TWENTY authors who were educated in St Columba’s CBS, now Colaiste Choilm, have been celebrated in a novel new publication.
Simply entitled ‘Past Pupil Publications’, the booklet was the brainchild of English teacher, Ray O’Donovan and developed from his consultations with the historian and author, Paul Rouse, a former student at the Tullamore secondary school.
The book was officially launched at an informal get together in the school on Friday night last which was attended by all but two of the 20 authors featured.
The occasion also saw the official opening of the new Colin Roddy Library, named in honour of the past school principal who had the “vision to spearhead the building project here”, explained Ray O’Donovan.
The Cork native said the idea germinated from his discussions with Paul Rouse, now Head of History at University College Dublin, one of “an amazing number of past pupils of the old Tullamore CBS and the present Colaiste Choilm that have excelled since leaving school on the sporting fields, in the world of academia and in their chosen careers.”
Mr O’Donovan said he expected the collection to grow in the future and noted that one past pupil who had been omitted from the lists of published authors was Thomas Lee, who was represented at the function by his brother, Joe and niece, Deirdre.
The list of authors was an “eclectic mix of fiction, history, finance, sport and poetry,” revealed Mr O’Donovan who thanked all the writers for the keen interest they continue to show in their alma mater.
The full list of featured authors is as follows: Conor Brady, Alan McIntyre, Brendan McSweeney, Carmel Bracken, Damien Lawlor, David Courtney, Fergal MacCabe, James Butler, Jimmy O’Connell, Kevin Corrigan, Kevin Thomas, Michael Byrne, Neil Donnelly, Pat Nolan, Paul Kilmartin, Paul Rouse, Terry Adams, Matt McCormack, Tony McCormack and James Scully.
Terry Adams travelled from Luxembourg to be present at the function while Brendan McSweeney made the journey from England with other past pupils coming from various parts of the country.
Mr O’Donovan explained that Carmel Bracken was the only woman featured in the book and had studied Honours Mathematics for Leaving Cert in a reciprocal arrangement at the school while a student at the Sacred Heart School.
Vice-Principal, Gearoid O’Regan, speaking on behalf of Principal Tadhg O’Sullivan, who was unavoidably absent, said the school was characterised by an atmosphere of friendliness and calmness, a factor which had been observed by Erasmus students who recently visited.
The keynote speaker on the night, retired Irish Times Editor, Conor Brady praised all involved for having the vision to develop the new school building on a beautiful, well appointed site.
He recalled his own schooldays in the old De Montford Hall building on the banks of the Grand Canal and the characters among the Christian Brothers teaching staff at the time.
Mr Brady, referring to the “shocking and very sordid’ facts which had emerged about the order nationally in recent years, said that sometimes the media “lost respect for the great service they have given to education.”
“The Brothers who were here in my time were without exception very fine teachers and there was none of the leather wielding, bullying stuff we hear about,” outlined the retired IT Editor.
He added that the school was now run with an independent Board of Management but was committed to Christian values.
Describing the publication as an “absolutely brilliant initiative by Ray O’Donovan”, Mr Brady stressed the evening was about the future of the boys now attending the school.
The evening’s formalities concluded with an exploration of the English language as spoken in Offaly by Mayo native and teacher, John Lydon, who is blessed with hidden talents as a stand-up comedian.