Scoil Eoin, Crumlin, Dublin 12

Our History



Penal Laws



By 1778, the year after Scoil Eoin was founded, the Catholic educational system was outlawed and priests who did not conform to the laws could be branded on the face or tortured. As a result, much of Catholic church services and education and record keeping was forced underground, to operate only under extreme secrecy. The religion and culture were kept alive by secret open-air masses and illegal outdoor schools, known as 'hedge' schools.The spirit of these schools is echoed in the words of the poet, John O'Hagan who wrote....


Still crouching 'neath the sheltering hedge,
or stretched on mountain fern,
The teacher and his pupils met feloniously to learn.

All Irish culture, music and education was banned. By the time of the census of 1841 the Irish were impoverished, landless and leaderless on the eve of the famine.

Here is a brief outline of the laws and what they did.


The Catholic Church forbidden to keep church registers.
The Irish Catholic was forbidden the exercise of his religion.
He was forbidden to receive education.
He was forbidden to enter a profession.
He was forbidden to hold public office.
He was forbidden to engage in trade or commerce.
He was forbidden to live in a corporate town or within five miles thereof.
He was forbidden to own a horse of greater value than five pounds.
He was forbidden to own land.
He was forbidden to lease land.
He was forbidden to accept a mortgage on land in security for a loan.
He was forbidden to vote.
He was forbidden to keep any arms for his protection.
He was forbidden to hold a life annuity.
He was forbidden to buy land from a Protestant.
He was forbidden to receive a gift of land from a Protestant.
He was forbidden to inherit land from a Protestant.
He was forbidden to inherit anything from a Protestant.
He was forbidden to rent any land that was worth more than 30 shillings a year.
He was forbidden to reap from his land any profit exceeding a third of the rent.
He could not be guardian to a child.
He could not, when dying, leave his infant children under Catholic guardianship.
He could not attend Catholic worship.
He was compelled by law to attend Protestant worship.
He could not himself educate his child.
He could not send his child to a Catholic teacher.
He could not employ a Catholic teacher to come to his child.
He could not send his child abroad to receive education.


* From: MacManus " The story of the Irish Race" 1921.Devin-Adair Publishing Co., New York.

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