Fr. Hugh Fagan C.S.Sp. 1933 – 2022

PPU Chaplain, Fr. Eugene McCarthy, recently advised that past pupil, Fr. Hugh Fagan passed away on Wednesday June 8th 2022.

Hugh was born in Harold’s Cross and grew up in Crumlin. He attended CBS Westland Row and Rockwell College. He entered the Spiritan Noviatiate in Kilshane in 1951 and was professed the following year. Ten years of intensive studies, including Philosophy in UCD, followed and Fr. Hugh was ordained in 1961.

Fr. Hugh ministered for many years in The Gambia and also worked in Australia.

After leaving The Gambia in 1994, Fr. Hugh served as chaplain in Dublin for many years, including in Cherry Orchard Hospital, the Royal Hospital Donnybrook and Our Lady’s Hospice Harold’s Cross. He was Superior of the Dublin South Region of Confreres of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Hugh was a member of St. Mary’s College, Rathmines community from 2001 before moving to Kimmage Manor in 2007.

He was described by those he met as a ”gentleman and a great missionary”. He always had a smile for everyone.

Ar Dheis De raibh A Anam.

Funeral Mass Leaflet – cover page.

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Des Stirrat 1930 – 2022

It is with great sadness that the PPU announces the passing of Des Stirrat. Des was one of our oldest members when he died on May 19th at the age of 92. Des’s brother, Cyril, was also a long serving member of the PPU when he died at the age of 89 in 2020. Des and Cyril were great sportsmen and played in many a ROW golf outing over the years. Des, a renowned member of Foxrock GC was very good to the ROW Golf society making arrangements to play our annual autumn outing there every October. The Stirrats were stalwarts of Railway Union Sports Club over many years as were other Row men such as Jack Phelan, Frank Whelan, Don Byrne, the Donnelly brothers and Ginger O’Brien. The “Railway Gang” as they became known, added greatly to the enjoyment of many PPU events over a long number of years. God rest you Des.

Extract above from funeral Mass leaflet of Des May 24th 2022.

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Chromebooks Appeal

School Principal, Kate Byrne made an appeal, at the PPU Dinner on April 2nd, for donations to purchase Chromebook computers which are vitally important to the students as they prepare for their exams. One Chromebook costs Euro 450 and most of the students are unable to afford these. There has been a great response from past pupils and already a substantial sum has been donated.

The Class of ’62, following an initiative by Michael O’Sullivan, has donated a number of Chromebooks. One member of that class, Marius Sykes, who has lived in England for many years, purchased one in memory of his brother, Gerald who, tragically, lost his life in a traffic accident on May 26th 1963 as he made his way home from school in the ROW. Gerald was born on Christmas eve 1947, the fifth of eight siblings (six boys and two girls) to the Sykes family in Walkinstown. Ar Dheis De go raibh a anam. Many thanks Marius, for sending us this information and photo of Gerald and for the contribution to the ”62 class appeal. I was talking to Kate Byrne today and she wants everyone to know how important the contributions are and how much appreciated. Incidentally, Kate told me that she has taken in a number of Ukranian refugees, including six that arrived that morning. Good luck to all concerned in our historic old school.

This News Blog was posted by Jim Conway on May 5th 2022. Phone or text 087 2557298

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PPU Annual Dinner – More Photos

Some more photos from our Annual Dinner held at the Westbury Hotel on Saturday April 2nd 2022. Many thanks to our photographer John Murray for all the great photos.

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PPU Annual Dinner April 2nd 2022

Having missed our regular January dates in 2021 and 2022 we finally managed to hold our Annual Dinner on Saturday April 2nd 2022. A lot of thought and discussion went into the decision to proceed as the Covid numbers were very high and rising day by day. Our main concern was that we would suffer financially if bookings dropped sharply and the Westbury wanted to hold us to a pre-agreed number. We had a very important meeting with the hotel on March 24th and we were assured that they understood the difficulties and would only charge for the number that actually turned up on the night. Our bookings peaked at 56 and did not fall too sharply. Fifty two past pupils and guests turned up and all agreed that the decision to proceed was correct as a good time was had by all. We will be forever grateful to the management and staff of the Westbury for their flexibility and understanding. In addition, everybody agreed that we had, probably, the best food ever at our dinner.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the PV Doyle Trophy for ROW Person of the Year to John Cullen (class of 1964). John’s reign, uniquely, spans two years covering 2021 and 2022. John had an outstanding career in the Civil Service and performed with distinction in his years as President which spanned the 150th anniversary of the school in 2014 and the 1916 commemorations in 2016. He edited the much acclaimed publication Cuimhneachan and spearheaded a number of projects including the Archive Project, which digitised the school roll books right back to the earliest days. A more detailed biography for John was published in News Blog in December 2020.

John Murray took some excellent photos on the night and some of these are published below. Others will follow in due course.

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1971 was a very good year !!

Leaving Cert Class of 1971 – where are they now?

Ed Hanlon (do you recognise him in front row with his finger on the pulse even then??) sent me the attached photo of the lads who graduated in 1971. They missed the opportunity to get together for the 50th last year but now is the time to make up for that. Ed is standing by to take bookings on 087 2551657. In case you missed earlier news the dinner is scheduled for the Westbury on Saturday April 2nd at 7pm. We were fortunate to negotiate a price of Euro65 in the face of huge price increases generally. So, give Ed a call or text or contact any committee member. John Cullen is the dinner co-ordinator on 087 2312728.

If anyone else has class photos I would be delighted to publish them here on News Blog.

Blog published by Jim Conway 6/3/22.

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Liam O’Callaghan RIP

Denis Kane recently received news from a friend in the USA of the passing of ROW past pupil Liam O’Callaghan. Liam graduated in 1964 and John Cullen recalls meeting him a number of times when he made the trip home for significant occasions.

Liam was an outstanding Mathematician and his story makes very interesting reading. He was born in Effin Co. Limerick in 1946. Shortly after the untimely death of his father and sister Madeleine, Liam was cared for by his uncle while his mother worked in Dublin and London. He survived two bouts of pneumonia and one of tuberculosis before the age of 4.

Liam’s mother brought him to Dublin and he became a pupil in the ROW where he applied himself keenly to the study of maths and physics. He went to UCD on graduation from the ROW and achieved a BS Hons, MSc in Mathematics in 1969.

Liam went to the US and studied Mathematics at Wesleyan University in Middletown Connecticut on a Fullbright Fellowship, receiving his PhD in 1975. Liam became a US citizen in 1986.

Liam married fellow Wesleyan University student, Robin in 1975. The couple lived for 40 years in Princeton New Jersey and raised six children, three boys and three girls. Liam worked as a software engineer at RCA (later General Electric) Aerospace, and Telos (later Engility and L3 Communication Satellites. He also received an MBA from Rutgers in 1983.

Liam and Robin took some time out to be with their oldest daughter in Northern California and sons in San Diego before returning full time to Princeton in 2017.

In late 2020 Liam received a diagnosis of Gioblastoma Multiforme from which he died on January 2nd 2022. He is survived by his wife Robin, six children and seven grandchildren.

Liam’s family brought his remains home to Effin, where his funeral Mass was said on January 16th. He was laid to rest in Ardpatrick Cemetery alongside generations of his family. A Mass will also be held in Liam’s memory at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Princeton NJ on March 12th.

Ar dheis De go raibh a anam.

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Communications Etc.

The photo below of the WESTLAND ROW LOURDES PILGRIMAGE GROUP 1971 was posted by Peter Mullen to the PPU Facebook page Westland Row CBS Past Pupils. Peter said that his brother shared it with him. Many of our older past pupils will recognise most of the Brothers and maybe some of the pupils in the photo.

Westland Row Lourdes Pilgrimage Group Easter 1971


We actually have two Facebook pages on which postings of news and other items related to the PPU appear at present. The older one is Westland Row CBS Past Pupils and it has 87 members. The more recent one is CBS Westland Row PPU and it has 37 members. Many of the members overlap. I am trying to merge these at present and the best way appears to ask all the members who are on CBS Westland Row PPU to join Westland Row CBS Past Pupils. I will close down the former when I know that all the members have changed over. In the meantime, we will keep both pages going. If any one has a suggestion to bring about a quicker merger please email me on


The email contact list, which is maintained by Hon. Sec. John Cullen, is our most important means of communication with past pupils. John advises that a large number of emails which operated under the Eircom service provider recently bounced back because Eircom started to charge for their email service and many of their account holders changed to other providers such as Gmail. If you or any past pupil you know fall into that category please advise the new email address to John on

Please also contact John if your email address recently changed or if you are not already on the list and would like to receive email communications from the PPU.

WhatsApp Groups

The WhatsAPP groups continue to expand and have proven to be popular especially since the pandemic started. We now have about 70 past pupils on whatsApp class groups and on ROW NEWS. If you would like to get on to one of the Groups just text me your name and mobile number to 087 2557298.


The News Blogs are proving to be popular with many past pupils including quite a few based overseas. The viewer figures have been high during 2021 at over 2,000 and a look at the hits for December are interesting. There were 434 for the month and the geographical spread below shows that ROW past pupils are spread far and wide across the globe.

We recently started a series on which ROW people overseas can tell us their stories (Home Thoughts From ???) and we already had two great contributions from Conor Dwyer in Brisbane and Ray Behan in Perth, Western Australia. More contributions would be very welcome, so if anybody is in touch with past pupils overseas, why not ask them to email and maybe they will get to see their names in Lights!!

Remember the direct link to News Blog is or just Google

We will try to post regular News Blogs so why not check in when surfing the web. You can view archived items stretching back to 2015.


The quick way to get to the website is http://www.row You can now make donations and pay annual subs through the website as well as accessing other interesting services such as the schools roll archives.

This News Blog was posted by Jim Conway who can be contacted via email on or text to 087 2557298. You can also post comments directly on any News Blog posting.

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More Home Thoughts from Ray Behan

Ray, who hails from the Pearse St. area and who was in the ROW between 1970 and 1980, recently posted a photograph of his Confirmation group (in 1974) on the PPU Facebook page. It was not just a photograph, however, as Ray used his IT skills to set it to music and to insert the names, accompanied by a kind word for each classmate, as the camera seemed to zoom in on each face as it passed along. The still photo is below but you will have to view the photograph in CBS Westland Row PPU Facebook page to get the full effect.

Ray now lives in Australia, and has carved out an interesting career as you will see from the brief biography below as wellas his websites and publications.

Ray is an international speaker and educator with special attention on quantum physics, quantum mechanics, biology and the body’s ability to heal itself through meditation, neuroplasticity and the phenomenon of ‘interconnectedness’.

Ray’s story has been featured on 266 global media outlets. As a speaker, he is known for thrilling audiences with his unique presentations and is an author on enhancing the mind body connection.

He studied quantum phenomena, biology and cosmic consciousness for many years including the works of some of the greatest educators in the field of personal development. He is the main producer and contributor to Think and Grow Global Education.

Ray did not come from a privileged background however. At 7 years of age he had an accident which resulted in a major head injury, which impacted the rest of his life. When he returned to school after the accident, he discovered that his ability to learn, communicate and speak as well as to retain information, was seriously affected as a consequence of the accident. The resulting stress brought on temporal lobe epilepsy and he was placed on Tegretol medication, which he would need to take for life.

Years later Ray went on a journey of self education. He used his new knowledge in neuroplasticity, quantum physics and meditation to rewire and repair his own brain. Ray is now free from the need for medication.

Ray is another ROW past pupil who has “done” good and it is great to hear his story. We hope he continues to stay healthy and to help many people through his work.

If you wish to see the names of all the above have a look at our Facebook page CBS Westland Row PPU.

This News Blog was published by Jim Conway (Class of 62). If past pupils wish to contribute any stories, photos or videos for publication on the News Blog please email The PPU also has a Facebook page called CBS Westland Row PPU.

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Christmas Message from PPU President

As we approach the end of another year, I wish all past pupils and their families every blessing for Christmas and the New Year.

At this time of reflection, we remember those no longer with us and our PPU colleagues who sadly, passed away during the last twelve months. A number of past pupils were prayed for during our annual Mass at the end of November. Their obituaries, including photos were published in News Blog on November 30th. To see that and other news items click on the following link

Best wishes also to school Principal, Kate Byrne and her colleagues who continue to do extraordinary work under difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic. Congratulations to Cathriona O’Sullivan on her appointment as Deputy Principal and good luck in the new position.

Best wishes also to all the students who will hope to enjoy a short holiday before resuming their studies in the New Year.

For the second year in a row, the PPU activities were again restricted by the pandemic. However, we continued to hold committee meetings by Zoom and we kept in touch with the school throughout the year. We were delighted to award bursaries to Genoveva Menes and Kristians Locmelis to help with their third level education in Trinity and TUD respectively.

Finally, as we adjust to the latest restrictions to our daily lives , let us remember again all our frontline workers and thank them for their dedication and continued service to our communities.

Slan is Beannacht, Dan Ferrari.

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