In the late 18th and early 19th centuries a network of fee paying schools and charity schools provided basic education for a small portion of the Irish population. In 1831 the British government established the National Board of Education, which grant aided school buildings and the payment of teachers. Originally it was intended that children of different religious faiths would be educated together, but this policy failed. In 1891 it became compulsory for children between the ages of 6 and 14 to attend school. The Gap of Dunloe National School is believed to have been built at this site in 1869. Surrounded by Nature, the National School in the Black Valley is very isolated. Many small, old schools like this one are now closed.