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Dunbeacon National School



Built in 1902, according to the well carved datestone above the entrance, This small school follows a typical design for National Schools of the period. It consists of two rooms. The one on the left is larger and was presumably for the senior children. It was lit by tall rather elegant sash windows, now badly decayed, and heated by an open fire - close to where the teacher would have had his desk. The smaller room to the right also had an open fire and the marks left on the wall suggest that it might have had a gallery - a tiered seating arrangement. Between the rooms the coat racks still remain. A tiny room off the smaller classroom may have been another cloakroom. The entrance gate and walls have disappeared and the yard is grassed over. A sorry sight today, rapidly disintegrating.

Seosamh Ó Drisceoil, born in 1924, gives a vivid account of growing up in Dunbeacon including going to the school (see link). He fondly remembers the arrival of a new principal and mistress in the late 1920s who taught the children Irish using stories. He also refers to a travelling Irish teacher who ensured they got an excellent education at a time when Irish was not on the curriculum.

take the road out of Durrus towards Schull, the school is on the left as you take the left turn for Schull

This is a forlorn yet compelling little place, lying neglected at a junction. It's full of ghosts and yet retains a kindly and intimate feel. The roof is fast falling in, the floors have gone, the windows are rotting but some beautiful colours remain - layers upon layers of paintwork revealed  in its decay. The pea green colour scheme hints at a once bright and cheerful interior, while the layers of paint revealed on the fireplace in the small room are a work of art in themselves. Names scratched into woodwork and the little rows of wooden pegs make it feel as though the children are not far away.