Cos. Tyrone, Donegal, Londonderry & Fermanagh Ireland Genealogy Research

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Unagh National School, Lissan Parish, Cookstown & the Lane Family, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland

Lissan Parish, 19 Lough Fea Rd, Cookstown
Transcribed, Compiled and Submitted by Philip Strong
The Lane Family



My great grandmother Jane LANE lived in Unagh, Parish Lissan. Her father James’ farm is described and mapped in the 1860 Griffiths records, and the same farm probably leased by her grandfather James during the 1827 Tithe Applotments.

The Unagh National School was just down the hill from my LANE family’s Unagh farm in a southwest direction. It is highly probable that the LANE children attended the school. The family must have had a respect for learning, which resulted in Jane’s brother Joseph becoming a Marine Engineer. All the children had to do was walk down to the south end of their property to the copse of trees, then down southwest through James M’GAGH's [McGeagh] property to the National School. The renovated school building is still on the same tiny block shown and named on the Griffith map, with an area of only 88 m2.



There are no records of this school in the PRONI National School files, however, some records of the school have been found:

  • 1835. Visit of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Earl of Mulgrave) to Sir T. Staples at Lissan. The “Committee of the Unagh School waited on his Excellency and stated the circumstances of the School, to the funds of which he contributed in the most liberal manner.”
  • 1840. “Application to the commissioners of Education (for) payment of teachers’ salary, and for supply of books.” The application stated the school “was founded in 1834 built by private subscriptions.” It was signed by Rev. John Knox Leslie, Minister of the 3rd Cookstown Presbyterian Church, Cooktown.
  • 1840. The Parliamentary gazetteer of Ireland reported that in Lissan, “the National Board had schools at Creivaigh and Unagh.”
  • 1894. Joseph M’Clean of Unagh, said County School Teacher.
  • Aft 1894. Farewell to Joseph M'Clean, a teacher transferring from Unagh N.S.
  • 1910. No mention of the school in a Cookstown Directory.
  • 2003. Replica of original sandstone plaque placed on the renovated schoolhouse. “Unagh National Elementary school house built by voluntary public subscription AD 1834. J Cotton 2003.”

My LANE children were not Presbyterian, but would have had no problem attending this National School which had 3 Presbyterian ministers from Cookstown as patrons. The school was careful to ensure that it was “open all days of the week to the public of all denominations” and that “no obstruction shall be offered to the children of such parents receiving (religious) instructions elsewhere as they may think proper.” Notwithstanding this, the date stone on the school had a Co. Tyrone crest on its top left modified to an education logo, featuring a book, and on top right the logo of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland… the burning bush and the motto “Ardens sed virens”.


Please see my website for details of all the references cited, photos of the renovated school and its date stone, maps, tables and acknowledgements.