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Old Schoolhouse

DSC00057.JPGEdgeworthstown was known far and wide for its association with new ideas on education. Its most prominent figure Richard Lovell Edgeworth had personally sponsored a bill in the British Parliament some years earlier which had the stated purpose of setting up a public education system for poorer children in Ireland. A application for a school was submitted and the signatories to that application were the daughter of Richard Lovell, the world famous author and story teller Maria Edgeworth as well as C.J. Edgeworth, Esq. Thomas Gray PP and Laurence Reynolds. This was built on the Ballymahon Road oposite the Fair Green. There were to be two rooms 30ft x 20ft with the lower storey 12ft. high and the upper storey 10ft high. One early report on the school read 'The mistress taught school for the last eighteen years in this town under the patronage of Miss Honoria Edgeworth of the Edgeworth family. The school has been opened for boys on Monday 26th April 1841 and for girls on Monday 3rd May 1841. The children learning the first elements pay 1d a week and children more advanced pay 2d a week'
At the school examination on 3rd July 1855 there were 43 boys present out of an average enrolment of 132 with an average attendance of 54. In December 1891 the school closed in consequence of a serious illness and epidemic in the locality. A report in 1892 read “I certify that an epidemic of typhoid fever prevailed in this town and the neighbourhood during the last quarter of 1891 and the beginning of the present year. Signed - Joseph Langan, LRCSI, Edgeworthstown".
Richard Hyland, who had been assistant since 1st January 1911 now became principal on the 9th July 1911. In 1911 the manager Canon Martin applied for grant towards the cost of enclosing the extension of the site and erecting outoffices.
In 1952 a grant of £3925 was sanctioned towards cost estimated at £4775 to erect a new school including cost of site, furniture etc., to accommodate 80 pupils in two rooms, each of 40 pupils. This school was built further out of town, also on the Ballymahon Road and eventually amalgamated with St. Elizabeth's in 2001). With the opening of this school Richard Hyland retired on pension on 30th June 1953.
This building is now home to Edgeworthstown Community Development offices and is used for training and meetings.