School History

History of Mountpleasant N.S. 

Mountpleasant N.S., situated in the village of Ballyglass, is a 5 teacher school with an enrolment of 85 pupils. The village of Ballyglass is situated 10 miles south of Castlebar, 9 miles S.E. of Claremorris & 8 miles S.W. of Ballinrobe. Situated in the plains of Mayo, Ballyglass is noted for the quality of its farm land. This has probably given rise, in the past, to the large number of ring forts and the number of landlords in the area:, Lord Clanmorris(Bingham) of Newbrook House, the Blakes of Towerhill Hse. ,the Blakes of Ballinafad, the Brownes of Summerhill Hse., and the Mahons of Mountpleasant Hse. from which the school derives its name. The catchment area of Mountpleasant School straddles the parishes of Carnacon and Mayo Abbey.

The History of the Old School 

The old school was built on a site leased on a 99 year lease from Mr. McEvilly who lived where Sean & Sheila Gilligan now live. The parish priest in Carnacon Fr.McEvilly (no relative to Mr.McEvilly) negotiated a 99 year lease on the site on behalf of the diocese. The contractor for the building was Mr. Richardson, Westport. Local stones were used in the construction, men from the locality worked from dawn to dusk for 12 shillings(48 cent per week). Tom Prendergast, Rathnacreeva, and Dan Moran whose great grandchildren now attend our school, worked as labourers on the construction of the school. Dan Moran was grandfather of Michael Keavney R.I.P. Danny Killeen, Una Prendergast, & Olive Walsh. 

The old school was built in 1888 and opened in 1889. It was built as a two teacher school, segregated into a boy's and girl's school. It replaced a one roomed thatched school near the same site called Rosslee N.S. ( It was in the parish of Rosslee a half parish of Mayo Abbey). Mr. and Mrs. John McCarrick taught there- one teacher at each end of the room. Their daughter married Michael Langan and both taught in the 1889 school. Their son, Peadar Langan, and his cousin Kathleen Rohan (Kathleen Ryder by marriage) subsequently taught there. Peadar Langan's son, Joe Langan, later Principal of Davitt College and acting C.E.O., Mayo V.E.C. taught there in a temporary capacity for a few years. Also on the staff was Mrs. Nora Joyce (nee Barnicle), Cloghannageeragh, Donamoona, Belcara, whose grandchildren later attended the school. Mrs. Mary McGarry (nee O'Toole from Clogher) replaced Mrs.Langan in 1929. She retired in 1972. Mrs. McGarry died in her 100th year on 30th of April 2003. 

The playground was divided by a high wall to keep the boys & girls separated at play time. There was a block of dry toilets & two turf sheds, a boys and a girls at the back of the school. In the 1930's /1940's the boys school and girls school were amalgamated and for the first time Mountpleasant N.S. became a united school. The staff at this time were Mr. Peadar Langan Principal, Mrs. Mamie McGarry vice Principal, Mrs. Kathleen Rohan and Mrs. Nora Barnacle. 

In 1970 Fr. Michael Keane, manager at that time, negotiated to have the school renovated. During that period of renovation parents withdrew their children as a protest to have the playground (with dividing wall removed at that stage) tarmaced. Ceilings were lowered, floors were replaced, central heating installed, and hand basins & outside flush toilets were built at the end of the playground. 

General decoration of the building improved the conditions enormously. A number of years later the exterior of the building was plastered by Mr. Gibbons & Sons from Killawalla. Mrs. Margaret Tuffy replaced Mrs. McGarry in 1972. Mrs. Rita Nestor was appointed as third assistant in 1977, when the school again became a 4 teacher school, as there was accommodation for her. The room, which now houses the play school, was divided with a timber partition. (John Murray R.I.P. was the contractor) Mrs. Boyle & Mrs. Nestor shared the room until an old prefabricated classroom was purchased & put in place on a site in John Gilligan's field adjoining the old school. 

Mrs. Nestor 1st & 2nd classes occupied that room until they moved to the new school in 1986. The prefab was a terrible facility. It was freezing cold in the winter & roasting in summer. The pre-fab, as it was called, became rat infested as did the school itself. A "Rat Man" was contracted to lay poison regularly. Rats did under what was Mrs. Tuffy's room & the smell was unbearable at times. Children got sick regularly from the stench. The Health Inspector was called in, but he decided that the smell wasn't a health hazard. After much agitation, the Department of Education eventually gave the go ahead for a new school to be built 13 years after the idea was first mooted and after a suggestion of amalgamation with Burriscarra was turned down in no uncertain manner by the parents of that school.