Lisnamurrican Primary School

Lisnamurrican Primary School

Lisnamurrican Primary School was a controlled rural primary school located in Broughshane, County Antrim. Broughshane is village around 3.4 miles northeast of Ballymena, with an average population of around 2,500 residents.

This tiny school consisted of only two classrooms, restrooms, a small canteen and an outbuilding. There were only ever around 30 pupils at the school at any given time, the majority of which were children of farmers that would ultimately follow in their parents’ footsteps. In fact, in the 1940s, the school would hold an annual horticultural show.

As a young boy, famous actor James Nesbitt attended the school. He had been born in Ballymena, and his father, James “Jim” Nesbitt was the headmaster at the school.

Nesbitt would later say of his father: “Generations of primary school children in Northern Ireland were taught a love of literature, arts, music, science and sport thanks to dad.” When Nesbitt was 11-years-old, the family moved from Ballymena to Coleraine, County Londonderry.

James and Jim Nesbitt
James and his father, James “Jim” Nesbitt, the former headmaster of Lisnamurrican who sadly passed away in 2020

In 2003, Lisnamurrican Primary School was hit by somewhat of a scandal, when thieves repeatedly broke into the school and stole their heating oil and some computer equipment. In a bid to counter the thefts, the school installed CCTV cameras worth £2,000.

In 2006, the primary school closed for good. As is the case with many rural primary schools in Ireland, dwindling number in pupils was the cause of the closure. As Education Minister Maria Eagle said, keeping the school open was not in the best interest of pupils.  What little pupils remained at the school were enrolled at either Hazelbank or Broughshane Primary School.

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