Abandoned School House, Co. Cork, Ireland.
A little introduction is needed I’d say. I have been interested in Rurex (rural exploration) and Urbex (urban exploration) for the past few years now and I try to go on these trips as much as possible at weekends. I have explored countries such as Belgium, Poland, France, Scotland and of course our very own Ireland (counties include: Laois, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Roscommon, Mayo, Offaly, Cork, Waterford and Limerick) which offers some of the most beautiful derelict buildings, which I can only imagine hold some interesting stories and history.
Last weekend took me to a detached two-storey national school
used as far back as 1884. I have discovered some abandoned school houses on my travels but to come across a two-storey school was a real treat. It was very uncommon for that era. The school is located by a busy roadside and securely hidden behind some trees. Driving fast on this road you would definitely miss it or take no notice which is usually the reason.
I approached the school from the west and was greeted by a flock of crows flying from the first floor. They were either telling me to leave or delighted to have visitor for the first time in years. Either way I was getting in to explore this gem. It was a little difficult to enter the school yard due to the over growth but I managed to slip in through a hole in the wall and crawl my way to the front door.
On entering the front door I was amazed to see a wooden staircase. Half was still standing but the upper half lying decaying on the ground. That could mean only one thing. Getting to the first floor was unfortunately out of the question. Such a shame but when I got into the next room I could clearly see that maybe getting upstairs wasn’t such a good idea. The ceiling looked as though it could fall at any moment and even though I wanted so much to check upstairs, I saw the collapsed staircase as a sort of blessing.
This room must have been the main class room or 2nd, 3rd and 4th class combined but it would be impossible to know exactly. I paused for a few moments and I tried to picture myself entering this school over 100 years ago and what it must have been like for those kids and teachers who are
undoubtedly not with us anymore. Moments like this sadden me and I start to question why I do this. It’s simple though. I try to archive and remember those who have lived in a completely different time and era but not so distant from us now. These houses and schools were once places where people cried, celebrated, ate, laughed, struggled and survived through tough times (not so different to nowadays). It is why we are here today doing what we can do. This is our culture and unfortunately will disappear soon and will be forgotten.
As I wandered around the classroom and being mesmerized by the huge fireplace I thought about something… Where were the toilets??? Usually old Irish school houses had toilets outside at the back of the school yard so I decided to take a look.
When I got outside and headed for the back I couldn’t see anything only trees and bushes. Fallen trees blocked the way so I had to crawl my way over and under these obstacles. Finally I started to make out a small stone building and a narrow passage on the side. “I found the toilets,” I said to myself. And I found exactly what I was hoping to find. I have come across these toilets before but every time I see them I can only think of one thing. That scene in Schindler’s List where the little Jewish kids are hiding in the toilet pits from the German soldiers. It frightening and sickening to think about it. I managed to get into the other toilets (maybe the girls or boys) and it was basically a mirrored version of the first toilet. These vintage toilets are a real treat to come across I must say.
After taking my last walk around the exterior of the school house I decided that that was enough and called it a day. There is something about these old schools that I find so interesting and addictive to photograph. I love the thought of old abandoned schools but I also love spotting old schools being renovated by people and actually living in them, and they usually keep the plaque on the wall to remind people about its history and uniqueness. I absolutely love it. Maybe in the future I might do the same.
See you all next time on another rurex adventure. School’s out!
Check out the links below if you would like to see more pictures from my murex/urbex expeditions.
HYPERLINK “https://www.instagram.com/bygoneireland/” https://www.instagram.com/bygoneireland/
HYPERLINK “https://www.flickr.com/photos/finn_conor/” https://www.flickr.com/photos/finn_conor/
HYPERLINK “https://www.facebook.com/bygoneireland82/” https://www.facebook.com/bygoneireland82/