Visitors to 'Scoil Teampall Toinne' pass, on their way up the avenue to Scoil Teampall Toinne', the Old Boys’ School officially called - 'Scoil na mBuachaillí'. It was once referred to as 'The School by the River Duag' or 'Scoil cois na Dubhóige. It ages with the century. It was officially opened on the 30th of May 1900, but had been functioning as a school since the previous year (1899). There were three teachers then and one monitor. The staff on opening were as follows: Principal, Michéal De Neagh,(Ml. Neville); Senior assistant, Mr. Patrick Mc Keown; Junior assistant, Mr Ml. Fitzgibbon. The monitor was Master Edward O' Donnell. On the school roll were 154 boys in all. The school then was not, as developed later, a Senior Boys only N.S., but had all classes from infants up to 7th class and beyond. What arrangement existed in that school with only two rooms for all the staff and pupils? There was 'a gallery' in the big room but that was removed in 1916 as it was no longer needed due to a general change in school rules.
Prior to 1905, the infants up to first class were taught in the small room, the middle classes in the gallery of the big classroom where the principal and monitor taught the senior classes as well in ordinary 'forms' (i.e. long school desks).
Why was the 'Gallery' not needed? Rule 127b first appeared in the revised Rules & Regulations for National schools in 1904. It stated that boys under 8 years of age,(later amended to 7 years) were ineligible for enrolment in a Boys’ School, where there was no assistant mistress on hand, unless there was no girls’ school in the locality. That was the writing on the wall for “The school by the Duag”. It provoked much anger at the time, but the rule was applied. The infants in the Boys' School had to then go to the Convent until Rang 1 As a result the Infant classes were taken up to the Convent School on the 2nd January 1905. With the infants gone, the small room then was used to accomodate the middle classes & the big room used for the senior classes. Things rested so, until 39 years later on the 1st July 1944, when further changes resulted in the 1st class been also taken up. It was then officially a Senior Boys’ School only. No class changes occurred after that for a very long period until, following the closing of Ballyheafey School on the 1-7-1968, many pupils from there were carried by bus into Ballyporeen.
The next great change occurred when the Mercy Convent & 'Scoil na mBuachaillí' schools were amalgamated in 2000. However the schools still operated separately until September 2001 when the pupils in the Boys' School went up to the Convent School to facilitate the proposed building of a new Co-ed school. So from Sept 2001 the two separate schools became one new co-educational school under the title of 'Scoil Teampall Toinne'.
On 22th December 2004 when the new school building to the rear of the old 'Scoil na mBuachaillí' was completed, teachers & pupils moved in. Brí ainm na scoile nua-What's in a name? 'Scoil Teampall Toinne' is best translated as 'Templetenny School'. It is so called for two main reasons: 1.Our school is a Catholic School with a Catholic ethos but we welcome & respect members of all faiths and even those with no faith at all. Because we are a Catholic School we celebrate our Christian heritage and background.The school name reflects that background. 2. The old name for Ballyporeen Parish was 'Templetenny'. In the middle ages the parish church was 'Templetenny Church' . Its venerable ruin is still to be seen today. That church gave the parish its original name and our school respects and cherishes that fact. 'Ballyporeen' was merely the name of one a score of townlands in 'Templetenny Parish'. It in reality is a 'townland name' not a 'parish name'. However through historical circumstances it became the new centre of population within Templetenny Parish and gradually over a very long period, over 300 years, the proper parish name (Teampall Toinne) became synonymous with the commercial centre (Béal Átha Póirín) that had developed on the banks of the what was called the 'Oundhu' in the Civil Survey in the 1660's. ('Oundhu' or 'Avondhu' is merely the phonetic rendition of the Gaelic -'Abhainn na Dubhóige' - i.e. Riven Duag - meaning 'the small blackwater river'.)
It is to keep alive that old Christian parish name that our new school uses the title 'Scoil Teampall Toinne. Templetenny Church was closed in the 1530's following Henry 8th decrees against Catholic worship. From then until the Penal Laws were repealed in 1829 (i.e. a period of over 300 years) Catholics were forced to worship in various hidden and often secret locations around the parish and often outside of it. Such places as Carraig Mhistéala, Scart, etc. were just some of the places frequented for worship. By the time Catholic Emancipation was granted in the 1820's the parish focus had moved for commercial reasons down to the townland of Ballyporeen.
A new centre of population had sprung up around the busy mill near the River Dwag in the townland of Ballyporeen and the old medieval population centre around Templetenny Church had almost vanished. That was a natural consequence of 300 years of oppression following its suppression when its roof was removed and burned according to traditional lore.
During that 300 year period of suppression a new centre of population had grown up by the River Dwag, into the village we know today as Ballyporeen. However for a period in the 1700's the population around Carrig Mhistéil was such that the parish was occassionally refered to by that name. Such then was the fluidity of the situation during that long period of oppression when the Penal Laws were in full force and Catholic 'townships' could be tolerated or suppressed at the whim of a a ruthless Protestant Ascendancy who dominated especially in Co. Tipperary at that time. That gradual relocation of the population centre resulted in the gradual replacement of the old parish name of 'Templetenny'.
From about 1816 on the parish name informally changed to Ballyporeen. When Emancipation cleared the way for Catholics to worship in public, it was inevitable that the new catholic church would be built in the new centre of population in Ballyporeen and not back at its earlier deserted location in Templetenny. Given that historical background it is very important for us to preserve the old name of 'Teampall Toinne' to remind the next generation of Templetenny's former glory. It was a hallowed spot for our ancestors who suffered so much for hundreds of years under cruel 'Penal Laws'. We must never forget their sufferings!
The old Boys School 'Scoil na mBuachaillí' holds one record that few, if in fact any other, school can match. It is a remarkable fact that only three principals served in the old 'Scoil na mBuachaillí' since 1894 right up until today. Before 1894 there were four principals in less that 25 years. However since 1894 records have been broken. Each principal has given a remarkably long period of service in the school. An tUas.Michéal De Neagh (Neville) NT, first as assistant (1894 to 1898) and then as principal from 1898 until 1936. Michéal’s stay lasted 42 years. An tUas. Labhrás O Conchrubhair (Mr. Larry O’ Connor NT) completed 40 years as well, retiring in 1976. I myself am on my 38th year in Ballyporeen in the position (two prior years given in 'the capital'-Baile Átha Cliath) and only time will tell what fate awaits me. Certainly there must be some attraction in that old “school house”!
Few school hold that record today where just three principals span from the late ninetheenth to twenty first century- a period of almost 120 years! Many schools would have that number of principals in thirty years not to mind in a period spanning almost a century and a quarter. It's a record that can not be surpassed unless future pension ages change radically and teachers have to serve for 50 years or more!! Even then however it would be 150 more before the record could be broken!! Other principals of the Old Boy's School that stare at us from the nineteenth century, are:Thomas Veale, Martin C. Cowman, Edmond O Meara and John P. Mackey. Assistants included, Nicholas Veale, Thomas Veale jr., Owen Buckley, Denis Green, John B. Ryan, Thomas Johnson, John Casey, Pat Mc Keown, Ml. Leahy, John Hehir, Patrick Carolan, Wm Moher ,Catherine Hickson (Mrs. Derby), Nora Troy, Miss Mary Hennessy, ,Miss Bríd Cooney, Mary O Carroll, Alice Quinlan(Mrs. J. English), Mrs Kitty English and Ms. Noirín Ní Nuinseann.
Each name has his or her story, and we have not even mentioned the monitors in that list. However 'Beidh lá eile ag De Paor'- that’s for another day.
Brief History of first National Schools located where former 'Ballyporeen Mercy Convent' is today but now owned by businessman Mr Billy Hale. . Original two Lay single sex schools-a Girls NS & a Boys NS (1869-1887) & Mercy Convent NS from 1887-1996. Lay single sex school again from 1996-2001. From 2001 -2004 a Co-Ed School. Closed 2004. The first official “Board of Education” Schools in the village were opened on that site on the 1st -8-1870. There were two schools in that one building originally. The Boys’ School was under the principalship of Thomas Veale, aged 46, with his assistant Hannah Lomasney, aged 23. The principal of the Girls’ School was Kate Murphy and she had an assistant also. Two hundred children was the average attendance in the schools at that time. The schools were lay schools and had no religious connection then, but within 17 years (1887) that all changed, as we shall see.
That school building, with both male and female schools, is in fact the school that we now know as 'The Convent School'. It was then 85 feet long by 25 wide, and erected by a a local contribution (making it a parish school) and a fund of £180.00, left by the late parish priest, a Rev. De Burgo, the anti Irish priest, who refused to hear confessions in Irish from the locals, especially the older ones, who knew no English at that time. Rev. De Burgo did more to destroy Gaelic speaking in the parish, than all the English troops put together. He showed no respect for our ancestoral tongue,(but had great respect for Latin, as it represented the tongue of the educated class). Many people in difference to a priest at that time, felt it was God’s will, that our language should die. -Mo léan géar is mo trua! “Cábógs” was the term Fr de Burgo (Bourke) used often from the altar for the remnant of Gaelic speakers then still formed over 25% of the parish population at that time. So much for cultural diversity and ethnic survival!
By the mid 1860’s the people of Ballyporeen were putting great pressure on the 'Commissioners of National Education' to regularise school education in the parish. Education up to then, was haphazard, if not hedge school in nature. For example on the 12-6-1851 a school in a house in Glenacunna was taken in connection by the Board of Education, only to cancelled in February 1856 as “ the house belonged to the father of the late teacher and he kept a private school in it” . In other words he was drawing double money, from the state, claiming it as a public school and charging fees at the same time from his pupils. An entrepreneur of past times, you might say. Richard Lomasney was his name. He had an average of 74 on his roll.
Such then was the unstable nature of things till eventually the parish decided to build a new school (now the Convent School) and got a Mr. Thomas O’ Hara, District Inspector of National Schools, to say in a report dated 22-9-1870 to the Commissioners of Education , “As the schools are well situated, admirably built and much required in the locality…..I beg to recommend they be recognised.” A request that was granted.
So the two schools, Boys’ and Girls’, were together, until 1887 when the Male School was “pushed out”, mainly at the instigation of the then parish priest, Dr. Patrick Delaney P.P., a great man to inform Dublin Castle about any robust Land Leaguers, that he did not like at the time, though otherwise he was a great champion of the poor tenant farmer. He wished to establish a daughter house of the Convent of Mercy, Cahir in “Bealaporeen”(The phonetically more correct form than Ballyporeen). He was well assisted by the generous donation from a local man Mr. Thomas Fogarty of £500.00 towards the establishment of the Convent (total cost of Convent was £2000.00).
The Boys’ School was then a wandering institution around the village until a new school was built. It was not until 1900 that it was to find a permanent home at the bottom of the village where it is now still proudly standing on the way in to the new 'Scoil Teampall Toinne' . It cost £526.00 to build and £54-8/ to enclose (i.e. build surrounding stone wall). It had been difficult decade and a half for both teachers and pupils since their “eviction” in 1887, till a poor watery site was eventually reclaimed for them down by 'Abhainn na Dubhóige' (River Duag). Ach sin scéal eile i gcomhair lá eile!.
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