The History of Scartleigh National School

Scartlea school gets its name from the ancient name of the village. Scartlea according to some means “grey thicket” or “shrubbery”.

Saleen the more modern name translates into ‘litte creek’ or ‘sea inlet’.

Crannogs nearby indicate the position of a pre-historic settlement, where young people no doubt were schooled in self-defence, fishing and animal care.

history plaque
history of scartleigh national school

The first school was in Saleen vilage. It was where Saleen Church is standing at present. It was a two-storey, two teacher school. Senior classes were taught downstairs and upstairs junior clases were taught.

Upstairs was accessed via a narrow passage with an outdoor set of steep and dangerous steps. The rooms had a series of small low windows and were dimly lit. Each room had a fireplace which provided heat for the long room and heated the semi-cirular row of milk bottles brought for lunch by the pupils.

Rural electrification had not reached Saleen, so candlelight and paraffin oil lamps were used. Pupils had to walk three or four miles each day to and from school, sometimes in appaling weather conditions.

Jerry Moynihan was the headmaster of Saleen school in the 40’s, he taught the senior classes, while the junior classes were taught by Miss kathleen Quaid.

jerry moynihan

Around 1947 the new school in Scartlea Upper was completed and the school was uprooted from the cosy village environment. The field behind the school, which was part of a farm was used as a pitch and leisure area. There was a gate cutting it off. The toilets were outdoors.

In 1967, Mrs. Mary Condon was employed. When Mrs.Quaid retired Mrs. Veera O’Dulaing took her place. Veera is Donnacha O’Dulaing, an RTE radio presenter’s, wife.

1967 scartleigh ns
school extension

In 2006 the school underwent an extension. Four new classrooms and a new corridor system were built on. Peter Gunning was the Principal at the time.

Peter Gunning also oversaw the opening of a wonderful standalone extension in 2014. This includes eight additional classrooms, a PE hall, four special classes for children with autism, offices, special educational needs rooms and ancillary rooms. The campus was landscaped and includes two new playgrounds and on site-staff parking.

Currently, the school Principal is Denise O’Donovan, a fifth special class has been added and the staff has grown considerably.