Glencullen, County Mayo

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Glencullen, Erris, Co. Mayo

Gleann Cuilinn
Glencullen, Erris, Co. Mayo is located in Ireland
Glencullen, Erris, Co. Mayo
Glencullen, Erris, Co. Mayo
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 54°00′N 9°42′W / 54.°N 9.7°W / 54.; -9.7Coordinates: 54°00′N 9°42′W / 54.°N 9.7°W / 54.; -9.7
CountyCounty Mayo
128 m (420 ft)
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
Irish Grid ReferenceF8???

Glencullen (Irish: Gleann Cuilinn ) is two townlands in the parish of Kiltane in County Mayo, Ireland, situated to the north of Bangor Erris, next to the parish of Kilcommon, Erris which is in the Gaeltacht area. The townlands are located in an area of blanket bog extending across some 2,108 acres (Glencullen Lower) and 2,792 acres (Glencullen Upper), so almost 5,000 acres (20 km2) in total; the main Bangor - Kilcommon road runs through Glencullen. The nearest reasonably large town is Belmullet.


Glencullen Lower is not heavily populated, most people now living in Muingingaun townland next to it, but in the 19th century it contained about 40 houses within a 2-mile (3.2 km) radius. In 1842 the road connecting Glencullen with Muingingaun was sanctioned and during the Public works for the Distress in 1847 the road from Glencullen to Bangor was laid, costing £150.

Glencullen Upper is a long, well sheltered glen through which the Glencullen river flows down into Carrowmore Lake. At the top of the glen is Barnaglanna and Bouleyanlobane, usually called Buaile where in the past, "people from inside the Mullet came to graze their cattle in summer time".[1] Much of Glencullen was used as Buaile/booleying land.

Glencullen had the reputation of being a place of great merriment. People walked to the townland from many surrounding areas. From the interaction of peoples, many Glencullen women married men from throughout Kilcommon parish.[2] A landslide disaster struck this townland on 22 February 1931 when Lough Boleynagee, a lake 516 feet (157 m) above sea level and overlooking Glencullen Upper, slid down the hillside, pushing mountains of soft bog in front of it; the landslide came down the river carrying with it the Glencullen Bridge. Lough Bouleynagee, a well known resting and feeding place for overwintering brent geese, was drained of all its water and on its bottom lay little but dead trout.[3]

Glencullen National School of Glencullen Lower, Erris[edit]

The first mention of a hedge school in Glencullen was in 1826. Mary Shiels taught 22 pupils that year "in any available place" for a sum of £4 a year; the next mention of a school in Glencullen was in February 1862 when Friar Michael Munnelly applied for a teacher's salary and a supply of books for the newly built school, which was opened by him in November 1861. A few days after the request was made by Friar Michael Munnelly the school inspector, John Sweeney, reported: "There are 40 dwellings within half a mile of the school"; this was enough to grant Friar Michael Munnelly the requested salary and books.

The building made of stone and mortar is thatched; the building is one big room of 34 feet (10 m) by 18.5 feet (5.6 m) and 6.5 feet (2.0 m) high. It was never plastered in- nor outside. John Sweeney, the inspector, reported that the school's teacher was Thomas Mc Nulty (1843-?). Thomas Mc Nulty's teaching ability was poor according to records, but no better could be found. Further in the report John Sweeney mentions:

"His (Thomas Mc Nulty) character is good and he governs the school well. His annual income is £4 by way of fees, some children are admitted by the teacher who cannot pay fees. There are no Protestants to be found within miles of the school; the people are farmers. They are poor. Of all the 37 pupils present today only 6 had been at school before; the school has been built about a quarter and a mile from any house along the roadside. The school will serve several villages; the district is populous. Unless the present school comes under the Board, many will be brought up without education, therefore I recommend the application. Owing to the untidy appearance of the place and the un-plastered state of the walls I recommend that the salary be granted on the condition that these defects be remedied before the 15th March."

The School managed to fulfill these conditions and was accepted by the Board of Education, it was given Roll No. 8884. The total number of pupils on the roll in 1862 is listed 83, although average attendance was 22. Thomas McNulty received £17 a year for his efforts and local contribution to the school was £2.13.0. Glencullen's National School was furnished with 3 desks, 1 table, 1 writing desk, 1 book press and 1 blackboard. A few years later (probably 1865) the school was struck off the Roll. Friar Michael Munnelly managed to re-open the school in 1869 and this time it was given Roll no. 9803. The teacher from 1869 to 1874 was James Ruddy, an 18-year-old. For some unknown reason Roll no. 9803 was closed in 1874. After that, there is no mention again of Glencullen in the Board's records until 1887. In 1887 there is a grant of £185 for Glencullen for the building of a new school on the same site as the previous ones to accommodate 60 pupils; the new school gets Roll no. 13331 and is opened in 1888.

In 1902 the principal teacher, J. Collins, received an annual salary of £95.15.0. The total number of pupils on Roll no. 13331 for 1902 was 61, while average attendance was 37. Michael Henry is mentioned as a teacher here from 1909 to 1911, it was his first teacher's position. Michael Henry had attended St. Patrick's Training College in Drumcondra from 1907 to 1909, he received a salary of £72 per annum. Pupils had a slate with a white marking pencil, which they took home with them.

From 1903 to 1909 evening classes were taught; the class consisted of 22 men over 18 years that had to study two subjects. The annual teacher's grant for the evening class was £14.5.0. At the evening classes newspapers were read and discussed and letters were written to distant relatives. Other teachers were:

  • John Cryan
  • John Murphy
  • Veronica Gore Murphy
  • Anthony Donaghue
  • Mrs. Jim Lynn
  • Martin Connolly (the last teacher before the school closed on 1 September 1970)

The schoolhouse is now a holiday home of T. K. Whittaker and family.[4]


  1. ^ Western People Newspaper 26 March 1938
  2. ^ Noone, Fr. S. Where the Sun Sets (1991) Naas
  3. ^ Noone, Fr. Sean. Where the Sun Sets (1991) Naas
  4. ^ Noone, Fr. Sean. Where the Sun Sets (1991) Naas, Co. Kildare