HISTORY OF SCHOOL & ACCOMMODATION
In 1809 Robert Marshall Esq., for the use of the parish built a school on Ballon Hill. This schoolhouse was built of stone and lime and was slated. It consisted of 2 or 3 apartments at each end of the house for use by the teacher etc. The school n 45 feet long by 16 feet wide. The school was built on Ballon Hill on the site op Be old graveyard. Only ruins are visible today. The last head master to work in this school was Stephen Hutton and his grave is to be seen almost opposite to where the school was sited.
The initial application to the government to be included in the National School System was made on 3rd July 1832 by Rev. William Kinsella for the boy’s school in Ballon. The application for the girl’s school was made on 1st April 1837.
In 1852 Ballon School was divided into male and female sections and that continued until the present school was built in 1969. There were 120 male and 116 female in 1852 and the number of males had increased to 174 in 1860 when the school in Connaberry had ceased to exist.
A grant was sanctioned for a new male school for 120 pupils in 1891. The other half of that school was built shortly afterwards in 1896 for the females. The dates over the doors of the old school are confusing as the boys and girls swapped buildings later to accommodate larger numbers in one of the schools. The ‘MALE’ and ‘FEMALE’ signs are now off centre as the letters ‘FE’ were put in front of the word ‘MALE’ on what was the boys school and cemented over on what was the girls school. The name ‘BALLON’ was covered with cement during World War Two when all road signs were removed so that any invading Germans would not know where they were. The cement remains to this day!
This school was built of granite as was the teacher’s residence situated beside it closer to the village. (The Credit Union building now separates the two). The school, vacated in 1969 with the opening of a new co-educational school,) is now an enterprise centre. The grants were transferred to our present school, St. Peter’s & St. Pauls National School on 18th March 1969.
A new extension to our school was completed in May 2008 consisting of four classrooms, offices and assembly hall. The extension was officially opened by Bishop James Moriarty on February 6th 2009.