Categories of Special Interest
Architectural Historical Social
Killybegs Methodist Chapel
In Use As
1810 - 1830
Detached three-bay two-storey former national school, built c. 1819, having external staircase to the north-east gable end giving access to projecting doorway at first floor level. Later in use as a Methodist chapel c. 1900; now in use as a private house. Pitched natural slate roof having projecting eaves course and with rendered chimneystacks to gable ends (north-east and south-west). Some remaining sections of cast-iron rainwater goods. Roughcast rendered walls over smooth rendered plinth course. Square-headed window openings having stone sills, and with two-over-two pane timber sliding sash windows at ground floor level and replacement windows at first floor level. Central square-headed door opening to the main elevation (south-east) having replacement glazed timber door. Square-headed doorway at first floor level having battened timber door. Set back from road in own grounds a short distance to the south-west of the centre of Killybegs. Rendered boundary wall to street-frontage to the south-east.
This simple but well-proportioned former school building retains much of its early character and form. The external staircase to the north-east elevation is a feature commonly found on early nineteenth-century school buildings, usually giving access to a classroom at first floor level with accommodation for the schoolmaster at ground floor level. It retains some of its early fabric, including slate roof and sash windows. Although modest in form, this building is of social interest as the earliest surviving school building in Killybegs. It was apparently originally constructed in 1819, and was the first formal school built in the area. It was built partially using funds bequeathed in the will of Colonel Robertson (died 1790), who stipulated that £15 be made payable to each parish in Donegal to fund the salary of a schoolmaster to 'instruct children of all denominations'. Later this fund increased and this enabled the trustees to grant £40 per annum per parish for the erection of a school house. Other monies towards its construction were secured from the Bible Societies. This school is one of a number of former Robertson schools still extant in Donegal, and it is estimated that the fund supported upwards of a hundred schools in Donegal during the mid-nineteenth century. It was later in use as a Methodist meeting house c. 1900 (Ordnance Survey twenty-five inch map). This simple building is an interesting addition to the built heritage and social history of Killybegs and if sensitively restored would make a positive contribution to the streetscape to the south-west of the town centre.