November Mona Newsletter

__________November Donadea News__________
Newton Hall had it’s official opening on Sunday 24th of October. Catherine Leonard the chairperson of the hall restoration committee thanked everyone for coming and gave a brief outline of how the hall was renovated.

Bishop Laurence Ryan blessed the building. Present was Minister Charlie McCreevy. Fr. Paul O’ Boyle organised a long procession of gifts. The parish priest of Kilcock and Newtown said a few words of thanks to everyone who was involved in the event.

A large number of people from Newtown, Kilcock and surrounding areas turned up for the occasion.

The hall is a beautiful restored building and is available for meetings or small functions. Any one who is interested in using it please contact Imelda Regan (0405-49954 ) for bookings.

On the 23rd of October several members of the community organised by Mary Hayden planted daffodils on Lime Tree Avenue in Donadea Forest Park. About 30 Boy Scouts from Clane helped with the planting. Councillor McEvoy was in attendance. Bulbs were planted on both sides of the avenue, in all a total of a mile long. The left over bulbs will be sown in the forest park at a later date.

Refreshments were provided by the hard working ladies who did a great job in feeding everyone.

Great credit is due to Mary, Sean Flannery, Clane Boy Scouts and friends who raised all the funds to buy the bulbs and organised the planting. Thanks to Geogre Hipwell who presented some ‘special’ daffodil bulbs to the group and gifts to the Boy Scouts.

November the 5th Race night in Bridge House Bar, Enfield for Newtown Church and St Peters Church restoration.

Anyone interested in sponsoring race/horse/jockey please contact 045-869309.Your support will be greatly appreciated.

Newtown National School in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Newtown’s first school was built in 1796 from money raised by public subscription. In a report for the Commissioners of Irish Education Inquiry, Rev Dr. Francis Haly P.P. of Kilcock from 1822-1837 and later Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin from 1837 to 1855 reported on the state of education in his parish. In relation to Newtown he states in 1823 that the present teachers Joseph and Catherine Dunne are Roman Catholic and are of excellent character. The master was trained at Kildare Place, his salary was 30 a year paid by subscription. He is provided with a good dwelling house and an acre of land rent-free. The children are supposed to pay a penny a week but at the end of the previous year the amount collected did not exceed 3.10s.. The two rooms of the school-house each measures 38’ x 16’. The school is built of stone and lime mortar and the roof is of foreign deal and slated and cost 200 to build.

Fr. Haly states that from 1796 to 1823 due to the zeal of the parish priests the school was funded by local subscription. But because of a deterioration of the local economy in the preceding year, Fr. Haly in 1823 felt obliged in the interests of the poorer children but against his better judgement to apply to the Kildare Place Society who by now were a recognised proselytising society for funds to repair and furnish the school. "I was obliged to yield to the necessities with which I was beset, and to apply for a grant to the Kildare Place Society to enable me to repair the school …….which application, I most solemnly declare, I would not have made, could I procure from the usual sources a fund necessary for the repairing and furnishing of the school"

In the late nineteenth and twentieth century there was a number of proselytising societies The Catholic clergy were hostile and suspicious of schools funded by such societies. These societies received a limited amount of public funding. One society founded in 1811 called the ‘Society for promoting the Education of the Poor in Ireland’ otherwise more popularly known because of its location as the Kildare Place Society initially had the support of the

Catholic clergy. From the 1820s the Society became the subject of increasing criticism from the Catholic clergy. At an annual meeting in 1820 Daniel O’Connell supported by Lord Cloncurry claimed that the Society’s regulation regarding the reading of scriptures without note or comment was contradictory to the Society’s stated principle of no interference in the religious beliefs of children. The motion was defeated and so O’Connell resigned from the board of the Society.

Although he also objected to this ‘obnoxious regulation’. Fr. Haly continues to apply for assistance up to April 1826. On 30 March 1826 he applied for aid for the three schools in his parish which included Newtown. By 8 April he received approval. But on the 18 April on the instruction of Bishop Doyle he was obliged to discontinue any association with the Kildare Place Society. "I have come to a determination to discontinue the connection which has heretofore subsisted between the schools under my care and the Society for Educating the Poor of Ireland, I must beg leave to decline accepting of the grants which the Committee have been kind enough to the Kilcock, Newtown and Tiermohan schools."

A disagreement between Fr. Haly and Lord Cloncurry took place when Lord Cloncurry in his Personal Recollections alleged that Fr. Haly when P.P. of Kilcock circumvented the rules of the Kildare Place Society. Lord Cloncurry who was a member of the board of the Kildare Place Society wrote that a ‘reverend gentleman’ who was now a bishop and to whose school he had subscribed to side-stepped a condition of funding that the Bible should be read without note or comment in the schools which they assisted. Fr. Haly he implied, complied with this rule by reading the Bible when the school was empty. Lord Cloncurry states he was ‘in no degree inclined to justify pious frauds’. Fr. Geoghegan P.P. of Kilcock in 1883 recollects a visit from Bishop Haly in which he showed him a copy of a letter to Lord Cloncurry denying that he ever read the Bible to empty benches and he also had a letter from Cloncurry giving an apology and a promise to correct the misstatement in his next edition which was never published.(To be continued next month.)

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