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History of Manulla National School

By Tom Armstrong

The First National School in Manulla, established under the Commissioners of Education, was opened on 01/03/1852. The girls were taught by Sarah Egan who had previously taught in Cloggernagh N.S. and the boys by Patrick Hughes. The girls section was a thatched room 16’ x 18’ x 8.5’ and furnished with 2 desks, 2 tables and 8 forms for 40 pupils.



The boys room was a thatched building 40’ x 16’ x 7’ and the furniture consisted of 3 tables and 8 forms for 50 pupils. Fees of one shilling per week were requested. Religious Education was provided for a half-hour on Saturdays. School hours were from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00p.m. daily. The school manager was Martin Barrett, Land Agent and Farmer of Prizon. He was also manager of Prizon National School.

School Inspector Ed. Mac Creanor visited the school on 15/03/1852 and reported an attendance of 36 out of a total of 90. He reported that the condition of the building was tolerable. The school closed after a short period. The location of the school is unknown.

During the 1860’s a wandering teacher named Ellicott frequently visited Manulla. He stayed in local houses and taught in a building (now gone) situated on the south side entrance to Jimmy Staunton’s house. At this time there had been some local clamouring for education to be provided in the area on a full time basis. A deputation approached Canon Gibbons P.P. and he got the Commissioners of Education to agree to the establishment of a school, provided he procured both a suitable building and a teacher. The building was donated, free of charge by one Billy Armstrong. It was a long, low thatched building, and had been in use as a dwelling house.



Conon Gibbons persuaded James Kelly who was teaching in Balla National School to move to Manulla as Principal. The school opened in 1868. After some years, walking daily from Balla or travelling by train in inclement weather James Kelly bought a house close to the school, married Joanne O’ Malley, a teacher in the Mercy Convent N.S. in Castlebar and raised a family of 8.

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