Cloneygowan 'New School' was opened 50 years ago.
A gathering of past pupils took place on Friday7 23rd June 2006.
The evening began with Mass in the School yard, music and singing provided by the pupils and staff of our school today..
View the Slideshow below.....
A trip down memory lane for all.
By: Mrs Lily Coughlan
On this great occasion of celebrating fifty years of our school in Cloneygowan we were asked to jog our memories and jot down a few thoughts. Unfortunately my memory is very blank, due not doubt to the mileage, but inevitably, when I sat down to think, my first thoughts were of the old school where, despite the marriage ban, I taught for six years.
Moving form the old school to the new school in 1956 was like moving into Áras an Uacharáin for both children and myself. From being overcrowded with forty or fifty children squeezed into long straight desks to the freedom of dual desks, from having nowhere to play to having a spacious playground, from primitive outdoor toilet facilities to modern luxury and from one tiny press to ample storage presses was all new life to us.
The first big break through in our new school was when, after a year, in 1957 we got a third teacher, Mary Sheerin now Mary Egan. Even though I was there until 1983 my memory of those years is very patchy.
I remember Mr. Gilroy coming to teach step dancing and that led on to little school concerts in the hall, which we all enjoyed. I can still see John Smith and Margaret Kelly, dressed as an old man and woman singing “The Golden Jubilee” as a duet and Ann Bryan reciting a poem call “September”. We always had our little May altar, which the children loved decorating with wild flowers and our little procession around the school.
There was great emphasis then on the basics – reading, writing and arithmetic or “sum” as we used to call them then. The children read aloud every day, they wrote headlines to improve their handwriting. In fact when the handwriting of one man was lately admired he said “Why wouldn’t it be good after all the time I spent in school writing “Ants are busy little insects”.
Table books were a must and there was a session of mental arithmetic almost every day. Memorizing poems was another important part of the school programme. To this day you will meet people who can rime off a poem they learned in school. Do any of you remember this one?
The silver birch is a dainty lady,
She wears a satin gown.
The elm tree makes the churchyard shady,
She will not live in town.
The branching oak is a sturdy fellow,
He gets his green coat late,
The willow looks smart in a suit of yellow,
While brown the beech trees wait.
Such a gay green gown God gave the larches,
As green as He is good,
The hazel holds its arms as arches
While spring rides through the wood.
The chestnut’s proud, the lilac’s pretty,
The poplar’s gentle and tall,
But the plane tree’s kind
To the poor dull city,
I like him best of all.
Cloneygowan N. S. 1967 – 1981
By: Tomás Ó Floinn
I took up duty as Principal teacher in Cloneygowan N.S. in October 1967, replacing Mr. Michael Moran who had died the previous September. The number of pupils on the rolls was 76 and the other two teachers were Mrs. Coughlan and Mrs. Tobin. This teaching staff remained intact during all this time. The late Fr. Kennedy, P.P. Killeigh, was manager of the school with Fr. Walsh C.C. Geashill looking after the many day to day calls and chores. Mrs. Dowling, now deceased was caretaker.
Changes were many. New Management Boards were set up. Extra money was provided by the Dep. Of Education by way of grants per pupil. Open fires disappeared and a new storage heating system was installed by the E.S.B.
1967 was a watershed in Irish education. Scholarships, entrance exams and the primary certificate were no more. School buses made their appearance. A new child-centre curriculum was introduced with emphasis on the locality and the riches it provided. Cloneygowan School entered into this new and exciting world, but always maintaining what was best of the old. Gardening, Nature Study, Elementary Science, Irish History, Local History, Geography and Civics all came together under an integrated umbrella called Environmental Studies. Cloneygowan was selected as a pilot school. The Dept. of Education gave us a set of gardening tools, seeds, a selection of reference books and a cash grant of £175. With this money the school bought a camera, projector, screen, a barometer, rain gauge and a tape recorder. Rose bushes were bought and planted, flowers were sown and a row of conifers were planted around the perimeter of the playground. Projects became a very important aspect of the new curriculum and we took great interest in school, local and national events and had some spectacular success. Our greatest achievement was the winning of The All-Ireland Folklore Competition three times in a row. This was sponsored by Irish Life Insurance Co. and first prize, first year was The Book of Kells. Paul Fennell was our greatest source of information and there were many others. This folklore is now stored in U.C.D. and can be seen and inspected by appointment. Another great national competition was Comóradh an Phiarsaigh in 1979, the centenary of the birth of Pearse. We won several prizes that were presented at a special ceremony in the Gresham Hotel.
We also competed in The National Handwriting Competition and here we had some success.
The school always ha d a great interest in sport. Originally the school did not compete in Bord Na Scoil. Interested boys joined with Geashill N.S. and competed as St. Mary’s. Later we entered our own team. Having no jerseys we had to rely on Sonny Trimble, R.I.P., to provide us with the St. Mary’s jerseys. This he always did until one day we got our own set. This came about through the efforts of Sonny and generous local sponsorship. Training practice took place in the school playground and on The Green. The school won one Bord Na Scoil final, lost the final the following year in controversial circumstances, had some stirring encounters with Ballinamere, Durrow, Tubber, Walsh Is., Clonmacnoise and others. We often fielded some lady footballers that always gave a good account of themselves. The team often featured against local school in a packed programme in the annual Gooseberry Fair.
A parish school sports, contested by the four schools was run alternatively in Killeigh or Geashill. Our boys and girls trained and prepared with great passion for this event, often using The Green as an ideal spot especially for the relay. There was a beautiful silver cup for the overall winning school. We won on several occasions. We happened to win on the last year of its life and so that cup should now be a proud prize in the school museum.
A county sports was an annual event held in Tullamore in either O’Connor Park or the Harriers Club. Here we competed with no little success and with great enjoyment.
1967 – 1981 was an exciting, enjoyable and a great era in Cloneygowan School. All credit goes to the pupils, parents, the loyal members of the teaching staff, the wonderful and total support, the background help and advice of the serving clergy, Fr. Kennedy, Fr. Walsh, Fr. Pendergast, Fr. O’Shea, Dinny Kelly, Geashill and many others. Please excuse my memory if I have omitted or forgotten any person or event.
I have fond memories and cherish beautiful souvenirs of these years and in conclusion I remember those we knew so well who have departed this life for a happier and better place.
“Requiescant in Pace”
CHRISTY CARROLL 1939 – 1997
Patrick Christopher Carroll was born on December 25 1939 in Co. Tipperary. He married Mary Gannon in 1966 and they had three children: Miriam, Christopher and John. Having taught in Killenaule National School for fifteen years he took up the post of Head Master at Cloneygowan National School in 1981. At that point his sons Christopher and John enrolled at Cloneygowan in sixth and fourth class respectively.
Christy loved his time at Cloneygowan. At home on most school evenings he was to be found copiously correcting stacks of copybooks, carefully examining each hand done drawing – he never gave anything a quick correct mark but appreciated each student’s effort. During his time at Cloneygowan, Christy taught with Mrs. Crystal, Mrs. Tobin, Patsy Spollen and Ms. Moore and he loved the community of Cloneygowan. He enjoyed a very positive working relationship with the school manager, Fr. Willie Prendergast and this was reflected in the working relationship he enjoyed with staff, pupils and parents.
His passion for football was reflected in his commitment to the pupils of Cloneygowan National School. He tirelessly organised and transported pupils to matches, often returning home that evening with a bag of dirty jerseys for Mary to wash.
Christy’s eldest son Christopher Carroll was a student of Cloneygowan National School for one year. He married Sinead O’Donnell. They live in Cree, Co. Clare with their children: Rebecca, Ronan and Ross.
John Carroll, the youngest in Christy’s family, married Liz Croft. They live in Raheeny, Dublin and have two children: Hayden and Reanne. His daughter, Miriam is married to Frank Copeland and lives in Kilkenny. They have one daughter, Laura-Joy. Christy’s wife, Mary, also lives in Co. Kilkenny.
Christy retired in 1997 and died in May 1999. His family regret they are unable to be here for this evening’s celebration, but would like to thank the community of Cloneygowan and the parents, teachers and pupils of Cloneygowan National School for their support for Christy over the years. They wish everybody well for the future.
Memories of my Time in Cloneygowan School
By Margaret Tobin
Very Rev Fr Kennedy appointed me to the teaching staff in Cloneygowan School on October 10 1966 and I taught there until September 1990. I replaced Mrs Mary Egan. Fr Walsh was the school manager in 1966. Later very Rev Fr Prendergast was parish priest, and Fr O’Shea and Fr Fitzpatrick, in turn, chaired the Board of Management.
Michael Moran was school principal when I came and he taught fifth and sixth classes. Mrs Lillie Coughlan taught the middle classes. I had junior infants, senior infants and first class and the senior girls for needlework. I had the pleasant task of welcoming the little children on their first day at school and giving them their first impressions of school life. Mothers usually brought the new children and were better than fathers at knowing the child’s date of birth! Children could start school at any time of the year but the majority started after Easter. This meant we had a full house from then until the summer holidays in mid-July.
Michael Moran died unexpectedly in Sept 1967. The morning after his death, the children stood in stunned silence at the school gate on being told. He had been in school on the day of his death. We all crowded into Mrs. Coughlan’s room and recited the rosary for the repose of his soul. The children formed a guard of honour outside Portarlington church on the day of his funeral. Thomas Flynn was appointed in his place and soon settled into his new role. Later, on his transfer to Killeigh, Christy Carroll came and Patsy Spollen replaced Mrs. Coughlan.
There was great team spirit in Cloneygowan School, and thank God there still is. There was good communication between teachers and we helped each other whenever possible. We got great support and encouragement from our priests, Boards of Management and school inspectors and could always count on the co-operation of the parents. We tried to keep up to date with new ideas and methods by attending courses of five or ten school days (Mon. to Fri.) during our summer holidays, in such places as Carlow College, U.C.G., Bellinter (for new religion programme) and nearer home – Tullamore and Mullingar.
Sometimes we had substitute teachers in. They brought their own talents and “brightened our pathways awhile”. These are some I remember, Mrs. Charlotte Dunne, Mrs. Hannah Murphy (now Comerford), Sr. Patricia Carroll, Sr. Mary McGettrick, Mrs. Maureen Crystal, Catherine Richford, Tympana McHugh, Maurice Len, Seams Flanagan, Sean Tobin and Mrs. Nora O’Leary. Newer teaching aids gradually became available to us such as, the projector with filmstrips and slides, the tape recorder and tapes. We still needed to be resourceful and do a bit of re-cycling. We used chestnuts, shells and bottle tops for counting although we did have an abacus, ball frames and coloured counters. We collected used Christmas cards and birthday cards for making sum cards and other work cards. These kept the children purposefully occupied all the time – no waiting for the rest to be finished at something – “just get a work card”. I had a slogan “Ná cuir air amée. Ceid –sin luach na síoraíochta”. We were able to pass on workbooks by getting the children to write their answers in sentences in their copies.
I have many happy memories of Cloneygowan School. My greatest privilege was preparing for First Holy Communion in co-operation with the priests and parents for many years. It was an awesome responsibility. They received these sacraments in first class and were younger than now as they usually started at four.
Each May we had a May altar in each classroom. The children brought jam jars and lots of flowers to place before Our lady’s statue, lilac, bluebells, cowslips, primroses and stitchwort. Sometimes we got garden narcissi, which had a lovely perfume. I brought some of them for the May altar in Killenard School in my childhood. We had a May procession to the grotto (since it was erected in 1979) with rosary, hymns and flowers. Before that, Mrs. Coughlan organized a May procession in the school grounds.
We went on nature walks down Coolraven lane and brought back items to label and display on the nature table. Once we had a picnic on the bog. I enjoyed teaching art, crafts and needlework. (Lillie Coughlan taught these subjects to her own classes) For painting we used only the three primary colours yellow, red and blue and white and black sometimes. The children made a colour-wheel by mixing colours. The senior girls learned about tints, shades, tones and harmony. This helped them to pick colours for embroidery. The girls started knitting in first class, but when Offaly was going well, the boys got the bright idea to knit head bands. They later progressed to Manchester United etc! We did crochet tank tops and ponchos, the basic sewing stitches for a simple skirt or apron. We used the left over pieces of cotton for patchwork. Other craft items included hexagonal or octagonal baskets from lollipop sticks, and pleated velvet cushions. Some girls managed the rose and shamrock in Irish crochet. A mariner’s compass, (made by magnetizing a darning needle and putting it to float by using a piece of cork) had great fascination for the children as it went back to North no matter how they pushed it.
Cloneygowan I.C.A. organized a Halloween party for the children for many years and the C.Y.M.S. gave them a Christmas party to which Santa came. This showed great community spirit.
Sometimes past pupils visited the school and were always welcome. Fr.Francis O’Farrell called in when home from Australia. His parents taught in the old school. He told us that his mother carried the statue of Our Lady from the old school to the new school in 1956 and that Lar Hyland made the stand for the statue. He made a tape of the children in 1 and 2 classes playing tunes on the whistle and singing Irish songs. He brought us a tape from his school in Australia. Fr. John McEvoy told us about his work in Figi. Patrick Byrne gave us an insight into his life style in U.S.A.
Let us remember and pray for those mentioned that are now “Ar Slí na Fírinne”, in particular Michael Moran who died in 1967. Pádraig Hyland – a beautiful little boy, who sat in the front desk in senior infants. He died unexpectedly in May 1979 aged 5 years and 11 months. Christy Carroll whose gentleness and wit impressed us all and finally Denis Gilroy who taught Irish dancing here and whose music delighted us.
“Solus na bhFlaitheas dóibh go léir”.
A Tribute to the Late Christy Carroll
Christy came to Cloneygowan School from Killenaule in September 1981. He replaced Tom Flynn as principal. He was a humble, gracious man of many talents. Like all the members of his family he was gifted at music. He carried the tin whistle in his breast pocket, and was always ready to play a tune. He also sang songs, and played the accordion. His favourite party piece was “Raglan Road”. Under his guidance the senior classes participated successfully in table quizzes for charitable purposes. He organised a sponsored walk around Dereen for the Irish Wheelchair Association. He arranged football and basketball matches. Children from his classes competed in the Church and General Regional Road Safety Awards Competition in 1986 and won a plaque for the school. The following year 1987 they entered the European Road Safety Award Competition and won a trip for one to Brussels. Raymond McEvoy’s name was drawn for the trip. Then Fr. O’Shea presented a plaque to the school with the names of all those who took part – Brian Dempsey, Stephen Byrne, Raymond McEvoy, Caroline Maher, and Catherine Mulkern. One of their projects was on fire Safety and the other on Water Safety. Christy was creative and artistic and the pupils worked hard so their models and charts were relevant and beautiful.
Christy initiated a party in the school for Mrs. Nellie Dowling when she retired after 47 years as caretaker in the school. Fr. Pendergast presented her with a beautiful clock and reminded us that for many years she had to light the fires. We all enjoyed the celebration.
A branch of the Juvenile Total Abstinence of the Sacred Heart was established in Cloneygowan School in 1953.
The rules of the organisation were-;
To abstain from alcoholic drinks recite the pledge prayer morning and night. wear the emblem which depicts the Sacred Heart.
The Aims of the J.T.A.A. were-:
To preserve children from acquiring a taste for alcoholic drinks in their early years, so that they will be able take important steps in life and reach maturity without dependence on drink. provide regular and continued instruction on temperance matters. give children an understanding of the ideals of sacrifice on behalf of others and of reparation to the Sacred Heart. prepare those who might so wish to become Pioneers.
Fr. Cullen who founded the Pioneer T.A.A. considered the Juvenile section to be its “corner-stone”. Children could only be enrolled when they understood the rules, asked to join and had their parent’s approval. A monthly meeting for Juvenile members was held starting with a decade of the rosary for grace to keep the pledge. A simple talk on a temperance topic followed. The meeting ended with the pledge prayer and a hymn to the Sacred Heart. It was and is not expected that those who become Juvenile members will remain total abstainers for life. It is hoped that they will have a responsible attitude towards alcoholic drink. It is a gift of God, which can be used or abused.
The Annual Pioneer Question Time
Temperance week, which was the first week in December, was celebrated with a function in the C.Y.M.S. hall involving Juvenile members, Probationers and Pioneers. The main part of this function was question time. Primary school teams of five individuals from each of the schools in the parish were invited to participate. Post-primary teams of four probationers or pioneers from the four parish centres and teams from C.B.S. Portarlington, Convent School Portarlington, Mountmellick, Kilmurray, Clonbullogue and Clonaghadoo were also invited. Thomas Flynn prepared the questions – no small task. He was question master, Eoin Conroy was scorekeeper and Joe Fitzpatrick was timekeeper. Many more were involved in preparation of the hall and catering. The Spiritual Director (Fr. Walsh, Fr. O’Shea or Fr. Fitzpatrick) presented plaques with the Pioneer emblem to the members of the winning team and runners up, and a special trophy to the overall winner.
On at least one occasion there was a poster competition (picture and a slogan) on the use and misuse of alcohol for the primary school children in the four schools. The posters were displayed in the hall. One I remember showed a glass of beer casting a shadow. The slogan was “don’t let drink cast a dark shadow on your life” We also had an essay competition “Alcohol – to drink or not to drink”. The essays were collected a week in advance of the function and judged by Mrs. Eileen Dunne. She spoke on “Why I am a Pioneer”. A member of Alcoholics Anonymous gave a very interesting and informative talk. Tea sandwiches and cakes ere enjoyed by all. A raffle for a Christmas cake and other prizes was held.
Life After Cloneygowan.
My name is Patrick Byrne. I lived in Cloneygowan. I left Cloneygowan in March 1983. I currently reside in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. When I first arrived in Chicago I worked in construction. My whole life changed on November 17, 1992. I was in a construction accident. In the accident my right leg was amputated from the hip. I thought my life had ended – at the age of 27. My father stayed with me the first year of my accident and had me play golf to improve my balance on one leg. I started playing various sports for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. I really took to two sports, sled hockey and golf. In 2001 I made the cut for the U.S.A. Paralympic Sled Hockey team. I won a Paralymic Gold Medal in March, 2002. Currently, I teach disabled children and adult’s three different sports (sled hockey, golf and power chair soccer).
I still enjoy playing hockey and golf myself. I play sled hockey and tour with a local team The RIC Blackhawks. I golf as much as I can and belong to the National Amputee Golf Association, which hosts tournaments throughout the Midwestern States. I have been married to Kathleen McNaughton since 1997. We have one boy, Patrick John (P.J.) and two girls Bridget and Caroline, 8,9, and 4 respectively.
Joseph Byrne is married to Eileen McNaughton and has three daughters Megan, Elizabeth and Sarah and a baby due in September. They live in Chicago.
Mary moved back home from the States this year.
Priscilla is living in Michigan and is married to Marty Fallon from Co. Roscommon and has a daughter Keely and a son Aidan.
Richard lives in Chicago and is married to Bernie Markley and is a self-employed electrician.
Regina is married to Brendan Clancy and lives in Rosenallis with twins, Padraig and Gerard and baby Andrew.
Annie is married to David Dooley, a farmer and is a full time mother to three daughters Rebecca, Alison, Martha-Anna and two sons David and Alo. They are living in Barrow House, Rosanallis.
Cecilia has recently got married to T.J. Wrafter from Clonaslee and she works in the Heritage, Killenard and is living in Portarlington.
Memories Of My School Days in Cloneygowan. By: Willie Callaghan
After 50 odd years my memories of school in Cloneygowan are vague to say the least. I can just about recall my first day. My mother dropped me at the top of the lane and Mary Guinan brought me to school, I think David Cox was with us as well.
The school had two rooms with four or five classes per room. The junior classes in one room and the senior classes in the other. I remember games of football on the green, walking home barefooted in summer and sharing scuts of apples with friends.
Our family left Cloneygowan in 1957 and moved to Portarlington. I went to the C.B.S. in Portarlington from 1957 – 1966 and the VEC from 1966 – 1967. I got an apprenticeship with Bórd na Móna in 1967. I left shortly after completing my apprenticeship. I worked for various firms in different locations around the country between 1972 and 1976. I married Sarah Carter in March 1976 (her mother was Brigid Fitzgerald from Bogtown). We have three children, two daughters and a son. I joined Tara Mines in September 1976 and we live in Navan.
The Crombie Family Kilcappa.
There were five Crombies attending Cloneygowan N.S. in 1956, Bernard, Mary, Teresa, Betty and Hughie. Seamus started school in 1957 and Marian in 1959. Seamus remained in Kilcappa, got married to Betty Gorman in Walsh Island in 1983. They had five children, Aishling, David, Yvonne, John and Brian. Aishling started school in 1989 in Cloneygowan and Brian finishes in June 2006.
James Crombie and Annie Murphy got married in 1944, in St. Joseph’s Church in Ballinagar. James was from Knockballyboy, Ballinagar and Annie was from Knock, Daingean. They moved to Kilcappa after their marriage and farmed all their life and raised seven children (as mentioned above).
Memories of Cloneygowan School Fiona Fitzpatrick (nee. Conroy)
It only seems like yesterday since I sat in Mrs. Tobins classroom, learning my ABC’c and trying desperately hard to be good. Cloneygowan School seemed a huge place and all I wanted to do was to go home to my Mum and that familiar smell of home baking. My family had not always lived in Cloneygowan. My Dad, James Conroy moved to England when he was only seventeen in search of work, met my Mum, got married and had four children, Liam, Terence, Eileen and myself. In 1970 we moved to Urney. I was five and already had started school in England. I remember being terribly worried starting school in Cloneygowan. I thought everyone spoke Irish and they would not understand me. That first day my Mum brought us down to meet the teachers and I just didn’t want her to go and leave us. I should not have worried though because everyone was kind and looked after us. I started in Mrs. Tobin’s room. She thought “the babies” as we use to call them. If I remember rightly I sat beside Catherine Brennan who to this day has remained a good friend. My memories in Mrs. Tobin’s room are vague. I can remember being given 2 pence to go to Mr. McCormack’s shop to buy a pencil and having my lunch in the shed where the bigger children were one end and the smaller children the other. My brother Liam was in charge of the tea my Mum used to make us for lunch so I had to go to him at lunch times.
After Mrs. Tobin’s room I moved into Mrs. Coughlan’s room. I can remember we used to have spelling and maths test. We had to sit on a long bench in front of Mrs. Coughlan and she would ask us our tables and spellings. If you got 10 out 0f 10 you won a small prize. Mr. Gilroy use to come to the school, I think once a week and all the children went to the hall for Irish Dancing. This hard practice resulted in a few concerts we used to put on. It was great fun. I can still see him sitting there playing his accordion and tapping his foot.
Break times or “sos” was the best. We used to play lots of games. “Red Rover” was our favourite. We played this in the little patch beside Mrs. Brannocks wall. It now houses the pre-fab. The lads used to play football. Sometimes Mr. Flynn asked the bigger boys to help in the garden.
Mr. Flynn was where I spent my last two years. I can remember doing tests every week. We had to put up our school bags between us (there were two children to a desk) so we would not copy anyone.
After Cloneygowan I went to the convent in Portarlington, sat my Leaving Certificate and from there went to Carlow Regional College to do a secretarial course. When I finished there I got a job with Dr. A. Behan in Portarlington as a dental assistant and worked there for ten years. I married Martin Fitzpatrick in 1990 and we have two children Thomas who is now 13 and in sixth class in Cloneygowan and Katie who is nine and in third.
After finishing with Dr. Behan I continued to work for my Dad and improve my computer skills by taking classes in computers. Now I seem to have come full circle as I now work for the Board of Management of Cloneygowan School as a secretary, so really I am back where I started and could not be happier.
My brother Liam left Cloneygowan and went to the C.B.S. in Portarlington. From there he studied in both Carlow and Galway and is now an architect and has his own company. He married Brenda Slevin in 1982 and they have three boys, James, Mark and Ronan.
Terence is now working from home after spending years with a business in both Clara and Portlaoise. He now works with horses and is married to Rose Carter. They have five children, Emma who is 22 and studying to be a vet, Kathy 18 who has just completed her leaving certificate, Niamh who is 15, Jamie who is 10 and Sarah-Jane 8.
Eileen is now residing in Cincinnati, USA. She is married to John Featherston and they have two children Peter who is five and Kira who is 3. She comes home as often as she can and always says that Cloneygowan were the best days of her life.
MEMORIES BY: JIM BYRNE
We rarely got a day off school. Sometimes we left school for an hour or more to go to the dentist. On certain days of the week the dentist was across the road in the health centre. The doctor came to the centre too. We would be collected by our parents and brought there for immunization.
Every year a big load of turf arrived and we would all hope to be the ones chosen to throw it into the shed. In the winter the fire was lit to keep the rooms warm. Children who were staying in for lunch brought “Cocoa Bottles” – these were glass lemonade bottles filled with cocoa in the morning before going to school. They were carefully placed on the hearth and turned a number of times before lunch to ensure they stayed warm.
Hail, rain or snow the lunches were eaten in the shed at the back of the school.
Friday afternoon from 2 o’clock to 3 o’clock was known as verb, nouns and pronouns hour. This grammar lesson went on faithfully every week in the master’s room only. It was not the most eagerly awaited class in the week!
I remember all the pupils leaving the old school. The master locked the door for the last time. Some children carried the statues and the cross. Everyone was so excited. We were all told to be on our best behaviour. We sang a hymn as we walked down to the new school, when we got there we all clapped and cheered.
It was warm and cosy in the new school. There were three individual classrooms. We now had indoor toilets and running water. There was a great big field to play football in and this, to us boys, was the best part.
WATERWORKS By: Christy Deegan.
There was no water scheme in Cloneygowan at that time. The master sent me over to the new school two weeks before the opening day. He wanted me to flush the toilets every time they filled, there were eight toilets and each toilet used two and half gallons per flush. This enabled him to know if the well was capable of supplying enough water to the school for daily use. The well was under the water tower and it was run with an American pump. This pump I acquired in later years when the water scheme finally arrived in the village. I took great pleasure in restoring this pump to its former condition, with parts purchased in Plum heat, Portarlington and Wisconsin, America.
The Bracken Family (A Brief History) In Order of Age
Married to Eamonn Doyle, St. Brigid’s Sq., Portarlington.
Has seven children, fifteen grandchildren and one great grand child.
Married to Elizabeth Pilkington from Daingean. Now resides in Avondale, Portarlington. Has three lovely children and is expecting their first grand-child. Retired due to ill-health.
Living in Bracknagh and is married to Charlie Dunne. They have four children.
Living in Portlaoise and is married to Paddy. They have four children and four grandchildren.
Living in Clonsast. Married to Joe Dunne. They have three children and two grandchildren.
Eileen’s memory of Cloneygowan are Mrs. Coughlan’s spelling tests and prizes. The bottles heated beside the fire with cocoa, tea and milk for the pupils not able to go home for lunch. We use to go to Raheen Church to rehearse for First Holy Communion in Mrs. Coughlan’s car. We would use ice-cream wafers for pretend Holy Communion.
Oh My Gosh! The sewing class and knitting those toes and heels – and then the darning!!
LIFE AFTER CLONEYGOWAN SCHOOL By Milo Bracken.
I left Cloneygowan School in June 1958. I went to the Vocational School in Portarlington for two years. I completed my group certificate. I went to Croghan Briquette Factory in 1960. I served five years to become a fitter. I worked there for thirty eight years and owing to ill health I had to retire in 1998.
I got married in 1970 to Liz Pilkington from Daingean and I have three grown up children – two boys and a girl.
Extracts from; "Memoirs of my Schooldays in Cloneygowan National School".
By: Patricia Ivory nee. Bryan, now living in Thurles, Co. Tipperary.
My Primary school days began in Cloneygowan National School, which is in the heart of Co. Offaly, sometime after Easter in the year 1947. The war ended but its effects could still be felt. I can remember well my first day at school for a variety of reasons. My older brother Harry and my sister Mary told me many scary stories about what might happen should I embark on this adventure, which to me seemed totally unnecessary anyway, as I thought I knew everything.
The teacher of the junior end of the school at the time was a lovely gentle lady called Mrs. Farrell or The Mistress, as we were obliged to call her. She taught our father before us, so there was always a special bond between us. My mischievous brother of course painted a very different picture from the lovely lady that I met on that first day. I kept asking him what was the mistress like. In order to scare me, he said she had long black hair down to her waist and long pointed teeth sticking out of her mouth. No wonder I was scared as I made my way up the little path to the front door, flanked by my older brother and sister.
The junior section of the school was on the left hand side of the front door as you went in. There was a huge pile of turf stacked neatly in one corner and shelves for our coats on the other. The fire had just been lit and was glowing brightly. The mistress sat us down with a little black board and chalk and went off to attend to other things. After a short while we heard a strange rumbling sound coming from the chimney. The master came running in and suddenly we were all evicted from the classroom and the bigger boys and girls were dispatched to the village to bring up water from the village pump. The fathers of some of the village children also came to lend a hand.
It took most of the day to restore order, as there was soot and water everywhere. That was my first day at school and of course, in my five-year-old innocence, I thought that would be the pattern for everyday. The teacher, with a laugh, put me right the next morning when I asked when were they bringing in the water.
Our journey to school would read very much like Alice Taylor's "To School Through The Fields", so, rather than run the risk of being accused of plagiarism I will write it simply as it was. Between Kilcappa and Dereen there were about eight families in all, coming through the fields. There must have been an agreement between the farmers as there was never a question of trespassing. From the very top of Kilcappa came the Gordons and McEvoys and further down were Colemans, Deegans, Farrells, Crombies and Malones and Madge and Mick Gibson whose Granny Fennell with whom they lived had her house in Dereen.
The route to school was fraught with all kinds of hazards including water. The cattle too, could sometimes be a little testy, no doubt having been poked with sticks and other assorted weapons from time to time. There was a stream, which flowed through our land and necessitated the use of a wooden plank or "footstick" as we called it, to cross from one side to the other.
In the Wintertime the "footstick" invariably got frozen over and many a time someone's hobnailed boot would slip and the unfortunate wearer would fall into the water and have to return home for the day as the unfortunate victim would have suffered a certain amount of trauma, fake or otherwise. The excuse for the resulting absence was that he fell off the "footstick". Of course it was a great way to skive off school if you had perfected the art of falling, as some of the boys had. They never seemed to get carried away by the current anyway.
There was a rath or fairy fort also on our land for which we had a healthy respect. We never trespassed here, only to see a family of baby rabbits, which arrived there every spring. Stories of fairies abounded in those days too. My father respected them as well because he never cut any thistles, nettles or briars within its confines, but there never seemed to be any overgrowth. Nature itself seemed to cull any unnecessary growth in that area.
A good part of our journey to school necessitated using the main road from Portarlington to Tullamore. The master cycled from Portarlington to Cloneygowan every morning after he got married. He was always called the "Mockey" and I will explain to you "as Gaeilge" how it came about. Gaelgeoir as Co. Na Gaillimhe ab éa é. Nuair a thainig sé go dtí an scoil don chead uair chuaigh sé isteach sa seomra ranga. Nuair a bhí na paístí go léir ina suí duirt sé leo, is mise "Míchael Mac Uí Mórain" agus beidh mé im phriomh oide sa scoil seo. Nuair a chuala na scolairí e seo cuireadh an leas ainm "Mockey" air on lá sin amach.
In recalling the incidents, funny or otherwise, from my days in Cloneygowan, a few more have sprung to mind. There was a large family who lived over the fields from us. There was one little chap who did not like the thought of going to school every morning. He invariably arrived home every morning at about ten o'clock having broken away from his many siblings who could not control him. His father being at work and his mother busy with other children could not bring him back. At their wits end, the parents came up with a plan, which necessitated putting him in a sack each morning. On his way to work his father delivered him to the classroom and the teacher took over from there. This worked will for a while until one morning "junior" got a very bright idea. On the way to school he removed all his clothing inside the sack. What a surprise when his Dad opened the sack that morning. He was hustled out to the toilet, bag and baggage and his garments restored before being planted unceremoniously back to class.
In those days too we had the usual "tell tales" who reported every misdemeanour to the master, often with dire consequences. On every funny incident comes to mind. It concerns one of the village chaps whose name was Rennie Egan. The master christened him "the cock" as he used to sit on the gatepost every morning when "the Mockey" was going to school. Anyway Rennie was missing from school for two days and no-one including his Granny with whom he lived, knew where he spent the time. Apparently Rennie witnessed Scallys greyhound swallowing a sixpenny piece in Scally shop. I don't know if it was intuition or advice from some of the "good boys" but he decided to follow the hound around until he "passed" it, which, he did after two days. Rennie washed the sixpence under the village pump and returned to school the following day. The master, of course, had already heard all about it and the poor lad was threatened with Daingean Reform School among other forms of punishment.
Our school day started at 9.30 every morning. Maths was first on the list. We got homework to do every night, and this was corrected first thing every morning. The maths usually took us up to small "sos" as we used to call the first break. We played in the grove beside the school for this session. There was a metal bridge spanning the railway line on this little road, which led to a towns land called Bogtown. Here, we used to play what we called "tiocfaidh" four corners. It was a game like musical chairs. Some of the children sang or doodled or whatever and then stopped suddenly and you had to run for a different corner. If you did not reach a corner in time you were out.
Irish was definitely the master's favourite subject as he spent a lot of time drumming it in to us. We knew every rule and every tense in the book. One rule always stuck in my mind and stood in good stead in the years following. It went like this-:
" If a masculine noun in the nominative you see
Beginning with a vowel prefix a t,
But in the genitive and dative cases
All the ts drop out of their places".
When Irish was over, it was nearly always time for lunch. This session for some strange reason was spent on the village green. It had to do with the master's friendship with the blacksmith, who plied his trade in a little forge beside the school. It faced the village green so as well as having a chat and keeping warm he could keep a watchful eye on us.
The rest of the evening was usually an uneventful time as some days we would have singing and other days the girls had sewing and knitting. School was supposed to finish at three o'clock but depending on what was going on it was often much later. Invariably someone was always back for detention because if you did not know your bible story for the day off by heart you did not leave until you had it.
Memories By Betty Clinton
Thank you for your invitation to the school reunion. I’m sorry I cannot make it, I am travelling to Italy on the 21 to my daughter and her family who live in the south in a place called Matera, the town was used by Mel Gibson when he filmed The Passion of the Christ. I believe it’s the second oldest city in the world after Jerusalem.
I started school in 1954, Miss Sheerin was my teacher. I remember she had a red dress, the same colour as a poppy. She had dark hair and when she wore that dress she looked lovely. She was kind, I’m left-handed and she let me write that way. When my sister Bernadette and myself changed schools to Clonaghadoo they would not allow the children to use their left hand, so some pupils never became good writers. My name is Jane Elizabeth and I was called Betty. I do not remember how long I went to Cloneygowan school for, there was my brother Bill, he was in Mr Moran’s class, Bernadette my sister was in Mr Coughlan’s class. We lived at our uncles house (Peter Gorman) then when we moved to our own house my sister and myself switched to Clonaghadoo school. Bill stayed in Cloneygowan school because he was older and mearly finished school. My friends at school were Eileen Bracken and Ann McCormack.
I came to England with my sister when I was fifteen, we went to Gloucester. I stayed there for thirty one years and I have spent the last nine years in Cheshire. Bernadette did not like England and returned home after eighteen months. She lives in County Clare now. I live on my own these days. I married a man from Ayrshire, Scotland but he died four years ago. I have a son as well as a daughter. He lives near me just the other side of Liverpool. They both have two children, a boy and a girl each.
I work for a Japanese company in the accounts department. I went to night school to learn to type and to get some accounts qualifications. In my spare time I like to go for walks and I also do a little yoga. I go home several times a year. My youngest brother lives at home and I have a sister in Geashill and a brother in Galway, Bernadette in Clare and Bill in Sligo. I did have another sister but she was killed when she was walking out of Tullamore, she was twenty one at the time RIP. I would like to know how old I was when I left Cloneygowan school, if you ever have the time to look into it. I hope everyone has a pleasant evening.
The Byrne Family Cloneygowan
Joseph Byrne is married to Eileen McNaughton and has three daughters, Meagan, Elizabeth and Sarah and a baby due in September. They live in Chicago.
Mary moved back home from the States this year.
Priscilla is living in Michigan and is married to Marty Fallon from Co. Roscommon and has a daughter Keely and a son Aidan.
Richard lives in Chicago and is married to Bernie Markley and is a self employed electrician.
Regina is married to Brendan Clancy and lives in Rosenallis with twins, Padraig and Gerard and baby Andrew.
Annie is married to David Dooley, a farmer and is a full time mother to three daughters, Rebecca, Alison and Martha-Anna and two sons David and Alo. They are living in Barrow House, Rosenallis.
Cecilia has recently got married to TJ Wrafter from Clonaslee and she works in the Heritage, Killenard and is living in Portarlington.
The McEvoy Family Cloneygowan
Married to Catherine from Kerry. We spend six months in Kerry and six months in London. We have two children, two boys. I am semi-retired and enjoying life.
Living in St Michaels Park, Portarlington. Living on my own and still searching for that perfect person!!!
Living in Dereen, Cloneygowan. Married to a Kildare woman. We have four boys and two grand-children and another on the way.
Living in England. Married to James and we have two children. We come home frequently.
Married to Pat, a Galway man. We have three children. We live in Luton, England. We come home often.
Married to Seamus. We have two sons and live in Portlaoise.
Married to Minique from Holland. We have three children and are now residing in St Michael’s Park, Portarlington.
Married to Dympna, We have three children. We live in Mountmellick.
The “baby of the bunch”. A successful hairdresser in Portarlington. I have a lovely daughter, Lyndsey.
Memories of the Old School House Cloneygowan 1956
By John McEvoy
My memories are sketchy. The following thoughts come to mind.
Word of Appreciation
I would like to acknowledge the fact that the little old school that we left 50 years ago – small and inadequate as it may have been then, is still in existence, in spite of all the developments that have taken place throughout the country over the years and particularly the developments that have taken place in every village and town including Cloneygowan over the last 15/20 years. A word of thanks and appreciation is due to the community in Cloneygowan and to the YMCA for keeping this old relic in service over the past 50 years. Basically it has not changed one little bit in shape or character over these years.
The following story, which happened a few years ago, highlighted the importance of the ‘little old school house’ for me. I have spent 30 of the last 50 years in the Fiji Island (South Pacific) as a Columban Missionary. During the 1990’s we trained and sent Fijian Lay Missionaries to work in parishes in Ireland – Ballymun, Tullamore and Newbridge etc. After their arrival in Ireland a cousin of mine bringing them around the midlands, took them to Cloneygowan and showed them the ‘old school house’ and indicated to them that this is where I started my schooling. Three years later when they returned to Fiji they were able to tell me that they had seen ‘my old school’. They even had photographs of the building. It impressed me that they remembered this and kept it in their minds to tell me about it when they returned home to Fiji (12,500 miles away). If this building was important for a group of strangers – should it not be more important for us who attended it fifty years ago?
I was delighted to receive the invitation to attend a reunion of our schoolmates who moved from that old two-roomed schoolhouse to a brand new modern three-room schoolhouse in 1956. If memory serves me right, we moved over to the new school building just before the summer holidays in 1956. I can’t recall the details. I think we arrived over in a group. The teachers then were Master Michael Moran and Mrs Lily Coughlan and the 3 new teacher in the new school was Miss Mary Sheridan (Mrs Mary Egan, in later life). Cloneygowan was coming on. It now had a new three classroom school with all the mod cons of the time – indoor toilets and cloakrooms. To get a new three teacher school was a big deal at the time. The school attendance had to be in excess of a certain number of pupils for the Department of Education to allow a three classroom school to operate. I believe the teachers tried to get extra pupils around the area in order to get the appropriate numbers.
A Stroke of Good Luck
One of the immediate advantages of having an extra teacher was that those who were in class one and two (or was it three or four) were saved from moving into the Master’s classroom for another year or two. During the first year in the new school when the senior lads asked permission to go to the toilet – the Master would jokingly chide them that they were only using it as an excuse to have a good look at the new lady teacher, Mary Sheridan who was a very young teacher then!!
Memories of the Old School
Those who attended the old school could not possibly forget the two pit toilets at the back of the school. I am not sure how they were maintained – I guess the water for all school purposes had to be carried from the village pump where everyone else got their water at the time. I especially mention the pit toilets because later on in my life they became a very familiar part of missionary life in the villages of the South Seas and indeed still exist in some of the villages there. So, in a real sense, at the age of six or seven I was being prepared for an aspect of life that I would meet in the future.
Nor could anyone forget the wooden partition that separated the two classrooms in the old school. Anything that was said by a teacher in one could be heard in the other. When punishment was being matted out – everyone heard it and everyone knew who was on the ‘mat’ at any particular time.
Who could forget the big chestnut trees outside Conway’s (now Brennan’s) House and the shade they afforded us as we played our little games? Of course these trees also provided us with our best and valuable ‘conkers’ when the chestnuts were ripe in the autumn.
History in the making
Another familiar feature near the old school was the Cloneygowan Railway Bridge over the tracks at the back of the school. From this bridge and from the railway embankment that ran along the small school field, a regular past time for the children was to watch the old steam engine trains go by – usually around 11 am when we were on mid morning break. Of course we could hear the trains coming miles away but we took delight in trying to be the first to detect the steam/smoke of the train as it approached, hundreds of yards away. Then one day we witnessed history in the making. We heard that a new type of train was going to replace the old steam train. When the appointed day arrived, we were all lined up on the embankment to see the first diesel train go by the school and Cloneygowan. We were all amazed at its fastness and how clean it was in comparison to the steam engines. A new era was beginning to take shape in Ireland.
Handwriting in 1955
The year 1955 stands out in my mind. In 1955 Mrs Farrell who had retired from teaching years previously, returned to teach us while Mrs Coughlan was on maternity leave. I recall vividly that it was under the guidance of this gentle old lady that we learned to write the date for the first time and to start our handwriting. Mrs Farrell had a unique hand writing style with rounding and slanting capital letters etc. Elements of this style of handwriting have remained with me over the years.
Fuel for the Fires
A unique feature of the new school house was the fact that it had a (state of the art) turf shed. Families who had children attending school were obliged to supply one load/creel of turf per year for the school fires during the winter months. This was certainly a requirement of families who lived in the ‘country’. After the delivery of these loads of turf to the school, the master relied on us country lads to throw it into the turf shed. We relished the task – it meant a half an hour or maybe an hour out of the classroom. This was surely a bonus.
To School through the Fields
Those of us who lived in Kilcappa will have both fond and not so fond memories of our journey to and from school. From Kilcappa Lane we used to go through either Coleman’s, Deegan’s or Farrell’s yards (depending on our moods). We then crossed Deegan’s fields and across to Bryan’s house in Derreen and eventually across a precarious plant over a little river into and through Tommy Evan’s field to come out on the main Cloneygowan Portarlington Road. This route was favourable enough during the summer months but it was anything but nice in the winter months. Often time the track was wet and muddy, it was a regular occurrence that some of us arrived at the school with wet feet, which we had to endure all day long. Then in the Springtime we had to contend with Mrs Bryan’s flock of geese and that terrible gander. The geese were nearly always in the field near the road or path we trod. We were obliged to watch and wait our chance to get by the gander and geese. Very often, we had to make a run for it with that horrible gander in hot pursuit. The amazing thing about those years were the number of pupils who came from Kilcappa to Cloneygowan school – the Farrell’s, Gordon’s, Crombies, McEvoy’s Malone’s, Christy Deegan and then from Dereen we were joined by the Bryan clan. Certainly we were a very distinctive group in our own right.
John McEvoy, Kilcappa, Cloneygowan.
Attended the primary schools in Cloneygowan from 1952 – 1960.
St Joseph’s Christian Brothers Secondary School, Portarlington 1960 – 1965
St Columban's Dalgan Park, Navan from 1965 – 1972.
Was ordained in 1972 and assigned to the Fiji Islands. He spent the next 30 years in Fiji mainly working in parishes – and was parish priest of funny sounding parish names such as Samabula, Tamavua, Vanuakula, Vatukoula, Vabea and Ba. The development of parish primary schools, village churches and community centres were a priority during these years. The choosing and training of adult catechists for the running of village communities and for the conducting of Eucharistic Prayer Services in their respective communities were of the utmost importance for a developing church. Early in the 70’s after Vatican Council each parish was quick off the mark to form Parish Pastoral Councils and Parish Finance Councils.
Another important adventure of the Columban’s during these later years in the 90’s was the training, sending and receiving lay missionaries from and to the various countries that the Columban’s work in. Thus here in Ireland Lay Missionaries came from Fiji, Chile and the Philippines.
From 1995 – 2001 I was Regional Director for the Columban Team in Fiji.
During these last four years 2002 – 2006 I was Columban liaison person with the Dalgan (Dowdstown) Farm and all the new developments going on there re (affecting the Dalgan Lands) and the proposed water abstraction by the Meath County Council from the Boyne, also on Dalgan land.
Now in Tullamore Parish for a short time I am striving to get my hand back into the pastoral scene. No better place for this than the busy and well organised parish of Tullamore
Fr John McEvoy, St Columban’s Dalgan Park, Navan,Co Meath
MEMORIES 1945 – 1955 CLONEYGOWAN NATIONAL SCHOOL
BY HAR BRYAN - CLONEYQUIN
I remember the early days as a beginner with Mrs. Farrell. She was now teaching her second generation of Bryans. A gentle lady who helped you along with words of praise and gentle encouragement. There was only a partition between the two school rooms. I remember one moment in the school yard on a hot summer’s day. We were around in a semi-circle learning off our catechism, (I can still see the circle of skinny legs and bare feet in the dust of summer). It all started with a stifled giggle caused by a home made bomb exploding, comprising of summer greens and fresh baked bread. It caused a low rumble of mirth that had to stay trapped in the skinny chest. I looked across and saw Martin Cassidy. His shoulders and chest shook and heaved in containment. This was like an old engine that shuddered before bursting into life. Then I noticed like most others that there was a tiny river coursing down a dusty leg and mingling with the schoolyard dust. Then came the spontaneous explosion of mirth from the circle of chests and had we been punished we would have died laughing. Some of the seniors of that time would have been Girtie Gordon, May Morris, one of the Colman’s of Kilcappa, Ina Pilkington, Aidan Fitzsimons, Martin Cassidy, Ollie Brannock and Fran and others who had to stay for class after leaving school as confirmation was every three years. I remember Ollie (or Lolly as he was called) fainting and falling at the masters table, he had helped a child who had been in a car accident. I remember concern when May Morris fell on an icy slide and was concussed. They were artic winters then. I remember 1947 and the school snowman still standing on the village green in the month of May. The seniors had to bring us on a march around Raheen road to warm us up as the turf could not be saved in ’46 as the weather was so wet. I can remember Lar Heelen-Hyland was knocked down of his bicycle when crossing the road at Quinn’s cross in Raheen. When the lads heard the news they all flocked to the spot to see the blood on the road. Thankfully he recovered and lived next door to the school with his brothers Din the blacksmith and Bill our staunch GAA man of the village.
Other things I remember were the library from which I took books every weekend. I remember the adventures of the Bobsey Twins also Challenge to Adventure was the best story I read at the time. The name of writer Richard Crompton comes to mind also the Williams series of books. Sean Carty brought home the Irish Press every day but not until all the followers of Brux Rogers had viewed the comic strip. We also followed the Phantom Ghost Who Walks and Tim Tyler’s Luck in the Sunday paper. We played out these episodes in the hazel grove at Cloneygowan Railway Bridge on the way home from school. I never remember feeling cold or hungry at that time. We had hazel nuts, blackberries, plums, and chunks of raw turnips, mushrooms and plenty of apples. We saved some in the hay rick to sweeten during the winter. Our diet in the mornings was porridge and bread fried in dripping. A sandwich in the schoolbag for lunch and spuds and butter and maybe an egg or bacon (I saw Uncle Willie kill the pig when he was fattened). My mother also killed the non-productive hen and I thought rabbit soup was delicious. The men from Gracefield and Kilmalogue often gave mam a rabbit when they went out to hunt on a Sunday morning. I can still see the bicycles and the rabbits hanging from the handle bars and the little box on the back for the ferret.
On the school sporting front we were lucky that Fr. Gleeson and Mr. Blake were avid executers of Bord na Scoil and arranged for the Cloneygowan boys to join the Geashill and Ballinagar for the parish teams. Killeigh also was in the parish but was exclusive to hurling. We won under 11 and three in a row under 14 county titles during that time. The fostering of the school boards was the beginning of the upsurge of football in Offaly from the early 60’s to the present day. On a little vanity lapse I can say the Pat Byrne of the hill and I played on all of those winning teams. Other players of that time were Paddy Guinan, Liam and John Byrne, Sean Carty, Ollie Evans and the unforgettable Ronnie “cock” Egan, Chris Deegan, James Malone and Martin Pierce a rising star except for an accident.
In conclusion, looking back on those childhood days there was a wonderful generation of parents who nourished and cherished us under tough economic circumstances. They worked every daylight hour and our mothers worked until bedtime. Things come to mind like darning socks, patching britches, washboards, boiling cloths and mending boots. On Saturday night my pet hate was getting my hair washed. They were wonderful times with big families who played together and prayed together. I could ramble on so suffice to mention the names Gordon’s, Coleman’s, Coveys, Crombies, Malone’s, Young’s, Chris Deegan who got an egg for his breakfast every morning. Farrell’s, Madge and Mick Gibson, Molly Dunne, most who went to school through the fields and passed through our yard. It’s a pity we ever have to grow up.
Finally I have to mention Joe Hetherington who brought me on my first visit to Croke Park. Joe, a wonderful Gael goer who developed Alzheimers so early in life and would have loved any chance of meeting with all the rest of us who went to Cloneygowan School either old or new.
THE FEENEY FAMILY
Was a past pupil of Cloneygowan N.S. who is now married to Mai white and has three children and living in Mountmellick.
Past pupil of Cloneygowan N.S., now lives in Mountmellick.
Past pupil of Cloneygowan N.S., is married to David Foran and has one daughter and is living in Portlaoise.
Past pupil of Cloneygowan N.S., is married to Siobhan Whelan and is living in Portlaoise.
Past pupil of Cloneygowan N.S., working in the metropolitan police in London since 1998.
Joseph Hetherington died recently in Dublin.
He left Cloneygowan in 1963 to go Dublin where he worked for CIE until he retired early in 1995 because of Alzheimer's.He married a girl from Laois Teresa Walsh and had 7 children, 6 girls and 1 boy.Every summer as children we visited Cloneygowan, his home where her grew up and was fostered by Mrs Egan.All his children have very found memories of meeting the nicest people in the world, his neighbours & friends of Cloneygowan.It was probably the place the himself and the love his life Teresa would have returned to and retired it things had of been different.As the song goes "the Offaly Rover" he will return someday.
“DEAR OLD CLONEYGOWAN”
'Twas on that river bank I strayed, as the furze was in full bloom,
The birds were singing merrily on that lovely day in June,
Then of my childhood days I thought, as the memories roll down,
For tomorrow I know I must leave you, my dear old Cloneygowan.
I Listen to the pigeons coo, on that bright long summers eve,
To watch that skylark soaring high, it causes my heart to grieve,
Then I sat down and cried my fill, as the tears came tumbling down,
And gently flowed near Dempsey's Bridge in dear old Cloneygowan.
So long to you, my sweet Derreen, where I used to hunt the hare,
Over the castle hill to Kilcooney bog and sweet Anvilla fair,
Goodbye to you my fond Cathleen and those eyes so soft and brown,
You now are sleeping far away from dear old Cloneygowan.
Farewell to you my dear Burnfield, to Bogtown and Burgreen,
And all my friends and neighbours around the village green,
Would to God that I’ll return to that soil of golden brown,
And live a dream beside that stream, that flows through Cloneygowan.
By Joseph Hetherington