Dreenan School Memories

 I went to Dreenan School in the 1940's, it was one of five schools in the parish of Lavey Co Derry. It was quite a high whitewashed building, one storey only, with a slated roof. Inside it was divided in two by a partition which could be opened to make one room if necessary. Each room had a wooden floor and was heated by a stove in the winter. There was no piped water and the 'dry' toilets were outside in the small yard which was the only playground for the school.
The teachers at this time were Ms Boyle and Ms Mooney who came to the school on bicycles. Older people remember being taught by Ms Dinnen whose home was the next building to the school.
The pupils who attended the school came from Dreenan, Drummuck, Eden, Curraghbroc, Carnaman and Mayogall some having to walk quite long distances to get there. Many of the children took 'short cuts' through the fields to get to school and each brought a lunch which was often eaten by the time they reached the classroom. At this time free milk was supplied to schools and helped to keep the hunger at bay until closing time.
There was no organised sport of any kind at school then but at lunchtime the boys played football, two 'sides' made up of nearly every boy in the school, kicking a makeshift ball and each other in the small playground. The poor girls had very little to entertain themselves with as the football took up all available space. In winter great sport was had from making slides on the ice on the smooth road past the school and a whole half hour could be spent on the slide without a single vehicle passing on the road. At this time of year pupils used to bring some of their own turf to help keep the stoves blazing.
Dreenan school which opened in 1842 was never modernised, remaining a two roomed building until in 1972 the pupils were transferred to the new school at Mayogall near Lavey Chapel which is the only Primary school now in the parish today.
A private house now stands on the site of the old school.

Denis Grant.