From The Clonroche Notes in The Echo on the 3rd of April, 1909:--
“THE SINN FEIN LIBRARY
The books of the Sinn Fein library have been in circulation for some time past and are greatly appreciated by the members. The branch will have the benefit of reading some good books…..
St Patrick’s Day
St Patrick’s Day was properly observed by the people of this parish. The public-houses remained closed throughout the day, a fact that reflected great credit on the proprietors. In the parish church prayers were recited in the evening and for the first time in the memory of the present generation, the Rosary was recited in Irish. The number that answered the Rosary in the language of Ireland’s patron saint was creditable, indeed, considering the short time the language is being taught in the district.”
From The Echo the 4th of January 1913:--
“PRESENTATION TO MR LAMBERT EX N. T., CLONROCHE
On Wednesday evening last week a very pleasing function took place in Clonroche School, viz.,--the presentation of an illuminated address, a purse of sovereigns and an album containing the names of all subscribers, by the past pupils and friends of Mr Lambert on the occasion of his retirement from the position of school teacher; a large crowd of his admirers and friends being present. Rev. P. F. Kehoe P. P. who made the presentation called on Mr Doyle to read the address. In making the presentation, Fr Kehoe said nothing could give him greater pleasure than to be the medium of conveying this very beautiful address and substantial gift from the friends and past pupils of Mr Lambert and by his presence to bear personal testimony to his worth. Any good work that was ever started in the parish always found Mr Lambert at his post, but what he admired him most for (in the village that is shown up in the public Press as one of the black spots in the county) the example he set his pupils as a life long total abstainer and worker in the temperance cause. He was, he declared, proud of him for it. Mr Lambert, in reply, said he feared all the good things Fr Kehoe said were prompted by his own kindly and generous heart, more so than any little good he (Mr Lambert) might have accomplished or desired. From his own heart, he thanked the generous people of Cloughbawn for the valuable and beautiful gifts. He said he owed his present position to the goodness of two men, one of them long dead—Fr William Gate P. P. of Rathangan; but he was glad to see a nephew of his present. The other—Mr Long of Bannow and he hoped that the news that he fulfilled his trust as his successor and pupil would give Mr Long some consolation in his old age. Naturally after so many years teaching he could not leave off without feeling sorry; yet this sorrow is compensated for by the fact, that, he was now free to take his place in any movement, political or otherwise, that was working for the good of the country. At the conclusion, a programme of dancing, singing, and music was gone through. The address was printed and illuminated at “The Echo” Office, Enniscorthy and framed by Mr Pat O’Brien, Clonroche with oak; both framing and address being much admired.”
From The Clonroche Notes in The Echo, the 12th of June 1906:--
“Successes at the Feis
On Sunday and Monday week Clonroche and district were practically deserted for the Feis. By train, bike and car went the people to take part in the great Gaelic revival. Although only about seven months in existence the local branch of the Gaelic League sent three classes to compete whilst—there were several others competing individually. The following is the list of the prizes obtained—Miss Ellen Parle obtained first prize in the costume competition; Mr Nicholas Cullen obtained first prize in the whistling competition; Mr Thomas O’Brien second in the jigging competition; Miss Essie Cullen obtained thirds prize for best home made shirt. In the language competition, first year’s course, the class secured second place. The following were the successful members—Messrs M. Cullen, G. Flood, E. Buckley, J. Ryan, J. Cullen, T. Foley and John Flood. In the jigging competition, J. Nolan obtained a third prize. In all six prizes, not a bad record for seven months’ work.”
Miss Ellen Parle, a native of Wexford town, was a Junior Assistant Schoolmistress in Clonroche National Female School. She was involved in the Gaelic League and actively promoted it in Clonroche and was, also, involved in Cumann Na mBan. She married the famous freedom fighter and War of Independence Volunteer, Sean Sinnott.
From a report of the Clonroche Petty Sessions in The Wexford Independent on the 9th of January 1864; a prosecution by John O’Neill Schoolmaster, Clonroche against Mrs Judith Cogley; Lord Carew was in the Chair and amount sought was nine shillings:--
“Mr [Laurence] Sweetman considered it a great hardship that this poor woman should be charged such an enormous sum for the education of her children, and, also, the plaintiff had a salary of £32 a year from the Board of Education.
Plaintiff—My scale of fees are sanctioned by the Commissioners and Inspector. The Commissioners will not grant aid to a school where a certain amount of local fees are not secured to the teacher.
Mr Cookman to Plaintiff—Are the poor to get a free education in your school?
Plaintiff—Certainly not; the Manager is supposed to pay for them.
Chairman—Did you acquaint the defendant of the amount you would charge at the time the children commenced?
Plaintiff—No, my Lord. It was her business to ask me.
Chairman [Lord Carew]—I think it better to postpone this case and I will communicate with the Commissioners [of the Board of National Education].
Postponed until next court day.”
The interpretation of Mr John O’Neill of the Rules of the National Schools was idiosyncratic and hugely mistaken: the National School system was expressly set up to provide an elementary education for the poor children of the country. The Commissioners sought to have one-third of the cost of establishing a National School collected locally but a schoolmaster was certainly not required to extract fees from all the pupils!