In March 1905 there was a census taken of all national school teachers on the island of Ireland, these details are available on the National Archives website here, this list was compiled by the National Education Office in 1905 ‘showing the ages and length of service of National School Teachers in the service of the Commissioners of National Education on 31st March, 1905 and, where furnished, their places of education’.
The information available is extremely interesting, especially for those who are descended from these teachers. The only downside is that the details have not been transcribed so you can only search by scrolling through the PDF versions uploaded to the site.
I have gone through all the registers to extract the national school teacher information for the local areas, Blarney, Cloghroe, Dripsey, Berrings and Ballincollig.
The longest serving teacher in Blarney on this date, Thomas O’Leary, was born in 1851, so it is a testament to the character of the man that he was born in the years post the Irish Famine and managed to forge a career as a teacher. He probably was unable to train in any of the Teacher Training Colleges due to an embargo on members attending the Teacher Training Colleges by the Catholic Church and this continued until the 1880s when the Baggot Street College for women was set up and St. Patrick’s Drumcondra for men.
There was a really interesting post on the Muskerry News Facebook page recently, about a set of books that Thomas O’Leary had. The choice of books that he had was eclectic, The Scarlet Letter, MacCarthy Book of Irish Ballads, Longfellow Poems and Bardic Stories of Ireland.
And it is also important to note that Mary A. Bowden was similar, she too was born in the years after the Famine and worked as a national school teacher for thirty-four years up to 1905.
William Murphy, Principal of Cloghroe Boys school, was a teacher for forty-four years by 1905, he was born in 1842 so lived through the Famine years as a young child and went on to become a teacher.
The images below are all taken from the National Archives website.