Shrule History in Co. Mayo

Historic Shrule

Shrule is a small parish with a rich history and the ruins of six Norman castles can be found in the parish.

Shrule became a market town during the Norman occupation and this continued until the 20th century, with the last fairs and marts being held in the 1960s.

In the eastern half of the parish there are up to 30 ring forts and a crannog so there are many interesting things to see in the area.

St Joseph's National School

According to records there was a private school in Shrule in the early 19th. Century. It was described by a traveller of the times as “a cabin, a hovel, no better than a hedge school”. The teacher was paid a small fee by the pupils who availed of his teaching ability.

In 1839 there must have been some sort of local school as it is recorded that there were two teachers -; the master, Richard Flannelly, receiving a salary of £12 per annum and his wife Bridget who received a payment of £8 per year. Mrs. Kirwan (Wife of Landlord) donated part if not all of the salaries.

A new school was built in 1857 on the banks of the Black River on the site now occupied by the Community Centre. The school was built by the local landlord (Kirwan) on land donated by his family.

The Master, Daniel O Connell, aged 43 years, who formerly taught at Rathmines in Dublin was paid an annual salary of £20, donated by Lady de Clifford. Margaret O Connell, a teacher, aged 23 was paid an income of £10 per year. Records also mention another school in Shrule at this time, probably private as the pupils paid fees according to age.

A new school, St. Joseph’s National School, was built in 1935 near the church. It was officially opened on June 9th. 1935. At that time there were two separate schools - one for boys and one for girls and it remained as such until July 1st. 1975. On that date the two schools were amalgamated and we now have just one unit, St. Joseph’s N.S.

During the summer months of 1994 major refurbishment work was carried out in the school. This included a new roof, electrical and plumbing works and new windows.

At present there are five teachers and one shared Learning Support Teacher employed in the school teaching five units totalling 139 pupils. The revised curriculum has been launched by the Department of Education and Science introducing new subject areas, science, visual arts, social personal and health education and drama.

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