Out and about in Arigna.

In arigna, Off the beaten track. on August 15, 2012 at 9:28 am

The Miner’s Way is a network of paths once used by the workers as they made their way, on foot, to work in the coal mines at Arigna. They cover a distance of 62 miles with walks to suit all abilities.

Sunday was a showery day so not very good for walking. I really don’t like getting wet! We drove up to what we call The Top Road, which is the road above us in the valley, and parked at Glen Church. This little church which was built in 1912 is now sadly selmon used.

Symbols  of devotion in the overgrown churchyard.

As we descended the grassy path to the old school we were met by some baffled looking black faced Sheep.

One of many closed abandoned schools in the area. A sign of rural depopulation. 40% of Ireland’s population now live in towns and cities.

Sad to see the building vandalised and full of sheep droppings. An old desk stands monument to the past pupils who were educated here. I wonder how many of them still live in the area? With lots of abandoned homesteads in the area I would’nt imagine too many do.

The  plaque on the wall outside written in old Irish script reads: St. Maria Goretti National School. Only built in 1955. The area has seen monumental changes in those intervening years. Not all for the better I don’t think. But maybe I’m old fashioned and this is progress.

  1. What a history lesson you gave us! I loved it. So sad though to see the old school abandoned. But like you said, I guess the work is in the city.

  2. it’s all sad imo, we have managed to resist closeures our local council proposed for schools here but for how long is unknown, when I started looking at living in north Scotland in the 1990s I saw schools like the one you show and many, many derilict or becoming derilict homes, thankfully here young people leave but many return when they have a family as they prefer to bring their children up here than in the cities, there is work in the service industry but many young people do not want that kind of work, some families live here but the breadwinner is away during the working week and home weekend and there are those that work the oil riggs being away even longer, Frances

  3. Some progress is good (as in computers and what is available online). But smaller, neighborhood schools could use those computers and still maintain a good student/teacher ratio.

  4. It is so sad to see places that are abandoned – our village school closed down a couple of years ago as there weren’t enough pupils to fill it. Not sure what will happen to it.

  5. I agree that change and progress are not the same thing. Unfortunately too many folks, especially politicians it seems, think “progress” is gonna fix everything. Why is it they never realize that their “solutions” only create more problems???

  6. I wanted to buy an old school and renovate it in Co.Kilkenny but it cost too much. As an old farmer said to me when I went back for a visit during the Celtic Tiger years ‘a few years ago you couldn’t give it away’. Now it was ‘fashionable’ to buy old properties and do them up!! And there are so many in rural Ireland. Such a shame. Hopefully more people will go back ‘to the land’ and balance it all out again.

    • I think the time is coming when these old places will once again be “bought for a song.” The price of houses is still on the downward spiral in the country and once again old cottages needing renovation are going for 25,000 euros, here in Roscommon anyway.

      • 25.000 OMG!!! That is nothing for a house!!! And I used to live in Roscommon and there were so many abandoned houses!!! I remember one, close to the town, which was still as its owner left it but covered in dust and dirt etc. So sad to see a forgotten life. She even had a beautiful harpsicord in her dining room and lace tableclothes etc. All unused now and left to rot.

  7. Everything has an eerie fell when it is abandoned. Like you I am not sure consolidation in cities is progress.

    • I don’t think it is. It’s much easier to live independently in the country, grow your own veg, forage wild foods. In the city everything must be purchased.

  8. Thanks for sharing this. There’s a certain sadness and magic to such places.


  9. It is poignant to visit the abandoned places, to feel the spirit of the life that was enjoyed there, now gone. On my rural island, we are also struggling with opportunities for the young. We joke that, before long, only the rich will be able to live here. The punchline is, “and then who’ll they get to wait on them in the stores and restaurants (or clean their toilets/do their laundry/teach their children)?”

  10. Hi Bridget, thanks for sharing the history of Miners Way .. what hard work these miners did, I can almost visualize them trudging back and forth to the mines. And how very sad to see these dilapidated old buildings. In the future, I believe that people will “rediscover” these lovely areas and the trend will be to rejuvenate them again. This happens in a lot of small towns here. People move to the big cities and then later want the quiet of the country. My fingers are crossed that this will happen over there, also.

  11. The sense of abandonment is palpable…so sad.
    Jane x

  12. Oh how sad to see that school in such a state. It’s a vicious cycle as well – no jobs in rural areas means no younger people means no need for schools means some families will move closer to urban areas for good schooling. Unfortunately rural jobs don’t pay well enough and certainly here in Britain it’s expensive to live in rural areas as well. It’s generally only people who have made their money elsewhere that can afford to retreat to the country.

  13. Has a showery atmosphere. Whether the changes are for better or for worse – I suppose we would only know if we knew where the people are now and what they are doing.

    • A lot of them emigrated to England and America. There are also a lot of bachelors around this area. When they die the small farms tend to get absorbed by bigger farmers.

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