The best years of our lives

It is that time of the year again when children go back to school. It will be different this year as most of them will be delighted to return to classes and meet their friends after such a long break. For older generations, this time of year was, in the words of the Bard, more akin to "creeping like snail unwillingly to school”. And yet, when we look back on our schooldays, it is usually with affection. The old cliché ‘the best years of our lives’ still applies. It was where were educated, matured, learned and developed skills, remembered quotations like the above from the Bard, and made friends for life.

And if you look back on a class like this one and think of the collective achievement of these boys, it makes one realise just how good our education system was and how the school and staff of the school did so much for these pupils and the quality of their lives.

Our photograph is of sixth class in the Bish national school on Nuns Island in 1951. A couple of years after this image was taken, this school closed down and the pupils all moved to St Patrick’s, as did the pupils of the Monastery School in Market Street. This was an era of big classes (there are 52 students in this photograph ), short pants, knee socks, and wellingtons.

Back row, left to right: Marty Newell, Mickey Kavanagh, Gay Cooke, -------, Tom Darcy, John Flannery, Jackie Carroll, Seán Hynes, Clarrie Quinn, Christy Murray, Donal Naughton.

Fourth row: Donal Flaherty, Noel Liston, Gerry Flannery, Paddy Cooke, Jackie Lyons, Jackie Bohan, Noel McLoughlin, Eamonn McGuire, Tony Lydon, Bobby Kavanagh, TJ Tyrrell, Gay Silke.

Third row: Joseph McNamara, ---------, Paddy Fox, Eugene Butler, ----------, Matty Burke, Noel Hosty, Seán Donoghue, ---------- , Millie Lynch.

Second row: Mick Broderick, Colm Thornton, ----------, James McAnaspie, Davy Dalton, -- Duffy, Christy O’Connor, Martin Walshe, Aidan McCaffrey, Hugh O’Neill, Frank Cahill.

Front row: Peter Joyce, John Ferguson, Gay Copperwhite, Paddy Fahy, Frank Reck, Frank Morrissey, Seán Molloy, and Paddy O’Toole.

Our thanks to Paddy Fox for this photograph. If anyone can fill in the blanks, we would love to hear from you.


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