History of Cloneygowan
Our school is in the village of Cloneygowan.
Cloneygowan is situated close to the borders of Co. Laois and Co. Offaly.
Long ago the O'Dempseys were the chieftains of the area and they had a castle in Cloneygowan.
No signs of it remain today but people think that it was on what is Ridgeway's farm now.
The name Cloneygowan comes from the Irish name Cluain na nGamhain which means "the meadow of the calves" because the O'Dempseys kept their calves where the village is now.
Over 500 years ago the chieftain began to hold a fair in Cloneygowan and it continued to be held up to this century.
Many horses were sold here and sent to armies in England, France and even Russia!
Cloneygowan castle was destroyed by Cromwell's army almost 400 years ago.
It was destroyed by cannon fire and over the years the local people took away the stone to use for building.
The castle, all the other buildings and the wall around the castle yard have all disappeared.
All that remains is the ruined gatehouse or entrance to the castle.
History of Scoil Mhuire.
Over 200 years ago there were several hedge schools in the area at various times. About 1830 the first school was built in Cloneygowan Village. It had 2 classrooms!
In 1956 Scoil Mhuire was opened on the present site. It had 3 classrooms.
In 2013 the school was renovated and an extension built.The school now has 5 mainstream classrooms, 2 learning support rooms and various ancilliary rooms.