Castleknock College Union

Class of 1950 - 50th Reunion recap

Dublin, 27th & 28th May 2000

May 27, 2000
Class of 1950 - 50th Reunion recap -

Bobby Kerr, co-chief organiser

This was actually the third formal reunion held by the Class of '50 over the years. In 1960, a most enjoyable reunion was organised by Bobby Kerr, then manager of Jury's Hotel in Dame Street. In 1990, the fortieth reunion, in the Shelbourne, set the pattern for this year's event. In the mid eighties, a small informal committee was formed to organise the fortieth, and that occasion turned out to be so successful that the committee felt it would be feasible to 'go for the big one' - the fiftieth.

Another major factor influencing that decision was the prospect of holding further committee meetings. Those meetings should set an example to other committees, and become a blueprint for enjoyable and convivial meetings. They were always held in conjunction with a meal in a good restaurant, most often in Kim Park Golf Club, and the group deliberated in a friendly constructive, and sometimes hilarious fashion. The nucleus of the group was: Brian O'Hegarty, Jim Hamilton, Liam Archer, Fr. John Cleary, Jimmy Hannon, Kevin O'Shaughnessy and Niall Gogarty. Others who attended whenever they could were John Lowe, Charlie Nolan, James Morrin, Lochlainn Rafferty, Bobby Kerr, and Joe Hannon. It is sad to reflect that three of that number did not live to enjoy the fruits of their deliberations. In all, ten members of our Year have now passed away. Kevin was elected Honorary Secretary to the committee, which meant that he did most of the work. Out of the sixty boys in the class, he managed, by sometimes Herculean efforts, to contact all but nine. We subsequently laboured long over how to contact these nine, but to no avail. It is such a pity to have lost contact with them. Three circular letters were dispatched, the first back in 1998. A variety of venues was considered. Eventually, we negotiated with a number of hotels before eventually selecting one.

The event itself was a great success. It consisted of a dinner in the Berkeley Court Hotel on Saturday, 27th May 2000, followed on Sunday, 28th May, by Mass in the College. We gathered at the hotel between 4.30 & 6.00 p.m., over coffee. At six o'clock, we moved to the Herbert Suite for a wine cup, followed at seven by dinner, which everyone enjoyed immensely. Some of the people attending had not met others for fifty years, and had a lot of catching up to do. Others of course had met more frequently, but still had much to talk about.

Wives were not invited to this part of the celebrations, so it was to a certain extent a re-enactment of dinner in the 'ref all those years ago, though it has to be said that the food was better! Twenty three people sat down to dinner, which is a remarkable proportion of those we were able to contact and are still alive. Apart from most of those already mentioned, the following were also present: John Bennett, Jim Clancy, John Collier, John Connolly, Jimmy Cunningham, John Gardiner, Michael Glynn, David Hogg, Willie Hopkins, Leo Loftus, Matt Lynch, Lorrie Martin, George McNamara, Jim Mooney, Peter Nicholl, Michael Whelan and, as our guest, Fr. Tom Davitt C M. We had messages from fifteen members of our Year who were unable to attend. Bobby Kerr, who had guided us in our negotiations with the hotel and had presented a celebratory cake, was regrettably amongst those unable to attend due to illness.

On Sunday morning, we gathered at the chapel in Castleknock College for Mass to give thanks, to celebrate the occasion and to mourn our ten deceased colleagues. We were welcomed by Fr. Sam Clyne, CM, President of the College. Mass was said for us by Fr. Davitt. It was Union Day, which we had not planned for, but turned out to be fortuitous, in that the President of the Union, Mr. John Loughran, and other dignitaries were at the College and were able to join us afterwards. Our Mass was followed by the Graduation Mass. James Morrin OBE, by invitation of Fr. Clyne, addressed the Class of 2000 during the Graduation Mass. His address got a great reception, so it seems his words of wisdom, based on fifty years experience, struck a cord with his youthful audience.

We were joined at 'Knock by Gerry McArdle and Lochlainn Rafferty, both of whom were unable to come to dinner, and as wives were also invited, there was quite a big attendance at the Mass and afterwards in the priests' dining room (the Vins ref. in our day!) for coffee at the kind invitation of Fr. Clyne. Being Union Day, we were able to stay on and enjoy the events of the day, and to stroll in those choicer and more interesting parts of the grounds which were 'out of bounds' in our school days.

All in all, the Reunion was a huge success. It is hard to say whether people enjoyed the Saturday or the Sunday most, because each had its own particular attraction. But it is undeniable that the week-end taken as a whole was a memorable occasion. That so many people went to the trouble and expense of coming, demonstrates a friendship that has endured all those years, and a unique loyalty to the College that fostered that friendship. Hopefully, it will also encourage other Classes to organise similar Reunions.