The heart of Ireland beats in country schools!
Churchtown School is located off the road between Athy and Stradbally. The original school was built in 1857 by the parishioners of the area, quite an achievement ten years after the famine. It replaced a hedge school which operated a mile down the road near the Malthouse. The building was made of limestone and consisted of two buildings; the school and the teacher’s residence. The area was originally called Fassagh Rheban and the ruins of the Church in the adjoining graveyard was the Church for the area. Churchtown was at the centre of a thriving brickyard industry with an estimated 13 brickyards in the area.
The school is situated in the heart of the country. The area of Churchtown, Castlemitchell is steeped in history. The pupils have studied the local history and have a great sense of who they are, where they come from, a sense of their own culture and where they are going. There is a great sense of community here in Churchtown. In the words of local poet Mary D Mullan, “the heart of Ireland beats in country schools”.
It’s the locals like Mary D Mullan (poet and historian) who sadly passed away in 2001, Mrs. Maisie Candy, Ann Smith, Joe Birmingham and Séan Mac Fheorais that we owe so much. Mary D. Mullan even wrote a poem especially for the pupils of Churchtown N.S.
The new school was opened in 1993. It had four bright and cheery classrooms with ensuite toilets. There were two extensions put on to the building, one in 2008 and another in 2016.
We try to celebrate historical events here in the school and the 1916 commemorations were particularly special. See our gallery!
The heart of Ireland beats in country schools,
Where hawthorn blooms,
Where idioms hold sway and old tradition rules,
And Gaelic phrases still refuse to die.
Long live the golden girls and boys
Who march along to country schools today,
In grey November mist or lilac May
Tradition lives; O Lord please
Give these children joys.
-By Mary D Mullan