|Newton Hall had its official opening on Sunday 24th of
October. Catherine Leonard the chairperson of the hall restoration committee thanked
everyone for coming and gave a brief outline of how the hall was renovated.
Laurence Ryan blessed the building. Present was Minister Charlie McCreevy. Fr. Paul
O Boyle organised a long procession of gifts. The parish priest of Kilcock and
Newtown said a few words of thanks to everyone who was involved in the event.
A large number of people from Newtown, Kilcock and surrounding areas turned up for the
The hall is a beautiful restored building and is available for meetings or small
functions. Any one who is interested in using it please contact Imelda Regan (0405-49954 )
On the 23rd of October several members of the community organised by Mary
Hayden planted daffodils on Lime Tree Avenue in Donadea Forest Park. About 30 Boy Scouts
from Clane helped with the planting. Councillor McEvoy was in attendance. Bulbs were
planted on both sides of the avenue, in all a total of a mile long. The left over bulbs
will be sown in the forest park at a later date.
Refreshments were provided by the hard working ladies who did a great job in feeding
Great credit is due to Mary, Sean Flannery, Clane Boy Scouts and friends who raised all
the funds to buy the bulbs and organised the planting. Thanks to Geogre Hipwell who
presented some special daffodil bulbs to the group and gifts to the Boy
November the 5th Race night in Bridge House Bar, Enfield for Newtown Church
and St Peters Church restoration.
Anyone interested in sponsoring race/horse/jockey please contact 045-869309.Your
support will be greatly appreciated.
Newtown National School in the eighteenth and nineteenth
Newtowns first school was built in 1796 from money raised by
public subscription. In a report for the Commissioners of Irish Education Inquiry, Rev Dr.
Francis Haly P.P. of Kilcock from 1822-1837 and later Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin from
1837 to 1855 reported on the state of education in his parish. In relation to Newtown he
states in 1823 that the present teachers Joseph and Catherine Dunne are Roman Catholic and
are of excellent character. The master was trained at Kildare Place, his salary was £30 a
year paid by subscription. He is provided with a good dwelling house and an acre of land
rent-free. The children are supposed to pay a penny a week but at the end of the previous
year the amount collected did not exceed £3.10s.. The two rooms of the school-house each
measures 38 x 16. The school is built of stone and lime mortar and the roof is
of foreign deal and slated and cost £200 to build.
Fr. Haly states that from 1796 to 1823 due to the zeal of the parish
priests the school was funded by local subscription. But because of a deterioration of the
local economy in the preceding year, Fr. Haly in 1823 felt obliged in the interests of the
poorer children but against his better judgement to apply to the Kildare Place Society who
by now were a recognised proselytising society for funds to repair and furnish the school.
"I was obliged to yield to the necessities with which I was beset, and to apply for a
grant to the Kildare Place Society to enable me to repair the school
application, I most solemnly declare, I would not have made, could I procure from the
usual sources a fund necessary for the repairing and furnishing of the school"
In the late nineteenth and twentieth century there was a number of proselytising
societies The Catholic clergy were hostile and suspicious of schools funded by such
societies. These societies received a limited amount of public funding. One society
founded in 1811 called the Society for promoting the Education of the Poor in
Ireland otherwise more popularly known because of its location as the Kildare Place
Society initially had the support of the
Catholic clergy. From the 1820s the Society became the
subject of increasing criticism from the Catholic clergy. At an annual meeting in 1820
Daniel OConnell supported by Lord Cloncurry claimed that the Societys
regulation regarding the reading of scriptures without note or comment was contradictory
to the Societys stated principle of no interference in the religious beliefs of
children. The motion was defeated and so OConnell resigned from the board of the
Although he also objected to this obnoxious regulation. Fr.
Haly continues to apply for assistance up to April 1826. On 30 March 1826 he applied for
aid for the three schools in his parish which included Newtown. By 8 April he received
approval. But on the 18 April on the instruction of Bishop Doyle he was obliged to
discontinue any association with the Kildare Place Society. "I have come to a
determination to discontinue the connection which has heretofore subsisted between the
schools under my care and the Society for Educating the Poor of Ireland, I must beg leave
to decline accepting of the grants which the Committee have been kind enough to the
Kilcock, Newtown and Tiermohan schools."
A disagreement between Fr. Haly and Lord Cloncurry took place when Lord
Cloncurry in his Personal Recollections alleged that Fr. Haly when P.P. of Kilcock
circumvented the rules of the Kildare Place Society. Lord Cloncurry who was a member of
the board of the Kildare Place Society wrote that a reverend gentleman who was
now a bishop and to whose school he had subscribed to side-stepped a condition of funding
that the Bible should be read without note or comment in the schools which they assisted.
Fr. Haly he implied, complied with this rule by reading the Bible when the school was
empty. Lord Cloncurry states he was in no degree inclined to justify pious
frauds. Fr. Geoghegan P.P. of Kilcock in 1883 recollects a visit from Bishop Haly in
which he showed him a copy of a letter to Lord Cloncurry denying that he ever read the
Bible to empty benches and he also had a letter from Cloncurry giving an apology and a
promise to correct the misstatement in his next edition which was never published.(To be
continued next month.)
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