Castletownroche Primary School enjoys a superb location on large grounds on the Close Road. It was built in 1965 and there were many reasons why Castletownroche needed a new school at that time.
Children had been attending the old school in The Square which had been in use since 1892. It accommodated a three teacher Girls’ School and a two teacher Boys’ School. John O’Brien was Principal of the Boys’ School and taught Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Class. His wife Margaret taught First, Second and Third Class.
Mary Buckley was Principal of the Girls’ School and taught Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Class. Geraldine Magner taught First, Second and Third Class. Eileen O’ Sullivan taught Junior and Senior Infant boys and girls.
Pupil numbers were very high. One hundred and seventy seven children and five teachers were crowded into four classrooms. In the Girls’ School two teachers had to share one classroom to teach three classes each! The building was heated by open fires except for the Infant Classroom which had an old solid fuel range. Sanitation was supplied by outside dry toilets. The playground area was small and totally overcrowded. The new modern school was urgently needed.
There was great excitement the day Fr. Phil Hegarty announced that the new school was ready to open. On the morning of the opening, pupils assembled as usual in the old school and then took their schoolbags and walked in pairs up Chapel St. to the new school on Close Road. The first impression was one of space and comfort. There were five classrooms and they were big, bright and warm. Pupils and teachers relished the luxury of the central heating. Cloakrooms and indoor toilets completed the range of facilities. Likewise, everyone was delighted with the spacious outdoor amenities, the fine cement playgrounds and shelters for both the Boys’ and Girls’ Schools and huge green areas to the side and rear of the building.
The Boys’ and Girls’ Schools continued to function separately until they were amalgamated in January 1971. Later on, the old school building in The Square was renovated and nowadays provides Castletownroche with a fine Community Hall.
The new school welcomed in its first teachers and pupils in January 1966. It had been a short walk from the old school to the new one but it felt like travelling in time into a brand new century.
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