The modern parish of Castleconnor has its origins in Rathmulcah ringfort, built around 600AD, on the quay road in the townland of Killanley. This impressive “Rath” or fort consists of a high double bank as well as souterrains running from the centre to the edge of the fort. The tunnels may have been used to store food or as an emergency escape route and there are local legends relating to their use.
Next to the River Moy there stands the ruin of a Norman castle built by the Angl0-Norman Piers de Birmingham in the early 1200s. Our parish is understood to be named after the powerful O’Connor clan from Sligo who established control of the area through their local allies, the O’Dowds from the time the Anglo-Normans were evicted. In 1520 the O’ Dowds rebuilt the castle at Castleconnor and reigned there until Daithí O’Dowda was murdered there in 1580.
The O’ Dowds also built a fortified house at Balliecottle around 1447 which still stands today with turrets, archer slit windows and walls up to 2m thick. Known locally as Balliecottle Castle, it was given after the Cromwellian conquest to Robert Morgan, an officer in Cromwell’s army.
Among the main landlords in the Castleconnor area during the 1800’s were the Ormsby, Knox-Gore, Wingfield, Thompson and Jones families. The Great Famine caused devastation in the area with the population of Castleconnor falling by 41% between 1841 and 1851. It also brought financial ruin to many landlords with Captain Ormsby being put in the debtors prison and Edward Wingfield having to re-mortgage his lands to pay for famine relief.
The first recorded national school in Corballa was established in 1845 near the site of our present school. In1870 the school’s enrolment had increased to 228 but the average attendance was just 55. The precariousness of our new education system is evidenced by reports that a teacher at this time had taken possession of the maps from the school and refused to hand them over until he had received the balance his salary which he claimed was owed to him.
A replacement school was completed in 1882 with an additional classroom added in 1909. Due to declining numbers at Carrowgarry, the two school amalgamated in 1968. The school remained in use until 1980. The “Old Corballa NS” was attended by many of the current pupils’ grandparents and can be seen across the road from the current site.
Our present school was officially opened in November 1980 by the then Minister for Agriculture Mr. Ray McSharry. One ninth of the £110,000 cost of the school was raised locally through a variety of fundraisers. The building initially comprised of 4 classrooms and a general purpose room. Fr.Martin Halloran was chairman of the Board of Management and Mrs. Sally Gallagher was principal at the time.