Lack School - 1863 to 1975

A History of the School and its Pupils
by James Hehir


1. Foreword

To all past pupils

View of Lack School from the road

In the 112 year period from 1863 to 1975, 1175 pupils registered to attend school at Lack/Tonlegee cross. This project seeks to put on record the names and addresses of these pupils and the history of their school, acquired from the school register, the national archives and consultations with past pupils. It is intended that it will become a permanent record of a school that took the people of the area from the ignorance of the mid 19th century to the high education standards of the later 20th century.

We are very fortunate that the earlier records were saved from the 1890 fire that destroyed the old school. We are indebted to the locals who removed the teacher's desk containing them from the fire. It would be regrettable if this irreplaceable local information was lost to the current and future generations from the area.

There were many inaccuracies in the school register. Generally they consisted of incorrect addresses while some pupils were not recorded. Any inaccuracies or omissions anywhere in the history brought to my attention will be corrected. As I have not resided in the area for almost 40 years I have been depending on a number of local people spread over the area to help me ensure that the finished exercise is as accurate and complete as possible.

The impact of education in the area is reflected in chapters 11 which detail the many pupils who, through further education, obtained employment in the public service and in many cases their notable achievements. In seeking to tell the story of those that obtained further education this report tells only part of the story. Most past pupils are employed in the private sector at home in Ireland or abroad. Their achievements are also remarkable. For example, the revolution in agriculture where farm output has increased enormously while farm labour has declined dramatically. Others have been very successful in business. Perhaps somebody is willing to research and record their story.

I also considered it worthwhile to attempt to list people with any exceptional or unique talent. It could be in any field such as business, sport, travel, music, military, story telling etc. No list could ever be complete. I trust it will be an honest attempt to recognise such persons. I would like to see some representation from the 19th century to keep the remaining memories alive. If anybody has any suggestions to offer or material they consider appropriate I would be pleased to hear from you. I would also welcome any additional school photographs available. Please email me at the address below.

The history also contains information on the school catchment area i.e. sports, industry, music, leisure, landmarks and personalities. It is based on personal knowledge and consultation with some past pupils. It is likely that much of this piece of local history would be lost if not recorded.

Most of the images of the school were captured from film shot on the week the school closed in July 1975. The photographs of past pupils generally relate to their youth as the subject of the history is mainly primary school.

Initially a copy of this history will be presented to the Clare County Library for inclusion in their website. Later, I would like to see it printed with an additional chapter dealing with the past pupils who emigrated or worked/work in the private sector in order to complete the exercise.

The preparation of this school history has involved a considerable amount of time and effort. I hope it will achieve my objective of making available a permanent record of the school and its pupils. I take this opportunity to thank the many past pupils listed in Appendix E who assisted me with this work and encouraged me to continue when I might have considered giving up.
Last but not least I wish to thank my son Darragh for designing and building this website.

James Hehir
January 2004