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Rockfield National School, Ballyshannon


Thosaigh scéal Ghort na Carraige

The story of Rockfield School began



It all began on 20th December 1907 with an application by Rev. Bernard Cannon Kelly P.P. for Kilbarron to apply for a grant to construct a vested schoolhouse on lands to be leased from Patrick Gallagher, Knocknashangan, Belleek on a 99 year lease at 1 penny per year.  An inspector visited Rockfield old school on the 21st January 1908 from 11.00am to 12 noon.

On 29th February 1908, application was replied to with the Department asking for the reasons that Rockfield felt they should obtain a grant while the Department pointed out their close proximity to Belleek.

On 11th October 1909, the Department reaffirmed their May decision stating they “could not depart” from their original decisions.  However, Rev. Kelly obviously did not understand the meaning of the word “NO”.  By November 1909, the Department documents acknowledged that a fund was started in the Rockfield School area.  The parents stating very clearly that they were opposed to sending their children to Belleek. 

By 2nd December 1909, Rockfield School was on the move with the Department stating that existing grants would continue as they now accepted that a new schoolhouse would be provided “at the cost of local parties”.

On 15th January 1910, the Department queried the plans, which they stated were not in accordance with Department guidelines.  The Department provided a standard plan to which Rockfield was to conform with in so far as possible.

On 25th January 1910, the Department informed Rev. Kelly that the plans which he was following based on Carricknahorna school was under the “old” standard plans which would accommodate 80 students, whereas the new standard proposed by the Department would accommodate 50 children.  At this stage, Rockfield had an average of 38 students.

A stubborn refusal by the management of Rockfield School was successful and on 9th March 1910, the Department relented and accepted the building, which appeared to have either been constructed or was in the process of construction at this stage.  The relentless Rev. Kelly actually applied for a furniture grant on the 5th March, 1910 in conjunction with an application for an enclosure grant to secure the site.

Obviously, the Department realised that Rockfield was happening (or had happened) at this stage and on 9th March, 1910, they accepted the inevitable and accepted the building,  However, they refused the application for furniture and enclosure stating that they could not allow the grant as the school was “non vested”.

 On 1st April 1910, the Department replied to Rev. Kelly’s application to vest the school stating they could not do so at this time for the same reasons they could not grant a vested school as originally requested on the grounds of Rockfields’ proximity to Belleek.

By 4th February 1920, the now Very Rev. Dean Kelly, D.D., was again refused the vesting of the premises and trustees by the Department. 

Obviously, the Department was not a happy camper having been defeated by a relentless Rev. Kelly, and the people of Rockfield School Community.

In spite of all the obstacles, Rockfields’ new school was born and officially opened on 21st November 1910.