It was sixty years ago this year when the last group of pupils completed their primary school education at Roshine National School in Burtonport.
In 1959 the school closed its doors for the final time, having served the area after first opening as an all-boys school back in 1896.
It’s an historic landmark in this small pocket of west Donegal and now thanks to the efforts of local couple Martin Boyle and Ciara Gallagher, a new chapter in the life of the school building has begun following its transformation into a beautiful new holiday home.
The new home retains so many features of the original school building and as those who attended a specially arranged open day on Sunday saw for themselves, it’s a project that was well worth all the effort.
Ciara and Martin, who live close by in Keadue with their four children Tristan, Olivia, Daisy and Noah, started work on renovating the school last November.
Martin did a large amount of the work himself and after stripping away some of the plaster on the outside and inside walls, they discovered that the original stone walls were in almost perfect condition.
Then followed six months of renovations where Ciara and Martin did their best to retain as much of the history of the school as they could. Ciara even took time to celebrate those who had attended the school by framing a list of former pupils - the information gathered from a book which was produced on the school.
“We’re delighted with how things have turned out and to be honest, pleasantly surprised by the reaction,” Ciara said this week.
“A lot of people were calling in to have a look at the renovations when the work was ongoing and many people who were former pupils at the school themselves were keen to see what it was like.
“That’s why we decided to organise an open day on Sunday so that people could come in and have a look around.”
Fr Pat Ward also came to bless the new four bedroom home which Ciara and Martin plan to let out as a holiday home.
Thanks to Mary Rodgers for the photographs
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