I recently came upon this memoir of an Irish exile from Moortown, Tyrone settled in
If not I shall desist after this entry: if so, you can have much more!
‘The only school in the district was a one-room elementary protestant school two miles from our house. I think our parents were somewhat reluctant to send us to a Protestant school but keeping up with our ‘larnin” was considered more important than religious persuasion, so off we went, Sally and I!
My first impression of the school was not very positive. Stuck in the corner of a section, surrounded by seemingly endless fields of wheat, oats and barley and without another building in sight, it appeared small and insignificant in comparison with the school in far-off Moortown. I felt here at last was something I could brag about because up to now
The most important lesson I learned here was not from textbooks. I was taken aback when the first thing the class did in the morning was to stand and recite the ‘Our Father’, or the Lord’s Prayer, as they called it. I had always thought it the exclusive property of Catholics and moreover, this was the first time I had heard it recited by anyone who was not kneeling! The class however did not make ‘the sign of the cross’ (we’d say ‘Bless themselves!’) or recite the Hail Mary. For the first few mornings I crossed myself at the commencement of the Pater Noster but as this gesture attracted a lot of curious glances, I soon gave it up.
My teacher, a novice herself, was young and in her first school. Miss Munroe asked what grade I had been in in
I thought she was nice and that we would get along together.’