Schools - Then and Now (Part 11) (Traceystown)

Maria Colfer & Margaret O'Gorman

An application was made on February 9 1853 for funding to cover the cost of the teacher's salary in Traceystown school. The school was already functioning through private funding, the fees being paid by the pupils, although it was often found in schools at this time that some poorer children were allowed to attend free, on the authority of the manager. Before granting funding, the Commissioners for Education insisted that a reasonable building and school furniture were to be provided by the local community. In the application of 1853 it was stated that the schoolhouse was a one roomed slated building, 21 feet long x 14 feet wide x 9 feet high and was built of lime and stone. There were 6 desks, 6 feet long, with forms attached and one form 8 feet long.

Attendance and Manager

John White was the teacher and he was about 45 years old. The average attendance was approximately 20 males and 10 females. The school operated from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in winter and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in summer. The manager was Rev. Loftus Brennan P.P. Taghmon. Religious Instruction was given on Saturdays and after school hours.

A salary of 11 per annum was granted to John White. In order to maintain the grant an inspector called regularly to the school. Things must have gone smoothly in Traceystown because there are no reports to the contrary or indeed any reports at all until 1881 when Very Rev. Canon W. Murphy applied for a salary for Mary Kehoe, which was granted.

Other Teachers

In the inspector's report, in May 1894, the Principal, Mary Fane was admonished for generally low proficiency of the school, especially in grammar and geography and she was threatened with a fine if she had not improved by the next inspection. The manager agreed to admonish Mrs. Fane but alludes to the youth of the pupils and the poverty of their parents as extenuating circumstances in her case. In July 1895 Mrs. Fane applied for a retiring gratuity because she was suffering from bronchitis, but she was refused as the Medical Cert. contained no evidence of permanent incapacity.

In 1897 the teacher was Marianne Redmond. She was untrained at the time but in 1900 she went to Mary Immaculate Training College in Limerick and was one of the first teachers to be trained there.

In 1904 the Board threatened to discontinue funding unless proper desks and school furniture were provided. It was also observed that there were 53 on the rolls although there was only floor space suitable for 37 pupils. The Board refused a grant towards the cost of enlarging the school, but by 1905 an extension was completed through local funding.

Miss Redmond (later Mrs. Rossiter) retired from teaching prematurely because she suffered from severe arthritis. She was replaced by Miss Cox. She was a native of John St. in Wexford from where she cycled every Monday morning. She stayed in Taghmon during the week and returned to Wexford for the weekends.

The school in Traceystown was described as a picturesque building enclosed in a pretty railed garden. The children played in the local Knockerone quarry and sometimes in Cody's field, although this was not really approved of by Mr.Cody!

During the early years of the twentieth century Traceystown became a two teacher school and the teachers were Mrs. Parle (formerly Miss Bennett who taught in Caroreigh) and Mrs. Kehoe. A new school was built in 1960. Mrs. Kehoe was replaced by Miss Rita Curtis of Wexford who had also taught in Caroreigh. When Mrs. Parle retired the school reverted to a one teacher school once again. Rita Curtis continued as principal until she moved to Taghmon when Traceystown was finally closed in 1976

One of the most noted past pupils of Traceystown school is Monsignor Micheal Ledwith of Main Street, Taghmon, who became president of Maynooth College.

Pupils at Traceystown School in 1928
Back Row (l to R): Kate Williams, Josephine Williams
Front Row: Mary Seery, Margaret Cullen

Front Row (l to r): Pat Donnelly RIP, Sonny Fanning, Jimmy O'Connor, Matt Fanning RIP, Paddy McGee 2nd Row: Betty O'Sullivan, Margaret O'Connor, Bridie Fanning RIP, Katie Roche, Annie Donnelly RIP, Eileen O'Connor, Kitty Curran, Kitty Donnelly, Joan Maye 3rd Row: Sadie Kehoe, Maggie Roche, Mary McGee RIP, Maeve Crosbie RIP, Mary Fanning, Bridie O'Connor, Margaret (Maggie) O'Sullivan, Bridie McGee RIP, Stella Crosbie Back Row: Kathleen O'Connor RIP, Lar Crosbie RIP, Mark Jeffers RIP, Matt Cleary, Mike Donnelly RIP, Jimmy O'Leary RIP, Patrick O'Connor RIP, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Roche RIP