Stokane National School Reunion


by Rev. John George McHale, P.P., Chairman Board of Management

IT gives me great pleasure to present this little book. It marks the centenary of a little primary school in the West of Ireland — Stokane, Co. Sligo. It reflects the esteem the little National School had, and has in the community. It also shows that it was a good school, and the two, sometimes three, teachers did good work !with their pupils. In this book the pupils speak for themselves, and I have a feel­ing that what they have to say will be read with interest far beyond the catchment area of Stokane National School. I thank each and all of them for their valuable contributions; most of all because it is and will be of great help to present and future pupils in defining who they are. And since the whole way of life, and peo­ple themselves are changing so rapidly, it becomes all the more valuable for that reason. I think you can measure the value if you try to convey the popular mean­ing of the place name “Stuachan” to a little boy who never saw a haggard of a harvest evening full of cocks of hay and stacks of oats, and who didn’t wander in and out between them looking and searching for the sky; who never smelled the fresh rush thatch, or felt the weight of the lengthening “sugan” or wondered at the size of “cailleach” that he twisted from the freshly drawn straw. It is very doubtful if that kind of experience will ever be possible again. I wonder if they will ever see or touch or feel the lowly “stook” of oats even. Of course you can tell him it means a stack of corn, but it is not the same.

For those readers who were past pupils of the school, you will be glad to know the little school has been recently refurbished and is as good as new. From a merely material point of view it makes no sense, certainly not in the world we are letting overtake us willy nilly (as Fr. Michael Cawley so ably points out), to spend money on little schools like Stokane. But then it made even less sense when John Maye first came here in the Winter of Black ‘47 to reopen the school already shut by the Famine. Over forty years later he called the roll in the build­ing Vincent McMahon called them in today, a hundred years later. Somehow education is never seen to make good economic sense except maybe in retro­spect. It would take a very daring man to quantify in purely economic terms and put a price on all that has happened there in the past one hundred years. The fact that there are more and more of the kind of person around today who would try to do so, is another reason why Stokane National School and little places like it need to live on. I am deeply heartened that the Minister of Education saw it the same way, and thank her for the large grant that has set Stokane into the second hundred. This little book is her best earnest of how well placed that trust is.

Iam deeply grateful to all the past students who contributed to the little book. Remarkably, the one continuing unique experience that was Stokane school, is quite clearly there in every one of them. It was a joy to put them all together.

I want to thank all the sponsors and all who have advertised. Your support is invaluable and is appreciated.

Many people have helped me in compiling this book, especially Teresa Doherty (nee Barrett), who typed up the whole M.S.S.; her mother, Mary, who researched the roll book; Mary Finan, who organised the sponsorship, and much more besides; the “Western People”, Ballina, for their patience and prompt ser­vice.

Ihope this little book will spur other past pupils who came to school either! by bus, shank’s mare or through the fields, to put pen to paper. Don’t say “I could do better myself’ for heaven’s sake, do it. Write it down and have it pub­lished.

On behalf of the Board of Management, Vincent McMahon, N.T.; Pat Sweeney, Mary Finan, Tommy Barrett, John Joe Naughton, George Mcflale, P.P. — “In iothlann Dé go gcastar sinn uilig.”


Iam very glad for Vincent McMahon and Anna Bourke, the teachers, and all their pupils that the school is of a similar standard to the houses the students leave in the morning.


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