COMMONALINE NATIONAL SCHOOL
Courtesy of Michael Ryan
Commonaline School opened its doors for the first time in 1888. It was somewhat unique in that it attracted pupils from two Counties - Limerick and Tipperary - and three parishes - Kilcommon, Cappawhite and Doon. Constructed at a cost of £282 it was a building 33' 6" long by 18' 00" wide and 12' 00" high. Located on Kennedy's Farm, it was built to accommodate one hundred children. A further £56.4.8. was spent enclosing it. A grant of £225.9.9. was made available by the Board of Education against total expenditure. Trustees for the project were: Most Rev. Dr. Croke, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly; Very Rev. Thomas Canon O'Donnell, P.P. Doon and Mr. Denis Treacy, Commonaline.
A teacher's residence was completed in 1891. The school had a link with Hollyford in that the townslands of Birchgrove, Mienvee, Toureen, Lossett and Bahaga provided many of its early pupils. This link was largely broken in 1924 when the opening of the "New Road" from Lossett to "Shea's Boreen" made access to Hollyford easier. This, coupled with the death of Terence Deere and the resignation of his wife Hanora, caused many existing pupils from these townslands to transfer to Hollyford National School in 1925 where a new Principal, Liam O'Donnchu had taken over. Amongst those who transferred were the O'Dwyer (Bans.), Mienvee and my own parents as well as other members of their families -Ryan (K), Mienvee and Hickeys, Toureen.
It remained a two teacher school until 1960 when Mr. Senan McMahon retired leaving Miss Sadie Kilbride to run the school on her own until it closed its doors for the final time in July 1965. At that stage only five ipupils remained on the Rolls: - Jim Ryan (Rua), Commonaline, now a publican in Hollyford; Noel McMahon, Foilacleara, grandson of Senan McMahon; John Carr, Glengar and Breda and Eileen Buckley of Glengar. Eileen Buckley was the last pupil to be registered in Commonaline National School. The school (building was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1968. The residence which is also one hundred years old this year continued to be occupied.
The following is a list of those who taught in the school since its inception. (There may be some minor omissions and inaccuracies owing to the absence of the more recent records).
Edward Kelly, Principal, Retired - 28.2.1894
David Lillis, Assistant -13.03.1894 -12.06.1894
Patrick O'Connell, Principal - 20.08.1894 - 25.10.1903
Miss Meagher, Assistant - 01.10.1899 - ? (previously taught in Foilacleara)
ANNIE RYAN, ASSISTANT, RETIRED 03.12.1906
Annie Ryan appears to have been the same Miss Ryan who worked as a monitor in Hollyford for four years up to 1896. She was Ryan (Robera) from Gurth and later married Martin O'Dwyer of the Metal Bridge. Their house had been previously used as a private school by Patrick O'Dwyer. (HFD N.S. 1863 - 1883).
TERENCE DEERE, PRINCIPAL, 26.10.1903 - 08.12.1924
A native of Rearcross, his daughter Mrs. Carew still lives across the Valley
in Foildarrig. He died in December 1924.
MISS E. GREENE, MONITOR, APPOINTED 25.11.1905
HONORA RYAN, ASSISTANT 4.12.1906 -1924
A native of Blackboy, Cappamore. She later married Terence Deere.
BRIDGET McDONAGH, ASSISTANT, 1924 -1946
A native of Tuam, Co. Galway. She taught in Ferbane and came to Commonaline as a replacement for Mrs. Deere (retired). Married to Thomas Treacy of Glengar, she went to Gurtavalla N.S. as Principal in 1946.
MALACHY O'DWYER, PRINCIPAL, 1925
Malachy O'Dwyer was a native of Rossmore and spent only one year in
Commonaline. He died in 1926, aged 30.
WILLIAM NORRIS, PRINCIPAL, JAN. 1926 - DEC. 1929
Came to Commonaline from Carnahalla. A native of Clonmel, his next appointment was in Wexford.
SENAN McMAHON, PRINCIPAL, 1930 -1960 A native of Miltown Malbay, he trained in St. Patrick's Training College and taught in Co. Clare and Co. Mayo before coming to Commonaline. He was a fluent Irish speaker and continued to live in the Residence from the time of his retirement until his death in 1965.
MAI RYAN (DAN), ASSISTANT, SEPT. 1954 - 1949 A native of Hollyford Village she was involved in Drama presentations during her tenure in Commonaline. Now Mrs. Whelan she lives in Limerick.
PEGGY McGRATH, ASSISTANT, c. 1949
A native of Solohead she remained for a short period only, leaving to marry J.M. Keogh, Oola.
MISS B. HICKEY, ASSISTANT, 1949 -1952
A native of Kilkee, Co. Clare, she now lives in England.
SADIE KILBRIDE, ASSISTANT, 1952 -1965
A native of Carnahalla, she was Commonaline's last teacher, serving for the last five years on her own. When the school closed in 1965 she joined a teaching Order of Sisters and now lives in Africa.
Courtesy of Michael Ryan