Class '71 Silver Jubilee Reunion
Hudson Bay Hotel
Left to right: Brian O'Connell, Peter Conway, Kevin O'Shea, John Paul Mullen, Manix MacKenna, John Ronan, Patrick Byrne, Declan McGinley, Noel Sheehan, John McCarthy
Some two years prior to the event, Michael O'Donnell set his mind to organising the silver jubilee celebration for the class of '71. Apart from Peter Kerley who is in Australia he managed to contact everyone and give them timely notice of the great event. His hard work paid off as there was a 80% response and messages of good will were received from our Australian contingent Donough O'Donovan and Gerard Murphy. Brian Doyle (California) was unable to make it, but Peter Ruane (California) and Patrick Byrne (Chicago) came home to be with us, as did Noel Sheehan (Germany) and Martin Walton (France) and our English members Peter Dunne, Gary Hill, Ronan McGivney, John Paul Mullan and Brian O'Connell. It was wonderful that we had them with us and everyone appreciated the effort they made.
Athlone, the heart of Ireland, or to members of the class of '71, John Keane territory, was the chosen venue. We are grateful to him for organising things on the home front, and not surprisingly he opted for the Hudson Bay Hotel former home of the Lenihan family. It proved to be the ideal venue.
The majority arrived on the Friday evening and very quickly the old familiar pattern of card playing took over and continued late into the night. On the Saturday morning, some went golfing while others opted for a cruise on the Shannon in John Keane's launch. Wisely John did not allow Mannix MacKenna to take over the wheel, suggesting that he might be better to stay with the cars!
The dinner was scheduled for 8.00 p.m and we were delighted to welcome Fr K. O'Shea, Fr F. Maher and Mr R. Walsh. All three of them had been involved with our year in 'Knock. Fr O'Shea and Denis Larkin said the few words after dinner. Fr O'Shea informed us that he was still travelling on the lower road, but that business had now transferred from the Strawberry Hall to the Angler's Rest. He hoped that the class of '96 would be as well behaved as the class of '71.
Denis Larkin, orator supreme, regaled us with quite a few yarns, but in particular he was delighted to inform us that after 25 years he had found the culprit. During his final year he was called to the parlour one morning, to be met by a salesman requesting that he measure his head for a hair piece. While the salesman stressed confidentiality, Denis was frantically trying to a certain who had pulled this one on him. Subsequently all he met from the members of his year were knowing nods and smiles, but now 25 years later he discovered it was Emmet O'Rafferty.
After the meal we adjourned to the lounge and another late night. Regretfully the party broke up after breakfast or was it lunch on the Sunday.
Our thanks to Michael O'Donnell and John Keane and all who helped to make it such a memorable occasion.