We spoke before of the rapidly changing face of Ashbourne and the need to preserve records of its buildings and their origin. This month we focus on the old school in the grounds of the church. Though no longer used as a school the building houses the Parish offices and has been used for many other purposes and meetings, such as rehearsals for choirs and other groups.
The school was opened in 1953 and replaced the original school in what is now often called ‘the village hall’. The plaque on the front of the school states the name of the school as ‘Scoil Mhuire’ (St.Mary’s). What is more interesting is that the parish name is Dun Riabhach, not the modern translation of Ashbourne as Cill Dheaglain. Those who attended school here speak of having been taught to say ‘Ta me I mo chonai I Dun Riabhach’ (‘I live in Dun Riabhach’). Perhaps some of our readers can shed some light on when or why the Irish name was changed?
The national school remained on this site until the new St.Declan’s school was opened in Garden City in 1977. The building was used for some time by Gaelscoil na Cille until its new building was opened on its site in Deerpark.