Craggagh NS Blog

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Mr Charlton

Out for our Morning Mile! (Well, 1.5km to be precise!)

For the months of September and October (weather permitting) we intend to do a daily “Morning Mile” (morning 1.5 kilometre just doesn’t have the same ring to it!).

 There’s no messing with gear or anything like that, just high-viz vests and off we go for a brisk morning walk. The fresh air and exercise is the perfect way to wake up our brains and bodies and gets us off the best possible start to our busy day.

We welcome any company (as long as you can keep up!).


Rounders Time!

Spending our JEP profits in Westport House! Photo gallery

Our Junior Entrepreneur project has come to an end and Super Smoothies Ltd has been wound up.

Today we got to spend the remainder of our profits having already purchased ukuleles.

We had an absolutely fantastic day in Westport House! We enjoyed the flume ride, swinging ship, cannon ball run, swan pedal boats and the train.

As you can clearly see from the pictures below, a mighty day was had!


Wildflower Walk! We found wood sorrel, primroses, common dog violets and more!

Our school is situated in such a beautiful place! Just outside our school gate is a lovely, quiet road which hosts a plethora of wild flowers. These flowers are currently enjoying their moment in the sun before the deciduous trees overhead develop their canopy.

 Our task this morning was to find wildflowers and write a detailed description in our copies which we would then use to help us identify the flowers upon our return to the classroom.

We took note of the petals, describing their colour, shape and size and the number of petals. We also examined the stems and foliage. We found a huge variety with many shades of yellow, pink, purple and white.

When we returned to class, we used iPads, Chromebooks and laptops to identify all of our discoveries.

So far, we have identified

  • Primrose
  • Cowslip
  • Forget-me-not (field)
  • Lesser Celandine
  • Opposite leaved golden saxifrage
  • Common dog violet
  • Wood-sorrel
  • Cow Parsley
    We also found the foliage of the wood anemone but there’s no sign of their flowers just yet!

Marvellous Marbling, viewfinders and #sowandgrow

A busy day in the senior room!

Today we used marbling inks and water to create some beautiful patterns.

We each placed a few drops of ink on the surface of some water and transferred the colours onto our paper. 

 We will use these strips of paper to make decorative and unique bookmarks or photo frames.

With the bits of paper we had left, we made viewfinders to help with our drawing. 

Over the past few weeks we’ve been working on using our pencils to create light and shade, creating thin and thick lines.

Finally, our seeds are doing really well!

We sampled some of our greenery today! The peas and spinach were an absolute hit, but the cress received a mixed reaction!

Phew, busy day! 

Ringforts in Mayo – History activity for Senior Room

Image Source:



Following our lesson on the Céide Fields, click on the link below to read about the Archaeological Survey undertaken during the construction of the Charlestown Bypass.


Use the document to answer the following questionnaire:


Sow and Grow 2016 

We returned to school this week with an extra hour of daylight, a bit of warmth in the air and a definite feeling that spring had finally sprung! So we were especially delighted to receive our “Sow & Grow” kit from Innocent Ireland and GIY.

The pack contained a bag of organic compost, a bunch of paper cups and 3 packets of organic seeds including spinach, peas and cress.

We immediately got busy, with a big majority of the children choosing peas and only two opting for cress!

We’ll monitor the progress of our seeds over the coming days and weeks and post results here.  

Which will be first to break ground? Peas, spinach or cress? Stay tuned!

Crafty 4th, 5th & 6th! Memory boxes for our mammies!

It’s Friday, yay! 😎

Also, Morhers’ Day is this weekend so we created some gorgeous memory boxes as gifts for our wonderful mammies!


TY Peer4Peer with @StLouisCS & The Power of Twitter with @blognamara

We had a very interesting morning today as we were joined by Ciara, Cillian, Jade, Nicole & Rebecca who are all Transition Year students in St Louis Community School in Kiltimagh.

They delivered a lovely lesson on communication skills which went down very well with 4th, 5th & 6 classes. They will return for another 3 lessons, covering important topics such as bullying and Internet safety.

Meanwhile, this coin showed up in our school shop:

No, it’s not €2, look closely!

We were totally at a loss as to its origins so we took to Twitter:

Just 11 minutes later we had an answer courtesy of our friends in Glór na Mara National School in Tramore, Co Waterford:

So now we know, thanks guys! How cool is that?!! 🙂

Brainstorm! Our Junior Entrepreneur Project Is Underway! @JEP_National

Business moguls beware, the pupils of Craggagh NS are feeling bullish and are poised to launch a new business in the coming weeks!

We have broken out into 5 groups and are currently working on separate ideas.

The 5 ideas at research stage right now are:

  • Doggie Bags
  • Healthy Smoothies
  • Wholesome Cupcakes
  • Handmade Soap
  • Customised Candles

In a couple of weeks, our groups will enter our “Dragons’ Den” to pitch their ideas. The best idea will then be adopted by the whole class as our “Big Idea” and the business will begin in earnest.

We have spent the last few weeks studying famous entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs of Apple and Ingvar Kamprad of Ikea, local entrepreneurs like Shane Gilmartin in Kiltimagh or Mary Flanagan in Balla. We also looked at some case studies for other schools’ projects.

Today, we’re researching costs of supplies, how much of an investment we may need, how or where we might sell our products and what jobs, tasks and skills will be required.


Link to Léigh sa Bhaile for rang 4,5 & 6

Christmas Handbells!

Joy To The World and Jingle Bells performed by 4th, 5th & 6th classes on Grandparents’ Day.

Senior Room – KYMS

KYMS – Keep Your Mouth Shut!

Keep Your Mouth Shut | Synopsis

From 1947 to 1957 the Bureau of Military History recorded over 1,700 witness statements from veterans of the 1913-1921 era. One of these witnesses was Senator Seán T Ruane, who was appointed principal of our school, Craggagh NS in 1914. Our play is based on his statement.

The Kiltimagh Young Mens’ Society (KYMS) was established in 1903 as a drama club and is still active to this day. However, as with many organisations at that time, KYMS was infiltrated by members of the Irish Volunteers and used as a cover for their operations. KYMS produced a number of plays mostly dealing with the 1798 period, e.g. “The Rebel Chief” and “The West’s Awake” and is credited with doing much to stir local militant nationalism. Our protagonist, the young principal teacher Seán T, was president of this society, KYMS, which became known locally as “Keep Your Mouth Shut”.

Seán T’s militant leanings brought him into direct conflict with his school manager, Fr Denis O’Hara, himself a considerable force in his own right. Our play focuses initially on their complex relationship. Fr O’Hara although staunch parliamentarian and Redmondite, was a nationalist at heart especially after being attacked in his home by the “Black and Tans”.

Our play goes on to explore the activities of local men and women during and after Easter 1916, such as the acquisition of 14 rifles at a hold up in Balla (using only a brass tap!) and house raids in Kiltimagh. We also meet a very interesting young lady, Miss Gavin, a Post Office Assistant, who loses her job due to her sympathies with the leaders of the 1916 Rising.

The events in our drama happened right here in Craggagh, Kiltimagh and Balla and were played out by local people. Ordinary people in an extraordinary time.

Click here to read Seán T Ruane’s Witness Statement, on which our play is based.

Alannah’s Great Grandfather’s War of Independence Medals #rang1916 @mayo_history @dfarchives

We’re studying all things 1916 in history these days as we lead up to next year’s centenary celebrations.

We are particularly interested in local stories about Craggagh, Kiltimagh & Balla and the lives of the people who lived here.


Medals awarded to Martin McNicholas , Carnahan, Craggagh, Co Mayo

 Today, Alannah brought in these medals which were awarded to her great grandfather, Martin McNicholas, Carnahan, Craggagh, for his activities during the period of the Irish War of Independence.

You can read more about these medals on the Military Archives website.

The medal on the left above (green, orange and black ribbon) is the Truce Commemoration Medal awarded to veterans still alive on June 11, 1971 which was the Jubilee of the 1921 truce.

The medal on the right is the Service (1917 – 21) Medal. This medal was awarded in two classes:

  • (a)  Medal with bar to persons who are in possession of a military  service certificate entitling them to a pension under the Military Service Pensions Acts in respect of active service in the period subsequent to 1916 and prior to 11 July 1921 and to those persons not in possession  of a certificate who satisfy the Minister for Defence that had they applied for a pension, their service was such as would have  merited the award of a pension.
  • (b)  Medal without bar to persons who were members of Óglaigh na hÉireann (Irish Republican Army), Fianna Éireann, Cumann na mBan or the Irish Citizen Army for the three months ending on 11 July 1921.

During the early 1970s when DeValera was president, he invited veterans to apply for these medals and pensions, by listing their activities and referencing their contemporaries as proof.

Many thousands were awarded medals and pensions during this time. Below is the account of Dan Moran from Derryvohey, Craggagh (Mr Charlton’s grandfather) who was also awarded his medals in 1971.


Dan Moran Pension Application pg 1
Dan Moran Pension Application pg 2

 This was an amazing time in Irish history and our area is no exception. There’s loads to explore and we’ll publish what we find here.

If you have anything relating to this period of history, especially if it relates to our locality, please get in touch. We love local history, especially if we can use primary sources. 

We’d love oral stories, written records, photographs, medals, membership books, oath cards etc.

Thank you for your help and stay tuned!


Visit to National Museum of Country Life

We had a fabulous day at the National Museum of Country life today.

We spent most of our time learning about and examining ordinary objects made by people using the materials that they had to hand at the time; mostly straw, willow (sally) and heather.

Examining lobster pots made from sally rods and hen nests made from straw
Straw basket…and guess who is that in the straw boy hat!

All sorts of household, farming and fishing items were made using these materials:


  • Baskets
  • Chairs
  • Stools
  • Mattresses
  • Hats

Farming & Fishing

  • Horse collars
  • Hen nests
  • Cleaves
  • Rope
Relaxing on a súgán chair

We got to look closely at thatching. We noticed when we looked at the 1901 & 1911 census records for our area in class recently that every house in our community was thatched except for one!

Straw is naturally water resistant and is a fantastic natural insulator.

Handling a thatch roof…amazing craftmanship

Finally, we briefly explored the sections “Hearth & Home”, “Trades”, “Farming & Fishing” and “Life in the Community”.

laundry was a little different long ago…but we still have Persil!
a crane for hanging pots and pans over the fire
shopping trolley not required!

We found the school section particularly interesting. School life was very different from today.

The objects used in school have changed a lot. We don’t use ink wells, quills or slates and we don’t learn the catechism….and our teacher doesn’t use the strap!

sign hung during religion class…and a leather strap.
ink was used by the older children in school and slates for the juniors
Does this thing have Twitter?

Being able to see and handle historical artefacts makes for very engaging and memorable history lessons.  We’re very lucky to have such a wonderful facility so close to us.

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