Attempts to Build New School Fail

The school reports state that the school was in very bad condition. There were also continuous shortages of desks and books. The repair and maintenance of the school appear to have been the responsibility of the principal teacher who received a grant for this purpose.

The following is a sample of statements taken from the inspectors’ reports at the time:

1856: Dash and plaster house outside and means to be taken to render floor less damp.
1861: Enclose house with separate yard and repair windows.
1867: Withdrawal of grant threatened unless another window was inserted and roof repaired.
1884: Gable requires plastering outside and the entire exterior should be whitewashed, the doors and windows made fairly watertight and floor mended. A teacher’s rostrum of suitable size and structure made and a clock should be provided.
1888: Manager informed ‘Commissioners will be unable to continue aid to this school unless suitable privies are erected, one for each sex, and necessary repairs effected in the house. Manager must clearly understand that school will be struck off the roll immediately after the next result exam unless the improvements have been previously effected.’
1890: ‘This house is in very bad condition. The front wall overhangs considerably. Something should be done immediately to prevent what way be a dangerous accident.

There were two unsuccessful attempts to build a new school. A grant was approved to build a new school called Mountain National School in 1874. The grant was cancelled in 1879 as no building had been done and the landlord had resumed possession of the site. It must have been possible to view Mount Callan or the Tipperary mountains from the chosen site, which was probably on the Lack to Lissycasey road.

In 1879 a new site was procured and a new grant made available to build a school house, again to be called Mountain National School, to supersede Lack National School. In 1884 this second grant was cancelled, ‘the applicant having failed to avail of it’. The applicant in each case was Fr M. Quinlivan PP. A report dated 1870 states that funds could not be raised for a new school as the people were very poor.

In 1888, 2 years before the collapse of the school, Fr Meade wrote to the Education Board stating:

‘My intention is to build a new school in Lack as soon as the people are able to contribute towards the cost. Owing to the depression of the times they are very poor at present and are unable to pay their rent. The present school is not bad, average 50 pupils, most in the lower classes. When the teacher retires in 2 or 3 years time I will appoint a young man. There will be more interest and people will contribute to a new school. Until then we must strive to keep on the old house as best I [sic] can.’