boys School -
(1834-1845)    Peter King
(1839-1845?)   Michael McCabe
(1846-1847)    John Reilly
(1847)            L. Lennon
(1847)            Pat McEnerny
(1848-1849)    Mr. Mansfield
(1849-1868)    Pat McEnerny
(1868-1881)    Thomas Carron
(1881-1897)    Patrick Brodigan
(1897-1936)    Edward Feran
Girls School -
(1844-1849)     Mary Levins
(1849-1858)     Maria Collins
(1858-1859)     Martha Kane
(1859-1862)     Mary Downey
(1862-1887)     Margaret Collins
(1887-1924)     Harriet Anglin
(1924-1936)     Kathleen Watson
Amalgamated School -
(1937-1948)      Thomas J. Corcoran
(1948-1985)      Donal McGinley
(1985-2007)      Tony Williams
(2007-2012)      Eddie Rocks
(2012 to date)   Bryan Collins 
Chronology of Principals at Cartown N.S.-
(1840-1842)      Michael McCabe
(1842-1845)      Thomas Smith
(1845-1846)      Miss Smith 
(1846-1848)      Pat McKernan
(1848)               M. Flanagan
(1848-1853)      Peter King
(1853-1855)      Peter Conlan
(1855-1858)      John McDonnell
(1858-1861)      John Hodgers
(1861-1863)      Pat Keenan
(1863-c.1875)    Pat Owens
(c.1875-1881)    John Kelly
(1881-1914)      Alice Moore (nee Malone)
(1914-1949)      Alice McGlew
(1949-1952)      Bernard Long
(1952-1972)      Thomas Simpson
(1972-1979)      Anne Flynn (nee Conboy)
(1979-2011)      Gerry Campbell
(2011 to date)   Edel Victory
For their valued assistance and knowledge in compiling this article I would like to thank the following:
The late Tommy Simpson, Fr. John Murphy OMI, Maggie Rath, Marie Carolan, Noel Sharkey, the late Gus MacAmhlaigh, Paddy Fleming and Aidan & Alice Cunningham. Also Mary Dempsey, Paddy Hodgins, Jo Mooney, Larry Corrigan & Isabell, Jim and Alan in the Reference Library, Dundalk.
Finally I would like to thank all those who furnished photographs for the article and who assisted in any way. Without their generosity the story of education in Termonfeckin would only be half told.
National Library, Kildare St., Dublin
National Archives, Bishop St., Dublin
‘Down through the Years and More’ 1988 CU booklet. 


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