Friday, 21 October 2011

The History of Education in the Barony of Gaultier by John Burke N.T.

Having researched the history of Passage East Boys and Girls schools during his tenure there Mr Burke wondered how to access the roll books and inspector’s reports of the other schools as few of these had been retained, especially of those schools that subsequently went out of existence.

Then he was made aware of the fact that Matthew Butler, author of a History of Gaultier had also written a series of articles in the Waterford News from 1932 to 1938 in which he gave an account of the schools of the Barony using registers, roll books etc.
What he discovered was a treasury of information about the efforts the local people made to have their children educated from the early years of the penal laws when teaching catholic children was illegal up to modern times.
Due to the amount of material and detail discovered, John had to limit his talk to education in Gaultier from 1786 to 1900.
The Government reports on the state of education in 1821
revealed a list of eight schools from 
Waterford School 1860-1895, National Library of ireland

Licaun to Kilcop, from Ballinaboola to Callaghane.
The report of  1825 revealed a list of 20 schools including seven in the Passage area, five  in Dunmore/Killea and others in areas like Leperstown, Kilmacomb and Monemintra.
However , the majority of Mr Burke’s talk centered on the schools which were recognised by the Board of Education after 1832 . The schools of Drumrusk, Ballyglan/ Bellelake, Woodstown, Corbally/Summerville, Dunmore East Church Of Ireland and Castletown were remembered. The progress of the various schools in  Faithlegg, Passage East, Ballygunner, Killea and Dunmore East Girls schools was examined and some troubled histories revealed. We were introduced to excellent teachers and larger than life characters such as,
John Lancaster's Monotorial system of education
Robert Power, Mary Anne Kirwan, Michael Power, Patrick J Power, Edmund Pyne, Ellen Delaney, John Hearne, Ellen (Nelty) Woods, Margaret M Byrne, Margaret O Regan, Emily Adams, Thomas Gallagher,  John O Neill, and many others. We learned about  The Lancaster/Bell Monitorial system and how classes were conducted in small rooms with large numbers.
The overall impression given was one of a community of people who with their Clergy (Catholic and Protestant), a number of interested local landlords and parish committees made every effort to make sure that the children of Gaultier received the best education they could provide.

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