‘Doras Feasa Fiafraí’ This is the motto of Cloneen N.S. It is believed to be one of the oldest schools in the country. The National School System was established in 1831. Yet there are records going back to 1758 – when a Mr. Fennelle was charged with teaching “ye christian doctrine”. The old school building was established in 1820. The teachers were a Mr. Roche and his wife. There were also two other schools nearby – one a thatched cottage under Mr. McGrath who earned £10 per year. The other was at Welsh Bog under a certain Morgan Murphy who taught “in a wretched hovel” at about £6 per year. The populations at that time was about 6,000. Cloneen gained official recognition under the National School System in 1834 (Roll Number 584) the original school remained in use for 130 years. It was renovated at the end of the last century. Staff of the school included:- Mr. Fennelle (Principal)- 1758; Old school Building:- Mr. Roche – 1820 and his wife; Ms. Maher (Principal), Mrs. Power – 1922; Tom Keating (Principal) – 1928; Lory Noonan (Principal), Bridget Morrissey – 1934; Eddie O Neill (Principal) – 1937; Nita McGrath – 1970; Madeline O Donnell – 1971; Margaret Clancy – 1973; Seamus Ahessy (Principal) – 1978 Catherine Britton – 1979; Theresa Keane – 1999; Ann Walsh – 2000 (Principal from 2008), Úna Kiernan – 2002; Elaine Murphy – 2003; Aoife Gleeson & Jerry Kelly – 2008; Tracy Curran – 2009; Miriam Gleeson and Sadhbh Leamy – 2012.
The school located in the Church yard was closed in 1949 when a new two class school was built across the road. The site was originally part of the local Kilburry estate.
By 1979 the numbers at the school increased and became a three teacher school. The parents came together to build what is now known as the Arts’ Room. Mrs. Britton taught in this room. The numbers decreased and Cloneen NS was back to being a 2-teacher school. In 2002 there were 50 pupils in the school – this enabled another teacher to be employed, which in turn necessitated our first extension to be built. In the interim, 4th, 5th and 6th classes were taught in the renovated Church yard school building. This first extension was fit for purpose in 2004. The numbers in the school continued to increase and when they reached 81 another extension was built and was in operation from 2009. In 2017, Cloneen NS celebrated breaking the 100 pupil barrier and proudly had 102 pupils on roll in September 2017.
Part of our school prayer states: “As many hands build a house, so many hearts make a school.” This is especially true as a number of people help make the school what it is. In 2017, although officially the school is a 4-class teacher school, there are actually 6 teachers – five based in the school, four responsible for teaching in the classrooms, one has responsibility for Special Education Needs and the other teacher is a visiting teacher, based in Fethard, who is also in the SEN area. There are also two SNAs – Special Needs Assistants, a part time secretary, a caretaker and a cleaner. The school is run by a Board of Management.