Monastic Schools in Ireland – Started by St. Patrick

Irish Hedge Row History. Session #14
Two Thousand Years of Irish History
From the Hedge School at

Our Podcast for Today:
Monastic Schools Founded in Ireland

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Random advance show notes for today:

Around the year 450

Monastic Schools Began with School of Armagh, founded by Patrick in 450, and in the same century arose School of St. Enda in Aranmore as were 14 others including the Stern School of St. Bridget.

30 Schools were founded. As early as 6th century Irish Monastic Schools had students from  Europe and Britain.  In 550: 50 students from Loire in France land in Cork.

The Venerable Bede
Venerable Bede wrote 100 yrs later of Irish saying the ‘‘Scots supplied foreigners with books, food, and teaching ‘gratis.’’

Furnishing Missionaries
At the same time, Irish left as missionaries, Columcille to Scotland; Columbanus  to France, etc  founding over 100 monasteries in France, Germany, Switz, Italy and it continues for several centuries.
Danes devastate Monasteries, many flee to continent, where more pre-1000 a.d.  manuscripts exist than in Ireland.
Rise of Monastic Education
Cistercians rose in Ireland prior to Normans as did Canons regular of St. August.
Dominicans est. 1224, Fran 1230, Carmelites 1274. The Irish ‘swarmed’ to monastic education, so law passed in the Pale around Dublin outlawing it in 1310 and 1380. The later, I believe, forced acceptance of any Anglo-Norman.
Henry 8 became Supreme head of church in Ireland, then suppression  and destruction of monasteries began – not to be rebuilt.  There had been education of other than the religious in these schools.
School suppression 1st half of 16th c., but Dominicans; Franciscans, and  Jesuits had activity.

We see schools primarily for Anglo-Norman children in the cities like: Limerick, Kilkenny, Waterford, and those schools sometimes tried to convert.
Though some Monasteries still exist, easier to go to 20 Irish colleges founded on continent:
Salamanca; Lisbon; Douai, Antwerp, Toulouse, Paris, Prague, Rome…
Irish came well prepared to these schools for Priesthood; Law; Army; Medicene..

Some Monasteries remained, as in Tyrone, Tirconnell, Fermanagh (Flight of Earls)
Hundreds in ‘Colledges’ from Waterford ; Limerick; Clonmel; Cork; Gallway; Kilkenny; Drogheda.
they get some pensions from local Irish Kings and Princes and collections.
Alexander Lynch in Galway had scholars from all Ireland, inc. the Pale. He was investigated and the advised him to convert, would not, so banned from teaching.
(James I commission).

Commonwealth Records: Popish Schoolmasters banished to Connaught and Barbadoes.
Charles II made things some better.
Erasmus Smith complains his schools losing students to Catholic Schools.
James II better but school buildings and teachers had been decreased prior.
For the First time a Catholic University was founded in Ireland, NOT in Dublin, but outside the Pale in Kilkenny City.  Too far to draw students from Dublin, or the north. Served the South of Ireland well.  (note: Pale was Viking stronghold…)


Stay tuned for the next session of “Irish Hedge Row History”.

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About Your Session Leaders

Both Michael and Peter are graduates of Rockhurst University,
and have given lectures, exhibits, tours, and educational
seminars relating to Ireland since 1984.

Peter Reilly Adams
Hedge School Instructor
Peter  traces his roots to the County Fermanagh and County
Cavan. Growing up in the City of New York and influenced by
the Irish neighborhoods, he was educated in Catholic Schools
all his life and was a member of the Augustinian Recollect
Order. Now in Kansas City, Kansas, he has a Bacholar
Degree in  Philosophy, Theology and History and Masters
in Liberal Arts and Public Administration
He has taught at every level of education over the past 40
years and served as Assistant to the Mayor in Kansas City.
He was the host of the Irish Radio show, Celtic Crossings
and has led tours to Ireland for 23 years. He is a noted
musician and a talented vocalist.

Michael C. O’Laughlin
Poor Scholar
Mike O’Laughlin is the founder of the hedge school,
and is the leading author and publisher of Irish Works
in the field of Irish Families, Genealogy and History.

About Mike

Mike is the worlds most published author in his field, with over 40 books, 700 articles, two newsletters, a blog, 200 podcasts and 170 videos. He also publishes rare books like "The Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters" and Keatings "History of Ireland". Mike also sings in the Irish (Gaeilge) Language, with 3 albums to his credit. Mike descends from the O’Loughlins of Kilfenora, County Clare, and the O’Donahues of Glenflesk, County Kerry and also bears Sullivan, Buckley, Kilmartin, Llewellyn and Kelliher roots. He has led tours to Ireland and maintains a 3,000 volume Irish library.
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