Chapter 22

The old Public Elementary School, in the Upper Square at the corner of the Circular Road, was always a great meeting place for the local men, as the gable was well sheltered and most of the Town could be viewed from this point. It was used as a school until the middle 1920s, when it became vacant for a few years. In the late 1930s, it was taken over by James Wilson for repairing and making all types of furniture, employing about eight people.

One good summer's day, James thought he would have his large furniture van repainted and decided to do this outside the school. A scaffold was erected to allow the painters to reach the top of this high vehicle and, while washing it down with an inflamable cleaner, the van suddenly caught fire and looked as if it was a goner. On the far side of the street, Barney Cunningham and Pat Murray, one of Cunningham's taxi drivers, were sitting in front of the shop and immediately spotted the fire. Pat, summing up the situation in a flash, dashed indoors, grabbed a large fire extinguisher and, when emerging at speed, the apparatus accidently went off. It must be said for Pat Murray, that his superb imitation of an African War Dance, to the accompanyment of a beautiful fountain display, was highly amusing to all the people on the Main Street. When the extinguisher was empty, Pat looked across for the fire but it had gone out as quickly as it started, leaving him to get out of sight as fast as he could.

James Wilson sold the old school to a fellow, Trainor, from Tyrella, who converted part to a dwelling house, which it still is to date.

Section No.7

Section No.7


Old P.E. School

This is the empty half of the Old P.E. School with "Wilson's Furniture" still discernable above the windows.


Castlewellan Public Elementary School, 1926

Castlewellan Public Elementary School, 1926
Pupils from Master Bunting's room at Castlewellan Public Elem. School, taken about 1926.
Back Row: Willie McNeill, Jim Latimer, Arthur Hardy, Johnny Beggs, Fred Kelly, Jack Skillen,
Tom Smiley. Middle Row: Sam Smiley, Kenneth Linton, Edna Rodgers,
Mary Hardy, Alma McKay, Harry Caruth, Archie Kilpa trick, George McKenny.
Bottom Row: Hilda Kilpatrick, Winnie McKay, Nellie Kelly, Emily McSpadden, Lilian Caruth,
Anna Ryan, Jean Gilmore, Anna Ryan, Jean Gilmore, Elsie McCombe.
Seated on the ground: Robert McKay, Bustard, Charlie McNeill, Willie P. McFadden.

Barney Cunningham on the right, 1945.

Barney Cunningham on the right, 1945.


Keown 's House in the Upper Square.

Keown 's House in the Upper Square. Behind the double window on the left was Cardwell Tailor and later Charlie Keown 's Shop. The other double window on the right was Dan 0 'Boyle'S Tuck Shop.

Dan O'Boyle, Confectioner and Market Square, Supervisor

Dan O'Boyle, Confectioner and Market Square, Supervisor.


Loghlan Cardwell, Tailor.

Loghlan Cardwell, Tailor.

Before the 1920s, Drapery shops were entirely different to what they are today. They were mostly all shelves stocked with rolls of suit and dressmaking materials and very often drab in colour. At that time, when people reached the age of forty, they looked on this as the beginning of old age. As it wasn't possible to buy ready made clothes, they got a tailor to make, in the case of a man, a blue serge suit, and, in the case of a woman, clothes to her feet in black. Those outfits lasted them till death, by which time the cloth was green with age. Castlewellan was well catered for with tailors, and one easily forgotten was Loghan Cardwell. He had his business in the Upper Square, tight in the corner at the old P.E. School. The property belonged to Albert Priestly from Clarkhill, and was tenanted by "Loughy", as he was known, until 1949. He then moved to Dundrum to live with his eldest son, Joe, who was an electrician, having served his time in the Castlewellan Power House. Loghan died in 1959.

Around about 1939/40, Dan O'Boyle, another Clarkhill Man, took one half of this building and opened a Confectionery and Tobacconist. He carried on there for 15 years and closed the shop in 1954. Some years later, a son-in-law, Charles Keown, who had served his time to the Grocery in Savages in the Town, and had already a small shop going in Clarkhill, took over both O'Boyles and Cardwells, opening a shop in the latter. Charlie and his wife, Kathleen, kept this going until 1968; then closed down and made the lot into one dwelling. Dan O'Boyle died in 1962 and Charles Keown in 1983.