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St. Columba’s, N.S. Inishturk Island

St. Columba’s, National School

Saint Columba’s National School on Inishturk Island was built in 1885 and was opened in 1886. This two teacher school is situated on Inisturk (Island of the Boar) to the south-west of Clew Bay, between Clare Island and Inisboffin. It is approx 15km southwest off Louisburgh


The first teacher to teach in the school was Mr Bushell. According to an old roll book dating from 1888, there were 30 girls in the school and one teacher.

Some names mentioned on the sheet are: O'Malley, McNamara and DeCourcey. There are no present day inhabitants of the island with the aforementioned surnames.

The original settlers on the island seem to have congregated at the southwest corner round the beautiful little harbour of Portdoon. Some of the dominant names of the settlers include: ÓToole, Heanue and Concannon, these are names from Leinster, Ulster and the nearby Connemara Gaeltacht. Descendants of these people reside on the island today.

Emigration took its toll on Inishturk over the years, with little or no work on, or around the island, the fishing industry was in decline along the west coast. A lot of the young people emigrated to England and America. As a result the island is now English speaking although, at the beginning of the 20th century, Irish was the first language spoken.

This school is the only fulltime public centre functioning in this community and there has been a significant drop in the population of the island over the past forty years.

Around 1996 the population of the Island had dropped to 92 people.

The school kept strong ties with its past pupils who reside across the Atlantic in places like New York, Boston, and Massachusetts

This fact was commemorated by the unveiling of a plaque presented by: Pat, Peter and Annie, the family of Michael John and Kate Ó Toole in 1986

To mark the centenary a small area adjacent to the school ground, was sculptured and dedicated to past pupils and families of Inishturk.

President Mary McAleese officially opened This Garden of Remembrance on the 27th June 2006. Family names of past pupils of Saint Columba’s, National School, are listed on the plaque.

At present there are 7 pupils on the roll under the leadership of the present Principal Mary Monaghan.


Saint Columba's National School Mission Statement

All pupils in the school are native to the island and have a consciousness of being islanders and rooted in their community with pride, place and purpose. The mission of all parties in the school is to provide an equal opportunities child-centred education for all pupils based on their abilities and interests. Above all we, as a Catholic school, are drawn together in collective worship through active participation in prayer and liturgical celebrations. Preparation for the Sacraments is a partnership between school, home and church and all have a shared responsibility in handing on the faith.

Our Aim is to:

  • To promote Christian values and beliefs, encouraging respect for self and others.
  • To provide a happy, caring, stimulating environment which is conducive to learning.
  • To promote the spiritual, moral, cultural, intellectual, emotional and physical development of each individual pupil.
  • To build upon existing home/school links and to develop a working partnership with parents and others.
  • To strive to help children achieve their potential and to become independent life-long learners


Sport / Physical Education

The school provides a broad and balanced curriculum and we work hard as a team to promote excellence in academics, music, sean nos dancing weekly, and participate in cumann na mbunscol mini sevens football matches with other islands, and mainland teams, traveling to McHale Park, Castlebar,.



Green Flag

The school was awarded the Green Flag last year and have now applied for and awaiting its energy flag. We would like to thank everyone who helped in any way to make Saint Columba’s, National School a Green school.

The programme has great benefit for the school for example:

  • Litter and Waste are reduced
  • Fuel and electricity bills will be reduced
  • It improves the school environment
  • Involves the local community in the actions of the school
  • Most importantly the children become aware of their local environment and how to care for it


School Ethos

St. Columba’s N.S is officially known and recognised by the Department of Education & Science as Saint Columba’s, National School, Inishturk Island, It is a primary school under the management of the Catholic Church with the Archbishop Michael Neary as its patron.

The school endeavours to reflect the ethos of the Catholic Church in a sensitive, ecumenical environment. All children irrespective of faith, gender, disability or race, are treated equally.


St Columba’s N.S. Principal Mary Monaghan


Contact Details:

Saint Columba’s National School

Inishturk Island

Co Mayo

Principal: Mrs Mary Monaghan,

Telephone: 098 45036

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 9.00am – 2.45pm

Wheelchair-accessible: Yes


Mary Monaghan

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