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SWIFTY
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Posts: 1033

 

The Hedge Schools

 

There must be something about prohibitions that make citizens defy even the strongest government. In America, prohibition of alcoholic beverages led to a thriving industry in "bootleg" whiskey; in Ireland, prohibition of Roman Catholic education led to a thriving industry in "bootleg" schools, Ireland's Hedge Schools.

 

The Hedge Schools emerged out of the harshness of the infamous Penal Laws, passed between 1702 and 1719. One of the first of the Penal Laws specified that "no person of the popish religion shall publicly or in private houses teach school, or instruct youth in learning within this realm..." One commentator on this Penal Law said that "It was not merely the persecution of a religion, it was an attempt to degrade and demoralize a whole nation." A law so unjust as this pleaded to be defied and the Irish of the 18th century were equal to the challenge.

 

It was not that there were no schools in Ireland open to Roman Catholic children that led to the Hedge Schools. The English government sponsored schools but the majority of the Catholic population refused to use them. The government schools were clearly intended to proselytize and to Anglicize Ireland. As late as 1825, the Protestant hierarchy petitioned the King, saying "amongst the ways to convert and civilise the Deluded People, the most necessary have always been thought to be that a sufficient number of English Protestant Schools be erected, wherein the Children of the Irish Natives should be instructed in the English Tongue and in the Fundamental Principles of the True Religion."

 

The Irish who could afford the Hedgemaster's fee sent their children to Hedge Schools where Gaelic brehons, storytellers and musicians secretly taught Irish history, tradition, and told tales of the Irish children's ancestry. Popular history places these schools under ruined walls or in dry ditches by the roadside. Some lessons, no doubt, were taught in the shadow of a hedge while others were taught in barns. Some schools even had names, such as the Moate Lane School where Edmund Rice, founder of the Irish Christian Brothers, received his education. Some were even more comfortable than the state sponsored Diocesan and Charter schools and held to a higher standard of instruction, including classical training in Ovid and Virgil.

 

A Commission of Inquiry reported in 1826 that of the 550,000 pupils enrolled in all schools in Ireland, 403,000 were in Hedge Schools. Sadly, too many children had no schooling. Their need motivated two of the great Irish educators. Nano Nagle defied the Penal Laws to open schools for the children of the poor in the mid-1700's and she founded the Order of the Presentation Sisters to continue her work. Inspired by Nano Nagle, Edmund Rice opened schools for the poor to counter the English use of the schools to proselytize and left the Christian Brothers to teach "Paddy Stink and Mickey Mud."

 

The Penal Laws were gradually repealed, the prohibition on Irish teachers being lifted in 1782. In 1832, State elementary schools acceptable to the Irish Catholic population were instituted, resulting in the waning of the Hedge School system. The Hedge Schools had done what was needed to demonstrate that the Irish would defy laws that were aimed at destroying their culture and they demonstrated the love of the Irish for learning. They also give us many romantic visions of children and Hedgemaster studying Greek and Latin with the sky as their ceiling and the emerald green turf of Ireland as their floor. John O'Hagan's verse gives us the image of the Hedge Schools that the Irish cherish:

 

I Still crouching 'neath the sheltering hedge,

Or stretched on mountain fern,

The teacher and his pupils met feloniously to learn.

 


(written by John Walsh)

 

© Irish Cultural Society of the Garden City Area


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WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


July 2, 2010 at 4:21 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

A hedge school (Irish names include scoil chois claí, scoil ghairid and scoil scairte) is the name given to an educational practice in 18th and 19th century Ireland, so called due to its rural nature. It came about as local educated men began an oral tradition of teaching the community. With the advent of the commercial world in Ireland after 1600, its peasant society saw the need for greater education.

While the "hedge school" label suggests the classes always took place out-doors (by a hedgerow), classes were more regularly held in a house or barn. Subjects included primarily basic grammar, English and maths (the fundamental "three Rs"). In some schools the Irish bardic tradition, Latin, history and home economics were also taught. Reading was generally based on chapbooks, sold at fairs, typically with exciting stories of well-known adventurers and outlaws. Payment was generally made per subject, and brighter pupils would often compete locally with their teachers.

While Catholic schools were forbidden under the Penal laws from 1723 to 1782, no hedge teachers were known to be prosecuted. Indeed, official records were made of hedge schools by census makers. Example The laws' main target was education by the main Catholic religious orders, whose wealthier establishments were occasionally confiscated. The laws aimed to force Irish Catholics of the middle classes and gentry to convert to Anglicanism if they wanted a good education in Ireland.

Hedge schools declined from the foundation of the National School system by government in the 1830s. James Doyle, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin preferred this, as the new schools would be largely under the control of his church and allow a better teaching of Catholic doctrine.[citation needed] He wrote to his priests in 1831:

“ [The Roman Catholic bishops] welcomed the rule which requires that all the teachers henceforth to be employed be provided from some Model School, with a certificate of their competency, that will aid us in a work of great difficulty, to wit, that of suppressing hedge schools, and placing youths under the direction of competent teachers, and of those only. ”

Fernández-Suárez (see below) has found that hedge schools existed into the 1890s, suggesting that the schools had existed as much from rural poverty and a lack of resources as from religious oppression. Marianne Eliott also mentions that they were used by the poor and not just by the Catholics. While the hedge schools were unfunded, the national school system set up from 1831 was ahead of school provision in England at that time. After 1900 some historians like Daniel Corkery tended to emphasize the hedge schools' classical studies (in Latin and Greek) - however, while these studies were sometimes taught (based on a local demand) they were not always common to every school


--

 

WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


July 2, 2010 at 4:21 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

 

Laws about Catholic Education


In the 17th Century new laws were passed in Ireland. They were known as the 'Penal Laws'. They came into force during the reign of King William of Orange who had been victorious over the Catholic King James the 11th at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

 

The penal laws of 1695 made strict laws against Catholics because the rulers of Ireland at the time were afraid that they would become too powerful and rebel. Below are some examples if penal laws.


 

No Catholic could become a teacher

To overcome this law, some Catholic school masters worked as under-masters in Protestant schools. A new law was brought out forbidding this in 1709.

 


It was illegal to send Catholic children to school

It was hoped that by having no Catholic schoolmasters there would be no Catholic schools set up and that Catholics would send their children to Protestant schools which the government preferred.

 

It was hoped that children attending these schools would learn to be loyal to the crown of England, would learn the English language and would adopt the Protestant faith.

 

Penal Laws repealed


The penal laws were repealed in 1782

but many parents still continued to send their children to hedge schools up until about the 1840's. After the end of the penal laws these schools did not have to be such temporary dwellings in hedges. Some hedge schools were also in places like cowhouses, mud cabins and some were built of sods by the parents of the children. They were often damp and wet.




July 2, 2010 at 4:30 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

Hedge Schools 

 

Secret schools known as hedge schools were set up for Catholic children. These were called 'scoileanna scairte' in Irish. From about 1695, there were strict laws in Ireland which forbid Catholics from setting up schools or from sending their children abroad to school.

 

 

Hedge School

 

Most of the teachers in hedge schools were men although there were women. However, the education in hedge schools varied from school to school. Most hedge schools taught reading, writing and arithmetic. Many schools taught Greek and Latin.

 

In hedge schools, different age groups attended the same master. Some children were very young while others might be eighteen or nineteen years old. To overcome the difficulties of this, younger children were allowed to play with things like pebbles and straw while the master worked with the older children. Young children also learned the alphabet as well as reading and spellings. Children who did well at spellings were rewarded with such things as brass pins that they could display on their coats going home. Would you like to be awarded brass pins?

 

 

Children's book from hedge school

Courtesy of Antonia Mc Manus

Enlarge image

Children often learned by rote and by constant repetition which was called rehearsing . At other times, the master spent time with individual pupils because parents expected this. Children who worked on farms during the day often attended evening schools run by hedge school masters. Would you like to have learned in these schools?

 

What were hedge schools called?

The penal laws came to an end in 1782. This meant that hedge schools did not have to be in secret places anymore. Some moved in to larger buildings. They remained as private schools even up to the 1880's. These schools were often called after their teacher if, for example, the school lasted in one place for a period of time.

 

 

A Hedge School Class


Hedge school teachers often found it difficult to get paid because the parents were very poor. Sometimes the parents paid them with food or turf.

 

At other times, if the weather was poor or poverty was great, teachers had to move about to get other employment in teaching or doing some farm work.



--

 

WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


July 2, 2010 at 4:33 PM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

Irish hedge school heritage

 

The hedge schools in Ireland were founded under the penal laws in Ireland in the 17th century. No Catholic could teach, no building could serve as a school, under

penalty of law.

 

Outlaw teachers

 

So it began that outlawed teachers taught children and traveling "strangers" in the open air. One child might serve as a lookout for the authorities. The teacher might get paid in butter or with a few shillings.

 

Classes taught included Latin, Greek, Arithmetic, Reading and Writing. Originally it was all done in the Irish language. The Irish language was one thing that the

authorities wanted to eradicate.

 

The end of the schools

 

As time went on, laws would allow for a school building, and the Irish actually got their own schools in the 19th century. Some hedge schools continued, but they

faded from view and disappeared for the most part by the time of the famine.

Student responsibilities

 

If necessary, each student was required to carry a brick or two of turf to school when it was cold outside. The turf would then supply heat during the school day for everyone.

 

You might ask someone in the old days if they could read and write. The answer would be obvious if they answered you with: "I never carried the sod."

 

Michael Donaghue

 

My great grandfather, Michael Donaghue, was a hedge school student from Glenflesk, in County Kerry. His hedge school education was one thing that was passed down into family

history, and it almost went unnoticed. His love and appreciation for education was carried on in the family.

 

The hedge school today

 

When I began our 6th podcast series along with Peter Reilly Adams, I voted to name it "Irish Hedge Row History" in his memory. (One of Peters ancestors was a teacher in Ireland as well.)

 

The series is dedicated to Irish History, and folk history, and has just been launched at: http://www.irishroots.com/content/view/105/158/ and is also on iTunes at:

 

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=332549725

 

We'll be talking more about Hedge Schools, Brian Boru, the Famine, and Politics at our own Hedge School from now on.

 

But I thought it was time I said thanks to the Hedge School teacher who taught Michael Donaghue. He did a good job.

 

 

May 3, 2015 at 7:39 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

http://www.estudiosirlandeses.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/YFernandez.pdf

May 3, 2015 at 7:40 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

It is a well-recorded fact that many of West Cork’s small schools have a standard of excellence that frequently belies their size and resources.

 

 

In these institutions where two or three teachers do sterling work, much of the teaching is innovative and individual and teachers introduce enlightened teaching methods and projects.

 

Reenascreena National School is one such institution.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/farming/life/hedge-schools-in-class-of-their-own-299719.html

May 3, 2015 at 7:41 AM Flag Quote & Reply

SWIFTY
Site Owner
Posts: 1033

A hedge school (Irish names include scoil chois claí, scoil ghairid and scoil scairte) is the name given to an educational practice, particularly in 18th and 19th century Ireland, so called due to its rural nature. It came about as local educated men began an oral tradition of teaching the community. With the advent of the commercial world in Ireland after 1600, its peasant society saw the need for greater education.

 

While the "hedge school" label suggests the classes always took place outdoors (next to a hedgerow), classes were sometimes held in a house or barn. Subjects included primarily basic Irish language grammar, English and maths (the fundamental "three Rs"). In some schools the Irish bardic tradition, Latin, history and home economics were also taught. Reading was generally based on chapbooks, sold at fairs, typically with exciting stories of well-known adventurers and outlaws. Payment was generally made per subject, and brighter pupils would often compete locally with their teachers.

 

While Catholic schools were forbidden under the Penal laws from 1723 to 1782, no hedge teachers were known to be prosecuted. Indeed, official records were made of hedge schools by census makers. [1] The Penal laws targeted education by the main Catholic religious orders, whose wealthier establishments were occasionally confiscated. The laws aimed to force Irish Catholics of the middle classes and gentry to convert to Anglicanism if they wanted a good education in Ireland.

 

Hedge schools declined from the foundation of the National School system by government in the 1830s. James Doyle, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin preferred this, as the new schools would be largely under the control of his church and allow a better teaching of Catholic doctrine.[citation needed] He wrote to his priests in 1831:

 

“ [The Roman Catholic bishops] welcomed the rule which requires that all the teachers henceforth to be employed be provided from some Model School, with a certificate of their competency, that will aid us in a work of great difficulty, to wit, that of suppressing hedge schools, and placing youths under the direction of competent teachers, and of those only. ”

Fernández-Suárez (see below) has found that hedge schools existed into the 1890s and suggested that the schools had existed as much from rural poverty and a lack of resources as from religious oppression. Marianne Eliott also mentions that they were used by the poor and not just by the Catholics. While the hedge schools were unfunded, the national school system set up from 1831 was ahead of school provision in England at that time. After 1900, some historians like Daniel Corkery tended to emphasize the hedge schools' classical studies (in Latin and Greek), but while these studies were sometimes taught (based on a local demand), they were not always common to every school. The tradition of hedge schools has been continued in foreign lands such as Southern China, and Quebec to name a few.

--

 

WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME "FAMINE" : IRELAND, 1845 - 1850

This petition seeks your support for a campaign to:

* Persuade relevant authors, editors and website content providers to stop using the word ‘Famine’ for what took place in Ireland between 1845 and 1850, and start using terms such as, "The Great Hunger" or 'An tOcras Mór

PETITION LINK- TO CHANGE THE WORD FAMINE http://www.petitions24.com/when_famine_became_genocide_ireland_1845_-_1850


May 3, 2015 at 7:41 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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