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Kells National School: Roll Books and History
by Linda Hogan & Frances O’Halloran

Roll Books (Boys) (1873-1940)

Roll Books (Girls) (1873-1940)

Some of the roll books were missing and there are many gaps in the records, particularly in the girls’ records.

Kells National School

Kells National School, as the date on the front porch says, was built in 1875. For two years before this date a house provided by John Foster was used as a school house, starting on 10th March, 1873. Foster was a big landowner and did a lot for the parish at this time. He was very much behind getting the school built. The O’Brien’s provided the site for the school, near Lough Cullaun, north east of Corofin. The school was closed in 1990.

John Foster’s daughter, Delia, married Captain John Mathew of Dublin (from the same family as Fr Theobald Mathew). They went to the Gold Coast in Africa (modern day Ghana) and had 3 children, Theobald, Kathleen and Gertrude. Captain Mathew died young of malaria and Delia and her 3 children returned to live in Rinroe. Theobald went to school in Kells but the girls’ names do not appear on the roll books. Kathleen was a writer and started the comic strip Curley Wee, which ran in the Irish Independent. Gertrude married Jerry Kelly of Porte and after his death Paddy Joe Mellett of Mayo.
The Foster family were in Rinroe since the 1750s. John Foster’s mother was a Burke from Normangrove and they were known as the Burke Fosters. John Foster was good to people during the famine. One of John Foster’s sons was a doctor attached to the workhouse in Corofin. Another son went to Santa Barbara.

Robert Foster lived in Rinroe House and was a member of the Board of Guardians in Corofin for 50 years. He never married, lived a high life and was known as a ‘ladies man’. He died in poverty in 1892. The house was demolished and the stones used for building in Corofin.

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