'When I look back on those days I am thankful for all that those women did for us, in spite of difficult surroundings.'

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'When I look back on those days I am thankful for all that those women did for us, in spite of difficult surroundings.'


Rosemary remembers her school days and the conditions in which education was delivered. She notes that she went to a Catholic school and therefore did not receive some of the benefits that state controlled schools did. She reflects upon the poverty at that time.


Rosemary McCloskey


Trinity College Dublin




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Rosemary McCloskey

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The teachers whom I recall were Miss Bernadette Higgins, Miss Una McGuinness, Miss Eileen Murphy, Miss Rosaleen McPhillips, Miss Peggy Loughran, Miss Kitty Byrne, Miss Tessa McManus, Mrs McMullan, Miss Patsy Malone who ruled with a rod of iron and who taught me most of the academic stuff and needle skills, I have ever learned. Miss Annie Mary Doran, a native of Kilkeel, was the principal and she had very high standards .We all had to have serviettes with us for our milk time. In those days all children got one third of a pint of milk daily and in cold weather these little bottles would be lined up on the pipes (central heating) to take the chill off the milk. Miss Doran was always perfectly dressed and groomed. She had rings, nail varnish and a fox fur, which she wore on special occasions. She was most particular about how we spoke, and about the grammar we used. Her English was perfect and she was a great devotee of poetry and drama. We learnt chunks of the Merchant of Venice off by heart, and when we were reading aloud we had to use our 'Radio' voices! When I look back on those days I am thankful for all that those women did for us, in spite of difficult surroundings. Because it was a Catholic school, we were denied several items which were standard issue in State controlled schools, and we had to buy most of our own jotters and pencils etc. Our parents never complained when we needed anything for school, and I believe we made plenty of demands on them. We did not have a school uniform, and so we wore what our parents provided for us. I remember thinking that the girls, who always wore summer dresses and short ankle socks, even in winter, were much prettier than we were with our woollen knee socks and heavy knitted jumpers. I had no idea, of the poverty of the area, at that time, and how the other parents were struggling with big families in tiny houses. Many of these girls would not have had warm winter clothing.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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