Education: Pre 1854

The Act of Parliament introducing free education in the British Isles was passed in 1831. It was implemented in the Lack/Tonlegee area in 1854. I am unable to trace any record from official sources of any school including a hedge school in this area. Reference was made in the local parish magazine of 1985 to a famous hedge school located near the quarry adjacent to the school, run by a man known as O’Brien Geanc. There were good hedge schools outside the area such as the one at Paradise, outside Ballynacally.

It is likely that limited fee-paying education was available to those who could afford it from the area and that it was provided in the school prior to 1854. A number of local children benefited from pre-1854 education, such as the O’Dea family from Crahera, two members of which, Michael and Patrick, studied for the priesthood, while Michael McNamara from Leimnaleha qualified as a barrister, completing his education at Trinity College and King’s Inns in Dublin. If they received their primary education at Lack/Tonlegee Cross we could conclude that limited local education was available and that the quality was sufficient to progress to further education and a good career.