mka blog Latin BaptismRev William Hickey, Protestant rector of Bannow, who wrote under the pen-name of Martin Doyle and who died in 1875[1] gives us an account  titled  ‘In the Kingdom of Kerry, where rich and poor are or were some time ago, classical scholars’. He tells of travelling in Kerry in the 1860s and coming across a schoolmaster ‘who had emerged from his little schoolroom of sods at the edge of a turf-bog, and had collected all his boys around him, under a sunny bank by the roadside.  I asked him what he taught those fine boys?  He answered that he taught them Latin and Greek’ ….

Rev Hickey then giving his own opinion of this state of affairs says:

‘I am still of the opinion that this kind of education is not only useless, but injurious for the lower classes…    such knowledge creates                                  pride.  A certain degree of it make a man think that the handles of a plough or the business of the carpenter, would disgrace him .  I end with a short admonition:  Keep clear of Latin and Greek, and parties and politics’.

[1] T. Corcoran, Education Systems in Ireland (Dublin 1928) 179-80 quoted by Michael Quane in Primary Education One Hundred Years Ago, KAHS, No. 5 p.159