Clooneagh School features quite a lot in the story of the Doyles. As the local national school, this is of course inevtable, but it a short account might be of interest.

The school building still stands, though it has been some years since it was last used for educational purposes. Today (2014) a partially completed renovation to a dwelling house provides some tribute to the sturdiness of the original architercture. But in the days when it was a school it featured in differing ways among the lives of many of the subjects of this history.

The school was divided into a boys and a girls section, and while student rolls of the boys' section remain, those of the girls' do not. This means that the records of Elizabeth Reynolds, the daughters of Nicholas and Edward Doyle, the daughters of Mary Doyle Nicholl, and the daughters of John Doyle do not exist.

The first 'connection' of the Doyles can be traced to 1868, when the teacher Edward Doyle, he who is buried in the same plot as the Clooncarne Doyles in Cloonmorris Cemetery, seems to have been appointed as the first principal teacher of the school. He continued in this role until his death in 1877.

The next connection was that of Elizabeth or Eliza Reynolds, who married Edward Doyle in 1885. While her actual school record is unavailable, the family tradition had it that she was a teacher. We have found no evidence to support that, although that is not to refute the claim. But what the records do show us is that from March 1874 to March 1879, she served as a 2nd class monitor in Clooneagh, and in March 1879 she was appointed as a 1st class monitor.

Under the monitor system, gifted students were used by the teachers as aids in teaching the younger ones. A child could not be made a monitor until he or she was at least 13 years old, and it was generally expected that children who served as monitors were thus positioned to go on to become teachers. We have not found any trace of Elizabeth being appointed as a fully fledged teacher but the possibility cannot be ruled out.

We also have records of the attendance at the boys' school of the following:




Edward Doyle

10th October 1870 to 30th June 1874

son of Nicholas

John Doyle

April 1894 to 28th February 1902

Son of Edward

Michael Joseph Doyle

March 1898 to March 1906

Son of Edward

Bernard Doyle

May 1904 to June 1913

Son of Edward

Edward Doyle

March 1895 to March 1903

Son of Edward

James Nicholl

Apr 1896 to 28 Feb 1897

Son of Richard Nicholla nd Mary Doyle. He only attended for 5 days in total over the entire period


One final note of interest. While we know that all of John Doyles children attended the school in the 1930s and 1940s. we have not attempted to find their detailed records. But in either 1937 or 1938, Elizabeth (Lizzie) composed an essay for the Schools Folklore Collection entitled "Customs on Bonfire Night". This is her only entry in the Clooneagh School book, and is based on material from her father, John. The Schools Folklore Collection was an attempt to gather information on customs and stories that were dying out. The students were encouraged to speak to older people in their localities and to capture from them stories that were then collated by their teachers into School volumes that were retained.

Clooneagh National School, about 2005