Over half of the pupils of Rathkeale National Schools Number 2 and Number 3 had names that are readily recognised as having Irish Palatine origin, whilst many more bear the names of families who inter-married with their Irish Palatine neighbours.
In the last 130 years, the majority of children from Irish Palatine families in Rathkeale have attended Rathkeale No 2 National School. The School stands on the main road, next to the Church of Ireland.
Every new pupil has been recorded in the School Register. There are two large bound books, one for girls and one for boys. These two books were started in 1873 and are still in use in 2001. They are showing signs of their age.
The school caters generally for pupils between the ages of 4 and 12, although until 1917 younger entrants into the Infants School were also noted in the Register. Today, as for many years, the school is small, with usually less than twenty pupils. They often occupy just one classroom. In 2001 the numbers are sufficient to justify a second teacher and the use of a second classroom. The early years of the Register suggest that numbers may once have been much greater.
Between 1873 and 2000, the names of over 800 pupils have been entered into the Register. Some names appear twice, recorded when they entered the Infants and later when they started at the main school. The number of entries in each register up to the year 2000 is as follows: Boys 428, Boys Infants 99, Girls 384, Girls Infants 103.
This, the Methodist school, existed for just 20 years, from 1886 to 1906. It was located in the grounds of the former Methodist Church and manse, on the main road, almost opposite the entrance to Rathkeale House Hotel.
Until the church closed in 1968, the old school building was used for social functions and children's parties. After the church building was demolished the remaining property was bought by a doctor, who later sold it to the present GP.
The Register contains the names of around 160 pupils. Some names appear more than once. It appears that pupils were re-registered on return after an extended period of absence. They were also registered when they entered the Infants and later when they started at the main school. The number of entries in each register is as follows: Boys 82, Boys Infants 46, Girls 87, Girls Infants 41.
About the School (Terry Pyper) -
The classrooms are housed in the former refectory of the old Augustinian Abbey, situated to the left about half a mile from the centre of Adare on the Limerick road, in the direction of Patrickswell. They are reached via a long stone stairway on the south side of the building. The school is still attended today, with classes of about the same numbers and Palatine names continue to be recorded - albeit fewer in number. Irish remains an important subject in the curriculum as a means of retaining a cohesive social and cultural identity in an increasingly Anglicized world. Apart from the rich agricultural environment and the warm, communal spirit of the people who dwell today in this prosperous region, very little remains to speak of the influence of the immigrants from the Rhineland Palatinate since the early 18th century.
The picture below shows the teaching staff and pupils of the Adare National School in about 1912. The headmaster, Mr McBratney is on the left with the rector, Canon Orpen. Mrs McBratney, who also taught at the school, is on the right of the picture. The three younger of the seven children of William Henry Barkman and Margaret Jane Barkman (née Shier) of Firgrove House are amongst the children present - Lily, Esther Florence and Billie, alongside his cousin Eric, son of Fred and Charlotte Barkman of Rose Cottage, Adare.
This information has been compiled in 2001 by . They acknowledge the help given by No 2 School, the Irish Palatine Association, and Adare & Ballingrane Methodist Circuit, who made the records available. See below for details on Privacy, Copyright and Data Protection.
NOTES: The lists of 206 children given here include all the names recorded between the dates shown - of both Rhenish Palatine and Anglo-Irish families - and are of particular interest to those seeking their ancestral origins in this singular community, born of a (benevolent, if ineptly handled) British colonization venture in the early 18th century. Where other vital information is sorely lacking (i.e. official census data, electoral rolls and civil registration records), these lists provide much background detail that helps to bridge the gap between christening cups and cemetery headstones.
Two registers were kept - one for Boys and one for Girls. The information sought from parents was considerable; in these valuable source documents, the column headings were as follows:
a) Date of entrance
b) Registration number*
c) Pupil's names (usually surname first)
d) Age last birthday
e) Religious denomination**
g) Occupation or means of making a living of parents
* Registration numbers were initially allocated on a strictly sequential basis, shared amongst boys and girls; occasionally, however, the same numbers were given to both - almost surely by accident, but this practice appears to have occurred more and more frequently over time. The confusion arising from such numbers should therefore deflect us from any reliance upon them as any kind of chronological guide, where dates are not always sufficient.
** In January 1890, the designation E.C. (Church of England) suddenly changed to I.C. (Church of Ireland). The initials P.D. probably represented Protestant Dissenter and appeared to cover all 'divergent' faiths, particularly Methodism, although 'Pres.' for Presbyterian was clearly not regarded as in any way extraordinary or deviant.
Especial thanks are due to the headmistress of the Adare National School, Margaret Brickenden, for her extreme kindness in allowing these registers to be transcribed.
- Terry Pyper (September 2001)
The compilers of this information have sought a practical compromise between three basic principles:
In order to satisfy all of these principles, the paper version of this compilation is in two sections, entitled "Public Information" and "Protected Information". Only the former is shown on this web site.
Only four copies of the complete compilation have been produced, and these are held by the Irish Palatine Association, Rathkeale No 2 School, Adare & Ballingrane Methodist Circuit and the compilers, Janice and Ken McDonald. These parties may allow public access to the full content of this book, and they have no objection to anyone transcribing, photocopying, reproducing or publishing anything in the "Public Information" section.
However, in order to protect the privacy of living individuals, the parties limit the use of the "Protected Information" to researching individual enquiries, under supervision. These pages may not be photocopied and lists may not be transcribed from them.