Saturday, 4 May 2013

Coolmore National School Centenary Ballad 1952

There are many ballads and poems commemorating local events such as centenaries and events that were important to the local people in our area. (Many sadly have been lost but if you are in possession of any email me a copy.) This ballad was written in 1952 to mark the centenary of the building of a school at Coolmore in Rossnowlagh. There had been an earlier school in Coolmore  but the one built in 1852 was to serve the local community until it closed in modern times.

The ballad was written by Fr. Terence O'Donnell O.F.M.  a priest  in the Franciscan Friary at Rossnowlagh which was only a very short distance from Coolmore National School. Fr. Terence was a very well known historian throughout County Donegal and was actively involved in County Donegal Historical Society where he was editor  of "The Donegal Annual" and he published numerous local history articles. Many of the families named in the ballad are still living in the area and no doubt have many memories of their schooldays. Many of the townland names where the students lived are also named.

Coolmore National School Centenary Ballad 1952

Good luck to you, my dear old friends and let me shake each hand
To us has come an honour great, a privilege rare and grand –
We’re met together here tonight  beside the  ocean’s roar,
To greet again, to cheer again, our old school in Coolmore!

The years have rolled away down the stream of time,  
And their deeds are told forever, in stately prose and rime,
One hundred years have passed since opened wide its door,
The dear old school, the friendly school, our own school in Coolmore.

A hundred years have crawled away,with their sorrows and their joys,
Since a merry, bright-eyed band of laughing girls and boys
Came racing down the boreens by the dozen and the score,
The first of all to throng the beaches in the old school at Coolmore.

Our grannies and our grandads – we can name them everyone –
Handsome lads and lovely lassies, hearts a-beating as they run
To pick up fragments from the shelves of learning’s store,
Just one hundred years ago, in the old school at Coolmore!

From every townland in they gather – Corker, Cashel and Rosscat,
Coolbeg, Ardeelan and Rathfragan -  you know the names pit-pat,
From Crockahany, and all along Kilbarron’s storied shore,
They troop, gay-hearted boys and girls, to the old school in Coolmore. 

See the fresh cheeks – round and red as mountain rowans,
Of McCartneys, Reynolds, Ropers, of the Gettins and the Goans,
As  they pass in single file across the wooden floor,
In the hard pursuit of knowledge, at the old school in Coolmore.

There are Lipsetts, Wards and  Ashes, small Pattons and young Deery,
With Kelly and McCafferty, and descendants of O’Clery!
Slevins, Brennans, Barrons – no need to name them o’er,
Blue-eyed boys and lissom colleens, in the old school at Coolmore.

From humble homes they troop  adown the well-known winding lanes,
Decked in summer’s golden glory, or swept by winter’s sleety rains;
Skipping gaily in the sunlight, or soaked by skies that pour
To swell in turgid flood the stream that murmurs by the old  school in Coolmore.

And their noisy, carefree shouting fills each corner o the room,
 Till a loud, commanding voice thunders with a fearful boom:
‘Silence!’ ‘Tis the master, and his deep and mighty roar
Stills every youthful clamour, in the old school at Coolmore.

‘To your places!’ And each pupil slinks into his class,
And the daily round of lessons fills hours that creeping pass,
With reading, writing, ‘rithmetic – aye there were sums galore!
But no fancy higher studies, in the old school at Coolmore.

Some quarried deep in learning’s seam, some only scratched the sod,
Despite the patient skill of Master Mac – and a little dose of rod!
But all that’s past and gone; each mined the precious ore,
Just when and as he could, in the old school at Coolmore!

And the treasure picked up there, in nuggets or in grains,
Was tested in the market of the world – in life’s joys and pains –
And proved without alloy in the press of tribulations sore,
And esteemed the crowning glory, of the old school in Coolmore.

The years have rung their changes in the world since then,
but the school has gone its quiet way, and countless are the men –
And the women too, who, deep in their kind hearts’core,
Breathe a blessing on their teachers, and the old school in Coolmore.

We salute with pride tonight, that dear and kind old spot,
May the good God bless  it:-and may it be the happy lot
Of its pupils and its teachers, when life’s weary day is o’er
To meet again in Heaven – and thank God, for the old school in Coolmore.

Ballyshannon Musings:  Good to hear that people from the Ballyshannon area are enjoying the blog in over 40 countries. I received the following comment in an email this week from a Ballyshannon woman :

"Always a joy to get the blog. Actually, am reading it in a tiny airport on the Thai-Burmese border while waiting on a flight back to China. Love the incongruity!"

Please let people with an interest in Ballyshannon and surrounding areas know about this site, particularly people who are not living locally and those who are abroad. The site is called Ballyshannon Musings and there are a number of back issues available on the internet. 

Copy this link and it can be googled at The site can be located on the internet (or by connecting to my Facebook page). New items will be posted every week on Ballyshannon Musings during 2013the year of “The Gathering”. The blogs are original and are not taken from the book below.

A New Local History suitable for those at Home and Away 

Anthony Begley, local historian, published a new book entitled: "Ballyshannon. Genealogy and History" which reveals newly researched history and genealogy of the town, extending as far as the Rossnowlagh, Cashelard, Corlea, Clyhore, Higginstown and Finner areas. Includes the parishes of Kilbarron and Magh Ene.
The genealogy material provides detailed guidelines for anyone tracing their roots in the area or anywhere in County Donegal or Ireland. The book contains 500 pages and is richly illustrated with stunning colour, aerial photography, original illustrations and rare photographs of the area not seen before.
Topics include: How to go about Tracing your Roots/The first settlers in the area/ Newly researched history of the town of Ballyshannon and the townlands in Kilbarron and Mágh Éne parishes/ Records of the first travellers and tourists to Ballyshannon, Bundoran, Belleek and Ballintra/An aerial guide to place names along the Erne from Ballyshannon to the Bar/Flora and Fauna of the area/ A history of buildings and housing estates in the locality/Graveyard Inscriptions from the Abbey graveyard, St. Joseph’s and St. Anne’s /Rolling back the years with many memories of the Great Famine, Independence struggle, hydro-electric scheme, Gaelic games, boxing, handball, Boy Scouts, soccer, mummers, characters, organisations, folklore and lots more.
Book Available from Anthony Begley Rock Ballyshannon. tel. 0872351044. Enquiries welcome for postal and other details, also available from The Novel Idea Bookshop Ballyshannon and The Four Masters Bookshop Donegal Town.

The Gathering in Ballyshannon: Google “The Gathering in Ballyshannon” for more details of special events you might like to attend later in the year. Lots happening in Ballyshannon in the summertime including Rory Gallagher Festival,  Ballyshannon Folk Festival also Ballyshannon 400 celebrating the granting of a town charter in 1613 and there will also be a commemoration of the Kildoney Fishermen’s victory in 1933. Check out Town Council or for further details.

The Ballyshannon and District Museum, with coffee shop available, is newly opened  in Slevin's Department Store. Well worth a visit Monday to Saturday.

In neigbouring Bundoran there is an exhibition of photographs both old and more modern in The Library and also in the Tourist Office which captures the nostalgia of the seaside town over  the past century. This exhibition will continue for the year of the Gathering and is well worth a look.

Next Blog posted Saturday 11th May called "Ten Local Tourist Attractions 200 Years Ago."

No comments:

Post a Comment