This week’s Eye on the Past features a photograph of school boys from St. Joseph’s School in Rathstewart. It was taken in or around 1947 or thereabouts. I should be in that photograph as I had started school on 13th May 1946, the same day as Frank English and he figures prominently in that picture from the past. Can you pick him out? And what about the other young lads staring out at the camera lens? A prize awaits the first person who gives me the names of all the young scholars from 55 years ago.
Many of those captured in the photograph all those years ago will be coming together for the first time ever during a class reunion scheduled for the weekend of 20th September. Fifty past pupils of St. Joseph’s School and the Christian Brother’s School have been identified but unfortunately attempts are still being made to locate the present whereabouts of a small number who left Athy many years ago. These include Peter Allen, last heard of in Manchester. Paddy Bracken whom I believe is in Naas but where exactly I have yet to find out. Does anyone know where Leo Dempsey, formerly of the Hibernian Bank, Leinster Street can be contacted? What about Theo Kavanagh, formerly of the Bleeding Horse in Castlemitchell and Paddy Maher, now somewhere in England and originally from Dooley’s Terrace?
Others still to be traced are Colin Seabrook and Christy Southwell, although I am told that Christy might be somewhere in the Curragh/Newbridge area. More difficult to trace will be John Whelan whose family lived in St. Patrick’s Avenue before they emigrated to England in the 1950’s. If you can help trace any of the above I would be delighted if you would contact me.
In the meantime arrangements are going ahead for the class reunion and some of the unfortunate teachers who had to deal with us over the years have now been traced. Paddy O’Riordan, now living in retirement in Cork is the only secondary teacher still with us. Of the primary school teachers Brother Flaherty and Brother Loughran have been traced while the redoubtable Sr. Bernadette who was with us in St. Joseph’s School in the 1940’s will be, hopefully, with us for the September celebrations.
While we have identified 50 past pupils with whom our young years were shared, undoubtedly there will be a few names overlooked. If you are one of those who has not been contacted in connection with the class reunion would you please make contact with me over the next few weeks. The reunion is for everyone and anyone who shared classes with the likes of Frank English, Ted Wynne, Teddy Kelly or myself in either St. Joseph’s School or the Primary School or the Secondary School at St. John’s Lane.
Let me hear from you please. Don’t forget a book prize for the first person to give me the names of all the youngsters snapped in the Convent of Mercy driveway on what was obviously a sunny day over 50 years ago.