Glencull school marks 180 years

Lorcan, Sean, Matthew and Conan - new P1 pupils at St Malachy’s PS, Glencull, Ballygawley - helping the school celebrate its 180th anniversary.

Lorcan, Sean, Matthew and Conan – new P1 pupils at St Malachy’s PS, Glencull, Ballygawley – helping the school celebrate its 180th anniversary.

This year marks a huge milestone for the Glencull community with 180 years of rural education being celebrated at Glencull Primary School.

To kick off the landmark the school is hosting a night of celebration tonight (Friday) followed by a family fun day on Saturday.


At 7.30pm friends of the school, together with pupils past and present, are invited to join them on a journey through 180 years of education at Glencull.

Special guests will host a night of recollections, video clips and entertainment culminating in the launch of a limited edition hardback book on the history of Glencull National School.

With past pupils such as Cardinal Joseph MacRory (1861-1945) and footballing legends Mickey Harte and Peter Canavan, this small school has had a big influence on the local area and beyond.

The poets John Montague and Patrick Farrell also attended the school. Mr Montague worked closely with his contemporary Seamus Heaney and his book ‘Death of the Chieftains’ (1964) is credited with giving ‘The Chieftains’ the idea for the name of their band.

The school’s current principal, Brian Gormley said, “The book tracks the history of the school, from its opening in 1833 until present day. National schools, established by the British Government with the Stanley Letter in 1831, were originally non-denominational. The Catholic and Presbyterian churches co-operated in the establishment and running of the school from the 19th century right up until the 1980s.

“Today a committee, that includes the leaders of the same churches in the area, have been supported by funding from the European Programme for Peace and Reconciliation as part of the PEACE III Project delivered by Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council.

“The committee have gathered photographs and recollections from past pupils from as far away as New Zealand and Dubai. There is also a contribution from ITN’s international editor Bill Neely who is a descendant of the Neely family who owned the townland of Glencull for over four centuries. The Neely family signed the original grant application for the school and supported education in the area.”


The celebrations continue with a free family fun day on Saturday, September 14 from 1pm to 5pm that is open to all. There will be a toddler bouncy castles, obstacle castle and a ‘demolition ball’. Corbally Fun Petting Farm will be there along with face painters and balloon modellers.
The Michaela Foundation, who based their camp in Glencull, will be hosting ‘handbag design’ on the day and there will be activities at Todd’s Leap.

There will also be a performance of ‘Diversity and Drums’ by St Malachy’s, Richmond and St Mary’s P6 and 7 children as part of a cross community schools project organised by the Glencull committee.

Finally, a BBQ, ice cream, tea and coffee will be available to purchase on the day. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Mr Gormley said, “The 13th will be a night for all ages. Be early to get a great seat in the marquee on Glencull’s school pitch and stay for a cup of tea and a reunion. Everyone is invited. The following day also promises to be great fun for all the family.”


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