Tavneena - 100 Years Ago, Charlestown in Co. Mayo

Parish of Kilebeagh.

Tavneena - Tawnyinagh: in Irish: Tamhnach an Fheadha: means A cultivated or arable spot in a waste. In the year 1835, Bridget Gallagher was born in Lurga or in Carrick as it was then called. When I came to Tavneena, to teach in the local National School, the family in that house was known as "Young Toms" and the grand-children are there now.

Bridget Gallagher attended the Hedge School, which was usually held near the cross roads, known as the Star, in the upper Tavneena Village. The teacher was Thomas Morris, Great-grandfather of the late Michael Morris, Tavneena upper. He was called Cawful Morris, because his mother was Caulfield by name. Bridget Gallagher married Raftery, in 1858. Her marriage was the last to take place in Tample Church or Kilebeagh.

This was a thatched structure and bundles of straw were contributed by the people each Harvest to keep the thatch renewed. Mick McLoughlin, Great-Grandfather of Michael,Tavneena, was married the next day in the new Church in Charlestown.

Bridget Raftery had a large family. The youngest daughter, Ellen born in 1877, attended the old School, which was situated partly in Tommy Jordan's field and part in the present School yard. It had an earthen floor and when the rain came through the roof, the pupils used tin saucepans to take the rain out. When the present School was finished, Ellen was amongst the first pupils to arrive on the day it opened.

However they all got stage-fright and ran home. Her first teacher was Luke Lavan from Hagfield. His brother John succeeded him. Patrick O'Grady from Stone Park, Aclare, was the next Principal. The School was then divided and Mrs Moran, who was Kenny from Lurga, was appointed Principal of the girls School and Patrick O'Grady Principal of the boys. Mrs Moran had as her assistants, Mrs Durcan and Rose Campbell Prendergast.

Mrs Parsons (Brett) replaced Mrs Moran and Miss Kenny replaced Rose Campbell. Mrs Dooney, aunt of Bishop Cassidy, replaced Mrs Parsons and Liz Cassidy replaced Miss Kenny. Mrs Henry, mother of Fr.Padraic succeeded Mrs Dooney and Nan Cassidy replaced her sister Liz, who entered the Convent.

Patrick O'Grady was appointed to a School in Kilmovee and Luke Jerry Henry, father of Fr.Padraic, was appointed principal of Tavneena. His wife Miss Walsh, was assistant in the boys school when he came there. When Mrs Henry was made Principal of the Girls School in 1923, she was replaced by Miss Dunville, ater Mrs O'Shea and Miss Mulligan.

When Mrs O'Shea was appointed Principal of Barnacogue National School, she was later replaced by me, Delia Henry and then I went to Cloonlyon National School. When Mr Jerry Henry retired in Tavneena in 1957, I was appointed Principal in the School where I started. Miss Murphy replaced me and Mrs Breege Gallagher replaced her.

The information regarding the Hedge School and the old School was given to me by the Grand-Children of Bridget Gallagher Raftery, namely Mike and Kathleen Holton, then living in Ballyhaunis. The late John Frain of Tavneena upper, also gave valuable information, which was told to him by his parents. Bridget Raftery died in 1936 at the ripe old age of 101.

© Delia Henry 15th April 2002

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