Greetings, My name is Patrick O'Brien and I am a founder pupil. My sister who resides in Raheny alerted me to your Golden Jubilee.
I was in the first year 1968 , having being previously a pupil at St Assams. When the school opened it was just a group of connected portacabins and a big field. The surrounding housing estates were still being built and we had to walk or cycle to school- there was no bus route from Raheny. We had no desks when the school first opened and sat on plastic chairs.
I recall the excitement when the desks arrived a couple of weeks later, we had to help unload them. They were single desks, unlike the two-seater types used in primary school and we felt very sophisticated, perhaps identifying with the American films that depicted High School!!
The teaching staff were Head Brother Cajetan and Brother Canice. They lived in the house next to the front gate and there were two lay teachers Mr Cody and Mr McHugh. I believe another teacher – Mr Finnneran- joined later. Obviously being a new school we had no history or tradition but we had a great sense of esprit de corps and as the senior year right up to my Leaving Cert our group was always conscious of being the first and leading the other years, looking out for them and creating our own traditions. We did not move into the new building until after our Inter Cert in 1971. That was a great year because Mr Mc Hugh had arranged a school holiday abroad to Paris, Rome and Rimini – a wonderful trip that instilled in me a great desire to travel and study history. I paid for this trip by working as a loungeboy in The Inn in Raheny and in the Satellite lounge in Edenmore. When I think of it .....working from 7pm , having done my homework, until midnight for 2s 6d an hour (15 cents). It took months to save up and although one would feel tired the next day in class it was worth it.
The most significant thing I remember about my 5 years at the school is that we were treated as young men. The cane was still employed (quite a bit in my own case!!) but we emerged after the Leaving Cert in 1973 as confident young men. I am still very grateful for the education I received at the school. I believe we were also the first year to receive free secondary school education throughout the country. previously one had to pay fees, obtain a scholarship or go to Technical school in Killester. So we were a very privileged intake.
In 1971 Bro Cajetan was replaced by Bro Benignus and he was very forward thinking. In our final year we had a 6th year common room, complete with a hi fi unit on which we could play our albums during lunch hour or breaks ( Led Zep being very popular) and we had the daily papers and we were allowed to smoke much to the chagrin of the junior years. I still have my school reference which has proved to be remarkably prescient.
When I am home (I have resided in the UK since 1979) I often drive past the school and it looks so very different. The biggest shock to me was hearing it was now co- educational. In my time it was exclusively boys only. I was on the students committee that organised the first school disco and we had to go to other schools such as Manor House to let the female students there what was happening.
Thank you for giving me the chance to reminisce. All the best for the future.