For at least 150 years, children have been receiving Primary School Education in Goggins Hill, known locally as “The Mountain”. Children were taught for some time in the loft of a coach house at the side of the Church. In the 1880’s, National Schools were built in Ireland. The first one for the Mountain area, built in 1883, is the one many of us remember. There were two schoolhouses located inside the gate of the church, one on either side of the entrance. Plaques on the surrounding wall commemorated the opening of the school. At first boys were taught in one building and girls in the other. Later, the juniors were taught in one and the senior children in the other. These structures were very basic and lacked running water. Each day a child or two brought clear spring water from a well nearby. Many past pupils will remember collecting furze stumps and piling them in the porch for winter fuel. The toilet facilities were also basic.
In the early 1960’s, a decision to build a new school was taken. A site was procured on which a water pump and electricity was installed. Money was collected for the building of the school. In the mid 60’s the Department of Education promoted the amalgamation of one and two teacher schools. Department statistics found that the future growth of the population in the Goggins Hill area was such that the school should amalgamate with Ballyheada. The people of Goggins Hill didn’t accept this theory, so meetings were held and a Committee formed. In 1965, a deputation of parents led by the Father Bobby Ormond and accompanied by T.D’s from the area were cordially received by the then Minister for Education, the late George Colley in Dublin. The Committee had done its research and a very convincing case for retaining the school was brilliantly presented by Fr. Ormond. The Minister accepted their concerns and promised a two teacher prefabricated school. Toilet facilities and running water were provided within this sound structure.
An enormous debt of gratitude is due to the many people of the Mountain area who were resolute in their demands at that time, and ensured that Primary Education for the school catchment area continues to this day.
The children led by Fr. Denis Forde took up residence in the new prefabricated school in 1967.
House building in the area became very popular in the late 1960’s and continued into the 70’s. The population increased accordingly and so did the enrolment in the school. Consequently, more prefabricated rooms were added on a gradual basis. The building of a bigger school building for the area was inevitable.
At this time, some parishioners proposed a central school for Goggins Hill. A ballot of parents was undertaken and the proposal was rejected. In September, 1975 a new school consisting of 5 classrooms and general purpose room was sanctioned. The search for a suitable site was in progress and recorded in the minutes of a meeting of the Board of Management on the 27th November, 1975. The Board of Works and the Department of Education were contacted. A fund raising campaign got underway.
In 1976, Fr. Sean Burke replaced Fr. William McCarthy.
On the 1st October, 1977, Fr Burke reported to the Board of Management:
1. The receipt of plans for the new school
2. The approval of a site on Dermot O’Mahony’s land
3. The cost was £19,000
Due to efforts made over these years, the late Bishop Lucey totally supported the people in their quest for a new school.
Work on the new building commenced on the 5th October, 1981. While in the course of construction, the enrolment increased and an additional classroom was procured by the endeavours of Fr. Burke. The parish contributions amounted to £45,000. Fr. Burke worked tirelessly during this time as Chairman of the Board of Management to provide the new school at Goggins Hill. Before he left the Parish, the local contribution had been cleared.
The children moved in to the new building on 1st September, 1983-the Centenary of the opening of the first National School in 1883.
The official opening took place on the 17th November, 1983. This occasion was a wonderful day for all concerned. Mr. Donal Creed T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Education performed the opening ceremony. Mass was celebrated in the beautiful new G.P. room. Miss Anne Cussen was in charge of the sweet singing for the mass. It was attended by former priests, inspectors, people involved in the building of the school, Coveney Bros., parents, past pupils, parishioners and the staff and pupils of the school. A hugely successful Dinner Dance was held in the Munster Arms Hotel, Bandon that night. It was a tremendous memorable day and night.
The enrolment continued to grow and reached 191 in September, 1986. Excellent equipment and facilities serve the needs of the children. The school grounds have matured and provide a pleasant environment, now including a maturing woodland area and multi sensory garden.
The members of the Boards of Management, Parents Associations, staff, parents and the pupils of the school catchment area have been generous with their time, energy and finance over the years. Their commitment has guaranteed that the parents of the area can look forward with pride and optimism to the future education of their children. The children are the greatest asset of any community.
“Garda na n’Aingeal, os mo chionn,
Dia romham agus Dia liom”
Extract from “The School Through The Years”
Published by B.O.M, GHNS 2008
To commemorate the anniversary of the school.