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Birthday Greetings: A number of classmates celebrated their 70th birthdays this past year 2017, including Brian Kavanagh, Eddie Hogan, Frank Beale, Sean Brennan, Richie Hogan, and Jimmy Broderick and new to the list that I know of is John Menton and Alan Cooper.  To all who have reached this milestone congratulations once again and Happy Birthday. Remember, age is strictly a case of mind over matter, if you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

November/December 2017:

Christmas is a time for relaxation and what better time to read a good book?  I recommend A Doctor’s Sword by Bob Jackson. This is an astonishing story of the wartime adventures of Dr Aidan MacCarthy who survived the evacuation at Dunkirk, burning planes, sinking ships, jungle warfare and also appalling hardship as a prisoner of war in Japan.  Dr Aidan MacCarthy from Castletownbere in County Cork was in Nagasaki when the atom bomb was dropped. It is a story of survival, forgiveness and humanity. (One of the best)

Dr Aidan MacCarthy F-row 3rd from left

November 11th 2017:

November 11th is the anniversary of the Great War.   I recently came across a story of two Kilkenny men who were killed in the trenches of the Great War 1914-1918.  Patrick Phelan and his son Kieran from Walkin St in Kilkenny were both members of the 2nd Battallion Royal Irish Regiment.  In writing a letter from the trenches in Ypres to his sister, Kieran tells of being about five yards away from his Dad in the same trench and watched as he stood up to light his pipe and then witnessed him being shot through the head. Trying to regain his composure after this tragedy, Kieran buried his dad and placed a little cross over his grave.  I believe it was never known of a father and son fighting in the same trench side by side. Kieran was killed some days later, May 1915. (ee&oe)

Oct 19th 2017:

On October 19th, eight classmates met at MacDonagh station for our trip to the Epic Centre in Dublin. We teamed up with two Dublin based classmates at Heuston and travelled on to George’s Quay at Dublin’s Docklands. The Epic Centre is an Irish emigration museum that guides visitors through the ages of our emigrants to all parts of the globe. It has twenty interactive galleries to discover stories of how the Irish influenced and shaped the world. It covers everything from music/dance, rogues gallery, Irish literature, family history and adventurers including famous names that come to mind like Sir Ernest Shackleton and Tom Crean. This trip was a real eye opener and well worth our visit. After refreshments we made our way back to Heuston station in time for the 4.40pm train to Kilkenny.

Oct 2017:

The last Sunday in October saw two of Kilkenny’s finest hurling clubs battle it out for glory in what was a thrilling County final in glorious weather at Nowlan Park. James Stephens took on unbeaten Dicksboro.  This contest had everything, plenty of goals, saves and was a thrilling epic to watch. The Boro started at a blistering pace and their early efforts paid dividends. The gap was widening when the Village struck two late goals before half time and cut the deficit to six points. The second half saw the Village score 1-5 and the Boro 1-4, but the damage was done in the first half, with the village always chasing the game. Final score and deserving winners after a twenty four year wait, Dicksboro 4-15, James Stephen’s 4-10.  Ollie Walsh, one of our greatest goalkeepers would have been very proud of his grandson Ollie (captain) receiving the Walsh cup in the Walsh Stand.

 

Classmate Sean Brennan’s son and James Stephens’ goalkeeper Derrick Brennan played his part with some remarkable saves.

Ollie Walsh Captain 

Oct 2017:

On October 1st I was privileged to undertake a golfing trip with fellow classmate Eamonn Holohan - sun, sea and some of Spain’s finest courses.  Sixteen of us in total travelled, organised by members of Callan golf club. The organisational skills of Eamonn and friends were second to none and their preparations regarding our hotel and golf courses were excellent. We played four courses but Lo Romero was my favourite, the 18th signature green looked very intimating and prompted a lot of golfers to lay up, including Eamonn and myself. 

 

On Thursday we met up with twenty three golfers from James Stephens hurling club, including classmates Richie Hogan and Eamonn Morrissey.  My room-mate for the week was one of Kilkenny’s finest, Jimmy Holohan, who now resides in Galway.  Jimmy was part of the Emmett St gang and Eamonn’s brother. A great week, let’s hope we can do it all again next year.

18th Signature Green Lo Romero

September 2017:

Congratulations to Galway on winning the hurling All Ireland after a twenty nine year wait by beating Waterford. Micheál Donohue’s side were in top form this year sweeping up league, Leinster, and All-Ireland titles. Galway 0-26 (26 p). Waterford 2-17 (23p).

 

The Minor title also went to Galway beating Cork.  Galway 2-17 (23p). Cork 2-15 (21p).

In the Price Waterhouse Coopers hurling awards hurling legend Joe Canning is the first Galway player to be Hurler of the Year since Tony Keady, who was chosen in 1988 and who sadly passed away on the eve of this year’s All-Ireland final. The Portumna man also collected his fourth Hurling All-Star Award, as Galway dominated the PwC All-Star Hurling selection with seven positions to Waterford’s five.

August 2017:
Congratulations to Waterford on reaching the all Ireland hurling final. Their opponents are the impressive Galway team, who no doubt will give their all in this historic clash. We await and look forward with formidable anticipation to this great hurling contest on September 3rd.

Two Kilkenny teams tasted success on Saturday August 19th. Our Camogie team beat Dublin in Limerick, Kilkenny 2-11, Dublin 0-9.  They now meet Cork in the All-Ireland final on September 10th in Croke Park.  Our under-21 hurlers beat Ulster champions Derry in Thurles, this was a no contest encounter with Kilkenny coasting to victory, Kilkenny 8-35, Derry 0-7. They now meet Limerick in the All-Ireland final on Saturday September 9th in Thurles.  Let’s hope both teams go on to glory and win their coveted trophies - the O’Duffy Cup and the newly named under-21trophy, the James Nowlan Cup (a Kilkenny man and former GAA president). 

August 2017:
Happy Birthday and congratulations to the very talented musician Jimmy (Jesse) Broderick.  Jimmy recently celebrated his 70th birthday with his wife Maire and their son David celebrated his 30th.  Family and friends joined them in this double celebration at the Glendine Inn here in Kilkenny on August 5th.
July 2017:
On July 15th a number of classmates including Sean Brennan, Stephen Brennan, John Menton, Paddy Denieffe, Eamonn Morrissey, Willie Leahy and Peter Hogan were in attendance at the Fatima Place and Emmet St reunion.   Locals past and present attended Mass on the green at 4pm and later, refreshments were served in the ‘Boro Club. It was great to renew old acquaintances and recall past experiences and stories of our younger years.  A big thank you to the reunion committee for organising this successful event and to John Travers, a man and his music, blessed with incredible flair and talent.
June 2017:                                                                                                                                              
Sean Brennan and Eamonn Morrissey visited the CBS Primary School on 20th June to present the annual attendance award certificates, trophy, medals and a fifty euro voucher to the deserving students.
June 2017:
Congratulations to Richie Hogan who Celebrated his 70th on 2nd June in  J B Burke’s Bar on John St in the bosom of his family and friends, including classmates Larry Butler, Ber Butler, Stephen Brennan, Alan Cooper, and Michael Grogan, along with his wife May.  Plenty of banter and craic was enjoyed by all.  Richie himself wasn’t shy about showing his musical talents!
May/June 2017:
On a recent holiday to Vilamoura in Portugal, I got a tap on the shoulder while having breakfast.  I turned and was surprised to see classmate Eddie Kelly (small world!).  Eddie and his wife Greta along with family and friends, were there to celebrate the marriage of their son Wayne to Helena Carey.  Wayne a Detective Garda and Helena from Tralee Co Kerry a Garda Instructor, held their wedding ceremony in the local church and their reception was held in the in the exclusive Conrad Hotel. Congratulations to the happy couple

May 2017:

Our trip to the Japanese Gardens and National Stud at Tully, Co Kildare on May 23rd did not go ahead as planned.  The outing was cancelled by Chairman Alan cooper as a number of classmates were unable to make the trip due to unexpected commitments etc.  As of this moment no future date has been set to re-schedule.

April 2017:

Congratulations and best wishes on reaching their 70th birthdays - Brian Kavanagh, Eddie Hogan, Frank Beale and Sean Brennan.  Best wishes classmates!         

March 8th 2017:

On March 8th fourteen of us visited Kilmainham Gaol.  Kilmainham Gaol, the largest preserved Victorian jail in Europe, is historically significant in Ireland’s struggle for independence.  It opened in 1796 and closed it’s doors in 1924.  Our tour began in the gaol church where Joseph Mary Plunkett, one of the leaders of the Easter Rising, married Grace Gifford on May 3rd 1916 just hours before Plunkett was shot by firing squad.

The museum showcases the history of the gaol and it’s occupants, along with the history of Irish nationalism. You can find prisoner crafts, drawings, letters, photographs and all sorts of fascinating memorabilia. This jail is a sobering reminder that our freedom came at a heavy price. In the grim stone-breakers’ yard there are two black crosses marking where the 14 men from the Easter Rising were executed by firing squad.  James Connolly who was badly injured and could not stand, was tied in a chair and then shot.

In the early years of the gaol, more than half the occupants were imprisoned for debts. Others were detained for assault, begging, stealing, prostitution and drunkenness. Those convicted of murder and robbery with violence were sentenced to death and hanged in public from gallows erected in front of the jail. The last public hanging was in 1865.  The two different colored bricks over the front entrance used to be where the gallows protruded from.

After our tour we paid a short visit to the Royal hospital Kilmainham.  The founder of the Royal Hospital was James Butler of Kilkenny Castle, who was Duke of Ormond and Viceroy to King Charles II. The RHK was built in 1680 and predates it’s sister the Royal Hospital Chelsea.  The Hospital was designed for 400 occupants and through it’s long history housed 2,500 army pensioners in retirement.  In 1922, the RHK was handed over to the Irish Free State and in 1927 the last pensioner was moved to Chelsea.  Today the RHK is home to the Irish Museum of Modern Art and hosts exhibitions, concerts, conferences and many award nights for various companies and Government agencies.  After lunch we made our way back to Heuston station for some refreshments before our journey home.
Have you ever wondered where the Irish phrase “to chance your arm” comes from?  In 1492 two Irish families, the Butlers of Ormond and the FitzGeralds of Kildare, were involved in a bitter feud. This feud centered around the position of Lord Deputy as both families wanted one of their own to hold this position.  Open warfare broke out between them and as fighting was getting out of control, the Butlers took refuge in the Chapter House of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.  The FitzGeralds followed them into the Cathedral and asked to negotiate and make peace.  Afraid of being slaughtered if they ventured from their hideaway, the Butlers refused.  As a gesture of good faith Gerald FitzGerald ordered a hole cut in the door.  He then thrust his arm through and offered his hand in peace.  This action by Gerald FitzGerald showed that he was serious in his intention and they shook hands through the door.  Today this oak door is known as the “Door of Reconciliation” and is on display in St Patrick’s Cathedral.  This story also lives on in a famous expression in Ireland “to chance your arm”.
February 15th 2017:  Our AGM took place in J B Burke’s Bar John St.  Thirteen classmates attended and all current officers were re-elected. Chairman Alan Cooper thanked all committee members for their efforts in 2016 and all in attendance at this AGM.  Alan gave a full and comprehensive report for 2016 and expressed a special word of thanks to Secretary Michael Grogan for all his hard work.  Treasurer Richie Hogan reported on our current finances and outlined our expenditure for 2016.  Secretary’s expenses were agreed, membership subscriptions were collected and all accounts signed off.    
Note: if you require a detailed summary of accounts, please contact Richie Hogan or any committee member.
Michael Grogan
Secretary Class of 59' Society

January/February 2017:  Martin Stapleton recalls some memories of his childhood in 1950 that you might find interesting.

“During our Class of ‘59 Tour of Kilkenny in April 2016, while the group was in St Canice’s Tower, I went to the Bishop’s Palace and got access to the grounds, which was part of my childhood playground. This was a very enjoyable nostalgic event for me, especially as I tried and failed several times to gain access in past decades. My parents lived on the grounds and worked for the Bishop when I was a child.

 

To expand the story further, my childhood theft of sugar cubes at a garden party in the Palace comes to mind, I may have told this story before!  Attached you will see copies of two photos that I found in my archives. One of them shows my brother David and I on the lawn of the Palace during the garden party with the sugar cubes bulging out of my jumper! 

It was June 1950 and I was aged 3 years and 3 months and David 1 year and 9 months.

The second photo shows the two of us again in the grounds, sitting on our parents knees, at about the same age.”

January /February 2017:  Peter Hogan classmate, recently sent me a photo of his visit to Sydney Australia. Peter and his wife Bridie, celebrated her retirement in 2016 with a visit to their son for Christmas and New Year. Peter met up with Kilkenny man Richard (Dick) Trehy. Dick is a member of a well known and respected family who hails from number nine Emmett St. Dick moved to London in 1966 where he met Barbera, they emigrated to Australia and got married in 1970.  Now retired and enjoying life Dick’s hobby is building model railways and he and his wife Barbera are very active in a local youth club.