Ardagh National School, St. Johnston. Co. Donegal.
In 1868. James Gillespie was principal teacher and Mary McClintock was appointed assistant. There were 75 children on rolls.
The school could accommodate 68 children at eight square feet each in 1881 and James Rutherford was principal teacher. Martha Rutherford aged 24 years, candidate assistant, previously taught at Taughboyne.
S. Chambers J.P. was appointed school manager in 1888 and the teacher’s residence was improved in 1889 at a cost of £75.
Mrs Margaret Chambers was school manager 1891-1913.
By 1892 the original school roof of native timber and slates (small & bad) was in poor condition. The school got a new roof and the windows were enlarged at a cost of £197 in 1894. White washing was done in 1895 during September vacation.
In 1898, Rev. A.G. Lecky, Ballylennon, was recognised as manager, pro-tem, during absence of manager in Australia.
The school patron, Duke of Abercorn, did not wish to be patron of any school except Baronscourt, Co. Tyrone and in 1913 nominated Rev. A. G. Lecky to be patron of Ardagh, Castletown and Drumbeg schools.
Mr. R. W. Cunningham was principal teacher.
In 1915, a No. 28 Modern Mistress stove for cooking teaching was installed but application for partition to divide classroom was rejected due to the war and lack of funding.
By Hugh Doherty
Here is a story from the 1930’s written for the school
Not far from the village of St. Johnston is a steep hill known as ‘Stumpy’s Brae’. Stumpy still haunts that hill and if you stop to listen some night when the moon is full you may hear the sound of his wooden stump on the hard road as he paces up and down. You will never see the man himself, you will only hear the sound of his footsteps.
Now long ago there was an old man living in St. Johnston. He had only one leg. The reason for this we do not know but the fact remains that instead of a right leg he had only a wooden stump. When the walked up the village street the wooden stump made a loud clattering sound and the people would say without even looking out through their windows ‘There goes old stumpy’. He was rich but there were whispers and rumours that he had obtained his money by some not altogether honest means. No one knew from whence he came. He himself never offered any information on the subject and his whole past remained shrouded in mystery.
Late one evening as he was coming home from market he was robbed and brutally murdered. Although thorough investigations were made in the murderer was never found and since, superstitious people always say that he can be heard walking on this brae.
(I have heard the above story on several occasions.)
Ardagh N.S. St. Johnston, Co. Donegal.