My Days in Dreenan School

As a newly married teacher to lavey Parish, I was delighted to join Mrs Diamond in September 1970 at Dreenan School. Having previously worked in P4 class in the Waterside Girl’s School, this was a new teaching experience in rural Derry.

The school with two classrooms was small but homely and welcoming. Back in those days we had no heating, no light and no flush toilets. I remember vividly the fire which the big boys stocked with firewood, on the cold winter days. When the milk bottles were frozen solid, they were placed beside the fire. I can still see brown stains forming on the bottles as they were heated up.

When nature called for children and teachers alike, the trek had to be made to the outside `dry` toilet at the back of the school. I can still smell it!!


Outside there was also an object of great interest, Ange Convery’s goat, whose diet consisted of papers blown against the fence and the often discarded lunch.

I remember having to park my white Vauxhall outside the wall on the road. This was a welcome relief as I had only passed my driving test. Alas one day when the road was being re-lined we had to take the cars into the school yard. Being a novice at the driving I scratched one side of the car on the rusty gate as I drove in. Should I blame Ange’s goat for scraping it?

I taught P1 - P4 classes, in my room about twenty children in total, a real change from the forty plus I’d been used to in Derry city. I remember the pupils with fond lasting memories, but in particular I can recall two under four year old girls!! The children were well mannered, happy and eager to learn.

My stay in the school lasted until closure in June 1972. For me Dreenan School conjures up happy times. My eldest daughter Claire was born in April 1971 and Mrs Toner from Bellaghy did my substitute teaching. I thoroughly enjoyed my days at Dreenan with Mrs Diamond, the long lunchtime chats, the reassuring advice and finally a friendship which lasts until today

Geraldine Laverty

1970 - 1972