Well-known local historian Tony McCarthy has written a particularly interesting article on the state of Primary Education in Ireland in the early nineteenth century for the Skibbereen & District Historical Society Journal, Vol 16, 2020.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries many European countries began to promote the concept of education for the wider population and particularly for the poorer sections of society.

Tony McCarthy PHI_0234

The Irish Education inquiry of 1824 was the most comprehensive report on primary education in Ireland before the establishment of a national school education system in 1831. Bearing mind that the shadow of the Penal Laws was just lifting from the land in the 1820s, this article covers the rise of education from the hedge schools through to a more formal and organised system.

Statistics for literacy in Ireland for the late 1800s and early 1900s are very meagre and education among the lower classes usually took place within the family.

The returns for Aughadown, Castlehaven, Skibbereen and Rath parishes which were published in 1826 are fascinating and the statistics and the break-down between Catholic and Protestant schools is also very illuminating.

For anyone with an interest in the history of literacy or education, Tony’s article will be particularly compelling, but it will engage readers locally and generally. It is just one of fifteen articles with wide and varied appeal in this year’s Skibbereen Journal.

The Journal is available in bookshops throughout West Cork. We ask you, where possible, to shop local and to support your local bookshop. The 2020 Journal, and back issues, are also on sale online. To visit our online store, click here.

Unfortunately we are unable to post Journals to either Australia or New Zealand at the moment. Because of Covid-19 restrictions there are no flights to either country.

Fascinating insight into Primary Education in early nineteenth century Ireland