Going to School in the Old Days on Islay

I've written before about Seanchas ÃŒle, the project that aims to preserve the Gaelic history of Islay. A book about this exciting project was published in 2007 and Susan Campbell wrote a book review back then for the Ileach newspaper. Today I was reading a couple of interesting stories and decided to share an interview with you from Emily Edwards and the sisters Margaret Ferguson and Morag Scott to give this project some renewed attention. The title of this interview by Emily Edwards is: "Sisters Margaret and Morag remember their school days in Port Charlotte" which was quite different from what we are used to these days. The initials in the interview refer to: MF: Margaret Ferguson, MS: Morag Scott, EE: Emily Edwards

EE: And where did you go to school? Was there a school in Port Charlotte?
MS: There was a school in the centre of the village, at the top of School Street.
EE: Oh, the old school here along from An Creagan?
MF: Yes, and our father and our mother, they went to the same school. Because that school there, it would be up to two hundred years (old) anyway.
EE: What age were you when you went to school?
MF: Five years old.. we left at fourteen.. when we left school. We didn't go to Bowmore because we either had to work here on Islay or on the mainland to look after our parents. I left to work in Glasgow when I was sixteen and Morag stayed behind to look after our parents. Continue reading....

EE: When I was here the last time, you mentioned that your sister, I think, that walked to school in Bowmore [from Port Charlotte]
MF: Oh yes, Katie
MS: She would spend Monday to Friday in Bowmore and then walk home on Friday after school.
MF: She went to Agricultural Collage on the mainland.
EE: She walked to Bowmore?
MF: Yes on Monday and back home on Friday.. If the tide was out she would take a short cut across the head of the loch at Bridgend. Our father would go at harvest time with the horse and cart to the Bridgend Mill, he would give them a lift. It was very far for them to walk.
MS: They stayed in Bowmore through the week
MF: It was herself and two boys and a girl, there would be four of them from Port Charlotte that went to school in Bowmore
MS: That's how it was. There were no cars in those days.

If you're interested in this project you can order a copy at Amazon and the Celtic House in Bowmore

Tag: history port charlotte gaelic