Posted by: John McGerr | February 23, 2010

A Sense of Place8

Education has been a feature of Edgeworthstown for many years. One account list eight schools as being in the Parish prior to the Famine. In more recent times the Parish had it’s own secondary school(only to Junior Cert level but it was there) right up until the late sixties or early seventies. Oliver Goldsmith was taught in the Parish for a time, there was a school in Corboy begun in 1834 that survived over a century being struck off the records in 1941. A few short years ago there were three active schools in the Parish and two former schools. There was St. Elizabeths on the Granard Road, the ‘Boys’ School on the Ballymahon Road, and St. John’s School on Chruch Street. Added to this was the former St. Barry’ s School outside the town on the Castlepollard Road(a schhol that had replaced an earlier one, Monadarragh) and there was the ‘Old’ Schoolhouse, also on the Ballymahon Road. Granted, this latter has been used by the loocal Town Development as offices and training centre for a number of years. When it was decided to amalagamate the ‘Boys’ School and St. Elizabeth’s into one school there were concerns over the lack of space and a so-called temporary fix was to use pre-fabs until such time as a proper building could be erected. There has been no move since to start work on this building and any such structre these days would certainly cost a lot of money. It would seem somewhat idiotic then to have let the two existing school structures fall out of use. St. Barry’s has been developed into a dwelling house and the ‘Boys’ School is knocked. In a day where every family has one or even two cars and there was buses to provide transport as well would it not have been more cost efffective to refurbish and modernise the existing buildings then to start from scratch. Certainly there are advantages to having all under one roof and there are currently large numbers attending, but should the numbers drop off then you could face having one large structure that has too few students? What would happen then? Close it too and amalgamate into another Parish? The current growth was driven by the influx of non-Irish nationals coming to work here, there may never be another such surge in the population. There is an African proverb that says ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ I would be shame if someday there was no school at all in the Parish.



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