The face of Ashbourne is changing at such a rapid pace that it is very important to record and photograph the older buildings in the village. One of these buildings is what is called ‘The Parish Hall’ located on Frederick Street, beside the church.
This was built originally as a chapel in 1834 on land provided by the landlord Frederick Bourne. It served as a chapel until the present church opened in 1889. At this time it became the National School and served the children of Ashbourne until the ‘new’ National School (in the church grounds) opened in 1953.
One Ashboume resident has memories of this school:
‘There was a big cross there …. no figure on it but it was a big cross and it was in the schoolyard. I thought afterwards that it was probably there since it was a church. We used to sit on it. .. it was lying on the ground and there were two big trees, weeping willows, one on each side of the gate. There was a good number of pupils ….. they used to come from Donaghmore and they came from Cornstown and near Ballymadun. They came from Fleenstown and the Wotton too. There were fires – big fires, in the school. In Ashbourne there was a partition, one teacher in one half of the school, the other teacher in the other half. They used to pull this back for concerts. One teacher had infants up to second and the other third to sixth and there was a seventh class, of course.’
After the school moved to its new premises the building was revamped and became a Parish Hall with a great variety of activities located there over the years – C.Y.M.S., parish dances, films, drama society, bingo, and even a boxing club.