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History of Manulla National School

The school population increased rapidly. Most of the pupils were between 10 and 20 years old. James Kelly who had taught on his own was joined by Mrs. Biddy Mc Hale (who lived opposite Hennelly’s Bar), and later by his wife Joanne. When the thatched building could no longer accommodate the increasing number of pupils a site at the crossroads was procured from Michael Mc Ellin. A new building was erected and opened in 1894. The old thatched building was sold by Canon Gibbons P.P. for £5.00 and reverted back again as a dwelling. It has remained so to this day and is now the home of Mrs. Ann Rumley.

Until well into the 20th century it was common for older pupils to attend school only during the winter, or during slack work periods at home, or in England. A local postman, one Thomas Gavin, attended school in 1910 after returning his postbag to the Post Office where he collected his school bag.



The new building of 1984 was built entirely with a state grant, the amount of which was never revealed, but it was generally thought to be £100.00. Though joined as one building, there were separate Boys and Girls schools, each having two teachers. The school manager was Lord Kilmaine, who was a frequent visitor to the school. He was renowned for giving generous prizes for all kinds of schoolwork. Each year he held a special sports and entertainment day – a cart arriving in the afternoon with “goodies”. On such days the school enrolment greatly increased as many new, but not so young pupils turned out to avail of Kilmaine’s hospitality. The boys especially looked forward to the sports day, as Kilmaine always presented the school with a leather football, an extremely rare object pre World War 1.

In September 1916, the Commission of National Schools agreed to the transfer of infant boys to the girls’ school as the boys’ school was overcrowded and the number of girls had fallen dramatically. This arrangement lasted until 1942 when both schools were amalgamated into one 3 Teacher school. In 1940 the Irish Land Commission acquired the lands of Willie McCann (adjoining the school). Very Rev. T. Canon Reidy P.P. staked a claim to a play field and obtained 3.5 roods. The third school (1950) was erected on part of this site, and the rest is now the present playground.



The 1950 school cost £4,600, there being a state grant of £4,400. It opened its doors on 4/11/1950, and was built by Michael Gibbons, Contractor, Belcarra. Central Heating and new sanitary facilities were added in 1970, the Contractors being Vincent Jordan, Breaffy and Martin Murphy, Roslahan. In 1981 a new General Purpose Room etc. was added at a cost of £45,000. (Local contribution £6,650). The contractor was Gerry McGrath, Ballinrobe. The present school was completed in September 2002 at a cost of £487,219. There was a local contribution of £25,000.

Paintings by Eamonn Keane

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