Author Topic: St Malachy's College  (Read 224239 times)

brianmckeever

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Re: St Malachy's College
« Reply #765 on: February 27, 2019, 07:57:24 AM »
Hi Brian, good to see you're still going strong!

And you too John.  There's nothing wrong with being in our seventies, is there. :)

Alber55

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Re: St Malachy's College
« Reply #766 on: June 14, 2019, 07:11:09 PM »
Just signed up to this forum. I was at SMC from 1966 - 70. Mixed feeling about the school and teachers. I remember a few names from my class and year....Sean Magee, Kieran Crossey, Paul Maguire, brothers John and Paul Dick, Edward Armstrong, Malachy McGowan....and of these ring bells with anyone?

Noworries

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Re: St Malachy's College
« Reply #767 on: December 15, 2019, 12:09:00 AM »
Stiofan - Finally got on here quite by mistake and I am enjoying Collegians and other posts.  You certainly were active.  Are you still on this?
Your Uncle U.S.A.

An Tuamach

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Re: St Malachy's College
« Reply #768 on: December 16, 2019, 09:13:59 AM »
Nollaig Shona daoibh! The forum almost died this year. Hope more people use it next year.

Alber55

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Re: St Malachy's College
« Reply #769 on: December 16, 2019, 11:05:36 AM »
Feliz Navidad ... 🎅

erjmckay

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Re: St Malachy's College
« Reply #770 on: March 08, 2020, 10:18:55 PM »
This is an interesting forum. I've dipped in and out of it over several years. I'm writing a book, and the college features prominently. I came back to explore the comments on SMC again. I hated the place. I have a couple of questions. Does anyone remember hearing the tales of a ghost that haunts the old dorms (the same building as the administrative offices, I believe)? I believe it was a hanging, suicide. And whatever became of Fr O'Hare, the Dean Of Discipline during my time there, 81-86? Thanks.

Gerard Mcg

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Re: St Malachy's College
« Reply #771 on: March 17, 2020, 01:01:08 AM »
Just signed up to this forum. I was at SMC from 1966 - 70. Mixed feeling about the school and teachers. I remember a few names from my class and year....Sean Magee, Kieran Crossey, Paul Maguire, brothers John and Paul Dick, Edward Armstrong, Malachy McGowan....and of these ring bells with anyone?
Malachy McGowan from sunny Carrickfergus ?

wee legs

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Re: St Malachy's College
« Reply #772 on: March 17, 2020, 03:43:23 PM »
 Hello, erjmckay.
I attended at the College from 1965-72 but have had no contact since 2005 when my wife and I were given a guided tour by Sean Devenney. Sean was at the College man and boy; he had reputedly been a talented athlete; he started and finished his working life in the College admin office. (You might remember his colleague Gerry O’Hare who was given a very unkind nickname by many cohorts of us not-very-civilised urchins.) Sean told us that his retirement task was to work through decades of College archives to produce some sort of official history. No doubt his discretion in dealing with uncomfortable situations over the years recommended him to the authorities!
If you’re researching the College, you might try to find out what happened to Sean’s efforts. It’s possible that some material found its way into the 2009 publication “Glory from Within. Essays and Perspectives on St Malachy’s College, 1833 – 2008. ISBN 978-0-9560101-9-3” but I can see no acknowledgement of Sean Devenney. The 2009 book has interesting stories from the very early days when the bottom of the Antrim Road was way out in the sticks and that part of Belfast ended somewhere around today’s Clifton St..
You ask about a Dean of Discipline called Fr. O’Hare around 1981-86. This would be around the right age for my contemporary Peter O’Hare. Peter was a very mild-mannered lad so I’m not sure how he managed to survive the rigours of that job. I was told many years later that even the dreaded Sean Purdy disliked his job, but when the bishop gives the order, what are you to do? I was also told that many of the College-educated priests had the ambition to get to foreign parts to convert the heathens but the bishop ordered them to stay where they had spent their youth. More heathens in Belfast, maybe?
Here’s a very long shot. When I first arrived in 1965, an exuberant 6th-former called Derek Davis was fronting a project to make a cine film (I use the old phrase because I remember the clockwork camera that they used) of daily College life. Derek went on to a very successful career as an RTE presenter. It’s possible that not much came of the film project because Derek had many other interests (I once saw him fronting a showband in Donegal) and sadly he died in 2015 so we can’t ask him. If you unearth anything, let us know.
Good luck with your research.
 
just keep going, it's better than the alternative.

stiofan

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Re: St Malachy's College
« Reply #773 on: March 19, 2020, 11:39:09 AM »
 Hi Wee Legs – long time, no see!
Your comment about what priests had to do reinforced what one priest told me when I was back in Belfast a couple of years ago. He said that he got a phone call to tell him that he was being transferred out of the College:
“I said, `Thank God!’, and the person on the other end said, `But I haven’t told you where you’re going.’
`I don’t care,’ I told him.”

wee legs

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Re: St Malachy's College
« Reply #774 on: March 19, 2020, 04:59:05 PM »
I skimmed “Glory from Within. Essays and Perspectives..." to refresh my memory. As you might expect in a publication celebrating the 175th anniversary of a prominent institution, it's mostly upbeat, with emphasis on inspirational teachers and successful (and sometimes very successful) alumni. There's the occasional acknowledgement that corporal punishment was an integral part of the education process. I was surprised to be reminded that it was under Paddy Walsh that caning was abolished.

But there are some dissenting voices. Brian Moore arrived at the College in 1935, thoroughly disliked his experiences and wrote "The feast of Lupercal" (later published in paperback as "A moment of love") where some institution easily recognisable as the College is profoundly criticised. Apparently he said that "he was both claimed and disclaimed by his Alma Mater". The article on Moore and Luperal in "Glory ..." reads like a rebuttal of the more derogatory bits of Lupercal. There's a commentary on Moore, his social background and his likely motivations. Several identified College people are discussed in quotes from Lupercal and from Moore's biographer, but interestingly there's usually a rebuttal in the form of a contrary opinion from a noteworthy alumnus. The 175th anniversary publication couldn't plausibly have ignored the internationally known writer Moore, but I think he got it right when he said that the College both claims and disclaims him. It's a great pity that he died in 1999 before he could fulfill his agreement to give a lecture at the College.

In passing, Moore sets Lupercal in a jumbled-up geography of North Belfast. Of course he's not the first writer to repurpose rather than invent from new, but I find it a bit distracting to recognise roads and locations that have other associations for me.

Re the Dean Fr. O'Hare, I've had no contact with Peter since 1972. I think he was priest at Somerton Road church for a while.
just keep going, it's better than the alternative.

stiofan

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Re: St Malachy's College
« Reply #775 on: March 21, 2020, 12:11:01 AM »
“Feast of Lupercal” was a sensation in the wee world of North Belfast when it was first published – one of those books which is more talked about than read. I seem to remember that there was even talk of libel actions.

 
In any event, it is not one of Moore’s best.  To say that it paints an over-simplified black and white picture  is an understatement. It drips with dislike of the College, its staff and the Church. That’s fine if you’re posting on Belfast Forum about your less-than-positive experiences as a student there (as I have done myself), but it results in a novel that is largely peopled  with cardboard cut-out characters. Moore was happy to portray Catholics in Belfast as narrow-minded wee bigots, ruled by an uncaring clergy, and there is undoubtedly truth in that. However, he fails to see or consider the whole picture, which especially in the time he was writing about, included institutional discrimination and the memories of  the 1920s; events like the McMahon murders would have been part of the lives of most of the adults in “Feast of Lupercal”.

 
Old Collegians might also be interested in Bernard MacLaverty’s short story, “Secrets”, which is about a Latin class in a thinly-disguised St Malachy’s. Also worth a look is Brian Moore’s “Emperor of Ice Cream”, which is about the transition from the College (and middle class Antrim Road life) to manhood during the Blitz.