The earliest mention of Gleneely N.S. that we have come across is recorded in the Ordnance Survey Memoirs of Ireland – Parishes of County Donegal 2 1835-36, Mid, West & South Donegal Vol.39. It lists the schools in each parish and the following is the extract relating to Gleneely N.S.
"Gleneely: 23 Roman Catholic males, 11 Roman Catholic females, total 34; the teacher’s name is Alexander Craig. He is a Roman Catholic and is supported by the scholars; he estimates his school to be worth on the average 6 pounds per annum. He also boards with the scholars: he goes to each scholar day about".
Ordinance Survey Memoirs of Ireland – Parishes of County Donegal 2 1835-36, Mid, West & South Donegal Vol.39
The old Gleneely School was built in 1847 at a cost of £70 on land owned by John Bradley. It was a one roomed building with a fire at each end. Two teachers taught there one at each end with their children facing them. It was resold back to the Bradley family in 1959 at a cost of £200 and is still owned by Henry Bradley to this day.
In 1958 a new building was constructed down the road on the present site. Below are the details of the building work Contractors: Paddy Doherty, his son John Doherty and his cousin Eamon Doherty, Cashel, Moville. Sub Contractors: Tommy & Colm Maxwell, Killygordon. Labourers: Local Men. John Canning, Drumcannon Kevin Canning, Drumcannon Vinncy Mc Connell, Mounthall Frank Kelly, Killygordon Work commenced on 23rd April 1958 and was completed on 11th October 1958. Full contract was taken for £12,000. Painter: Charlie Tourish, Lifford Plumber: Mc Crudden’s Water tower and play sheds were completed by North West Asphalt, Derry. Gravel was taken from Tommy Moss in Donneyloop. Lawns were done by George Logue, Gleneely.
In 1982, a third teacher was appointed to the school and a prefab was bought by the Board of Management from St. Columbas College in Stranorlar. This prefab remained in place until 1994 when a permanent classroom was added to the original building.
May 2002 saw the biggest change ever to facilities in Gleneely. The school was one of the first to benefit from extensive government grant aid, which saw the provision of an extra classroom, a general purpose room/hall, a library/resource room, a staff room and the complete refurbishment of the original school and 1994 extension. Following the major extension and refurbishment of 2002, numbers continued to rise and a fourth teacher was appointed in 2003. To accommodate this fourth teacher, the library/resource room and store room were converted into a classroom. In September 2008 a fifth teacher was appointed and plans were put in place to build a further extension to provide another classroom and resource room was added in 2009. It appears that the building work, which provided such improved conditions in 1958, seems set to continue into the future!
Gleneely National School can be said to reflect the supportive and thriving community that is the Gleneely area.