back home NMNI HOME
  • explore /
  • engage /
  • enjoy

Castletown National School

Castetown National School, Ulster American Folk Park collectionThis National School was moved to the Ulster American Folk Park from the nearby townland of Castletown. The building is dated 1845, although records reveal that there was a school on the original site from the 1790s.

In 1845 the 'Master' at Castletown School was Patrick Mulligan.  He taught the older pupils while his daughter Mary helped out with the infants and with the girls' needlework lessons. The school committee included the local Presbyterian minister, the Catholic parish priest and the Church of Ireland rector, together with representatives from their parishes and congregations.

Castletown National School, Ulster American Folk Park collectionA detailed picture of schooling in this part of County Tyrone is given in an application submitted to the Commissioners of Education for assistance towards the payment of teachers' salaries and for the supply of books, equipment and other materials.

The application, dated April 1845, states that the school building measured 34 feet by 20 feet (10.4 metres by 6.1 metres) and contained a single classroom erected through locally raised funds. The average attendance was seventy. The applicants stated that the inscription 'National School' would be prominently displayed in the schoolhouse. The school was open to children of all denominations.

It was in schools similar to the Castletown National School that children learned to read, write and do simple arithmetic. Most of the pupils' first steps in reading, and in a wide variety of subjects, including geography, science and history, would have been taken from the series of National School readers.