I drove by an old school behind Ballinalacken Castle not far from the Cliffs of Moher. I wanted to learn more about it.
This is the road that runs behind Ballinalacken Castle.
The sign said “Ballynalackan National School House 1840.”
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.
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
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 book is filled with beautifully photographed old schools. The colors are wonderful.
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.
It took a lot of “driving” up and down the road till I recognized the old school I saw.
Yes, this is it. This is the photo I took.
They are working on it. It looks like they have gutted it inside.
It has a new roof.
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.