Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

A School-Master
 Sleibhte (Sleaty)
County Laois

Source: P.MacSuibhne book 'The Parish of KILLESHIN, Graiguecullen'. 1972.

A School-Master of Sleibhte (Sleaty)

The Blue Book Summary of the Commissioners of Irish Education Inquiry dated 1826 gives the name and other details of every teacher in the day schools of Ireland in 1824. The following entry was made for Sleaty  (Sleibhte) in the Parish of Killeshin:

Matthew Haughey. Roman Catholic. Pay School. Income 13. School an outhouse attached to his dwelling. Average attendance: Summer 1824 — Males 12, Females 4; Roman Catholics 16. Not connected with any Society. Scriptures not read.

Miss Lizzie Dunny, a venerable lady of Sleibhte who died 12 March 1954 remembered this Matthew Haughey well.1 He lived opposite her door. Apple trees over 200 years and still bearing fruit, Georgian apples, in 1935, belonged to the Haugheys. Matt was rather miserly. He had pulled down the dwelling house which stood near Miss Dunny’s present greenhouse and had sold the stones to John Kelly, Carlow for the building of a new house now occupied by Messrs. Corcorans.’ Matt lived with his niece Miss Moll Keogh, a simpleton, in the barn, which was at the south side of the dwelling house. Old Matt, when Miss Dunny knew him, went from house to house teaching. He taught Dr. O’Meara and all the O’Meara family; also the Currans of Herondale and the Brennans of Ballyharmon. He used to teach the three R’s and Greek and Latin. Greek and Latin primers in paper covers were for many years at Dunnys’ until they were taken away by Dr. O’Meara who said he got his first smatterings of Greek and Latin from them.

Matt used to wear a tall hat and priests’ clothes given him by Fr’s. James and Pat Maher. He used to light the candles before Mass every Sunday. He received Holy Communion at Mass and after Mass taught catechism for half an hour or an hour; Miss Dunny could not say exactly as it seemed a week to her. He used to have his breakfast with the priest and he reached home about half three or four in the evening when the Killeshin church bell would be ringing. Miss Dunny and her brothers would meet him and remark it was the Mass-bell. He would correct them and explain that it was the Protestant Church bell. He taught the Dunny children their lessons, their catechism and prayers. He used to teach them “Glory be to God on High” and he pronounced “High” in such a way that the children thought he meant “Glory be to God on (Matt) Hoey.”

He was a very pious man. Miss Dunny often saw him on his knees praying in the fields. One Sunday evening after coming from Graigue, the children found him on his knees in his own gateway. They thought he was praying and told their parents who came out and found he was ill. They lifted him up and carried him into his house. Old Dr. O’Meara and Fr. Pat Maher were promptly with him. He was ill over a week. He fell ill on Sunday evening and was buried on a Sunday in September.

After his death between two and three hundred pounds in sovereigns and five-shilling pieces were found in old jugs and canisters hidden in the floor and thatch of the barn. The money was taken possession of by Moll Keogh’s sister, Ellen, who was married to a railway employee named Sullivan, Who lived near Athy. After Matt’s funeral, Moll Keogh went away to live with the Sullivan’s in Athy, where she died. Matt Hoey is buried at the end of the ruins in Sletty and Danny Hoey’s family are buried with him.


1. Knockbeg College Annual 1935 p. 81.

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