St Johnston and Carrigans Donegal

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Castletown National School St Johnston

Situated at Moness, St. Johnston, this school was built in 1839 with funds from the Duke of Abercorn who was landlord for the area. The building was first opened as a school in 1841 and as a National School on 1st March 1859. A curtain across the middle of the room divided it into two class rooms. The principal teacher had the use of a free residence which was attached to the school. Rev. A.G. Lecky, Ballylennon, succeeded the Duke of Abercorn as school Patron in 1913. The teacher in 1937/38 was Clara S. Kingan. The original school was demolished in 1962 to make way for a new school which was officially opened in March 1963.

By Hugh Doherty

Here are some stories from the school in the 1930s courtesy of Duchas.

The Creamery

The creamery for the district is in the townland of Moness. It is called “The Taughboyne Co-operative Agriculture and Dairy Society” as it is in the parish of Taughboyne.

It is carried on by the (Mr. Hyde) and an assistant.

The Farmers around this district all send their milk to this creamery.

In the summer time it is open every day in the week excepting Sundays and when the days get cooler it is in operation two or three days each week. In this creamery the milk is taken in and separated only, then the cream is taken in cans by lorry on to Sallybrook creamery where it is churned and made into butter.

They then send back as much butter as supplies the customers of the creamery, etc.

This creamery is getting more milk this year than before since the milk was not allowed into Northern Ireland so all the Donegal border farmershave to bring their milk to this creamery.

Everything is kept nice and clean and in good order by the manager who has been in the business for a good number of years.

Robert Hastings, Legnathraw, St. Johnston, Co. Donegal.

Castletown NS

“A Forge”

Our nearest forge in the townland of Moness is about a mile from my home.

The black-smiths name is Mick Gallagher. He is a man for jokes but is a very good workman all the same.

The forge is a very old one. It is not kept in good repair but as it is the only one in the district Mick is always kept very busy for he gets a good many horses to shoe and he repairs a number of farming implements.

A black-smith needs to be a strong man as he has always heavy work to do. His work is also dangerous as when he has young horses to shoe and they are always very wild.

I like to take a horse to the forge for as our black-smith has no help he allows me to blow the bellows to keep a warm glow in the fire until he gets his iron hot.

The coal that is used in a forge is not the same as house coal it only keeps red while the bellows is used.

There is a great quantity of scrap lying about our forge such as old horse shoes and pieces of farm implements. When our black-smith has no new iron he makes up the old shoes to fit and puts them on the horses instead of new ones.

Robert J. Hastings, Legnathraw, St. Johnston, Co. Donegal

Castletown N S

Scutch Mills

There are a great many scutch mills around this district, there are no less than five running in a line from Ardagh to St. Johnston and all are driven by one burn which runs into the Foyle.

Some scutch mills are driven by engines where no burns are.

These mills are more expensive to run than those driven by water.

The scutch mills are being examined more carefully now so that work may be better performed.

Every mill had to be furnished with patent rollers this year to fulfil the necessary requirements for industry

The flax is driven to the mill in rough beats where it is rolled and strichen, then it is buffed, and cleaned.

Mr. Long takes the scutched flax to Sion Mills where it is heckled then it is sent to Belfast where it is manufactured into linen.

A scutch mill is very dusty to strangers but not to mill owners because they are accustomed with it.

The mill owners get tow from the flax for their trouble of scutching.

Georgina Callen, Castletown, St. Johnston, Co. Donegal.

Castletown NS