I drove by an old school behind Ballinalacken Castle not far from the Cliffs of Moher.  I wanted to learn more about it.

Bally something National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

Bally something National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

This is the road that runs behind Ballinalacken Castle.

Bally something National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

Bally something National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

The sign said “Ballynalackan National School House 1840.”

Bally something National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

Bally something National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

From the Doolin area into the Burren >
A castle, abandoned houses, an old school and an old tomb or something. >

I was trying to find out more about it and found the Disused Schoolhouses blog, endaoflaherty.com.
I messaged Enda O’Flaherty and he was really helpful.

I’ve followed him on Facebook ever since, www.facebook.com/eanna81/

He photographs these abandoned schools and collects the memories of people who went to them. The photos are beautiful. He also puts them into historical perspective.

The Deserted School Houses of Ireland Book by Enda O’Flaherty

The Deserted School Houses of Ireland Book by Enda O’Flaherty

This year he collected these photos into a beautiful book. It was published by Collins Press.

The Deserted School Houses of Ireland Book by Enda O’Flaherty

The Deserted School Houses of Ireland Book by Enda O’Flaherty

The Deserted School Houses of Ireland Book by Enda O’Flaherty

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skill’d to rule,
The village master taught his little school
Oliver Goldsmith, ‘The Deserted Village’

Schoolhouse ruins are a common sight in the Irish countryside, wherever the fabric of a once vibrand community is slowly perishing. Within their collapsing walls, friends were made and lessons were learned. These schoolhouses had a significant impact on generations of pupils. Once pivotal to their communities, they now lie abandoned.

Enda O’Flaherty’s work as an archaeologist brought him all over Ireland, and throughout his travels he grew ever more intrigued by these common features of the landscape. He began actively seeking them out, photographing, researching their histories and interviewing those who attended them. In exploring the buildings, he was also collecting a treasury of childhood memories.

After he set up a blog, the author’s compelling material began appearing in national media outlets, as well as international publications like Lonely Planet and Atlas Obscura. More and more locals came forward to share their stories. Each empty building has a story to tell, and in this thoughtful collection, they whisper a poignant narrative of a disappearing Ireland—of changing needs, desires and ways of life.


The Deserted School Houses of Ireland Book by Enda O’Flaherty

Example of some of the richly colored photographs in The Deserted School Houses of Ireland Book by Enda O’Flaherty

The book is filled with beautifully photographed old schools. The colors are wonderful.

The Deserted School Houses of Ireland Book by Enda O’Flaherty

Hey! That’s me!
Acknowledgements in The Deserted School Houses of Ireland Book by Enda O’Flaherty

And I just noticed, I was thanked!  The author listed me as one of the people that gave support and encouragement! Cool!

The School House I Saw Now

I went on Google Maps to see what it looks like now.

The old school I found from the air - Deserted School Houses

The old school I found from the air

This is it. The school I found. - Deserted School Houses

This is it. The school I found.

It took a lot of “driving” up and down the road till I recognized the old school I saw.

Bally something National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

Bally something National School House 1840, Burren, Ireland

Yes, this is it.  This is the photo I took.

It looks like they are gutting it to turn it into a home or something. - Deserted School Houses

It looks like they are gutting it to turn it into a home or something.

They are working on it. It looks like they have gutted it inside.

They are tearing everything out of this old school - Deserted School Houses

They are tearing everything out of this old school

It has a new roof.

Pile of stuff taken out of the old school - Deserted School Houses

Pile of stuff taken out of the old school

This is more what it looked like when I was there. - Deserted School Houses

This is more what it looked like when I was there.

They are working on it. - Deserted School Houses

They are working on it.

Deserted School Houses

Jobsite

They are doing a lot of work on it - Deserted School Houses

They are doing a lot of work on it

The old school - Deserted School Houses

The old school

It looks like Google has only driven down this rode once. You can’t scrub back in time. I would love to see what it looks like now.