Our School

Cullen National School is located near Cullen village in the townland of Mullaghroe. Cullen is just off the N72, approximately half way between Mallow and Killarney, a mere six miles on the Cork side of the border from  Kerry.  
There are three Classroom Teachers and one Support Teacher and a Special Needs Assistant.
This is our new school building since 1st September 2011. It is beautifully designed, spacious and bright and we are very pleased with it. We have four classrooms, a general purpose hall, two learning support rooms, a staff room and lots of storage space. Our interior colour scheme is warm and welcoming. We have two large play areas outside which the pupils thoroughly appreciate and enjoy.

Staff and Class Allocation for 2019/2020:
 Staff Member: Description: Classes:
 Mrs. N. Moynihan Principal
 Special Education Teacher
 Mrs. E. Cremin Deputy Principal Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Class
 Mrs. S. Bourke Class Teacher First, Second and Third Class
 Mrs. C. O'Sullivan      Class Teacher Junior and Senior Infants               

 Staff Member: Description:
Mrs. A. Moynihan
Ms. M. Twomey
 Special Needs Assistants
Mrs. E. O' Connor School Secretary

  Contact Details:
 Phone: (029)79201
 Email:  cullennats.ias@eircom.net

School Times - opening, break, lunch, closing

School gates open at 9:10 a.m. Class begins at 9:20 a.m.

Small break: 11:00 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.

Big break: 12:30 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

School finishes at 2:00 p.m. for Junior and Senior Infants. It finishes at 3:00 p.m. for all other classes.

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School Uniform

Grey trousers/skirt/pinafore.
Grey jumper.
Sky blue shirt/Polo shirt.
Royal blue tie.

School Tracksuit

Navy sweater, with school crest, navy leggings and a yellow polo shirt.
This is worn every Friday and for sports activities throughout the year.

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School History
Situated in Mullachrua, at the top of Cullen Village, stands the newly built Scoil Náisiúnta Chuilinn Uí Chaoimh since 2011. In that year, the school moved from the elevated site in the townland of Lislehane on the main Mallow-Killarney road. This school building however was not the first primary school to be built in Cullen, so just for a short while we will recapture the story of schooling in this area.
The first school was built at the top of Lislehane Hill in 1847 over one hundred and sixty years ago. It consisted of two rooms - a boys’ room and a girls’ room. The walls of the school were built from local stone and were very low. It had a slate roof and very small windows, so the ventilation was very poor. Heating was provided from an open fire in each room. Turf was provided by the parents and in the early days some pupils brought the sod of turf with them to school each morning.

Both teachers and pupils in those days did not enjoy great working conditions. The Irish people at the time were poor as Ireland was ruled by England and farm produce did not fetch a high price. England was famous for what was called “a cheap food policy” so farmers toiled from morning until night for little reward. Most of the community worked on the land and the labourers and tradesmen who worked for them were paid meagre wages. Any repairs that became necessary for the old school had to be paid for by the teachers out of their own salaries.

Boys and girls were taught separately. The first school mistress was Miss Hanora Dennehy from Millstreet who married Denis Hickey. When he died she married Robert Dunne, a sergeant in the police, who lived in Cullen. She retired in 1892 and was succeeded by a Mrs. Kate Cronin from Rathduane. In 1864 an assistant teacher named Eileen O’ Donoghue was appointed. In 1869 a second assistant Hannah O’ Riordan was appointed and in 1871 a third assistant Nanno Morley was appointed to the school. At one time there were four teachers in the girls’ school.

The principal Mrs. Cronin was succeeded by her daughter H. M. Cronin. She taught there until her death in 1931 and was succeeded by Mrs. Hanora Kiely who had Mrs. Brigid Brennan as her new assistant. That girls’ school was remarkable for the number of girls who left it to join the religious life. Many of them went to Australia and were noted for their missionary zeal.

The first principal of the boys’ school was William Godsil who was succeeded by Robert Dwyer. Next to him came Conal George Mc Sweeney. His most famous pupil was Dónal Ó Conchúir- the famous poet whose poems can be found in “Dúnaire Duthalla”. succeeding Mr. Mc Sweeney were Timothy Ring of Glountane, Cullen and John Kiely a native of Feenagh, Co. Limerick. John Kiely married a local girl, Elizabeth O’ Keeffe and lived in Mullaghroe. His son Roger Kiely later became a teacher and was a principal of the school in the 1930’s. He had a great interest in the Irish Language and in Irish music and formed a school band.
The old school building had by now become very dilapidated. It was rat infested and was most insanitary so 1938 saw the completion of the new school a little farther over the road. One autumn morning in 1938 all the pupils led by the fife and drum band and, accompanied by their teachers Roger Kiely, Denis O’ Keeffe, Mrs. Hanora Kiely and Mrs. Brigid Brennan, marched east along the road and up the steps to the school.

Mrs. Kiely was principal of the girls’ school and her assistant was Mrs. Brennan. On that day there were 85 girls on the rolls.

Roger Kiely was the principal of the boys’ school and his assistant was Denis O’ Keeffe. There were 75 boys on the rolls making a total of 160 pupils.

The new school seemed palatial to the pupils who left the top of the hill but by the standards of today it would appear primitive. Heating was provided by an open fire in three rooms and a stove in Mrs. Kiely's room. Turf was kept in the sheds up at the back. The toilets were up at the back as well - three toilets for the boys and three for the girls. They were dry lavatories as the school had no public water supply. Each morning four pupils took four big containers for water back to a water spout near where Der Kielys’ house now stands. That was the water supply for the day. The sixth class pupils enjoyed drawing the water in the morning as it meant a little time off from school work!! The fires were also set by the senior pupils who also took out the ashes. They did not consider these tasks a chore as they were accustomed to similar work at home.

Pupils sat on dual desks which had seating for two and a writing desk. Embedded in the desk was an ink-well for each pupil. No biros then only pens with attachable nibs and ink. The ink was a deep blue liquid made by the teacher with ink powder and water. The script was dried with blotting paper and care had to be taken not to blot the copy. Blotting the copy was punished by a slap of a cane. Corporal punishment was the order of the day.

Roll books and Teachers Records were stored in the pitch-pine presses which are still in the rooms. The presses held the pupils’ copy books and text books in use for the different subjects. The emphasis was very much on the teaching of Irish, English and Arithmetic and a state examination in those subjects called the Primary Certificate.

Exams had to be taken by each pupil at the end of sixth class.

Department inspectors visited the school at certain times to ensure the Curriculum was taught to the required standard and a Religious inspection took place every year. Confirmation was administered every three years but more recently every second year.

In 1966 the two schools, boys and girls were amalgated under Willie Joe O’Keeffe as principal. On his retirement in 1975 Liam Fitzgerald was appointed principal. The assistants then were Miss Kiely, Mrs. Nolan and Mrs. Cremin. In 1991 the falling enrolment meant the loss of Miss Kiely who took up an appointment in Kiskeam.

Mrs. Cremin retired in 1994 and was succeeded by Mrs. Eithne Cremin. Mrs. Nolan retired in 1995 and it was then a two teacher school until 2001 when a third teacher, Mrs. Joan Mullane joined the staff. In 2004 Mr. Liam Fitzgerald retired and was  succeeded by Mrs. Hannah Kelleher as principal. That same year Mrs. Joan Mullane was replaced by Miss Sinéad (Murphy) Bourke. 

Mrs. H. Kelleher (Principal) retired in October, 2018 and was replaced by Mrs. N. Moynihan (Current Principal).

Teachers down through the years
Girls school:
Mrs. Kiely 1938-1960.

Mrs. Mc Sweeney 1960- ‘63.

Mrs. Kate Cremin 1963-’66.

Assistants: Mrs. Brennan.

Mrs. Mc Sweeney.

Miss Mary O’Riordan.

Mrs. Mary Nolan.

Boys school:

Roger Kiely 1938-’61.

Willie Joe O’ Keeffe.

Assistant: Denis O’Keeffe.

Willie Joe O’Keeffe.

Mrs. Kate Cremin.

Mrs. Mary Nolan.

Miss Eileen Kiely.

Boy's & Girl's Combined


Willie Joe O’ Keeffe1966-’75.

Liam Fitzgerald 1975 - 2004

Hannah Kelleher 2004 to 2018 

Nóra Moynihan 2018 (Current Principal)

Mrs. Nolan.

Mrs. K Cremin.

Mrs. E Cremin ( Current Deputy Principal)

Miss S. (Murphy) Bourke.

Mrs C. O' Sullivan.