The first known school was established at Hackett’s Cross on a site beside St. Michael’s church. It was a one roomed building and its location is marked by a plinth erected in 1906 .
The dimension of this room was 32ft long, 16ft wide and 8ft in height. The school was “taken into connection” on 10 th April 1832 (This means that the school joined the new National School System). It was assigned Roll No. 833, District 25 in the Parish of Clogher, Townland of Big Furze, Post Town Dunleer. This building served as an educational establishment up to 14 th November 1897 . As no records, or rolls exist relating to that 67 year span, sketchy details have been established from newspaper reports, old documents and anecdotal evidence.
The Fahey Family, Callystown School 1972
Front L to R: Siobhan, Richard, Mandy
Michael Harmon was a teacher there in 1856. He was granted a gratuity for training a paid monitor. M. Hodgins came from Armagh to take up teaching position in the school, she was grandmother of Paddy Hodgins, Killybush. Anecdotal evidence records the names of Principals Mr. Brady, Mr. Hennessy and Mr. McParland. Another school operated pre 1897. It was a thatched building and was located on the Harbour Road . No documents or rolls exist that would throw light on the history of this school. Older members of the community tell of a teacher who taught there named Mrs. Smith. However 75 pupils transferred to the newly erected Callystown National School in 1897.
In March 1883 Rev. John Clarke became Parish Priest and in January 1886 he gave notice of his intention of erecting a new school house. Finding a site proved difficult however as he was refused a site by the Catholic landlords of the area the Kirks, Raths and Markeys. He eventually acquired a site from Protestant landlords the Newcomens. The Newcomen house was situated at the junction of the Drogheda Road/Callystown Road . The family line ended at the turn of the 19 th-20 th century as none of the two brothers and one sister married. A loan of £250 was obtained for erection of two teachers’ residences. The school at Hackett’s Cross was struck off on 14 th November 1897 and the teacher went to Callystown 15 th November 1897.
Callystown National School November 1897 – November 1988
Junior Infants 1975
Callystown National School was a four-roomed building and housed two schools, one for boys and one for girls. The amalgamation of the two schools was effected in 1958. Between 15 th November and 14 th December 1897 , 125 pupils transferred into the new school. The listed occupations of the fathers of the pupils enrolled gives an indication of how people lived and how the community made its living in the area.
Occupations of fathers of the pupils:
Chief Boatman 1
Relieving Officer 1
James, Roslyn and Laurence Matthews
Callystown School 1970’s
In the case of four families the mother was widowed. The two principals of the schools were husband and wife Gilbert Little and Maria Little. Gilbert Little taught as Principal in the Boys’ School up to 1934 when he was replaced by John Murphy, he being demoted to Assistant. There is no record of the names of Assistant Teachers in the Boys’ School 1897 – 1934. Marie Little was Principal of the Girls’ School up until 1937 and had as assistant teachers:
Mary Kate Murphy 1908
Margaret Mullan 1912
Catherine McCart 1919
Honor Little 1922
1st & 2nd Class 1976
Honor Little succeeded her mother as Principal of the Girls’ School in 1937, a position she retained up until amalgamation in 1958. She married the Principal of the Boys’ School John Murphy in 1934. Former pupils recall that the wedding was celebrated at early morning Mass and the happy couple were in class later that morning when school opened!
Teachers in the Girls’ School:
Marianne McDonnell 1937
Mary D’arcy 1943
Mrs. Cahill 1946
Nora Grace 1950
Miss Comyn 1954
Mary Maguire 1955
Teachers in the Boys’ School included:
Pádraig Faulkner 1942 – 1944 Former Louth Fianna Fail T.D. and Minister of Education.
Mr. Ferris 1944 – 1948
Sheila Kelly 1948 – 1952
Christmas Concert 1991
In 1951 electricity was brought to Clogherhead and in 1952 was installed in the school.
1968 central heating installed.
From the year of amalgamation 1958 the number of pupils remained constant and four teachers taught. Honor Murphy died in 1961, having taught in the school for 39 years and Principal John Murphy retired in 1968.
Christmas Concert 1991
The teaching staff in 1968 was Alec McClean (Principal), Lucy McGrath, Mary Maguire and Pat Sharkey. There was an enrolment of 115 pupils. An increase of pupil enrolment saw the addition of a fifth teacher in 1973 and a sixth teacher in 1976.
Photograph taken on the last day of school in the ‘old school’ November 1988.