History of Crosshaven B.N.S.
In the early 1800’s, there were two “hedge schools” in the Crosshaven area. One was taught by Thomas O’Hara and the other by John Harrington.
The National Education Act of 1831 led to the founding of the first national school in the area in Myrtleville. Myrtleville National School was located in a one roomed slated building in the chapel yard. By the 1860’s this school room was not large enough for the numbers attending. It was a mixed school until the Presentation nuns arrived in Crosshaven in 1876 when it became a boys’ school. In 1879 the disused chapel nearby was altered for use as a school and this building then became Myrtleville NS.
By the turn of the century it became obvious that conditions needed improvement. As most of the local population now lived in and around Crosshaven village, the manager sought a suitable site in a more central location. The site of the old Crosshaven railway station, purchased by Cork County Council after the closure of the railway in 1932 became available.
Eventually a new two roomed school building was erected on the site and Crosshaven BNS opened its doors to local pupils on April 1st 1943. Pupils ranged in age from 4-14 years and there were 56 pupils on the roll. Mr James Murphy (Principal) taught 30 boys from 4th-7th classes and 26 younger pupils were taught by Miss Mary Holland. The school remained a two teacher school until 1952 when the Principals son Diarmuid O’Murchadha joined the staff.
The Railway Line
The idea of a railway line between Cork City and Passage West was first mooted in 1832 but it was not until 15th June 1847 that the first sod was turned to mark the beginning of the project. The laying of the track was complete by April 1850 and the line was opened to the public on 8th June 1850. The train travelled via a stop at Blackrock so therefore became known as the “Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway”.
In 1895 it was decided to extend the railway line initially to Monkstown and ultimately to Crosshaven also serving the growing town of Carrigaline. Work began in October 1897 and the extension to Monkstown was officially opened on 1st August 1902. The extension to Carrigaline was opened on 15th June 1903 and on June 1st 1904 the extension to Crosshaven was opened to the public.
The track from Blackrock to Crosshaven was single and trains ran every hour with a more intensive half-hourly schedule for busy summer Sundays. In the summer of 1909 no less than 11 trains ran to and from Crosshaven with the full journeys taking 50 minutes. The bulk of the traffic on the line was passenger but some goods traffic was handled also. Cork City folk had a choice of getting to Crosshaven by river or rail but those in a hurry to get to the seaside usually chose the train.
The railway thrived on the busy summer season traffic but this came to an abrupt end with the outbreak of World War 1 in July 1914. Sunday seaside trains ceased and the station was taken over by the police and British Army. The railway survived due to the increase in goods traffic, mostly supplies for the British Army but by 1916 it was in serious financial difficulty due mainly to the military occupation of Crosshaven but also due to an increase in the price of coal due to the war. The outbreak of the War of Independence in 1920 affected passenger traffic and the line was closed for a whole month during the summer of 1921 by the military authorities.
The railway line itself was badly damaged during the Civil War between Republican and Free State Forces which erupted on the local scene in June 1922. One of the spans of the Viaduct at Douglas was blown up and in January 1923 the railway stations at Blackrock, Monkstown and Passage were burned to the ground. The viaducts at Carrigaline and Crosshaven Glen were also damaged by explosives.
On 2nd March 1925 the Cork, Blackrock and Passage Railway Company ceased to exist when it was taken over by the newly formed Great Southern Railways.
It became the policy of G.S.R to use the longer Cork-Cobh line for all harbour traffic and this marked the beginning of the downgrading of the Cork-Passage route. Despite this the Sunday train service to Crosshaven still operated 6 trains each way during the Summer. By the end of 1926 however the G.S.R profits began to dwindle to increased competition from buses and lorries and an improvement in the local road network. During 1927 and 1928 bus competition increased and passenger numbers on the railway had dropped. Furthermore goods traffic from Carrigaline and Crosshaven stations had virtually disappeared.
Due to a worsening financial situation the G.S.R embarked on a rationalization plan. The line to Kinsale on the Bandon section was closed at the end of August 1931 and by September 1931 only 3 trains operated daily to and from Crosshaven. Further cost cutting measures were inevitable with the whole service operated by one locomotive. In the early Spring of 1932 the G.S.R Company announced that the Cork to Crosshaven line would only operate as far as Monkstown resulting the closure of the section between Monkstown and Crosshaven. Angry protest meetings were held in Passage and Crosshaven to no avail and all 3 trains to Crosshaven ceased to run after Tuesday 31st May 1932.
Four months later, on September 10th 1932 all remaining services on the Cork, Blackrock and Passage railway line ceased to operate and the line was closed. The track was taken up, locomotives and carriages were sold and the station buildings became derelict.
In 1935 the Crosshaven Station building was rented by the local Tennis Club who used it as their clubhouse. In 1937 the station building in Crosshaven was demolished and the whole site was sold for €200 for the building of a new school on the site. What was once Crosshaven Railway Station became Crosshaven Boys’s National School when it opened it’s doors to pupils on April 1st 1943.