History comes to life as Hollyfort School turns 200

HOLLYFORT SCHOOL celebrated its 200th anniversary as a committee made up of members of Hollyfort Tidy Towns and Hollyfort Development Group organized an unforgettable event.

n the three-day course, nearly 80 people attended to hear stories and presentations, and learn about the memories of the historic school through photographs and written artifacts.

Former pupil Margaret Donovan was instrumental in keeping a large number of notebooks as well as roll-books dating back to the 1800s, all on display at the school during birthday celebrations.

It evoked memories for the older members of the community in attendance, but also fascinated young children as they learned how school in the early 1900s compared to modern times.

Addressing the crowd under the marquee before the cake was cut, Carol Boland said the school building has played a central role in the community since 1881 and, after its restorations in 1992, still provides a space where the community can come together.

“It has been the site of concerts, balls, ping-pong matches, meetings, birthdays and, more recently, a group of writers, a book club and festival workshops. and a marriage. The exhibition covers the first images and documents ”.

Carol thanked Violet Bailey, George Halnon and Margaret Donovan who all live locally and attended the school, adding how grateful she was to Margaret who had been instrumental in creating the exhibit.

Ms. Donovan spoke that day along with genealogist Bernie Walsh, who also helped produce the information brochures to make them more readable for the public.

“It was a fantastic experience and we were really surprised at the way some young people went through the old textbooks written in 1914 that Margaret had kept in a satchel,” said Carol.

“Margaret would come from the Webster farming family and it was a pleasure to work with her because she had an incredible amount of information. Bernie Walsh spent weeks researching the old role books and other material so people could see when their ancestors entered school and people were really fascinated by it. It was wonderful to have some of the alumni there with their families too, but we also had old photographs of the building to work with as it fell into disrepair in the early 90s.

“One of our exhibits was all of the reprinted press reports from the late 1800s, which really gave us a glimpse into the history of Hollyfort back then. The school and the church presented a lot of things, but it was very interesting to see what was happening at the time. We also included a memory table, which had old games and a skipping rope.

“All together it took us several weeks to prepare and we had to stick to the Covid restrictions but it was amazing to see everyone back after so long.”

Carol thanked the community of the village of Hollyfort. who helped organize a successful event.

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