Former Schoolhouse (now Seipéal An Ghoirt Mhóir), An Gort Mór

Site 3 on the Signatories Trail

Former Schoolhouse (now Seipéal An Ghoirt Mhóir), An Gort Mór
Photo: Courtesy Dr. Mark McCarthy

Former Schoolhouse (now Seipéal An Ghoirt Mhóir), An Gort Mór

Seipéal An Ghoirt Mhóir was consecrated as a Catholic church on 12 June 1944. It occupies the former nationalschool that Patrick Pearse visited in 1903 as a Gaelic League examiner for students taking evening classes.

The schoolmaster who invited him was Pádraig Ó Conghaile. He became a close associate of Pearse, who visited Ros Muc every summer from 1903–1915. After the 1916 Rising, Ó Conghaile went on-the-run for about six months.

During the War of Independence, he was a wanted man once again. Following the Screeb Ambush on 18 April 1921, the Black and Tans searched the schoolhouse but he escaped through a window.

A memorial garden was officially opened in these grounds on 3 May 2016, to mark the centenary anniversary of Pearse’s execution at Kilmainham Gaol. It includes a seat, a plaque featuring his face, holly trees, and cherry blossom trees. A shrub bed containing 16 heathers represents the rebels who were executed in May and August 1916.


Developed by: Galway County Council, in partnership with the Heritage Research Group at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT).

Bibliography: McCarthy, Mark, Mannion, Marie & Wrynn, Shirley (Eds), Galway County 1916 Rising Heritage Trail: Go Explore the Historic Sites & Memorials (Galway County Council & GMIT, Galway, 2017).

GPS coordinates: Dr Mark McCarthy, GMIT.

Webmaster for digital heritage initiative: Hilary Kiely, GMIT.

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