Rhetoric 1956 60-Year Reunion

 Diamonds are forever!

This year’s Diamond Jubilarians had a wonderful gathering to celebrate all of 60 years graduation from Clongowes. An evening in the placid surroundings of Fitzwilliam LTC was really enjoyable – and, once everyone recognized each other, it seemed as if we had last seen each other only a few months previously. The staff of Fitzwilliam for their care of us – and especially the Chef who really did us proud with his cordon bleu cuisine. It was one of our own, Denis McDowell, who made it possible for us to use such an ideal venue. Before the meal we prayed for those who have gone before us to join previous generations of OCs and their Teachers, Jesuit and Lay – and who wait to welcome us home when we receive the call ourselves.

On the following day – Fr Kenney Day made for a fitting epilogue to our celebration – and we were part of a record attendance. It was great to meet members of families – and to see the good job they have done in continuing the ‘formation’, which we all helped to give to each other while in Clongowes! Renovabitur iuventus tua ut aquilae could very appropriately be our motto/wish as we move further along our path in life – and perhaps we could propose a rendezvous to each other to celebrate our Blue Sapphire anniversary in 2021! However – for the moment let us rejoice that we have all lived to share a wonderful reunion in splendid company!

CUBA [Clongowes Union Benevolent Association] records thanks for the generous contribution made to this very worthy cause – and the small profit from the evening itself was added to that to be forwarded to the CUBA Committee.

Michael Sheil

 Rhetoric 1966 50-Year Reunion

The class of ‘66 held it’s 50th Reunion on a glorious weekend in early September at Carton House, Maynooth. For the year that put the legend of the ‘Gollymocky Club’ in the alumni lexicon the celebrations were attended by in excess of forty classmates and their partners over the three days, culminating with a visit to the college for Fr Sheil’s Anniversary Mass on the Sunday. Dan O’Connor, Tim Foley, Paul Davis and Harley Griffiths, through their prodigious networking efforts, were able to bring together attendees from Canada, USA, South America and Australia. The Staterooms of Carton House were used to their fullest glory for functions on the Friday and Saturday coupled with golf during the day. The delicate matter of one all male dinner was diplomatically negotiated despite whispers of ‘Neanderthals’ by the lady-folk however matters worked out okay.

Dissertations of life in the sixties in Clongowes were given by various alumni members: no mid-term breaks, college bakery, farm food, stark conditions in the open 3rd Line ‘Dorm, ‘the horseboxes’ etc., considered by our better halves as a ploy to elicit sympathy (we were on the back foot at this stage), the consensus from the ladies being that our social development had been stunted all these years back due to the lack of integration with the fair sex. On the Sunday when we were viewing the magnificent infrastructure worked carried out over the last decade by the Foundation on the college and campus, we were all very humbled following an onslaught that we still had over active imaginations or our memories were obviously failing with age.

Although, with one of the highest statistics of deceased class-mates (thirteen in all), some of the after-dinner speeches could have become somewhat morbid it was quite the opposite. An absolute gem was the original notes of the late Captain of the SCT, Rowan Collins, laying out his exhortations to his team before the semi-final of that year against St Mary’s We also received a very brave message from the valiant, John O’Grady who was to depart us a fortnight later.

The Gollymocky’ played a unique benchmark camaraderie role in the fifty years we left the College. A no holds barred grouping that meets twice annually with inclusions of the classes of ‘65 and ’67, has monitored our progress and losses over the half-century. We would like to think that our criterion is the continuation of the ethos we were taught by the Jesuits in Clongowes in those heady days of the sixties.

P.S. A very big thank you to photographer extraordinaire, John McKaigney, who made us all look better than we really are…

Rhetoric 1986 30-Year Reunion

 45 of our ’86 brothers (up 5 from our 20 year reunion) assembled in the stately grounds of Carton House on the weekend of September 16th/17th for what was a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxed celebration of our past and present. We were more than fortunate to be joined by two of our Jesuit brethren, the ever present Michael Sheil SJ (recently celebrating his monumental achievement of 60 years as a Jesuit) and our former Poetry Prefect, Paddy Hume SJ along with ten of our esteemed ‘nix’ with whom we always gelled well and to whom we owe much appreciation for their patience in our education.

Earlier in the day, a motley crew of former ’86 ‘greats’ assembled (poignantly) on the VMP (The Vinny Murray Pitch, named for the former SCT coach and Assistant Headmaster), for a sociable and competitive game of soccer. Man of the match, Peadar O Guilín, would not have looked out of place at this year’s 20-year reunion as the rest of the oldies concentrated on avoiding injury, and each other! Footie was swiftly followed by a most informative school tour from the ever-young Martin Nugent. It was interesting to see so much, and in many ways so little change to the life fabric of the great old educator that is CWC.

Mass swiftly followed the tour, appropriately in the Boy’s Chapel, with Father Sheil. 40 of us joined in to remember our four fallen colleagues, Willie Fennelly, Paul Jackson, Odhran Power (who was with us for his first three years) and Fergus O’Farrell who outdid the medics by a full 20+ years in terms of his life expectancy and set such a good example for us all as would-be leaders of men in his remarkable six years in ‘the Wood’. He was remembered on the night in a piece written by erstwhile Business Organisation teacher Declan O’Keeffe. It was so appropriate that he was so deservedly awarded with our Aloysius prize 30 years ago. RIP lads.

Martin Wallace celebrated some fine (at the time) budding actors later in the evening with John Clarke, of Westport fish fame re-enacting his one line solo performance to tumultuous applause from all present. Martin also remembered our year as one that was bound together by Fergus and how he (and we) dealt with his disability. We are all very much aware of that bind to this day. Indeed it has made the year so appreciative of all the myriad characters that bind us together so well and in such a relaxed way when we meet.

We retired to the ‘cash bar’ in the hope that we collectively can make it to the 40 Year Re-Union with as much enthusiasm as well as to celebrate that so many of our gathering on the night remain in robust health. Long may it continue. It would be remiss not to thank my partner in crime, Jonathan White for his great help and input into organising this hugely important event. We also doff our caps to Kevin B McAuley, Aubrey Fogarty and Kai Staimer, who all journeyed from faraway pastures to be with us on the night. To our other absent friends, we remind you that you were missed on the night and we look forward to rendezvousing in the future.

Aeterna non Caduca.

William McDonald 

Rhetoric 1996 20-Year Reunion

Twenty years have quickly passed

Since the Leaving and School Mass.

Some have moved so far away,

While others home will always stay.


From Aylmer and Anderson

Gahan, Gavin, Hewson, Hogan,

Kelly, McCarthy, O’Connell, McVeigh and more,

Back to Whelan at the Third Line study door.


Some faces weathered,

Some fresh as before,

But all faces friendly,

Lives shared twenty years before.


No room for egos,

Just stories to share.

Asking about wives and children

The joys and sorrows we share.


Dinner was for half past six,

In the old Dunraven Arms.

We sat down to dine at half past nine,

Sure it was no harm!


Joe said a few words,

It was just like old times.

Wise cracks from the lads

As the hotel poured wine.


Fair play to Jock Wallace,

He gave the hard sell.

When his speech was over

We all heard the Clongowes bell!


Then dinner was over

And some trickled away,

Grateful for friendship

And for this twenty year reunion day.


Let’s hope we’re all here again

In ten years time,

Still grateful for friendship

And times shared in Third, Lower and Higher line.


Michael Hickey


Class of 2006 10-Year Reunion

The Rhetoric class of 2006 converged upon Fota Island Resort in Cork over the weekend of the 14th/15th October to celebrate the tenth anniversary of our graduation from the college. 44 Old Clongownians made the journey to the south coast, not only from all over Ireland, but many venturing back across the Irish Sea from the UK and even a few surprise visitors from Germany and the Czech Republic. Several apologies were sent from those who couldn’t attend, distance being the major obstacle, as good wishes were received from all corners of the globe.

After a long day’s travel for most, the gathering kicked off in the hotel with some quiet refreshments on the Friday evening. Many seemed to be extremely conscious of the challenges the championship course was bound to deliver the next morning, but I’m glad to report the golfers’ curfew was broken by each and every participant. Saturday morning brought the much-anticipated four-ball scramble, expertly organised by Jack Davison, and only the fashion on display rivalled the quality of the golf produced. The winning team of Shane Branagan, Declan Reilly and James Purcell were awarded the inaugural ‘Chief’ Jug, honouring our larger-than-life and much loved classmate Ryan O’Connor (or Chief), and with the great success of the golf it was decided that OC ‘06’s would contest the Chief Jug on an annual basis.

Non-golfers were very happily stationed in the leisure centre for the day, some even made it to see the wildlife park we were told, while everybody convened in the evening to prepare for the main event – the reunion dinner. The dinner itself was held in the clubhouse, where a few additions from the class of ‘06 arrived to bolster the group’s numbers just when spirits needed lifting. A wonderful meal was followed by speeches, toasts, more speeches and the presentation of the ‘Chief’ Jug before the real reminiscing begun. By all accounts, the weekend was truly a great success, thoroughly enjoyed by those who could make it due, in no small part, to James Lynch who headed the organising committee for a very memorable first ‘official’ reunion.

Shane Ryan