Old School

This year, 2010, marks the 175th anniversary of the founding of Sunday’s Well Boys National School. Sunday’s Well N.S. was one of the first National Schools to be established in Ireland (a few years after the passing of the National Schools Act) and it was established in 1835. It is a pre-famine school and has a strong historical association with the Northside of Cork City.

The building of Sunday’s Well National School can be attributed indirectly to the building of the City Jail some years earlier. We believe that it may have been the first national school in Cork. To level the site where the jail now stands tremendous amount of quarrying had to be done. This yielded enough stone to construct the jail as well as to make the road in front of it. When the prison was finished huge heaps of stone remained in the field alongside. This stone was offered free of charge to anyone who would remove it. This stone was used in the construction of the original school and so it became known locally as the “Jail School”.

Picture of old school, taken around 1933.The original school was two-storey, and catered for both boys and girls. Each school had but a single room. The walls were plaster finished and brass nails on a wooden rail served as a cloakroom. The furniture consisted of half a dozen long wooden desks for the older pupils and four or five long benches for the younger pupils. There was a large blackboard mounted on a wooden frame, a wall press, a rostrum and a fireplace in each room.

The pupils were required to bring fuel for the fire during the cold weather. Only those who could get near the fire had any heat during the winter. The walls were whitewashed on rare occasions to brighten up the rooms.

In 1875 Fr. P. Hurley, who was then manager, had the lower section of the wails wainscoted and a gallery area built for the infants. The wood for this came from old St. Anne’s Church, Shandon St. This was in the open area now across the road from the end of Blarney Street and Shandon Street junction.

In 1903 Fr. M. Murphy, the manager had the schools overhauled and renovated. Both buy seroquel online australia schools were divided into two classrooms using glazed partitions. Suitable furniture was also supplied at this time. A porch was added to the boys’ school and a hallway in the girls’ school upstairs. A tap for drinking water was supplied. Prior to this water was only available from a well in the corner of the yard. A tin ‘ponny’ was kept on the premises for this purpose. Toilets were made available, as only a dry pit had been used up to this time. The playground in front of the school was leveled off, as only an eighteen-foot strip in front of the school was suitable for the children up to this time.

The lower area was a hill of red sandstone where the surface water of the area gathered before it made its way into the drainage of the Prison. The boundary wall and an entrance gate were also added and for the first time the playground was no longer a ‘common’. A woman was employed to clean the school, a duty carried out before this by the teachers and pupils.

Before 1891 there were two teachers and two monitors in the Boys school. It became a three-teacher school in 1895 with an average of 195 pupils. In 1919 a fourth teacher was appointed and this required a daily attendance of 140 pupils.

The schools had three teachers each, having 130 to 140 pupils each at the time. When Mrs. O’Dwyer, Principal of the girls school retired in 1891, there were four teachers in the Girls school. After her retirement it became a three-teacher school again.

Mr. Matson was appointed to the post of Principal in January 1960 and remained in his post till June 30th 1972. Seán O’Leary then took over the post until he retired in 1981 . Mr. Denis Coughlan, who passed away in early 1983, succeeded him.

The Administrators of the Cathedral managed the school for many years. In 1972, the parish boundaries were redrawn and Sunday’s Well became a parish under the Vincentian Order on February 2nd 1972. During the nineteen thirties the porch was removed, the school was extended and new larger windows were installed.

During the nineteen sixties central heating, electricity and wall blackboards were added.

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