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Fourth and Fifth class recently explored the history of schooling in Ireland from early times to the twentieth century. We really enjoyed learning about all the different types of schools and seeing how different they were to our school today. We looked at education throughout different time periods;

  • Pre-Christian and Christian Times
  • Early Irish Monastic Schools
  • Hedge School – 17th & 18th Century
  • National Schools in the 19th Century

We explored in detail School 100 Years Ago. Here is a summary of all we learned, through examining photographs, memoirs, artifacts, roll-books and school reports:

Life in Irish Schools was very different 100 years ago. There were no computers, CD players, gel pens or markers. Many schools were small; often they had only one room. There was no running water and the heat came from a fireplace behind the teacher’s desk. Taking care of the schoolhouse was everyone’s job. Families took turns sending wood to the school for heating. Windows were usually high so that the children could not see out and be distracted!

Children sat at long desks with inkwells in them. They wrote with pens that had sharp nibs that they dipped into the inkbottles in the inkwells. In some schools you were not allowed to write with your left hand! Most of the work was done with chalk on a slate, as books and copies were very expensive.

Discipline in the national schools was very strict. Children who misbehaved or did not learn their lessons were hit with a cane. Some teachers had a “Dunce’s Corner”. Any child who missed a question had to stand there. The children learned reading, writing, and arithmetic when they weren’t needed to work in the fields or at home. 

 Our Class Artifacts


Here we are writing using nibs and ink


Here we are painting using quills and coloured ink

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  1. Jane Moody-Reply
    21st Feb 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Very important work for those of us whose family emigrated. We still have a pull back to Ireland and a desire to know about our familys’ lives before they crossed the ocean. Thank you!

    • Scoil Mhuire-Reply
      21st Feb 2016 at 9:23 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Jane and thanks for the kind comment!

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