Tuesday Trivia #11

Makes me grateful for my own education and the hard work that went into getting this country to this point.

Gifford MacShane

The Hedgerow Schools of Ireland

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Irish Catholic children attended school to learn English and arithmetic. In densely populated areas, school might be held in an abandoned barn or building, but in the country, the children literally sat in front of the hedgerows that separated one small croft from another.

There were few, if any, textbooks. Some would have rudimentary pieces of slate and chalk to pass around, but many children had to memorize their lessons. Their teachers were usually priests who would often offer lessons in Catholicism as well. But teaching the Catechism was considered treason, and getting caught meant punishment — anything up to and including death.

So on a sunny summer afternoon, it was not unusual to see a priest walking up and down on the edge of a field for an hour or so, his hands waving, his mouth working, extolling…

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