" A Note From Kathleen and Maura About Their Days in
Slieverue National School "
...The school days of someone who attended the old Natinal School in the late 50's - early 60's were very different to those of the present day. The school building itself consisted of 3 classrooms and 2 entrance porches, -a "small" and a "big" yard with each having an outside shed and an outside "no-flush" toilet. There were 3 teachers: Mrs Morrissey, who taught "little babies"-junior infants, "big babies"-senior infants and 1st class. Miss Denn taught 2nd and 3rd class and Mr. Hurley-the master-taught 4th , 5th and 6th classes.
Children who lived close to the school- from Airmount and Slieverue village and even those who lived in Peafield and Nicholastown walked to school. Some may have taken a spin on a tractor or trailer bringing churns of milk to the local creamery. During the winter time, cocoa was made for the children who didnt go home for lunch. Each child staying for lunch brought in a bottle of milk, usually a glass bottle with a cork stopper and it was all collected and put into a Burco boiler which stood in the corner of Mrs Morrisseys room.
Great emphasis was placed on pen-manship, tables and spellings in school. Ink wells were usually filled with blue ink and we wrote with our nib-pens in our headline copies to perfect our writing. Spelling tests occurred every Friday from 3rd class up- usually 10 of each and the "bata" would come into use if anyone got them wrong. History and Goegraphy were taught from 4th class. Every Wednesday afternoon , the girls from 4th, 5th and 6th would go to Miss Denns class for the afternoon and learn how to knit and sew. We learned how to hem, and how to do the back-stitch and the running stitch.
Before going to Miss Denn's class, we had to make sure our hands were spotlessly clean. So we usually went to "the pump" which was located just above Mulligans House- alas its gone now- and someone usually manned the handle of the pump to keep the water coming while we all scrubbed and washed our hands and nails.
Confirmation took place every 2nd or 3rd year- pupils from 5th and 6th class being confirmed together. We usually had to do an oral examination on our Confirmation questions beforehand . They were conducted by the Diocesan Examiner. Confirmation took place in Ferrybank Church.
School games at lunch time consisted of Skipping, Ring a Rosy, Wallflowers, Thread the Needle and Sew, Queenie, Tig and Chase. We usually played in the school yard but some of the older children played on the road infront of the school as there were very few cars so it was safe to do so.
Discipline was very strict. We weren't allowed to talk unless when asked a question. But on a wet day, we made plenty of noise while the teachers were having their lunch. We would often sit on the desks and try to find various plae on the maps that hung on the wall. Religion was also very important and we had to learn off various answers and prayers from our Catechism....."
Mrs Morrisey was our favourite teacher as she was such a colourful character - down to her red nail polish- and she was full of fun.