A Sketch of Formal Schooling in Moyvane

by Gabriel Fitzmaurice

1804 – 1993
Written by Gabriel Fitzmaurice

The Kildare Place Society was founded on December 2, 1811 for the purposes of providing nondenominational education for Catholics and Protestants alike.

The first school to open under its auspices in the Listowel area was in “Meevane” i.e. Moyvane. It was : established in 1818. Michael Keane who had been a hedge school master since 1804 was the first master in the school. The Kildare Place Society’s salary was £20-£24 per annum for its masters. In an 1824 report, Meevane was described as a pay and free school, John Leslie Foster, the school patron, allowing the master a half acre and £7.10 shillings per annum; £10 from the scholars, and a free house and garden.

An application was made to the Society on 12 August 1818 for the training of a master and a grant of £20 towards fitting up a schoolhouse. This was granted. Michael Keane was trained by the Society in its train- ing college from October 30 to December 5, 1818. In 1818 there were 80 male and 40 female pupils in the school. According to the report of the summer inspection of 1819, there were 115 pupils in the school. In 1824 there were 104 pupils (77 male and 27 female), all Catholics, in the school. (In a general census of all schools in Ireland in 1824, Knockanure had 2 schools attended by 105 pupils; Murhur, i.e. Moyvane, had 3 schools attended by 230).

It is interesting to note that the Kildare Place Society’s annual gratuity to male teachers (£10 -£12) was equivalent to a labourer’s wages, and one third of a tradesman’s in full employment. However, it did pro- vide their teachers with a secure wage -the hedge school masters were paid by their pupils, had no fixed wage, and worked outside of education, sometimes as labourers, for part of the year.

In 1818, when he began teaching for the Society, Michael Keane was 33 years old. A Kildare Place society report of 1825 describes him as “amongst the very worst” teachers the inspector had seen. He fared no bet- ter in the reports of the following years.

Michael Keane, having executed a bond to John Leslie Foster, was given possession of the house and the schoolhouse, the latter well furnished with desks and seats. The schoolhouse, described in the 1824 report as “a good house”, cost approximately £30, had dimensions of 50 feet by 17 feet internally, had four win- dows, and could accommodate 150 pupils.

The Kildare Place Society school opened on 13 December 1820, books and requisites having been granted. It was assisted also from 1822-1825. It was struck off in 1827 as the Society’s principles were departed from. The school, described as being “under the priest”, remained open from 1827 until 1833 when it became a National School, one of the first in the Listowel area. During that time, the master’s salary came entirely from the pupils. According to the application to the National Board of Education in January 1833, there were 90 male and 30 female pupils attending during the summer months, and 50 male and 15 female pupils during the winter. According to the 1834 report, the daily average was low.

However, according to that application, the schoolhouse was in a ruinous state for want of thatching, glaz- ing and repair of desks. Some desks were described as rotting. The school was taken into connection with the National Board on August 22, 1833. The building almost entirely tumbled down in the storm of “26 January 1839″ which might be a mistaken entry for 6 January, 1839 – “The Night of the Big Wind”. Teachers and Pupils, Moyvane National School c 1972.

P9100117 History of Schools in Moyvane In 1833, Michael Keane and his wife, Jane, both described as decidedly bad teachers, taught in the National school, Michael Keane having transferred from the Kildare Place Society. In 1835, the joint half- yearly salary for Keane and his wife was £6. In 1838, on the death of his wife, her daughter, Honora Keane, was appointed. In 1835, the school had 160 male and 63 female pupils; in 1842 it had 120 males and 66 females.

After a storm in 1842, the school collapsed and the teacher’s house was used temporarily as a school, with the provision that the schoolhouse be rebuilt within three months. On June 1, 1843, the schoolhouse not having been rebuilt in due time, it was struck off, and salary was cancelled, the accomodation being “totally unsuitable for the purposes of a school”. Later in 1843, Moyvane school was newly built, consisting of one room 36 feet by 12 (or 13″) feet. The population of the school was 43 male and 24 female pupils and the hours of opening were from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in summer, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in winter. Religious instruction was carried out on Saturdays.

Roughly about the time the Kildare Place Society school was setup in “Meevane”, Thomas William Sandes made application (on 22 April, 1821) for a grant of £20 to complete a schoolhouse, of which he was patron, in “Newtownsandes”, the village now known as Moyvane. According to Sandes letter, one Patrick O’ Connor had kept a school at Newtownsandes for several years, Sandes having given him a house and a small garden “which is all the emolument he has… except what he gets from his pupils which is very trifling.” The school house was in bad repair, and in need of desks etcetera. The school had been a daily school established in 1816. 149 male and 80 female pupils attended during the summer; 60 males and 30 females during the winter. Some pupils were taught gratis;others at 10 pence, 1 shilling and 8 pence, and 1 shillings and 6 pence per quarter. The teachers were Patrick O’ Connor and John Quille. Catechism was taught after school hours. According to an 1824 report, Patrick O’ Connor and Michael Mulvihill, unconnected with any Society, were teaching in a mudwalled, thatched house in Newtownsandes which cost £12.

In 1857, a new National School was opened in the Chapel Yard, which is now the site of the new Presbytery. John Shanahan, aged 20, and Margaret Lawler (aged 19 in 1857) taught there. The building doubled as a boys’ and girls’ school. The girls were housed on the top storey, the boys on the ground floor. The dimensions of the boys’ school were 30 feet by 20 feet with a 13 foot ceiling; the girls’ school was 30 feet by 20 feet with a 12 foot ceiling. There were 80 male and 70 female pupils in the school in 1857.

school8 001 History of Schools in Moyvane In 1888, a new school, Murhur (Muig Airthir – the eastern plain, named for the civil parish of Murhur which, with the civil parish of Knockanure, constitutes the Catholic parish of Moyvane, or Moyvane/Knockanure as it is commonly referred to now) National school was opened consisting of a boys’ school and a girls’ school adjoining each other. The principal of the boys’ school was James Barry, a Corkman. The principal of the girls’ school was Miss Joanna Hederman. She died on November 30, 1889 and was succeeded as principal by Miss Lizzie Gleeson. An outbreak of typhoid fever closed the school from June 3, 1898 to June 30, 1898.

P1080538b 550x313 History of Schools in Moyvane

In 1919 , Tom O’Connell became Principal of Murhur B.N.S., his wife, Mary, becoming Principal of Murhur Girls N.S. circa 1926. A National School was opened in Kilbaha in the Parish of Moyvane in 1929. Mr. Tom O’Callaghan who was teaching in Knockanure N.S. came in as Principal Teacher of Kilbaha. He transferred to Murhur Boys N.S. as Principal in 1944 and retired in 1969, whereupon Murhur Boys N.S., Murhur Girls N.S. and Kilbaha N.S. amalgamated, Cormac O’Leary being the new Principal. The 1888 school was closed in 1975 when the present school in Moyvane opened with Cormac O’Leary as Principal. Cormac O’Leary retired in 1982 and was succeeded as Principal by Mrs Nola Adams, daughter of Tom O’Callaghan.

At its peak, in 1990, there were 8 teachers (7 female, 1 male); now there are 6 (5 female, 1 male). A remedial teacher, Mrs Brenda Fitzmaurice, divides her time between Moyvane National School and Tarbert National school. In 1993 there were 217 (121 male and 96 female) pupils in the school. In the 1998-1999 school year, there were 163 pupils.

Murhur Girls’ National School

Principal Teachers
Miss Joanna Hederman c.1880-1889
Miss Lizzie Gleeson 1889-c.1926
Mrs Mary B. O’Connell c.1926-1964
Miss Mary O’Carroll 1964-1969

Assistant Teachers
Miss Nora Scanlon (later Mrs Nora O’Callaghan) 1889-1934
Miss Bridget Shine c.1880
Miss Honoriah Shine c.1880-1885
Joanna Fitzmaurice ? -1885
Mrs Elizabeth Nolan 1908-1946
Miss Bridie O’Connor (later Mrs Bridie Barrett) 1930-1958
Miss Mary O’Carroll (later principal) 1951-1964
Mrs Ena O’Leary 1964-1969 (when school amalgamated)

Kilbaha National School

Principal Teachers
Tom O’Callaghan 1929-1944
Joseph Nunan 1944-1969 (when school amalgamated)

Assistant Teachers
Mary B. Dinneen (later Mrs Tom O’Callaghan) 1929-1945
Mary Collins c.1945-c.1951
Dorothy O’Sullivan 1952-1964
Siobhán Bean Uí Bhriain 1964-1968
Mairéad Bean Uí Chatháin 1967-1968
Alice Madden 1863 (principal)
Dennis O’Connor ? -1880
John Rourke 1880-1904
Thomas Carr (left 1879)
Daniel Mulvihill 1880-1901
James Barry 1880
Miss Joanna Hederman (principal) 1880-1889

Murhur Boys’ National School – 1888-1969

Principal Teachers James Barry 1888-1919?
Tom O’Connell 1919-1944
Tom O’Callaghan 1944-1969
Cormac O’Leary 1969 (when school amalgamated)

Assistant Teachers Miss Mary Shine c.1905-1939
John O’Rourke 1888-1904
Daniel Mulvihill 1888-1904
Robert Jones 1901-?
Timothy Buckley ?-1941
Mrs Kathleen Mulvihill 1939-1945
Muiris Ó Claochlaighe 1939-1941
Joseph Moriarty 1926-1930
Sean Barrett 1953-1954
Pádraig Ó Súilleabháin 1930-1933
Cormac O’Leary 1941-1953
Noel O’Connell 1954-1961
Mrs Mary B. O’ Callaghan 1945-1971
Tony O’ Callaghan 1962-1969

Murhur Mixed National School – 1969 onwards

school6 001 History of Schools in Moyvane Assistant Teachers
Cormac O’ Leary 1969-1982
Mrs Nola Adams 1982-2002
Gabriel Fitzmaurice 2002-Present

Assistant Teachers Joseph Nunan 1969-1975
Mrs Nola Adams 1969-1982 (principal 1982- )
Mrs Ena O’Leary 1969-1998
Miss Marie O’Callaghan 1971-1979; 1982-
Tony O’Callaghan 1969-1970
Gabriel Fitzmaurice 1975-
Miss Mary Collins (later Mrs Mary Madden) 1979-
Mrs Ann Prendiville 1982-
Patricia Kennelly (later Mrs Patricia Houlihan) 1983-1998
Mrs Rita Goulding 1990-1991
Mrs Mary Kennelly 1999-