St Peters NS Snugboro

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About Us

The History of Our School

The history of education in the Snugboro/Carrowbrinoge area goes back to the mid-nineteenth century. Children from surrounding areas who were interested in learning were taught by a travelling teacher at the rear of where McGough's house now stands. In winter they used McGough's barn. The teacher was paid in money and often by vegetables and poultry. Each time the travelling teacher came round families would take turns in keeping him in their homes.

Most parents fought hard for the provision of a school in the area but schools were very uncommon in Mayo. the clergy did not want to get involved with the English in establishing schools. Following the death of Bishop MacHale there was a complete change in the education system in the Tuam Diocese. Schools sprung up everywhere in the 1880's - Snugboro was no different.

In 1859 a site was chosen in Carrowbrinoge on the land owned by Lord Kilmaine, now owned by the McGough family. The site was chosen because it was central to the surrounding townlands of Tullycommons, Snugborough, Drumnacarta, Coarsepark and Derrymaunus. On the 27/8'89 a grant of £254 was approved for the building of a school in the Snugboro area. In the parish of Aglish an extra £53 was made available for the building of a house for the teacher. This was situated a few hundred yards from the school, now occupied by Puline Bourke.

The work on Snugboro school commenced in September 1889 and it was built from stones and lime gathered in the area by men like Thomas McTigue, John McGough, Stephen McHale and John McDermott and carried by donkey and cart to the site. As the Department would not recommend an additional grant for the use of cement, the front walls were left bare until 1906 when they were plastered.

On the 23rd October, 1890, the school was opened by Rev. John McGough and named St. Peter's N.S., Snugborough, even though it was in the Carrowbrinoge townland. The first teacher appointed was Mr. David Joyce, assisted by his wife and daughter who was employed as a monitor. the attendance at the school in the first few years was around 120. Emigration was rampant in those years following the economic situation after the Famine and parents wanted their children to have some form of learning before emigrating.

The 3 R's formed a large part of the curriculum - reading writing and arithmetic. Pupils wrote on slates with chalk and sat on large wooden benches. In the year 1915 Mr. and Mrs. Joyce left the school and returned to their native Newport where they purchased a pub. They later emigrated to England. Mr. Joyce, principal, was replaced by Mr. O'Quigley, a native of Co Sligo, who had been teaching in the Midlands where he met and married his wife who was a Carlow woman by birth. Mr. and Mrs. O'Quigley with their large family, moved into the teacher's residence. Their family included in future years a priest, Fr. Michael, a nun, Mairead, a barrister and a number of teachers, all of whom taught in St. Peter's N.S., Snugboro.

The numbers on the roll increased so that by 1918 the average attendance warranted the appointment of a third teacher. Mr. Henry Hoban was appointed. Mr. O'Quigley was very involved in politics and stood as a labour candidate in many elections. the two male teachers taught in the big classroom while the mistress taught the infants in the other room.

The heating arrangement was that each pupil brought two sods of turf to the school each morning. As Pat Quigley recalls, anyone with a stack of turf near the school found it diminished as the term progressed! The sods were inspected for quality and dampness. As there was no free secondary education most pupils waited on until they were fourteen or fifteen. The older students helped on the farm during the summer months.

In Easter, 1935, the late Mr. Henry Hoban left Snugboro N.S. to take up an appointment in Derrywash. His position was filled by Martin Heverin, Liscromwell. Easter 1937, saw another change in Snugboro N.S. when the area was shocked by the death of Mrs. O'Quigley. As the average attendance had dropped below 95, no one replaced Mrs. O'Quigley.

There was now the unique situation where there were two male teachers teaching in a mixed school. About that time Mr. O'Quigley built a house in Blackfort and he then left the teacher's residence for his new home. In July, 1937, Mr. Heverin moved to Burren N.S. and was replaced by Mrs. Mary Hanley who, along with her daughter, Joan, moved to the teacher's residence.

Major repairs and renovations were carried out in 1939 and in 1943 Mr. O'Quigley retired having spent twenty-eight years in Snugboro N.S. He later moved to Dublin where he died. In 1943 the late Eddie Cocoran took up the position of principal. He had formerly taught in Breaffy. In 1948 his untimely death took place and he was succeeded by his brother, Richard Corcoran.

The depressed economic conditions of the fifties took its toll on the enrolment of the school. The average attendance dropped below the fifty mark which was the figure set by the Department of Education for the retention of a trained assistant teacher at a school. In 1957 Mrs. Mary Hanley was appointed to the teaching staff of the boys' N.S. Castlebar where she came to be affectionately known as "Mammy Hanley". Miss Fionula McTigue, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Andy McTigue, N.T., Blackfort, took up the position vacated by Mrs. Hanley.

By the mid sixties Mr. Richard Corcoran had fallen into ill-health and he retired. He was  replaced by the present principal, Mr. Michael Cunningham. Shortly after his appointment major renovations took place In the summer of 1968 electric light and central heating were installed. Also the existing dry toilets were converted to flush toilets.

The days of the sod of turf were over for ever. As the economic climate of the late sixties and seventies began to improve, many young couples married and settled in the area. Enrolment at the school began to increase and by 1978 the number had risen to over eighty and so a third teacher was appointed. She was Mary Armstrong from Tubbercurry.

The year 1979 was a very eventful one in the school's history. The first case was the bad news that Mrs. Flanagan's husband, Michael, had been transferred to Dublin. A special social was held in St. Gerald's Club, Castlebar, at which she was presented with a canteen of cutlery.Next came the news that Fe. Arthur Devine, who had been manager of the school for ten years, had been transferred to Taugheen. Also the news came that Mrs. Armstrong was leaving for Sligo. Fr. Michael Goaley replaced Fr. Devine, Miss Marie Gibbons replaced Mrs. Armstrong and Mrs. Angela Gavin was appointed to the other vacancy in the school. Also in August 1979, Mr. Richard Corcoran died.  

By this time the Department had decided that the old school had become seriously overcrowded and outmoded. A site was acquired in 1980 and development on the site was carried out. the wheels of the Government Department move slowly and, meanwhile, the school numbers continued to grow. By Christmas, 1985, the number on the roll was 110. In June, 1984, a fourth teacher, Miss Josephine Curran, was appointed. In 1984 Fr. Gerry Needham took over Fr. Goaley's position.

September, 1985, saw the new school commence in McGough's field at the crossroads. The long years  of waiting were over and at last the clouds of depression were scattered. a new era dawned when the pupils and teachers moved into the new school on 2nd September 1985.

May it last well into the 20th century to serve the community.

A brief history of the new school at
Snugboro, Castlebar

In 1978 the existing school at Snugboro was condemned and a new school was recommended. After much viewing of sites by engineers one was chosen at the crossroads as being the most suitable. The site was approved by the Board of Works. It was purchased from its then owner, Mr Jack McGough, for an agreed sum. Some necessary works were carried out by Messrs. Padriag McTigue and Tony Dempsey.

About this time - 1980/'81 - some fund-raising activities were organised by the Management Board under the chairmanship of Rev. Fr. Michael Goaley, C.C. Firstly, a raffle was held which raised £1,000. In February, '81, a sale of work was held in the Welcome Inn Hotel, Castlebar. Due to the tremendous work of the committee and the generosity of the people almost £1,200 was raised. At Christmas, '81, a cake sale was organised which yielded £400.

Meanwhile the paperwork concerning the site for the school was progressing slowly. By the summer of '83 the legal work was finally completed and the site was cleared for application for planning permission. This application was lodged in September, 1983, and planning permission was granted by Christmas of that year.

Early in 1984 Fr. Michael Goaley became seriously ill and was incapacitated for a number of months. In July, 1984 it was announced that he was to be transferred to Irishtown and he was replaced by Rev. Fr. Gerard Needham.

In November, 1984, a deputation from the area consisting of Fr. Needham, Mr. Michael Cunningham and Mr. Padraig McTigue went to Dublin to meet the Junior Minister at the Office of Public Works, Mr. Joe Birmingham, T.D. They were accompanied at the meeting by Mr. Enda Kenny, T.D., Mr. Padraig Flynn, T.D., and Mr. Denis Gallagher, T.D. It was impresses on the Minister the urgency of providing a new school for this rapidly expanding area beside the county town. After some discussion the following pledges were given:

(a) That the school be ready to start in September, 1985

(b) That the new school should be ready for occupation in September 1986. Happily, the  schedule was adhered to as promised. The contract was awarded to T.H. Contractors,  Castlebar. They moved onto the site in September, 1985 and despite the bad weather this  firm did an excellent job and had the new school ready within the year. Full marks are due  to Tom Henry and his staff on a job well done.

In September, 1985 a finance committee was formed in the area to raise funds for the new school. They undertook three projects:

(a) At Christmas a school concert was held which raised £400.

(b) In February, 1986, an American tea party was held in the Welcome Inn Hotel which raised  £1,100.

(c) In March, 1986, a Monster raffle raised £1,000.

All three projects were immensely successful due in no small way to the work and dedication of the committee. The work of the finance committee has commenced again this year.

So now after almost ten years of hard work and much waiting, the new school has become a reality. It stands as a fitting tribute to all that effort. Please God, it will serve many future generations of young people from the area. Much thanks is due to all who worked so hard and to all who gave so generously for the sake of the new school.

Mr. Enda Kenny. T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Education, pictured with pupils, teachers and Board of Management laying the first block of the new school

Enda Kenny, T.D. , cuts the tape at the official opening of Snugboro N.S.
on the 16th January, 1987

St. Peter's N.S.
Roll No. 19916J.

There has been a school in Snuboro' for over One Hundred years. (As seen in previous pages.) The old school was known by its Irish name S.N. Pheadair Naofa, Ceathraimh Bhriani Oig.

The new school is situated about 1.5 kms from the main Castlebar-Newport road. It is about 2.2 kms from the centre of the County town of Castlebar. When the new school opened in 1986 it had 122 pupils and four teachers. The numbers have been increasing steadily ever since. In 1990 the maximum class size for four teachers was breached resulting in the appointment of a temporary teacher for 1 year. Miss Catherine McHale B.Ed a past pupil secured the appointed. In 1991 Miss McHale's post became permanent, as the enrolment had risen above 140. In the years 91/92, and 1992/1993, Miss Deirdre Connolly took a career break. She was replaced by Miss Ann Deere B.Ed. (also a past pupil of the school) in the year '91/'92 and by Miss Brid Touhy B.Ed. in the year '92/93.

In 1992 the enrolment had risen again above 170, so this warranted the appointment of the 5th assistant teacher. Miss Ann Deere was appointed to this post. The enrolment per 30/09/1993 was 193.

In September 1993 Miss Brid Tuohy B.Ed was appointed as remedial teacher to serve in the 5 schools in the Castlebar area (rural). There was a total of 697 pupils in the five schools. As Breaffy N.S. was the largest, it is the host school. Miss Brid attended in Snugboro on Monday (full day) and on Wednesday afternoon 1.00p.m. to 3.00pm.

On 30 September 1994 the number on rolls was 205.  This warranted the appointment of a sixth assistant.  Mrs. Anne Cooney B.Ed who was on the panel accepted the post and took up duty on 1 September 1995.  She began her career in the school teaching Senior Infants.  On the 30 September 1995 the number on rolls had risen still further to 225.  This warranted the appointment of  a seventh assistant teacher.  Miss Emer Carey who was on the panel in Kilmaine N.S accepted the post.  She began teaching in Senior Infants on 1 September 1996.

On the remedial aspect of the school September 1994 saw some changes also.  Scoil Raifteirí, Snugboro and Errew were grouped as one unit.  There were 550 (approx.) in the unit not a great improvement on the original 700 as obtained in the former grouping.  Mr Seoirse Ó Móráin was appointed remedial teacher from Scoil Raifteirí (the base school).  IN September 1995 Mr. Ó Móráin left his post to take up duty as principal teacher in Charlestown.  He was replaced by Ms. Majella Cloonduibh also of Scoil Raifteirí.

On 1st  September 1999 Ms. Majella Clonduibh decided to return to main stream teaching in Scoil Raifteirí.  She was replaced by Mrs. Niamh Rice also of Scoil Raifteirí.  Happily, Niamh is still with us as a shared remedial teacher with Scoil Raifteirí and Errew N.S.

Early in January 1996 the school began to seek two extra classrooms to accommodate the growing numbers.  The department offered us two new prefabricated classrooms which was unacceptable to the Board of Management.  Following a deputation to the Department of Education in Tullamore a compromise was worked out.  The Department of Education agreed to give the grand equivalent of the prefabs i.e. £37,000 and the Board of Management agreed to put up the balance or the cost i.e. £39,600.  This money had to be raised in a short period of time as the extra accommodation would be required in September 1996.  A Lotto was launched and a very active committee set to work to raise the money.  In September 1996 the local hall had to be leased to accommodate the third class.  Mrs. Marie Loftus (Vice-principal) very generously volunteered to take class in the community centre.

In January 1997 Mr. Michael Duane (contractor) began work on the two classrooms.  By working diligently through the spring and summer of 1997 the extension was completed and ready for occupation in September 1997.  The official opening of the extension was performed by his grace Michael Neary Archbishop of Tuam on 23 October 1997.  Everybody was delighted with the two permanent structures as opposed to prefabricated buildings the life of which is more than 10-15 years.

On the 30 September 1998 the number on rolls was 252.  This was more than enough to warrant the appointment of an eight assistant teacher.  In June 1998 the boys football team won the County Final for the very first time.  They beat Killala in a nailbiting finish.  There were wild scenes of jubilation's in the area on the night of June 8th 1998.  It was certainly a very historic

In the Autumn of 1998 Mr. Eamonn Shaughnessey B.Ed was appointed the eight assistant teacher in the school.  He had formerly worked in Louisburgh N.S and Knockrooskey. He is now teaching sixth class and has already introduced table tennis to the school.

In the summer of 1999 the school team was runner-up in the County soccer final having been narrowly beaten by Scoil Raifteirí.  The rounders team became County champions for the very first time.  Ms. Emer Carey went on a career break to the USA and was replaced by Ms. Michelle Rowley B.A, B.Ed (Newcastle).

In the summer 2000 the school was again very successful in sport.

(a) They became County champions in rounders for the 2nd year running
(b) They won the County final in culaigí (indoor hurling) for the first time
(c)  They became County soccer champions for the first time but were defeated by Galway in the
     Connaught final.
(d) We fielded a girl's Gealic football team for the first time.  Under the guidance of their coach
     Ms. Catherine McHale they won the West Mayo shield.  Knock defeated them in the county semi-final.  We were proud of their achievement as beginners.

Mr. Eamonn Shaughnessy decided to take a career break and was replaced by Ms. Michelle Rowley.  As the numbers on roll on 30 September 1999 were 252 this warranted the appointment of another teacher.  Ms Reílín O'Grady of Louisburgh.  She is teaching fifth class at present.  In June 2000 we appointed Mr. Pat Ruttledge as full-time resource teacher based in Snugboro N.S.  He is shared with Errew, Scoil Raifteirí and Derrywash.

The total number of staff is eleven including the principal.  The enrolment on the 30th  September 2000 was 250 pupils.  As there are many new houses being constructed in the area it appears that the numbers will at least remain steady for the immediate future.

The Future

Plans are being drawn up to replace the existing pre-fabs with two permanent structures.  A ninth classroom, a staff room and a remedial/resource room will also form part of the new extension.  Our enrolment policy is to prioritise the pupils from the greater Snugborough area and also the siblings of the present pupils.
Snugboro School Celebrate its Centenary

As the numbers of pupil's increased two more permanent members of staff were appointed  Ms Aisling Cawley and Ms Michelle Rowley

Building work on the new extension began in October 2006. As members of the teaching staff moved out of mainstream classrooms in to the roles of Learning Support teachers two more permanent staff were appointed Mr Peter Tuohy and Ms Mairead Cafferkey. Also, Mr. Michael Cunningham and Mr. Pat Ruttledge retire.

Completion date for  the new extension is Autumn 2007. It comprises of a fully equipped Sports Hall and 3 classrooms, Library, resource rooms, Staff room, administration area and offices .

Early 2008
The New Extension is nearing completion  - the school has 261 pupils on roll and there are 14 teachers— comprising 9 Class teachers, 1 Principal , 4 Resource teachers, 2 Special Needs Assistants, Secretary and Caretaker

The New Extension is complete — The pupils numbers have increased and with it the staff numbers.

Deputy Principal Mrs. Angela Gavin retires

Principal Mrs. Marie Loftus retires and the new pitch at the back of the school is opened.

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