Mr. Seamus Kavanagh was interviewed by a pupil on Wednesday 4th October 2000.

Fr.Kinsella opened the Old School in 1887. It replaced an older school in Ballinvalley. It was a one-roomed school that would have had a teacher and a monitor. The monitor was a student preparing to be a teacher.

The second room was added later on. At a later date it became a three-teacher school. The big room was divided into two with a partition. There were two shelters built one for boys and the other for girls. There was a toilet each for the boys and girls; these toilets were very dry, as there was no running water. The only water supply was a handpump in the yard over a dug-out well.

The boys from 6th class washed the toilets once a day. This was a popular chore because they escaped school lessons for about an hour. There was also a small hall, which was used for hanging coats and storing coal.There were two fire places and the Parish supplied the coal. On Friday the boys from 6th class went up to Earle' s Bog to collect sticks for starting the fire.

I came to Monamolin on the 2nd February 1957. It was my birthday and it was the wettest day that I remember in the school. There was a force 7 gale and I got a strong board and nailed it to the bottom of the door and it is still in place today.

There were 67 pupils and Mrs. Mary McDonald was the assistant teacher. The boys and girls used the same yard to play. At breaktimes they played a game, which was a mixture football and rugby. The ball was thrown in at the end of the yard and one team tried to force their way to the other end. In all my years watching this game I don't think that there were any rules.

The manager of the school was Fr.Connolly. Mrs.Kinsella and her husband, Pad Kinsella, cleaned the school twice a week. The school was inspected by a Department of Education Inspector about once a year. There was also a Christian Doctrine Inspector named Fr.Anglim....... the children used to call him Fr.Angry.

About this time the Rackard League started. This was a Hurling League for boys in National School under 13 years of age. We took part in all the competitions . We also took part in school sports in Gorey and Wexford. There was no School Transport System or buses at this time and the children had to walk to school. Some children walked over 3 miles and on wet days the attendance would be, understandably, very low.

Families were very large in those days with twelve or fourteen children being usual. The only teaching aids available to us were the blackboard and chalk. The odd time we had coloured chalk and this was a big treat for teachers and children alike. We also used a cane but, thankfully, when we went into the new school in 1968 it became obsolete.

There were big problems with mice and rats in the old school. The vermin being attracted by bread discarded in the yard after break caused much of this problem. We also had a colony of bats living in the loft over the classrooms. I clearly remember finding a nest of 13 bats behind a wall map after the summer holidays.

School concerts were staged in the old hall once a year and we usually went on a school outing once a year, the first tour being in 1957.

We used to give cocoa out at one time. We had a baby Burco boiler and we boiled the water at about 12 o'clock and we had three big enamel jugs and we bought cocoa and sugar by the stone.

Every child had their own mug and their number was written on the bottom of the mug in black paint. A new child arrived the day we were giving out the mugs. He got the mug numbered "1". When he went home that evening his Mammy asked him how he got on in school. "I am a number one mug" he said.

The cocoa was very popular for a while, but then the bigger boys stopped taking cocoa and they began to jeer the younger ones. When they were drinking the cocoa they used to say "suck, suck, suck!" That finished the cocoa project.


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