Thursday 4 August 2022

Project launches to preserve education documents compiled in 1824

A project to conserve, digitise and publish online a collection of archival documents relating to education provision in the Diocese of Kildare & Leighlin* from 1824 is underway. It is being managed by the Delany Archive, which is based at Carlow College, St Patrick's, with the support of a Heritage Council Community Grant. 

In 1824, an inquiry began into Irish education. It involved the gathering of detailed information about schools all over the country including their location and date of establishment, the number of pupils, average attendance, fees paid, curriculum and books used, a description of the school’s accommodation and more.

Various information about teachers that may be of interest to family historians is recorded, including name, age, religious denomination and where they themselves received their education.

The original documents submitted to the inquiry no longer exist. Fortunately, the then Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin, Dr James Warren Doyle, requested his parish clergy to create duplicate copies. A clever chap was Dr Doyle (aka JKL); 34 of these still exist, covering many parishes in the diocese. These surviving documents will be available at The Delany Archive by mid-September.

In the meantime, an online lecture will be held for Heritage Week on the topic of education during Dr Doyle's time as Bishop of the Diocese, which spanned 1819–1834. This will be presented by Dr Thomas McGrath, the College’s Registrar and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

It will take place online, 7pm to 8pm, on zoom, and is free to attend. You can register here.

* Covers County Carlow and parts of counties Kildare, Laois, Offaly, Kilkenny, Wicklow and Wexford. See map.