End of an era for Mallow’s oldest primary school

After 171 years of service to the town and region, and 133 years in its present location at Shortcastle, Mallow No 1 National School this week closes its doors for the final time. Bishop Paul Colton visited the school for the last time yesterday, Wednesday, and children and teachers gathered up symbols of the school’s history and life – the school bell and roll books, for example – and followed him in procession through the town to St James Church for a Service of Thanksgiving for the life and history of the school, led by Rev. Canon Eithne Lynch and presided over by the Bishop. At the end of the service the school bell was passed to the Bishop who entrusted it to representatives of the new Community National School, which will be built in the coming year in St Joseph’s Road. While the new school is being built, pupils will be taught in temporary rooms in Mallow GAA Complex. The principal of the new school will be the current Principal of Mallow (No.1) National School, Mrs Mary O’Riordan.

Canon Eithne Lynch, Rector of Mallow and Chairperson of the Board of Management, said, “While the local Church of Ireland community are sad at leaving a school that has served so many generations of parishioners past and present, we feel that our children will be better served in the new building that has been planned for Mallow. We have an exceptional group of staff and pupils who will move to the new school in the autumn. Our commitment is to making sure that our children receive the best possible education.”

Mallow No. 1 National School (as the Church of Ireland School is known) was founded in 1843, the first of its kind in Mallow. Originally based on the eastern side of Chapel Lane, it moved to its present Shortcastle site in 1881. Today there are 63 pupils at the school, comprising 18 different nationalities. The oldest surviving past-pupil is Mary Coulter (now 99 years old), who attended yesterday’s Thanksgiving Service in St. James’s Church, and one of the school’s well-known alumni is Dr Margaret Bolster, Assistant State Pathologist.