To the website for The Commons Community Centre based in the Old School.
The Old School building has undergone a huge transformation in the past years. It was built in the mid 1800’s for the boys and girls of the area whose fathers worked at the nearby mines. The two story building housed boys classrooms downstairs and girls classrooms upstairs. The school was heated by the local anthracite and had outside toilets.
The Old School closed in the 1970’s when a new school was built to accommodate the growing population of The Commons area. Over the years the Old School was used by various clubs and musicians including the ICA, IFA , Macra and Ceoltas who held their meetings. These societies eventually ceased or moved to a different premises and the building fell into disrepair. In the 1990’s Slieveardagh Rural Development purchased the building and some funding was raised at the time to try to refurbish the building but sadly a full refurb did not happen and the building was ravaged by weather and dereliction. But it was a strong, well built, building that stood proud in the Commons and so in 2010 Slieveardagh Rural Development once again tried to have the building refurbished. They held a number of public meetings in The Commons to discuss the potential use of the building as a community centre. All ideas were recorded by Sr Patricia Wall, Chairperson of Slieveardagh Rural Development Ltd, who was the driving force behind the refurbishment.
After a successful funding application to South Tipperary Development Company under the Booley House (music) Grant and funds from the The Commons Committee and the Slieveardagh Rural Development Group lotto the refurbishment project was able to proceed. Local builders under the guidance of local Architect, and past pupil of the school, Dan Finnegan got the project finished. As the building is listed, all of the heritage features of the Old School have been preserved. The Committee of the Old School would like to thank the members of the community for supporting them in their fundraising activities and are pleased to announce the refurbishment debt was cleared recently. They would also like to say a big thank you to the 1990 committee for their fundraising which contributed to reducing the overall debt.
The building is now open to the community where music and dance lessons take place on a weekly basis and local societies once again hold meetings there. It also houses the Slieveardagh Mining Museum that holds artefacts in different media of mining in the area.
With its bright interior and a very warm welcome, it is a building that will draw people back to it time and time again.