History Of Crowenstown

The first school in Crowenstown was held in the house of Master Mulligan, a native of the area, who had previously taught in a hedge school. A site for a new school was subsequently acquired and the school opened in 1841. The building had two storeys, the teacher lived upstairs and classes were held on the ground floor. In 1894, the mistress was a Miss Cummins while a previous teacher had been a Master Murphy. In 1905, Miss Margaret O’Brien started teaching in the school. She had been teaching previously for two years in Garadice National School near Kilcock, Co. Kildare. She applied for the Principal’s position in Crowenstown, which she obtained, subject to her learning the Irish language and passing certain examinations. She was then formally ratified as Principal and resided in the upper story of the school. In 1922 her sister Elizabeth, who was sixteen years her junior, successfully applied for a position in Crowenstown N.S. They taught together in the school until Margaret retired in February 1948. Margaret died the following August, and Elizabeth continued her teaching career in Crowenstown until she retired due to ill health and moved to her family home in Kilskyre, Co. Meath. The two sisters were very well regarded for their interest in and care for their students, especially those who came from disadvantaged backgrounds. They also provided lunches and winter clothing for pupils in need. Margaret played the organ in Delvin Parish Church and the sisters donated a bench and a stained glass window to the church. They are buried in the family plot in Kilskyre Cemetery.

As pupil numbers grew, the teachers had to move into the village and the upstairs accommodation was converted into classrooms for the younger children. There was no playground in the school so the children played on the road, and the pupils had to bring a sod of turf or a stick every day to help heat the school.

A new modern school building in Crowenstown was commissioned and opened in 1968, across the road from the original building, containing three classrooms and a staffroom/office. The old school building was finally demolished in December 1989. The rubble from the old school is buried underground and today there is hardly a trace of the building. It was one of the first national schools in Ireland and children were taught in it for 127 years, from 1841 to 1968. The plaque from the front of the old school was taken out by hand and brought from there by the late Freddie Revington, who had owned the school, to the new school building. It is now placed at the new school gate.