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Whiddy Island National School


Lewis' Topological Dictionary of 1837 mentions a National School on Whiddy Island, and by 1875 Mrs Tobin had 93 pupils in her charge. This attractive little building dates from 1887, according to its finely carved datestone, and presumably replaced the original school. It consisted of a roomy porch with pegs for cloaks and a large wainscotted schoolroom.  A small walled yard gave plenty of playing opportunities. By 1946 there were less than 7 children on roll and the school was eventually closed on the 31st December 1947. According to the census of 2011, Whiddy has 20 inhabitants, sadly not enough for a new school.


This attractive little building, door ajar with roses rambling up the walls, is now abandoned and open to the elements but still retains a strong and warm atmosphere. Maybe it's the jaunty blue paint  that covers everything from the doors and windows, to the desks and cupboards inside. Or maybe it's the fact that the teacher's desk and the children's desks are still there, an assortment of crayons still waiting to be used. When I went, three men were also visiting - they told me that their mother had gone to this school many years before. They asked that I photograph them by the teacher's desk. It all felt a bit melancholy