This history, probably the first written by an ex student from Lack school, is my best effort to create and preserve a limited record of the Lack area, covering the period 1850 to 2000. I have a great interest in the area where I spent the first 18 years of my life. It has resulted in me keeping in touch with the people of the area over the years, searching out the past, studying the available records and taking photographs.

As a first step, I made an earlier version of this information available generally through the Clare Library website in 2003. There have been many additions in the meantime dealing with the various facets of life in the area over the years.

In response to encouragement from the local population, most of whom did not have access to the internet, I printed the contents of this site having restructured it, adding much additional information and photographs and made it available in a book to meet local demand in 2010.

Fortunately, I took a three-minute film of the school on the week that it closed in July 1975. I have succeeded in extracting a number of photographs from this film, which are displayed in the website. While the quality is poor, they provide a good image of our school days in the summer weeks leading up to the holidays. I have also included a wide range of my photographs taken over the past thirty years in the area.

The first section of this website deals with the school, tracing the introduction of official education into the area in the mid-nineteenth century. It details the development of education up to the introduction of compulsory education. Of particular interest are the conditions in the old school, the record of the fire that burned it down, the temporary school that served the area for 8 years and finally the school that was built 112 years ago and which we have become so familiar with over the years.

Section 2 throws some light on the impact of education in opening up better employment opportunities for the pupils, particularly in the civil service and in the public authorities generally, such as health and education. As I have very little information on those who took up employment in the private sector, both at home and abroad, I was unable to deal with their achievements. The website provides a record of all the children of the area during their school years. It contains a study of almost 1,200 Christian names and surnames that were prevalent in the area over a century.

Every district in the country has produced its own characters over the centuries. Section 3, entitled ‘People and Activity’, gives a brief account of a range of individuals of special interest from the point of view of their varied talents and their general impact on the life of the area of Lack: People like Sonny Honan, a great scholar, Buddy Connell, a musician, mechanic, electrician and general all-round handyman, and Michael Haugh, the great traveller and plasterer. A book could be written on any one of them. Sadly, when they die they are forgotten within a short period of time. In writing a brief account of a number of these persons, I am striving to keep their memory alive.

Section 3 also contains information under a range of headings such as Sport, Industry, Music and Leisure.

The appendices contain a wide range of records, such as some landmarks in the area at various times, a collection of school photographs of the pupils, a listing of the school teachers and managers, and, finally, a record of all 1,182 pupils who registered at the school.
The preparation of the website record and book has involved a considerable amount of time and effort. I hope it will achieve my objective of making available a permanent record of the school, people and activity in the area of Lack. I take this opportunity to thank the many past pupils listed in Appendix A who assisted me with this work and encouraged me to continue when I might have considered giving up.

I am indebted to Elizabeth Brennan for her editorial. I also wish to thank my son, Darragh, for creating this website and the Lack – School & People book which is available for purchase at Blurb.

James Hehir
March 2012