November Mona Newsletter

______________ Donadea News______________

Newtown National School in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

(continued from the November issue)

On the 4 February 1833 Fr. Haly wrote to the Commissioners of Education requesting funds to replace the roof of Newtown school. In this letter he also writes of the difficulties of the poor in finding employment and sets the pre-famine scene for this part of North Kildare. ‘ ….the men who are able-bodies are willing to work but unfortunately cannot procure employment. Since the digging out of the potatoes in October scarcely one of them has been employed’. There is evidence from various sources of the difficult economic climate in the 1820s and 30s even for the larger tenant farmers in the Cloncurry/Newtown areas. Part of the problem was a change in market demands which resulted in a decrease in labour intensive tillage farming in favour of pasture and stock raising.

New School

In his request for a new roof for Newtown school in February 1833 Fr Haly expects the cost should not exceed 40. He felt that if a heavy fall snow came the present roof could collapse. Again Fr. Haly states the school was established in 1796 and for the last few year has not been in connection with any society. On the rolls are eighty pupils. Forty male and forty females, the same number present winter and summer. The school can accommodate 200 children. The master’s salary of 22 is paid by subscription from gentlemen of the surrounding area. Lord Cloncurry subscribes ten pounds a year. Scholars pay about four shillings a quarter, but because of the poverty of the area only a few pay this.

Seemingly during the summer of 1833 Fr. Haly reconsidered his application for a new roof. On the 23 September 1833 he applied for a grant to build a new school on the same site as the old one. He says in his report that the school is at present ‘a ruin’ and in his parochial report in 1823 that without his endeavours the school would speedily fall to the ground.

For a grant to be sanctioned by the Board, it was required that one third of the building costs be raised locally. The total cost of the new school was 337.16 , local contributions amounted to 112.16 and the Board’s grant amounted to 225.00. The size of the new schools is considerable larger than the old one. The dimensions of the upper room is now 48’ x 19’ and the lower room 44’ x 19’. It is to be built of stone lime and mortar with a slated roof. There was no rent due as the school was built on a piece of Commons. The master’s house is separate from the school house. The school is bounded on the north west by the road, on the south east by Michael Dillon’s garden, on the north east by the school master’s garden and on the south west by the passage leading to Michael Dillon’s garden.

The Commissioners of Education had decided that the new system of primary education should be non-denominational. In its efforts to enforce this stipulation an application for grant aid would be viewed with particular favour if it contained the signatures of both Catholic and Protestant clergy of the parish. In the case of Newtown Fr. Haly states that the signatures of the Protestant clergy was asked for, but refused. The Protestant children were sent to a school patronised by Sir Gerald Alymer of Donadea. This situation is probably typical of many around the country. But grant aid was not refused or delayed. The Commissioners gave way to the contentious issue of religious educational segregation. By the 1870s it had become clear that nondenominationalism would not work in Ireland. The new school was opened on 2 May 1836. The inspector’s comment was ‘the house an excellent one’. In 1837 similarly ‘a useful school’. The number of children attending the new school surpassed Fr. Haly’s estimation

of 200. The number of pupils on the rolls for 1836 was 151 males and 167 females. Thereafter the numbers on the rolls dropped. By 1842 there was only 50 males and 59 females. Part of the problem seems to have been the difficulty in procuring teachers in the early 1840s. Inspector’s report in 1841 states ‘No teacher for last 12 months’. Fr. Haly left the parish in 1837 to become Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. Rev. Comerford in his appraisal of Dr. Haly highlights his life long interest in education ‘above all, an enthusiastic devotion to the cause of education - a devotion which never waned, and which died within him only when his heart ceased to beat…’.


National Archives.

Revd. Martin Brenan, Schools of Kildare and Leighlin A.D. 1775-1835,(Dublin, 1935)

Revd. Comerford, Collections relating to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin - Second Series: Diocese of Kildare, (Dublin, n.d.).

Thomas McGrath, Politics interdenominational relations and education in the public ministry of Bishop James Doyle of Kildare and Leighlin 1786-1834, (Dublin, 1999).

Newtown - Donadea Senior’s Social Club

The newly formed Newtown - Donadea seniors social club will host their first function with a tea party in Newtown Hall on Sunday Dec 12th 3-6 p.m. We hope to see all seats filled. We promise an evening of music and craic. We need you all to make this venture a success, so pass the word on & be sure to encourage your neighbour to come along .Transport will be provided if you need it

It is our aim to provide a day care drop in centre hopefully opening in January 2000 for all our senior & not so senior citizens. To help finance the purchase of some necessary items we are holding a Christmas raffle, your support for this would be greatly appreciated.

Indigo National Children’s Day Bravery Award 1999.

While watching "Kenny Live" last spring I became aware of the Indigo National Children’s Day Bravery Awards. I decided to nominate my sister Eilish for an award as they were seeking nominations then. As Indigo, the internet service providers, are the sponsors you could email your entry this year, which I did.

I nominated Eilish because she had major surgery to separate her from her conjoined twin sister Katie, who died 4 days after surgery. Eilish spent seven months in hospital when she was 3 years old. she wears an artificial leg and despite frequent hospital visits she is still a normal 11 year old.

In mid September we got a phone call to say that Eilish was selected to receive one of the ten bravery awards to be presented by Mrs. Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, on October 3rd in Dublin Castle. We were told that Eilish, my parents and myself would be staying in Dublin for that weekend in a hotel along with the nine other recipients of the bravery award.

We met the other families in Dublin on October 1st and they were from all over the country. Each child was very deserving of the award and good friends were made before the weekend was over. Three of the award recipients, Eilish, Dylan and Sadbh, appeared on the "Late Late Show" while there was a party arranged for the remaining recipients back at the hotel. Eilish and her two new friends joined the party after their visit to RTE. There were many celebrities on hand at the party including The Corrs, Mick McCarthy, Ray D,Arcy, Mary Kingston and the "Den 2" crew.

On Saturday, Eilish and some of her friends from Tiermohan N.S. attended the " Young Gladiators" at the National Basketball Stadium Arena where more celebrities including Paul McGrath and hunter and Rebel from the British Gladiators attended.

Sunday was the big day. We were driven to Dublin Castle in "stretch limos". The privilege of driving through the streets of Dublin with 8 Garda escort and the traffic giving way to us was enjoyed by all. Arriving at Dublin Castle was spectacular with a brass band and majorettes. A large media presence of T.V. cameras and press photographers was on hand. We were taken to the Erin Room where we awaited the entrance of Mrs. McAleese. Ray D’Arcy introduced a number of the organisers of the event and they gave good speeches. The President gave a very good speech also and then she presented the ten children with their certificates.

Following this Mrs. McAleese was persuaded to sing the "Barney Song" with help from the children. With the formalities over it was down to enjoying the music of "Fore Front". Newspaper reporters and radio and T.V. crews interviewed all the families and recipients. Many photographs were taken and everyone had time to talk with most of the celebrities mentioned before and some others who attended. Eventually it was time to return to the hotel and say goodbye to all the friends that we made during the weekend.

I am so pleased that I nominated Eilish and I would like to thank I.N.C.D. and all the celebrities who gave up their time to make a very special time for all my family.

I would encourage any reader to nominate a brave child that they know next spring when the nominations are open again. Also you can visit the web site at


Written by Claire Holton.

The Tir na Mona "Wren Boy Pageant" in Donadea Forest Park and local pubs on December 26th at 1.30 pm will take up a collection to support Our Lady’s Hosp. for Sick Children, Crumlin and International Orphan Aid, Ireland through I.N.C.D.

Millennium Russian Orphanage Christmas Appeal

Clane Donadea Chernobyl link is organising a fund raiser in Connollys of Ballagh on Sunday 5th December at 8p.m.

Live, music, craic and a monster raffle will take place. The first ten prizes will consist of the following, oil painting , bog oak candelabra, bog oak clocks, btl. of brandy & 2 wines, 2 pieces of fine china, 2 tee-shirts valued at 44.00, tripod stool , 6 food platters, 30.00 gift voucher, wine & cheese hamper. In addition to these 1st 10 prizes, many more items will be raffled. Lines and tickets will be 1 on the night. Please support this worthy cause. The orphanage at Hortlova is being systematically improved under the auspices of Debbie Deegan of "To Russia with love", Blackrock. Already the 170 children living in this orphanage have each been given a new set of clothes, prior to that they would have had to share their clothes communally ,and giving each their own at least gives them some sort of identity and individuality. The kitchen, has been refurbished, the bathroom and now the dormitories are being done. A team of Irish nurses are sharing duties and rotas to provide that special love and care these children had heretofore lacked. There are particular appeals for educational goods for example, pens, paper copy books, books, etc. and of course the ever needed medical supplies, from vaccines to plasters, bandages, dressings and antiseptic creams.

Many thanks for your support. For further information please call 045-869138 or 869416. People who wish to contribute spot prizes for the raffle could contact the above no’s as anything and everything is welcome.

Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Grogan on their golden wedding anniversary. we wish many more years of happiness together

Scoil Dara Development Fund Draw

Super Prizes of Cars, Holidays & Cash.

To enter this draw please phone Liam on 045 869309.

First draw on 8th Dec.

Art right on the night

A very successful art exhibition took place in Connoly’s of Ballagh House on October 28th last. Arranged and co-ordinated by Noleen Walsh, the generous sponsorships of local business’s made this very successful night possible. Fund raising was organised by Dolores Kennedy and without her effort to cover the tasks of lighting, printing & hanging it would never have come together. 177 pieces were exhibited, including paintings in oils, acrylics, water-colours decoupage, bog oak & fine wood turnings. 45 pieces were sold and over 300 was raised from a small commission on sales. This money went to the Clane Donadea Chernobyl link for the orphanage at Hortlova.

Dick Warner kindly opened the exhibition and passed specific comment on the terrific lighting, skilfully installed by Jim Colgan. Thanks Jim and Janet! Thanks also to Gerry Connolly for the use of the premises; to Michael Reilly who contributed generously; to Morna Hosey, Bernadette Crean, Maggie Kennedy and all who helped to make this such a successful night; and to all the local businesses who generously contributed spot prizes for the raffle and sold tickets on the night.


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