Happy New Year to all. I hope everybody had a good Christmas.
Sorry to kick off 2017 with sad news but I recently learned of the passing of two ROW stalwarts, Noel McKenna and John Doran. Noel graduated back around 1948. Happily we still have a few of that vintage with us. I’m thinking of Gerry Dolan, Cyril Stirrat, Martin Conway and Joe Quinn. I attended John Doran’s funeral this morning. John was 93. He and his brother Bill RIP, were great ROW supporters in their day. John was a great sportsman being one of 4 brothers to play soccer with Rathfarnham Utd. He was a keen golfer and was Captain of Slade Valley of which club he was a founder member. John’s father founded Doran Printers and the family continue to work in it to this day. The company, now called Typecraft, printed our 150 yearbook Cuimhneachan and sponsored tickets etc. for many years. Ar Dheis De go raibh a anamnacha dhilis.
Annual Dinner – Booking is now open for the Dinner which will be held in the Westbury on Saturday January 28th. Tickets are priced at E60 each. You can book with any committee member or with me on 087 2557298.
Row Person of the Year 2017 – Our new Row Person, Fr. Myles Kavanagh, will pay a short visit to the school on Friday January 27th. at 12 noon. All past pupils are invited. Light refreshments will be provided. This is also an opportunity to have a look around the school and to view the additions to the Pearse Museum as well as other mementos of 1916.
Happy New Year to all. I hope everybody had a good Christmas.
The President and committee of the Past Pupils Union are pleased to announce that they have elected Fr. Myles Kavanagh CP to be Row Person of the Year 2017. Fr. Myles will be presented with the P.V. Doyle memorial trophy at the annual dinner which will be held at the Westbury Hotel on Saturday January 28th 2017.
Fr. Myles, for 53 years now, has lived and worked in one of Northern Ireland’s “black spots”, the Ardoyne area of North Belfast, which has experienced more killings, more inter-community strife and has higher levels of unemployment than perhaps any other area of Northern Ireland.
In 1977 he set up the Flax Trust to bring about reconciliation through economic development. Since then he has been responsible for establishing a wide variety of projects and providing help to many charities, an incubation system which produced over 300 new businesses in 5 years. 1995 saw the Short Brothers/Flax Trust (SBFT) partnership developed. This is a 50/50 joint venture to provide apprenticeship training in Interpoint, a neutral site. Interpoint was used for the first coming together of the N.I politicians in the N.I Forum, for the Patton Commission on policing and the Novatech Centre for technology transfer.
Fr. Myles took his message to America and founded the Flax Trust/America in 1980.
The following is a list of Fr. Myles’ additional achievements in his on-going battle against social deprivation and unemployment –
- Developing a Housing Association to address the needs of homeless young people and a sheltered dwelling for the elderly including 700 units of social housing.
- The setting up of a training school to meet the educational and training needs of local youth.
- The establishment of an Open Learning Centre providing training and educational opportunities for adults.
- A Shopping Centre, Day Care Centre for local Pensioners which also provide meals on wheels.
- Setting up a Medical Centre.
- The establishment of Ulster Community Investment Trust to provide funds for the community economic sector in N.I and the border counties.
- The establishment of the school for Social Enterprises to foster a professionally qualified leadership for community enterprise.
- The most recent venture was the setting up of the Flax Trust Academy for Musical Excellence which is providing great opportunities for young aspiring musicians and vocalists.
In addition to holding Directorships in Northern Ireland and North America, Fr. Myles is a member of the International Economic Development Council (North America) and the Ireland US Council. His knowledge and expertise in the field of community economics means that he is frequently invited as a guest speaker to conferences in Europe and North America.
The International Economic Development Council (North America) this year presented Fr. Myles with their Life Time Achievement Award.
Fr. Myles Kavanagh is clearly a very worthy winner of the Row Person of the Year award and we look forward to welcoming here to the dinner on January 28th.
The photograph below was kindly sent to us by Margaret Flood who found it amongst her grandfather’s effects. It shows a Junior Football team from 1930 and the great thing about it is that her Grandad had the foresight to write the names of the boys, together with any clubs they were associated with in later life. We can, for instance, see a very young Jackie Carey of Manchester United and Ireland fame and Row Man of the Year 1987 in the front row, left. Joe Cunningham of Shamrock Rovers fame is also to be seen in the middle row on the right. If the photo jogs any memories of other past pupils why not let us have a comment.
President, Des Donnelly, hosted his 2016 prize at Woodbrook GC on Friday May 20th. There was a good turnout and the prize was won by last year’s PPU President John Cullen (Class of 64). John is shown below (left) handing over the chain of office to Brian Duncan at the PPU AGM .
The next outing will take place at Newlands GC on Friday August 12th for the Captain’s (Alan O’Connor Jnr.) Prize. Tee Times are 1.40pm to 2.44pm and the fee for green fee and meal is €55.
The final outing of 2016, for the Pat McGrath Memorial Trophy, will take place at Foxrock GC on Thursday October 13th. The tee times are 12.30pm to 2.00pm. The fee will be €60.
Booking for outings should be made with Tony Kenny (087 2623700) or Brian Donnelly (086 6183651) – phone or text.
Research carried out by the Past Pupils Union revealed that an extraordinary number of past pupils of Westland Row CBS took part in the 1916 Rising. We have been able to establish the names of 36 past pupils who were involved and a specially commissioned bronze plaque bearing their names was unveiled in a ceremony in the school on May 4th. 2016. This date also marked the centenary of the execution of Willie Pearse and after the unveiling ceremony the group attended a special Mass in St. Andrews church. Mass was celebrated by past pupil Monsignor Dan O’Connor and PPU chaplain, Fr. Eugene McCarthy. The Mass was well attended by past pupils, present pupils and teachers. Music and song were provided by Kathryn Smith and Carole O’Connor. The 36 names on the plaque are as follows –
Executed – Patrick and Willie Pearse
Killed in Action – Peadar Macken, Michael Malone, Daniel Murray, John O’Reilly
Civilian Casualties – Christopher Andrews and John Kirwan
Participated – Christopher Byrne, William Byrne, John Dunne, Theobald Fitzgerald, George A Lyons, Charles Murphy, Colm O’Murchada, James Walsh, John Byrne, Christopher Carbury, James Fitzgerald, Thomas Fitzgerald, William Fitzgerald, William McCabe, James O’Brien, James Purfield, Thomas Walsh, Thomas Byrne, Patrick J Daly, Leo Fitzgerald, Thomas Fullam, John Kinsella, Michael Merriman, Joseph O’Connor, John Joseph Quinn, Desmond Ryan, Patrick Ward and Henry Williams.
Here are some photographs (with thanks to Patrick Dowling, Rock Photography).
Some of the audience at the unveiling ceremony. Una Malone and her two children represented William (direct connection) and Michael Malone. John and Paddy Sheridan represented their grandfather Patrick Ward. Dave Quinn represented James Purfield and the McGurrell brothers represented their great uncle, John Joseph Quinn.
The plaque bearing the 36 names as above.
- Westland Row PPU Golf Society Outings 2016
This is the time of year when golfers’ dreams of sunny fairways start coming into focus. The Westland Row CBS Golf Society has just finalised the 2016 schedule and we can look forward to playing three very attractive courses as follows –
President’s Prize (Des Donnelly) Prize at Woodbrook GC on Friday May 20th. Tee times 12.20pm – 2.00pm.
Contact Tony Kenny on 087 2623700 to get on time sheet.
Captain’s Prize (Alan O’Connor Jnr.) at Newlands GC. This outing is scheduled for August 13th. Further details will be posted soon.
Pat McGrath Memorial Trophy and Christmas Outing at Foxrock Golf Club – details soon.
- Presentation of Pearse Family Coat of Arms
Last year’s President, John Cullen, presented a specially prepared Pearse family Coat of Arms on behalf of the PPU to the school at a ceremony in the school on Monday March 14th. 2016. This was the first of a number of planned events to honour the memories of our famous past pupils, Patrick and Willie Pearse who, of course, were leading figures in the Easter Rising in 1916. Many other past pupils also participated and they will all be remembered and honoured suitably within the next few weeks. The presentation on March 14th was attended by 87 year old Noel Scarlette, grandson of the half brother of Patrick and Willie as well as Noel’s two sons and daughter in law. School Vice Principal Eddie Kelly gave a very interesting talk on the Pearse brothers. Below are some photographs from the event.
- New PPU President, Brian Duncan
Brian Duncan (Class of 64) was presented with the President’s Chain of Office by outgoing President, John Cullen, at the PPU AGM on April 6th 2016.
Brian was Row Man of the Year in 1992. He graduated as an Actuary and has enjoyed an illustrious career in business with Irish Life Assurance, VHI and Mercers. He is currently Chair of Irish Pensions Trust. He also served as Chair of the school’s management Board.
The President, John Cullen, reported on another busy year of PPU activities at the Annual General Meeting held in the school on Wednesday, April 6th 2016. The full committee met 10 times during the year and completed a number of big projects to celebrate the 150th Anniversary and prepare for the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising in which many past pupils of the school played prominent parts. The following is a brief report on the projects completed and currently in hand.
Our 150th Anniversary Concert “Maytime Melodies”, was held in St. Anne’s Church, Dawson Street , Saturday May16t 2015 and was an outstanding success. Huge thanks are due to Des Byrne and Behaviour and Attitudes for organisation and sponsorship. There was a very good attendance and, as a result, the PPU was able to present a cheque for €4,000 to the school to help to update the computer room.
The school principal, Kate Byrne, hosted an Open Night in the school on Thursday November 26th. This was well attended and most enjoyable. Great praise and thanks are due to the staff and pupils who worked very hard to make this an enjoyable occasion.
The big project to digitise, and make searchable on line, the roll books dating back to 1864 was completed during the year. At present, the records are searchable using Microsoft Access Professional but this will soon be converted to the Microsoft Access version available on most laptops.
Having completed the 150th. Anniversary celebrations, the PPU set out to capture these and the history of the school in a suitable publication. We originally thought that this would be in digital form but, having secured generous sponsorship from the Christian Brothers and Dublin City Council the committee decided to produce it in book form. The Revolutionary Years section was also produced in a separate book with the Dublin City Council logo.
A small committee consisting of President, John Cullen, Des Byrne and Jim Conway worked on this and set a deadline so that the finished book would be printed in time for launch at the annual dinner on January 30th 2016. The committee received invaluable help with layout and compilation from Des Byrne’s former secretary, Mary Gilleran and a final draft was presented to printers, Typecraft Ltd. (Bill and John Doran’s old company) in mid December in time for our deadline. The book, named Cuimhneachan 1864 – 2014 was launched to wide acclaim at the dinner.
At the launch, the President said that special thanks were due to Des Byrne who authored many sections of the book including The Revolutionary Years, Local History etc.. Jim Conway authored some of the Sport and Row Persons sections and Br. Paul Hendrick helped with the school history. John Cullen wrote much of the Sport History was well as doing a great job of editing and pulling everything together.
The book has met with wide acclaim and is still very much in demand. Some copies are still available from Jim Conway (087 2557298). Perhaps the nicest compliment received was from Shay McConnon who said that if he was on “Desert Island Discs” it would be his “one book of choice”.
Annual Mass for Deceased Past Pupils
The annual Mass for deceased past pupils was held at St. Andrew’s on Sunday November 29th and was celebrated by Archbishop Dr. Diarmuid Martin and a number of past pupil priests including Fr. Eugene McCarthy, Monsignor Dan O’Connor and Canon Patsy Fagan. A number of past pupils attended and the lunch afterwards in the Alexander Hotel.
Row Person of the Year
Brian Whelan, of Bermingham Cameras fame, was elected Row Person of the Year 2016. Brian’s biography was published in a previous Blog. Brian has made a great contribution to the committee since coming on board. Happily, Brian recovered from illness in time to attend the dinner and entertain all present with a most impressive speech on receiving the P V Doyle Memorial Trophy.
The Annual Dinner was held in the Westbury Hotel on Saturday January 30th. The dinner was well attended and very enjoyable. The President, John Cullen, launched our 150th Anniversary Publication Cuimhneachan 1864 – 2014 and many copies were sold on the night.
1916 Commemorative Projects
Having completed a very busy period as outlined above, the committee has since been involved in a number of projects to commemorate the 1916 Rising. These are very important in view of the huge involvement of past pupils in the Rising and, of course, Patrick and Willie Pearse.
The PPU presented a special Pearse family Coat of Arms to the school at a ceremony on Monday March 14th. This was attended by 87 year old, Noel Scarlette, grandson of the half-brother of Patrick and Willie as well as Noel’s two sons and his daughter-in-law. Vice Principal Eddie Kelly, gave an excellent talk on the Pearse brother as part of the ceremony.
The PPU has commissioned two plaques to honour and commemorate all the past pupils who participated in the rising. A bronze plaque will be erected outside the school to honour those who died and a brass plaque will be erected inside to honour all those who died and participated. We are aiming to have the unveiling ceremony on either May 3rd or 4th which are the dates of the execution of Patrick and Willie Pearse respectively, but this has yet to be confirmed. We are hoping to arrange an anniversary Mass in St. Andrew’s as soon as we have a firm date for the unveiling. Details will appear shortly on the website. We would be delighted to welcome past pupils in general to this unveiling, but in particular relatives of those whose names will appear on the plaques.
The following are a few photographs to remind us a busy year
The PPU Annual General Meeting will take place on April 6th. at 7 pm in the school and we urge as many past pupils as possible to come along and make your voices heard. The committee has been very busily engaged over the last few years with the 150th anniversary events and the publication of Cuimhneachan which was launched at the annual dinner in January. We are still hard at work on projects to commemorate 1916 and will shortly be announcing important events to remember past pupils who gave their lives and who participated in the struggle for the freedom we enjoy today – watch this space. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you on the 6th. when all the old geezers in the photo below will be up for re-election. Jim Conway, PPU Hon. Sec.
Past pupil Eoin Meehan MSc CITP FICS has thrown his hat into the ring as a contender in the upcoming Seanad race and is seeking support from fellow past pupils. Eoin is a very interesting character and it would be great to have a past pupil in the “corridors of power”. Eoin was actually born in London in 1962. His parents (both Dubs) had to emigrate due to economic circumstances but they brought the family home in 1964 and Eoin started school in Clarendon Street (where the Westbury is now) and then Westland Row. on graduating in 1979 Eoin did a computer programming course in AnCO (the predecessor of Fas) and developed a very keen interest in technology. Eoin kicked off his career as a commercial programmer working with a number of Irish software houses, in the early ’80’s.
In the late ’80’s Eoin started working with public data networks, as well as modems and dial-up (Remember that?) and then moved to a campus company based at UCD that allowed him to work with the Internet.
Eoin worked with Intel as a senior engineer building the production control systems for the new FAB14 manufacturing facility at Leixlip in the late ’90’s and also with Bank of Ireland on numerous occasions as an electronic messaging specialist and a Unix specialist.
In 2006, Eoin fulfilled a long held dream of attending Trinity. He was accepted as a mature student for direct access to a M.Sc course. Two years later Eoin graduated with flying colours with both his parents present on a very special occasion.
Since leaving college Eoin worked with an Irish company in the mobile the mobile telecoms industry, helping to build their consultancy division from 0 to 15 consultants working world wide and also as a senior consultant with Dell in London, specialising in technology transformation programmes for very large organisations.
Eoin also worked in TCD on an EU FP7 project – Networks for Communications Challenged Communities (N4C). Lately, Eoin co-founded a small start up , Sprism Ltd. with a colleague from his M.Sc course, Peter Williams, and they are working to commercialise his doctoral research into data dystems into data analysis and visualisation. This brought Eoin into the start up ecosystem and engagements with Enterprise Ireland, NDRC and others.
Eoin is a member of the Irish Computer Society and the first Chartered IT Professional to be chartered by the ICS. He is also a fellow of the Society.
In his spare time Eoin is a recreational motorcyclist and enjoys war games with his (now grown up) children. He also dabbled in martial arts and has progressed in Laido, the Japanese samurai sword art. He is also a sci-fi fan, plays the flute and was a member of the Irish Youth Orchestra and the Westland Row Concert Band.
The above is a brief Bio of Eoin and more details are available on his website http://www.eoinmeehan.com, Facebook and Linkedin.
We wish him well in his efforts to make the Seanad.
Our 150th. Anniversary Yearbook was launched by PPU President, John Cullen, at our Annual Dinner at the Westbury Hotel on Saturday last. This was the culmination of many hours of research and writing by the Authors John Cullen, Des Byrne, Bro. Paul Hendrick and Jim Conway. The book runs to 236 pages and includes many photographs, including some of historic interest as well as stories of outstanding achievement by “Row” past pupils in the fields of sport, music and the arts, public service, business, religious and academic life. The Section called the Revolutionary Years was authored by Des Byrne (Row Person of the Year 2014) and gives an amazing account of past pupils, including the Pearse Brothers who were involved in the Easter Rising, The Great War and the War of Independence. There are some very poignant stories of families who lost sons, such as the Brennocks (who lost three sons in the Great War) and even families who lost sons fighting in the Rising and in the Great War.
You can now order your copy/copies and make payment by either –
a) Bank transfer to the PPU at:
IBAN: IE BOFI 9013 7810 3670 25 (NO SPACES)
b) a secure credit card facility by clicking directly on THIS LINK at top of article thanks to Brian Whelan (Row Person of the Year 2016) and Bermingham Cameras for making this facility available to the PPU.
The PPU will need to be put in funds in advance to cover our costs. The cost per copy to include postage and packaging is –
€27.50 for Ireland
€30 for UK/Europe
€x35 for Rest of World
Any additional donation you wish to make to support the work of the PPU will be most welcome.
Please email Jim Conway (email@example.com) or Michael O’Sullivan (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the full names and addresses for postage purposes.
On receipt of your payment and details your Publication will be posted to you.
If you happen to be in town you can pick up your copy at Bermingham Cameras on Burgh Quay and save the postage cost.
Many Thanks for all your support.
Jim Conway PPU Hon. Sec.