Life in Irish Schools was very different 100 years ago.
There were no computers, tape recorders, CD players, gel pens or markers. Many schools were small; often they had only one room. There was no running water and the heat came from a fireplace behind the teacher’s desk. Windows were usually high so that the children could not see out and be distracted! Going to the toilet meant crossing the schoolyard to the outside toilet. Often there were no doors on these toilets.
Children sat at long desks with inkwells in them. They wrote with pens that had sharp nibs that they dipped into the inkbottles in the inkwells. In some schools you were not allowed to write with your left hand! Most of the work was done with chalk on a slate, as books and copies were very expensive.
Discipline in the national schools was very strict. Children who misbehaved or did not learn their lessons were hit with a cane. Some teachers had a “Dunce’s Corner”. Any child who missed a question had to stand there. Most children would have preferred a slap!
All the girls learned needlework but the boys did not. Some schools had gardens attached where the pupils grew vegetables and plants. At lunch
time the children played schoolyard games like football, tag and skipping.