School Days

Schools- An Introduction

The local parish national school was a feature of rural communities from the mid-19th century onwards. It was for some children an unpleasant experience for up until early 1970s discipline was often harsh and the use of the fist, rod or cane by teachers were not uncommon. The 3Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic) as well as religion formed the core of the curriculum. Learning by repetition was the norm. The Irish language was not allowed to be spoken or taught in many schools until 1921. Until the middle of the 20th century a large percentage of children did not stay on after the compulsory school-leaving age of fourteen years of age as they were required to help out with the family farm, take up manual labour jobs or prepare for emigration. But for many it could still be an exciting place. It provided the young with a welcome escape from the hard chores of farm and home; with lifelong friendships forged with others of the same age; the opportunity to learn about the wonders of exotic foreign lands and to be introduced to poetry, prose and song; to learn practical skills such as arithmetic and sewing; to take part in regular physical exercise(drill) in the schoolyard; to play conkers and hopscotch during break-time and to sip lovely hot cocoa at lunch-time.

Click here to access photographic albums from participating Galway schools.