Class of 1966 - 25th Reunion recap
Tulfarris Lodge, Wicklow
What a shock to discover that it was 25 years since we left 'Knock. We were now those fairly old' looking pastmen who used to turn up for the November Dinner or come to die College on a visit. Tulfarris Lodge, Co. Wicklow, on the 15th-16th February 1991 was to be the venue for the great gathering of the Class of '66. Brendan Horan with an able committee comprised of Barry Hutch, Terry Grant and David Maher put the package together over numerous liquid lunches, which stretched into early evenings. The reunion, from Friday evening until Sunday lunch was to have a sprinkling of middle-aged activities, such as golfing, walking and watching an international on T V . and of course the grand climax, the dinner on Saturday night.
Would we recognise each other, and the embarrassment that sometimes follows such meetings? Would we have changed so much that we would have nothing in common for such a long weekend? On reflection, having spent probably the most formative years of our lives together we would have a 1st in common.
The committee were of course holding forth in the Bar when Peter Murphy and I aimed. More turned up as die evening went on. Charles (alias Charlie) Masterson, Declan McGivney and his cousin Aidan Walsh. John Cheevers had come from Vancouver. From the moment of first greetings we were as at ease as the day we left 'Knock. Friday night was a great warm-up for the big event. Everybody talking at once and roars of laughter gave the impression that this was the main event. A waiter passed by and Cheevers wanted to know which Dorm had he been in! In the middle of this fracas Bill Shields and David Browne rang from Australia, sorry to have missed the get-together. From that call Bill and David discovered that Niall Curran was living in the same city.
On Saturday morning, golf was proposed after breakfast and a much shaken group set off with onlookers. Fergus Canning arrived in rime for the game. Hutch played well with Cheevers sending balls everywhere. Grant, McGivney and Horan played well, and Grant played some spectacular shots. Cheevers regaled us with graphic descriptions of his exploits in Canada. He maintained that he was still single. Fergus sent a potentially good ball into the rough! This little exercise and fresh air was a life saver. Niall Woods joined us and added to the crack in his own inimitable way.
We got back in time for the pre-luncheon reception. This was a momentous and daunting occasion. As we went into the reception we were told by those nearest the door that the guy with the beard was Noel Maughan. Despite the years it was as if we had just been away from 'Knock for a prolonged Summer holiday The atmosphere was great. Everybody greeted each other with ease and affability. It spoke so well of the 1966 year. Yes, it was a great year and those years together created a bond that would last a lifetime, even if only meeting once every fiver years as is now planned. Needless to say the reunion would not have been complete without some Vins being present. Fr Frank Maher and Fr Brendan Steen were in attendance. Fr Steen was in ecstasy surrounded by members of the 1965 cup-winning team. Tern- Grant, Arthur Cunningham, John Cheevers, Fergus Meehan, Brendan Horan and Ciaran Feighery. Don Buckley could not make it from Canada as he was detained by his Swedish wife. Ray Taylor was also unfortunately absent. The balance in the room were all ex-members of Fr Maher's music classes.
Michael Glancy left school 5ft. 7inches and at 6ft 2 inches had everybody guessing. He was almost as tall as Des O'Connor. Being re-introduced in a comer to Noel, with the beard, were Harry O'Neill, Tony Connolly, Vinny Nagle and Noel Kidney. Michael O'Sullivan was extolling on the delights and merits of champagne to Bertie Kerr and fascinated David Maher. From the Banks of the Lee were Jeremy O'Connor and Tim Lucey arguing passionately with John Cheevers about the advantages of living Cork vis-a-vis Vancouver. Needless to say Cheevers was not convinced.
Charles (Charlie) Masterson defended the merits of Fox hunting to Fergus Canning who irreverently inquired of Charles if it was necessary to sport a mustached in order to partake of the sport. Charles drew himself to his full height and said he had never been so insulted since leaving Trinity. Canning smirked quietly to the room. Bertie Kerr concurred with Charles.
The pre-dinner reception went very well indeed, and laid down solid groundwork for a very enjoyable dinner. Trays of drinks kept disappearing with Michael O'Sullivan, Gerry O'Hara and Bernard Brown declaring their innocence in the matter. Barn Hutch looked on with a benign and an approving fatherly eye. A group photograph followed and it was like old times on the gravel much to the horror of the photographer. Somebody was missing and it was established that Delcan McGivney was having a kip.
As soon as Fr Steen had finished Grace there was an explosion of conversation, with and repartee at all the tables. Some tables excelled others in noise, notably David Maher's. There was an action replay of the 1965 match at John Cheevers table with Peter Murphy acting as referee and Fr Steen smiling delightedly. Brendan Horan would definitely be hoarse in the morning. Ciaran Feighery smiled knowingly. Fergus Canning on my left and Fergus Meehan on my right argued their way through the courses with a helping hand from Michael Glancy.
Dinner proceeded at a leisurely pace and had all the atmosphere of the Senior Ref. on the day of a good 'sav-in' Wine instead of siphons of lemonade was the only difference.
Dermot Power kept a watchful eye on the anarchist Aidan. Suddenly we were at coffee and the speeches. Johnny McGuigan suddenly appeared and we wondered was this our surprise for the evening. Barry McGovern who was to say a few words was not able to join us as he was summoned to Paris for a Beckett stint. Knowing I was to be thrown to the wolves, I took the precaution of preparing a speech in advance. The pack led by Charles took every opportunity to heckle and rain verbal abuse on my poor efforts. Despite this I managed to take the group down memory lane. Dramas involving the legendary Ger Muldowney, cup matches, sav-ins, being offered red and black by Sicky for a broken arm, walking round the track in sub-zero temperatures,"vises' etc. Summing up we enjoyed our years in 'Knock with the Vins and left having got a balanced unprejudiced and good education. In short they were great years and we left good friends for life.
Charles followed with his formal contribution to the proceedings only to be heckled by Cheevers that he could have given a better performance since he was the brains of 6B. Silence from Charles. Terry Grant came in then and gave us a sterling Grant speech in which he recalled a neck-and-neck interview for a top marketing job between Fergus Meehan and Niall Woods. Woods withdrew as the money was not good enough. Uproar.
Brendan Horan closed the proceedings and thanked his hard working committee for their dedication. A vote of congratulations and thanks was then passed to Brendan, Barry , Terry and David for organising the event.
Verdict. To be recommended as a get together but do not leave it for 25 years. Sorry for those who could not make it.