National School

Location: Ulster Folk Museum / Town Area / 34. National School

This is an original building.

The National School was built in 1837 and sited near Ballycastle, in the parish of Culfeightrim, County Antrim. It was dismantled and moved to the folk museum in 1973. The building was fully restored and furnished to represent a typical National School of the early 1900s.

Applications to the National Board of Education for grant aid were numbered in sequence as they were received. The Ballyverdagh school application is number seven, making this one of the oldest National Schools in Ireland.

The National School system was established in 1831 to provide education for all children between the ages of 6 and 12 years. The national schools provided an excellent basic education. Perhaps their greatest achievement was the significant increase in literacy during the 1800s.

Up to 1899, the boys were sometimes taught in the upper classroom and the girls in the lower classroom. In general, however, pupils of both sexes were taught in the one classroom by one teacher.

Usual attendance was between 50 and 30 pupils. Miss Ester McCurdy, a native of Rathlin Island and a fluent Gaelic speaker was appointed teacher to the school in 1888. She taught in the school until her retirement in 1925. She was succeeded by a Mrs Osborne.

On 16th September 1935 the Ballyverdagh National School was officially closed.

Look at the slates on which children used to write and the assortment of hoops and stilts which would have been used at play time.