(From original website create in 2000. Including the history of Schools that amalgamated in the 1970s to form the current Columcille Naofa.)
The original school at Rathcormac was located south of the present Catholic Church and was built as a two teacher school. In 1870 it had an enrolment of 222 and an average daily attendance of 69. The Girls’ “Observation Book” for the school gives an interesting insight into school life during that period. On 13th February 1871 teachers were not in attendance at 10.00am nor had they presented themselves half an hour later. Mr. E.Woods, the District Inspector, recorded that the assistant teacher arrived at 10.35 am and Mr. Woods was of the opinion that such neglect of duty must entail punishment! On 24th February 1871 proficiency in writing was deemed unsatisfactory while arithmetic was tolerable. By 1921 great improvements seem to have occurred as the District Inspector records that teachers attend punctually and plan their work. No trace of the original building remains. Stones from the building were used in the construction of the grotto in the church grounds.
Staff recorded were:
- Mary Sheridan 1902-1921
- Margaret Feeney 1921-1935
- Mary Cunningham 1902-1921
- Margaret Meehan 1921-1934
This was not the first Rathcormac School but the second one built in 1935.
In 1935 the second Rathcormac school was built as a two teacher school. When the school closed in 1975 Brid Regan was the principal and Kathleen Kearns the assistant teacher. Since its closure the school has had various uses. It reopened in 1979 when the new Rathcormac school began to expand. Two classes were accommodated there (later reducing to one) until 1993 when all classrooms in the new school were completed. It was used as a community school and a pre-school. It is now used as a scout hall.
Staff recorded were:
- Margaret Feeney 1935-1960
- Eileen Gannon 1960-1973
- Brid Regan 1973-1976
- Margaret Meehan 1935-1956
- Eileen Gannon 1957-1960
- Brid Regan 1963-1973
- Kathleen Kearns 1973-1976
Lugnagall N.S. Glencar, Co. Sligo.
The old school building as it was… and as it is now converted into a house
Prior to the building of Lugnagall School in 1907 children from the area west of Glencar lake had to make their way to St. Colmcille’s N.S. at Rathcormac, a distance of three or four miles or to Diffreen School in Upper Glencar which was not only 4 miles distant but was situated in a different county and in a different diocese. School transport was, of course, in the far distant future. Lugnagall was built as a two- teacher school. Staff recorded at Lugnagall were:
- Thomas Moran 1909-1949
- Jim Campbell
- Maura McTighe 1961-1976
- Mary Mc Gloin ?-1962
- Eileen Branley
- Kathleen McGuinness 1971-1975
In 1976 Lugnagall, together with St. Finian’s Carney and St. Colmcille’s N.S., was replaced by a new central school at Rathcormac. The Lugnagall building has been totally refurbished and is now a very attractive dwelling house.
St. Finian’s, Carney, Co. Sligo
Carney Hall now derelict St. Finian’s closed in 1976
In 1870 the school in Carney had an enrolment of 196 and an average daily attendance of only 57. It is not certain if this is the same school as the building now known as Carney hall, in the townland of Carney Jones. This latter school was in operation until 1941 when it was replaced by a new two teacher school. At the time of closing Padraic Tansey was principal and the assistant teacher was Maura McMorrow. Both teachers moved to the new school St. Finian’s. When this school closed in 1976 Michael McTighe was the principal and Margaret Prior was the assistant teacher.
Staff recorded were as follows:
- Padraic Tansey 1941-1953
- Leon McCafferty 1953-1959
- Michael McTighe 1960-1976
- Maura McMorrow 1941-1945
- Bridget McHugh 1946-1947
- Una Gilmartin 1947-1967
- Patsy Currid 1970-1973
- Margaret Prior 1974-1976
Today’s school is an amalgamation of three schools. It was Department of Education policy of amalgamation in the sixties and seventies that recommended the building of larger school. The idea was first mooted in 1964 and the building was opened in 1975. The new building replaced three existing schools in the parish of Drumcliffe. These were Colmcille Naofa, St. Finian’s, Carney, and Lugnagall N.S.
The current St. Colmcille’s N.S. is a 12 teacher school situated about 3 miles north of Sligo town on the main Bundoran road. It was built as a 4 teacher school with a general purpose room in the centre, typical of the buildings of the seventies. However when it opened in 1975 it had to accommodate 5 teachers and so the general purpose room was used as a classroom. This expansion continued through the eighties when enrolments reached 320 and the number of teachers grew to 13. In order to cater for this huge growth the “old school” was brought into use again. For a number of years it accommodated 2 classrooms and then one classroom until it was finally closed in 1993. During that time five new classrooms were added on and the general purpose room was divided. A parish hall was built adjacent to the school under the direction of the present manager Rev. Fr. Donnelly and this provides excellent P.E. facilities for the children of the school. Falling enrollments resulted in the loss of a teacher a few years ago.
2005 was an eventful year at Rathcormac School. It acquired its Green Flag status for environmental friendliness and Michael McTighe, Principal for almost 30 years, retired. Michael was the first Principal of the amalgamated school and his retirement marked the end of an era in the history of the school.
The above information is contained in the book National Schools of County Sligo which was published in November 1999 by the County Sligo INTO Millennium Commit