BLTC Press Titles

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The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll

The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely

Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle

A fortnight in Ireland

by Sir Francis Bond Head


As Tyrone House has wisely been constructed on a firm foundation, so, no doubt, was it highly desirable that in the education of the rising generation of Ireland the Christian religion, which its inhabitants vie with each other in revering, should have formed not only the solid basis of the system, but the cement which in future ages should have bound together, in indissoluble affection, the various living particles of which it is composed. Unfortunately, however, upon this subject there arose from all quarters such a variety of conflicting opinions, that it was deemed necessary to erect the superstructure^—I will not say without any foundation, but with the best that could practically be obtained; and, accordingly, the principles upon which the Commissioners act are, that the schools shall be alike open to Christians of all denominations; that no pupil shall be required to attend at any religious exercise or to receive any religious instruction which his parents or guardians do not approve, and that sufficient opportunity shall be afforded to the pupils of each religious persuasion to receive separately, at appointed times, such description of religious instruction as their parents or guardians shall think proper. Accordingly, every Tuesday from 10£ till 12£ religious instruction may be and is imparted to the children of all denominations of Christians by the minister of the particular creed to which they respectively belong. The Commissioners give to the students a new and curtailed translation of a very small proportion of the Bible, the inaccuracy of which small proportion is thus described (vide their Preface) in their own words:—

"The translation has been made by a comparison of the Authorized and Douay versions with the original. The language, sometimes of the one and sometimes of the other, has been adopted, and occasional deviations have been made from both."

But although this unfortunate, and, alas! disreputable disagreement still exists, the Board of Commissioners, very much to their credit, have, for their common object, encouraged the construction of a series of books in the various departments of elementary instruction, which are not only in general use throughout the National Schools of Ireland, but by their intrinsic merit are rapidly extending, in increasing numbers, to the establishments for public instruction in Scotland, England, and even in the remotest of our colonial settlements.

In 1850 there existed in Ireland under the supervisionof tho Commissioners, who, as vacancies occur, are appointed by the Lord-Lieutenant, and whose number must not exceed fifteen—

Number of National Schools . . . 4,547
Number of children attending them 511,239

—being an increase of 133 schools and of 30,616 children, as compared with the numbers in the preceding year of 1849. In 1850 the number of children in the Marlborough-street establishment was 1400. All pay for their schooling a penny a week. In the same year the sum paid to teachers of six classes (averaging 141. 105. to each) was 66,964/. The number of teachers trained during the twelve months was 185 males, 87 females; total 272. Of these, 15 were of the Established Church, 214 Roman Catholics, 41 Presbyterians, and 2 Dissenters.

There are also under the direction of the Board 124 workhouse schools; namely, in Ulster 28, in Munster 43, in Leinster 29, and in Connaught 24.

Besides affording the means of imparting ordinary instruction, the Board of National Education in Ireland has at Glasnevin a farm of 128 acres, in which teachers as well as pupils receive literary and agricultural instruction, which is thus disseminated over the country —the consequence of which has been that there have already sprung up in Ireland 17 model agricultural schools, as follows:—in Ulster 8, in Munster 6, in Leinster 1, in Connaught 2.

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