Page 1

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4 GLENSTAL NEWSLETTER Spring 2008

Partying like it was 1997 L

ightning doesn’t strike twice or at least that’s what the Lahinch Golf and Leisure Hotel must have hoped. However, for the second year running, the hotel had the dubious honour of hosting a Glenstal ten-year reunion. The impressive turnout – 32 out of 39 invitees – bore testament either to the excellent camaraderie of the class of 1997 or collective amnesia induced by a ten-year absence. Probably more of the former, but I can’t remember. An impressive amount of airmiles were chalked up, as people made the journey from exotic locations like Shanghai, Prague and Inagh. The organiser in chief (school captain Fred Tottenham) decided a strict ban on WAGs – wives and girlfriends – was the order of the day; a ban which was dutifully observed by all participants, with the glaring exception of the organiser in chief! This format set the tone for a predictable weekend: more Guinness than tea bags.

IMPORTANT DATES A.G.M. Glenstal Society Sunday May 4th 2008 ■ 10.00 Mass with Community ■ 11.00 Coffee ■ 11.30 AGM ■ 1.30 Light Lunch COME FOR ALL – OR ANY PART OF THE DAY. PLEASE NOTIFY IF COMING TO LUNCH

JUBILEE DINNER Also Sunday May 4th 6 p.m. Vespers, followed by Dinner: Festival Marquee. Please book with Anne O’Connor at Glenstal. Tel: 087- 622 4128 or e-mail: 75@glenstal.com. Please contact her for details and for options of staying / transport to / from The Castletroy Park Hotel.

Saturday’s festivities were carefully sculpted around the compulsory RWC final, with a relatively civilised meal in Vaughans of Liscannor being blown up five minutes before kick-off. Unfortunately, Leo couldn’t join us to offer his punditry but Fr Simon obliged as we scuttled across to the nearest pub to watch the bruising encounter. We wound our way back through Lahinch before ending up in the residents’ bar, where Morgan Fullam – our very own busker – kept us and an excitable hen party entertained with his gee-tar until the wee hours. Gradually the following morning, extinguished-looking figures began to emerge from their rooms to survey the damage; the general consensus being that the weekend was a roaring success (although perhaps tinged by a sense of relief that another incendiary night of revelry was not on the cards). Roll on 2017? Richard More O’Ferrall

Let Us Remember Ray Sutton, mother of Paddy Prisca Berridge, mother of Dominic

GLENSTAL Old Boys Dinner London 2 Nov 07

Loelie Beckett, wife of Desmond Michael Fitzgibbon father of David & Michael Noreen Butler, mother of Nicky Jack Fitzpatrick, father of David, Barre & Jonathan Brendan O’Regan, father of Andrew Ethna O’Sullivan, mother of Kevin Joan Williams, mother of Jeremy and John

JUST PUBLISHED Peter Brabazon, 40 Poems, Moonarach Press, Callan, Co. Kilkenny

Wedding Bells Stephen Walsh (1988) & Denise Donovan Harry Cronin (1997) & Karen Tobin Billy Ryan (1983) & Joanne Ryan

We all share in the joy of this Jubilee If you have not been able to participate in any of the celebratory events, or even if you have not been invited to do so – please forgive us – there were some very unfortunate oversights: Here is an invitation to visit us anytime before the end of the school year. Ask for myself, or indeed for your favourite monk. He/I/We will be happy to show you round – and you may need a guide – to give you a cup of tea – and perhaps to offer you a choice of sittting quietly in the church for a time. I think you will be grateful for many things – which is the purest form of prayer (Editor).

ome 40+ GOBs dined together at the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall on 2 November 2007.

S

Noel O’Gorman, President of GOBS, presided and Fr Mark said grace. A silence was observed in memory of the late Eddie Barber (1964) who had done so much to revive GOBS in London and whose untimely death meant that we no longer had the use of the Reform Club in Pall Mall. Dinner took place in the Marlborough Room and was, it is said, much enjoyed by all who attended, stragglers included! We sat down at 8.15 and dispersed at about midnight. A strong contingent attended from Co Tipperary to escort our President and lingered at the Army and Navy Club for a couple of days thereafter before returning to Cork airport laden with the loot of London shopping!

www.myubique.com info@myubique.com

01-09-32: Glenstal Priory School Opens its Doors hree boys arrived on that very first day. There were seven before the end of 1932. The very first boy to arrive was Nicholas Smyth. He is the only survivor of that first batch, and is still happily living in Florida, after a long and distinguished career in medicine in the United States. Nicholas is also a first cousin of Abbot Christopher, being the elder by some small number of years.

T

In the roll book, Yves Goor is mentioned first, but in a nearly contemporary record, written by David O’Driscoll in the school annals (below), it is Nicholas who heads the list. Yves Goor seems to acknowledge this himself because, in the very first entry in those same annals, he writes that, while being shown around the school with his parents, “on the way we met Nicholas Smyth, and I made friends with him immediately.” Yves was the son of the Consul General of Belgium. He was probably the first to be booked into the school, giving the monks of Maredsous courage and the hope that other gentle folk would soon follow!

The School in February 1933. From left to right: Nicholas Smyth, Pat O’Driscoll, Arthur (George) Ryan, Desmond Moreland, Sidney Punch, Yves Goor, David O’Driscoll, Frank McCan. Front Row: Fr. Hubert. Fr. Columba, Mr. Vincent Quirke.

There is an interesting snippet in the school annals, again from that first term.

It was a very enjoyable and successful evening and we all look forward to a similar event in 2008. The author is grateful to Ian Lynam for his assistance in the arranging of this dinner. Christopher Dorman-O’Gowan (1964) Edited by Andrew Nugent osb Layout & Print by INTYPE Ltd.

When we realise that the average age of the seven boys in the school was barely eleven years, we are surprised at the relaxed attitude to cigaretttes in those innocent days. May we suppose that they had a few beers, too, while they were at it!


GLNL spring08 pp4-1,2-3 3/3/08 4:07 PM Page 2

2 GLENSTAL NEWSLETTER Spring 2008

Easter on Mount Athos n imaginative and good friend of mine, Nicholas Kearns (we were welcomed to the Midland Circuit the same day and he is now a Supreme Court Judge) suggested to me that, since the date of Easter in the western and orthodox churches coincided in 2007, we should go to Mount Athos to celebrate the feast there. I jumped at the opportunity which was made more attractive by virtue of the fact that he was doing all the organising. Contrary to popular belief, Mount Athos is not an island. It is a peninsula on the Greek mainland at the end of which stands the Holy Mountain, 2027 meters high. It is possible to gain access by a rough track from the town of Oranopolis but the sea route is the one universally used. So on the 5th April, 2007 a group of five of us, Peter Sutherland, Vincent Foley and an Australian Judge John Mc Conaghy together with Nicholas and I, landed by boat at Dafni. The peninsula is approximately 60 kms long by 10kms wide. On it are twenty inhabited monasteries – all Orthodox but drawn from different national traditions: Greek, Russian, Cypriot, Cretan, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian. It is a strictly an all male reserve and that applies to domestic animals as well as humans.

A

We stayed in three of the Monasteries: Stavronikita (dedicated to St. Nicholas), Iveron (dedicated to the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin) and Vatopedi (dedicated to the Annunciation). We also visited Pantokrator (the dedication is self explanatory). All four were like medieval towns surrounded by enormously high walls and overlooking the sea. On the inside of the walls was monastic accommodation, and they were topped by more accommodation which was supported by wooden struts and overhung the dramatic coastline. Within the walls were separately housed the Church, the Library and the Treasury. Because it was Holy Week there were a big number of pilgrims on the Holy Mountain so we were unable to see any of the libraries. We did see the treasury of Vatopedi which was truly spectacular. It contained manuscripts dating from the 10th century, icons, altar vessels, vestments, Decrees signed by Byzantine Emperors etc., etc. Even the lock on the door was remarkable – when you opened it, contained within, were two more locks. In all it was a wonder to behold. The liturgy itself was difficult for an outsider to appreciate. The churches had an inner circular section, where the main

part of the liturgy took place and where the non Orthodox were not encouraged to go. There were two outer rectangular sections, where we were more than welcome, and which were regularly visited by incense bearing thurifers The chanting was mesmeric and did make for a prayerful athmosphere. Having said that, it must be confessed that the entire of the Acts of the Apostles in Greek for one whose only Greek was of the classical variety expounded by P.M. O’Riordan over 50 years ago, and resulting in a pass leaving mark (just about), had limited appeal. The monastic communities seem to be flourishing. One of the monks told us that when he joined the monastery twenty years ago there were for ty monks in the community. Now there are one hundred. Certainly there seemed to be plenty of young monks around each of the monasteries we stayed in as well as more venerable ones. Contrary to what I had been told, the monks were friendly and hospitable. We had no communication difficulties as many of them spoke English (apparently, after Athens and Thessalonica, Melbourne has the highest number of Greek speakers of any town or city). The monastic buildings themselves were in mint condition, or where they looked a bit run down, there was scaffolding erected around them and renovation work in progress. The highlight of the experience was Easter Saturday night. There was a tangible feeling of excitement in the air. We were told by one of the monks (an American) that on that evening a g roup of people stood around the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem holding unlit candles. Sometimes, by a miracle, a spark flew from the Sepulchre and lit the candles. The flame was then rushed to Mount Athos. Whatever about that, the flame arrived in the courtyard of the monastery in a lantern held by a running monk who was escorted by two armed coastguards running alongside him. It was rushed into the inner sanctum and spread out from there to the rest of us. This was not achieved by meekly waiting one’s turn. There was an excited and exciting crush. To a sceptical lawyer this all seemed very naïve and childish. But on reflection I can now see how they have held on to the real excitement of the fantastic news: The Lord has truly risen Alleluia! James Nugent (1962)

Khawadja I

n 2004 Commandant Bernard Markey (June 81) was deployed to Darfur Sudan as a Military Observer where he was to spend one year working as a Military Observer. The following is his best effort at describing this experience. In 2004 I arrived in Darfur to take up the role of Military Observer and was based at El Genina, which is a small town on the border with Chad. My orders were to observe and report and to ensure that I remained safe and

Spring 2008 GLENSTAL NEWSLETTER 3

continued

secure at all times. These instructions were similar to ones given by myself 31 years earlier to the Washroom Dorm Midnight Feast Reconnaissance party as they prepared to venture forth to the ninety-nine steps. Boarding School has many similarities to Military Life. I was billeted in a camp belonging to the African Union (AU) and this became my home for a year. Practically speaking home was a Military Tent with few frills and plenty of engaging insect life. From

here I accompanied African Union Officers out on patrol every alternate day using the intervening period to write up my reports. What is happening in Darfur now has happened before and will happen over and over again. People are dying by the hands of their own countrymen as Tribalism and Ethnicity identify whether you live or die. There are many reasons for this conflict, a fact often obscured by distant or prejudiced

observers who oversimplify the situation. From my experience such broad brushstrokes obscure the real lines of fracture in a diverse and impoverished society. Observers have referred to Darfur as the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis. Whether this is true or not is immaterial but it has been estimated that since the conflict began in 2004 some 250 000 people had died as a consequence of the fighting and that another 3 million have been displaced. Figures such as these are difficult to comprehend especially as most of the deaths are innocent women

and children who bear the brunt of the fury. My impressions of this conflict were one of burned villages, slaughtered civilians and crowds of terrified Sudanese fleeing the inexplicable to a life without future in a displaced camp. These camps are for many the only way in which they can survive. They are hot and crowded with some having populations of more than 30 000 people all of who survive on food distributed by humanitarian agencies. Recently while hosting a discussion with the boys in Glenstal I was asked what could be done about Darfur. From my

perspective there are two answers. The first one is financial and there are many worthy Humanitarian Agencies who work there and who are in need of assistance. The second answer is one of maintaining and encouraging interest in the plight of the people of Darfur whether through reading, coffee mornings, debates or the simple school project. Finally the term “Khawadja” means foreigner in Darfur and was the name given to me by the people of Darfur in what for me was as memorable a year as my first one in the Washroom Dorm. Bernard Markey (1981)

In praise of Glenstal IRISH TIMES, TUE, FEB 05, 2008

D

espite the charge of elitism, Glenstal should be celebrated as a provider of liberal Catholic education, writes former pupil Kevin O’Sullivan. A great debate on the issue of God’s existence stood out in the course of my education. Over a number of classes, the arguments were put in a court setting; evidence was cited, countered, challenged and submitted for final deliberation. A Benedictine monk with a legal background was both facilitator and learned judge. The evidence was decisively in favour of the view that there was no God; the arguments went far beyond the obvious: if God was all-powerful, he would not have stood by in the face of Auschwitz; Third World hunger, Hiroshima, wars of all kinds and disease . . . It was a remarkably brave proposition to put before a group of teenagers who would have readily embraced heresy if only to fly an anti-establishment flag with gusto. For those who wanted to hear, it was a compelling illustration of what faith is in the face of overwhelming cause for disbelief. But in a broader context, it illustrates what is, in my view, the bulwark of a Glenstal education; you deciding for yourself. Needless to say, for teenagers trying to wrestle with the dilemmas of adolescence, such liberalism was not always a recipe for academic progress, orderly development or parental contentment. Yet it made for strong individuals increasingly infused with the seeds of conscience, justice and a spiritual side to life, even if the bloom came later and sometimes the words on such a heady mix could not be applied until a time of greater maturity. So 75 years after Glenstal Abbey School opened, its place in Irish education should be saluted, for it was a rare bastion; a provider of a Liberal Catholic Education underpinned by sound reason and a sense of community. A process of osmosis was complemented by the Benedictine “Way” of existence pursued by monks in the adjoining monastery. For generations, it contrasted with the stark, dogmatic form of Irish education that frequently involved learning driven by fear and the inducement of guilt. The latter was for too long the standard mix promulgated by many other Irish religious orders and, arguably, promoted by the State itself. Today, of course, such an approach - “If you don’t believe, if you don’t conform, if you don’t redeliver the set view . . . damnation

will follow.” - would be a recipe for mass derision and empty classrooms. Nowadays, a Glenstal education stands up very well contrasted with what is in the ascendancy; education enveloped in secularism. Glenstal remains a very small school. As a consequence, it is accused, inevitably, of being an elitist institution. Some, who clearly never experienced it, cynically regarded it as some form of miniature Irish Eton. As one who stepped tentatively into the 19th-century Normanesque castle that makes up much of the physical environment of the school and stayed five years, there was never a sense of being moulded into conformity; the hallmark of British education for much the 20th century. Disparaging suggestions that it was a simply a posh school for notional ruling and wealthy professional classes were belied by the realisation later that for many parents who sent their sons there it meant considerable financial sacrifice. If anything, life there in the 1970s made for a surprisingly frugal existence. Through adolescent eyes, it was a strange patriarchal place, located in a large, isolated estate peppered by enormous rhododendrons, where the echoes of plain chant sung by the monks struck a haunting resonance. In its midst was the biggest playing field in Munster where a defiant brand of rugby was often played despite being hopelessly outmanoeuvred, if not out-numbered, by the mights of PBC, CBC and Rockwell. For the most part, Glenstal allowed the cocoon of childhood to be removed in challenging yet protective surroundings. Much has changed since (rugby too has moved to a higher plain of consistency), but I sense the essential elements remain the same. For me, they amounted to a communal gift imparted unreservedly by both monks and lay people. They were crucial to my taking with tenacity the leap that was growing-up; to achieving independence. Some 30 years later, plain chant serves as a perfect de-stresser and brings with it the added benefit of willingly transposing my mind back to Glenstal. Kevin O’Sullivan is Irish Times news editor. He attended Glenstal from 1973 to 1977 and returned to teach biology from 1981 to 1982. © 2008 The Irish Times


GLNL spring08 pp4-1,2-3 3/3/08 4:07 PM Page 2

2 GLENSTAL NEWSLETTER Spring 2008

Easter on Mount Athos n imaginative and good friend of mine, Nicholas Kearns (we were welcomed to the Midland Circuit the same day and he is now a Supreme Court Judge) suggested to me that, since the date of Easter in the western and orthodox churches coincided in 2007, we should go to Mount Athos to celebrate the feast there. I jumped at the opportunity which was made more attractive by virtue of the fact that he was doing all the organising. Contrary to popular belief, Mount Athos is not an island. It is a peninsula on the Greek mainland at the end of which stands the Holy Mountain, 2027 meters high. It is possible to gain access by a rough track from the town of Oranopolis but the sea route is the one universally used. So on the 5th April, 2007 a group of five of us, Peter Sutherland, Vincent Foley and an Australian Judge John Mc Conaghy together with Nicholas and I, landed by boat at Dafni. The peninsula is approximately 60 kms long by 10kms wide. On it are twenty inhabited monasteries – all Orthodox but drawn from different national traditions: Greek, Russian, Cypriot, Cretan, Serbian, Romanian, Bulgarian. It is a strictly an all male reserve and that applies to domestic animals as well as humans.

A

We stayed in three of the Monasteries: Stavronikita (dedicated to St. Nicholas), Iveron (dedicated to the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin) and Vatopedi (dedicated to the Annunciation). We also visited Pantokrator (the dedication is self explanatory). All four were like medieval towns surrounded by enormously high walls and overlooking the sea. On the inside of the walls was monastic accommodation, and they were topped by more accommodation which was supported by wooden struts and overhung the dramatic coastline. Within the walls were separately housed the Church, the Library and the Treasury. Because it was Holy Week there were a big number of pilgrims on the Holy Mountain so we were unable to see any of the libraries. We did see the treasury of Vatopedi which was truly spectacular. It contained manuscripts dating from the 10th century, icons, altar vessels, vestments, Decrees signed by Byzantine Emperors etc., etc. Even the lock on the door was remarkable – when you opened it, contained within, were two more locks. In all it was a wonder to behold. The liturgy itself was difficult for an outsider to appreciate. The churches had an inner circular section, where the main

part of the liturgy took place and where the non Orthodox were not encouraged to go. There were two outer rectangular sections, where we were more than welcome, and which were regularly visited by incense bearing thurifers The chanting was mesmeric and did make for a prayerful athmosphere. Having said that, it must be confessed that the entire of the Acts of the Apostles in Greek for one whose only Greek was of the classical variety expounded by P.M. O’Riordan over 50 years ago, and resulting in a pass leaving mark (just about), had limited appeal. The monastic communities seem to be flourishing. One of the monks told us that when he joined the monastery twenty years ago there were for ty monks in the community. Now there are one hundred. Certainly there seemed to be plenty of young monks around each of the monasteries we stayed in as well as more venerable ones. Contrary to what I had been told, the monks were friendly and hospitable. We had no communication difficulties as many of them spoke English (apparently, after Athens and Thessalonica, Melbourne has the highest number of Greek speakers of any town or city). The monastic buildings themselves were in mint condition, or where they looked a bit run down, there was scaffolding erected around them and renovation work in progress. The highlight of the experience was Easter Saturday night. There was a tangible feeling of excitement in the air. We were told by one of the monks (an American) that on that evening a g roup of people stood around the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem holding unlit candles. Sometimes, by a miracle, a spark flew from the Sepulchre and lit the candles. The flame was then rushed to Mount Athos. Whatever about that, the flame arrived in the courtyard of the monastery in a lantern held by a running monk who was escorted by two armed coastguards running alongside him. It was rushed into the inner sanctum and spread out from there to the rest of us. This was not achieved by meekly waiting one’s turn. There was an excited and exciting crush. To a sceptical lawyer this all seemed very naïve and childish. But on reflection I can now see how they have held on to the real excitement of the fantastic news: The Lord has truly risen Alleluia! James Nugent (1962)

Khawadja I

n 2004 Commandant Bernard Markey (June 81) was deployed to Darfur Sudan as a Military Observer where he was to spend one year working as a Military Observer. The following is his best effort at describing this experience. In 2004 I arrived in Darfur to take up the role of Military Observer and was based at El Genina, which is a small town on the border with Chad. My orders were to observe and report and to ensure that I remained safe and

Spring 2008 GLENSTAL NEWSLETTER 3

continued

secure at all times. These instructions were similar to ones given by myself 31 years earlier to the Washroom Dorm Midnight Feast Reconnaissance party as they prepared to venture forth to the ninety-nine steps. Boarding School has many similarities to Military Life. I was billeted in a camp belonging to the African Union (AU) and this became my home for a year. Practically speaking home was a Military Tent with few frills and plenty of engaging insect life. From

here I accompanied African Union Officers out on patrol every alternate day using the intervening period to write up my reports. What is happening in Darfur now has happened before and will happen over and over again. People are dying by the hands of their own countrymen as Tribalism and Ethnicity identify whether you live or die. There are many reasons for this conflict, a fact often obscured by distant or prejudiced

observers who oversimplify the situation. From my experience such broad brushstrokes obscure the real lines of fracture in a diverse and impoverished society. Observers have referred to Darfur as the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis. Whether this is true or not is immaterial but it has been estimated that since the conflict began in 2004 some 250 000 people had died as a consequence of the fighting and that another 3 million have been displaced. Figures such as these are difficult to comprehend especially as most of the deaths are innocent women

and children who bear the brunt of the fury. My impressions of this conflict were one of burned villages, slaughtered civilians and crowds of terrified Sudanese fleeing the inexplicable to a life without future in a displaced camp. These camps are for many the only way in which they can survive. They are hot and crowded with some having populations of more than 30 000 people all of who survive on food distributed by humanitarian agencies. Recently while hosting a discussion with the boys in Glenstal I was asked what could be done about Darfur. From my

perspective there are two answers. The first one is financial and there are many worthy Humanitarian Agencies who work there and who are in need of assistance. The second answer is one of maintaining and encouraging interest in the plight of the people of Darfur whether through reading, coffee mornings, debates or the simple school project. Finally the term “Khawadja” means foreigner in Darfur and was the name given to me by the people of Darfur in what for me was as memorable a year as my first one in the Washroom Dorm. Bernard Markey (1981)

In praise of Glenstal IRISH TIMES, TUE, FEB 05, 2008

D

espite the charge of elitism, Glenstal should be celebrated as a provider of liberal Catholic education, writes former pupil Kevin O’Sullivan. A great debate on the issue of God’s existence stood out in the course of my education. Over a number of classes, the arguments were put in a court setting; evidence was cited, countered, challenged and submitted for final deliberation. A Benedictine monk with a legal background was both facilitator and learned judge. The evidence was decisively in favour of the view that there was no God; the arguments went far beyond the obvious: if God was all-powerful, he would not have stood by in the face of Auschwitz; Third World hunger, Hiroshima, wars of all kinds and disease . . . It was a remarkably brave proposition to put before a group of teenagers who would have readily embraced heresy if only to fly an anti-establishment flag with gusto. For those who wanted to hear, it was a compelling illustration of what faith is in the face of overwhelming cause for disbelief. But in a broader context, it illustrates what is, in my view, the bulwark of a Glenstal education; you deciding for yourself. Needless to say, for teenagers trying to wrestle with the dilemmas of adolescence, such liberalism was not always a recipe for academic progress, orderly development or parental contentment. Yet it made for strong individuals increasingly infused with the seeds of conscience, justice and a spiritual side to life, even if the bloom came later and sometimes the words on such a heady mix could not be applied until a time of greater maturity. So 75 years after Glenstal Abbey School opened, its place in Irish education should be saluted, for it was a rare bastion; a provider of a Liberal Catholic Education underpinned by sound reason and a sense of community. A process of osmosis was complemented by the Benedictine “Way” of existence pursued by monks in the adjoining monastery. For generations, it contrasted with the stark, dogmatic form of Irish education that frequently involved learning driven by fear and the inducement of guilt. The latter was for too long the standard mix promulgated by many other Irish religious orders and, arguably, promoted by the State itself. Today, of course, such an approach - “If you don’t believe, if you don’t conform, if you don’t redeliver the set view . . . damnation

will follow.” - would be a recipe for mass derision and empty classrooms. Nowadays, a Glenstal education stands up very well contrasted with what is in the ascendancy; education enveloped in secularism. Glenstal remains a very small school. As a consequence, it is accused, inevitably, of being an elitist institution. Some, who clearly never experienced it, cynically regarded it as some form of miniature Irish Eton. As one who stepped tentatively into the 19th-century Normanesque castle that makes up much of the physical environment of the school and stayed five years, there was never a sense of being moulded into conformity; the hallmark of British education for much the 20th century. Disparaging suggestions that it was a simply a posh school for notional ruling and wealthy professional classes were belied by the realisation later that for many parents who sent their sons there it meant considerable financial sacrifice. If anything, life there in the 1970s made for a surprisingly frugal existence. Through adolescent eyes, it was a strange patriarchal place, located in a large, isolated estate peppered by enormous rhododendrons, where the echoes of plain chant sung by the monks struck a haunting resonance. In its midst was the biggest playing field in Munster where a defiant brand of rugby was often played despite being hopelessly outmanoeuvred, if not out-numbered, by the mights of PBC, CBC and Rockwell. For the most part, Glenstal allowed the cocoon of childhood to be removed in challenging yet protective surroundings. Much has changed since (rugby too has moved to a higher plain of consistency), but I sense the essential elements remain the same. For me, they amounted to a communal gift imparted unreservedly by both monks and lay people. They were crucial to my taking with tenacity the leap that was growing-up; to achieving independence. Some 30 years later, plain chant serves as a perfect de-stresser and brings with it the added benefit of willingly transposing my mind back to Glenstal. Kevin O’Sullivan is Irish Times news editor. He attended Glenstal from 1973 to 1977 and returned to teach biology from 1981 to 1982. © 2008 The Irish Times


GLNL spring08 pp4-1,2-3 3/3/08 4:07 PM Page 1

4 GLENSTAL NEWSLETTER Spring 2008

Partying like it was 1997 L

ightning doesn’t strike twice or at least that’s what the Lahinch Golf and Leisure Hotel must have hoped. However, for the second year running, the hotel had the dubious honour of hosting a Glenstal ten-year reunion. The impressive turnout – 32 out of 39 invitees – bore testament either to the excellent camaraderie of the class of 1997 or collective amnesia induced by a ten-year absence. Probably more of the former, but I can’t remember. An impressive amount of airmiles were chalked up, as people made the journey from exotic locations like Shanghai, Prague and Inagh. The organiser in chief (school captain Fred Tottenham) decided a strict ban on WAGs – wives and girlfriends – was the order of the day; a ban which was dutifully observed by all participants, with the glaring exception of the organiser in chief! This format set the tone for a predictable weekend: more Guinness than tea bags.

IMPORTANT DATES A.G.M. Glenstal Society Sunday May 4th 2008 ■ 10.00 Mass with Community ■ 11.00 Coffee ■ 11.30 AGM ■ 1.30 Light Lunch COME FOR ALL – OR ANY PART OF THE DAY. PLEASE NOTIFY IF COMING TO LUNCH

JUBILEE DINNER Also Sunday May 4th 6 p.m. Vespers, followed by Dinner: Festival Marquee. Please book with Anne O’Connor at Glenstal. Tel: 087- 622 4128 or e-mail: 75@glenstal.com. Please contact her for details and for options of staying / transport to / from The Castletroy Park Hotel.

Saturday’s festivities were carefully sculpted around the compulsory RWC final, with a relatively civilised meal in Vaughans of Liscannor being blown up five minutes before kick-off. Unfortunately, Leo couldn’t join us to offer his punditry but Fr Simon obliged as we scuttled across to the nearest pub to watch the bruising encounter. We wound our way back through Lahinch before ending up in the residents’ bar, where Morgan Fullam – our very own busker – kept us and an excitable hen party entertained with his gee-tar until the wee hours. Gradually the following morning, extinguished-looking figures began to emerge from their rooms to survey the damage; the general consensus being that the weekend was a roaring success (although perhaps tinged by a sense of relief that another incendiary night of revelry was not on the cards). Roll on 2017? Richard More O’Ferrall

Let Us Remember Ray Sutton, mother of Paddy Prisca Berridge, mother of Dominic

GLENSTAL Old Boys Dinner London 2 Nov 07

Loelie Beckett, wife of Desmond Michael Fitzgibbon father of David & Michael Noreen Butler, mother of Nicky Jack Fitzpatrick, father of David, Barre & Jonathan Brendan O’Regan, father of Andrew Ethna O’Sullivan, mother of Kevin Joan Williams, mother of Jeremy and John

JUST PUBLISHED Peter Brabazon, 40 Poems, Moonarach Press, Callan, Co. Kilkenny

Wedding Bells Stephen Walsh (1988) & Denise Donovan Harry Cronin (1997) & Karen Tobin Billy Ryan (1983) & Joanne Ryan

We all share in the joy of this Jubilee If you have not been able to participate in any of the celebratory events, or even if you have not been invited to do so – please forgive us – there were some very unfortunate oversights: Here is an invitation to visit us anytime before the end of the school year. Ask for myself, or indeed for your favourite monk. He/I/We will be happy to show you round – and you may need a guide – to give you a cup of tea – and perhaps to offer you a choice of sittting quietly in the church for a time. I think you will be grateful for many things – which is the purest form of prayer (Editor).

ome 40+ GOBs dined together at the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall on 2 November 2007.

S

Noel O’Gorman, President of GOBS, presided and Fr Mark said grace. A silence was observed in memory of the late Eddie Barber (1964) who had done so much to revive GOBS in London and whose untimely death meant that we no longer had the use of the Reform Club in Pall Mall. Dinner took place in the Marlborough Room and was, it is said, much enjoyed by all who attended, stragglers included! We sat down at 8.15 and dispersed at about midnight. A strong contingent attended from Co Tipperary to escort our President and lingered at the Army and Navy Club for a couple of days thereafter before returning to Cork airport laden with the loot of London shopping!

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01-09-32: Glenstal Priory School Opens its Doors hree boys arrived on that very first day. There were seven before the end of 1932. The very first boy to arrive was Nicholas Smyth. He is the only survivor of that first batch, and is still happily living in Florida, after a long and distinguished career in medicine in the United States. Nicholas is also a first cousin of Abbot Christopher, being the elder by some small number of years.

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In the roll book, Yves Goor is mentioned first, but in a nearly contemporary record, written by David O’Driscoll in the school annals (below), it is Nicholas who heads the list. Yves Goor seems to acknowledge this himself because, in the very first entry in those same annals, he writes that, while being shown around the school with his parents, “on the way we met Nicholas Smyth, and I made friends with him immediately.” Yves was the son of the Consul General of Belgium. He was probably the first to be booked into the school, giving the monks of Maredsous courage and the hope that other gentle folk would soon follow!

The School in February 1933. From left to right: Nicholas Smyth, Pat O’Driscoll, Arthur (George) Ryan, Desmond Moreland, Sidney Punch, Yves Goor, David O’Driscoll, Frank McCan. Front Row: Fr. Hubert. Fr. Columba, Mr. Vincent Quirke.

There is an interesting snippet in the school annals, again from that first term.

It was a very enjoyable and successful evening and we all look forward to a similar event in 2008. The author is grateful to Ian Lynam for his assistance in the arranging of this dinner. Christopher Dorman-O’Gowan (1964) Edited by Andrew Nugent osb Layout & Print by INTYPE Ltd.

When we realise that the average age of the seven boys in the school was barely eleven years, we are surprised at the relaxed attitude to cigaretttes in those innocent days. May we suppose that they had a few beers, too, while they were at it!

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