Cover Image

Portumna Heritage Trail

29. Old National School

Click here to return to the Portumna Heritage Trail

Portumna parish priest, Fr Thomas Ryan, made an application in 1837 to build a school-house in Portumna to cater for 120 males and 80 females would attend but that the numbers would increase once the school was ‘properly established’.

The building, which still exists today, opened in 1840 with the assistance of local funds and Board of Education grants. Thomas Clarke became the first principal of the new school with his wife, Mary, in charge of teaching the girls.

Eighty boys and thirty four girls attended when the school opened but this number increased over time. The building is now in private ownership.

Old National School


Freestanding five-bay single-storey school, built c.1860, having slightly advanced gabled end bays and gabled porch to centre. Pitched slate roofs. Roughcast rendered walls with render plinth course. Square-headed window openings with six-over-nine pane timber sliding sash windows with cut-stone sills. Doorway to north side of porch. Limestone plaque to upper gable of porch.


This is a notable small school building, the simple long form being broken up and given added interest by the advanced end bays and the central porch. The building is enhanced by the retention of fabric such as timber sliding sash windows and roof slates.