Reunion at St Nathy’s College in Ballaghaderreen after 41 years


It was a week-end of reminiscing and nostalgia as the Leaving Certificate Class of 1981 returned to St Nathy’s College, Ballaghderreen.

mongst those who enjoyed the week-end was Pat Towey.

“Back in the day boarding in a secondary college was a common for many young boys.

“Distance to a school or a family occupation decided the best course of action for a boy’s education which was to enrol in a boarding school.

“Many of us from Ballaghaderreen went to boarding school. It was five years of schooling that included a half day on a Saturday with visiting times with parents on a Sunday between 4pm and 6pm.

“This was the schedule which laid the foundations for us to graduate into the real world.

“Our recent reunion of 1981 was born out of frustration of not knowing what became of classmates – Mike who was handy at basketball or Joe who was excellent at science.

“Off the West coast of Ireland a young fellow called Humphrey O’Leary who was born and bred on Clare Island landed into St Nathy’s as a raw young man.

“There, he blended in with college life and its characters both teachers and students.

“Throughout our departure from St Nathy’s I always kept in touch with Humphrey.

“He was fond of my dad Matty who bailed him out of boarding school on more than one occasion and got him back to island life.

“On the weekend of Aug 26th/27th we gathered from far and near. Chicago, Sydney. Boston, Colorado and almost every county in the country. A total of 41 men gathered over two days for a reunion of a lifetime.

“Memories, pictures, places visited, stories recalled and seeing the college after 41 years brought back visions of how innocent life and times were back then.

“We gathered on Friday evening in a lovely lounge in Monasteraden where Padraic Dowd and his staff at Drury’s made us most welcome. On Saturday as more troops arrived we examined Ballaghaderreen more closely with a visit to some iconic businesses as old as the college itself. In the late afternoon we went to St Nathy’s for a tour of this famous institution and Fr Vincent Sherlock our classmate celebrated Mass with his fellow former classmates.

“We then assembled in Durkins on the square for a evening of nostalgia with a sing song that went on until late into the night. Although it took 41 years to reach out to each other we are back on track and already planning for our next gathering on the beautiful Clare Island.”

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