This talk sets out to give the background to the establishment of a country- wide network of model schools under the management of the Commissioners of National Education during the mid-nineteenth century. It takes particular note of their role in the training of candidate teachers and how Roman Catholic clerical opposition thwarted its efforts in this regard. This is examined in detail in the operation of Clonmel District Model School during the headmastership of Terence Smyth, 1849-1877.
Joe Doyle is a retired National Teacher, who lives in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. For many years he has had an interest in the history of elementary education in nineteenth-century Ireland. His research of primary records has thrown light on the operation of the national system of education at the level of individual schools. He achieved an MA in Ed. from Maynooth in 1996 examining the level of inter-denominational cooperation in the management of national schools in Co. Kilkenny, with special focus on schools under landlord management. In 2003 he was awarded a PhD. by DCU for his work on the performance of the country’s model schools, particularly to the extent that they succeeded as teacher-training institutes.