Category Archives: Miscellaneous

PPU Annual Dinners Past and Future

As we look forward to the 2023 Dinner at The Westbury on Saturday January 28th. we can “whet our appetites” by looking back at some photos from previous Dinners below.

If, by any chance, you have not yet booked for Saturday week you can still do so by contacting John Cullen on 087 2312728 or jjmcullen@gmail.com or me, Jim Conway, on 087 2557298 or jim.conway7@gmail.com. Tickets are €70 each and you can pay directly to the PPU bank account or at the door on the night. We will aim to be seated for 7pm and we will have a bar open in the room adjoining the Dining room from 6pm as we did in April.

This year our raffle will be more “low key” than previously. The committee is conscious of the fact that members were extremely generous by way of sponsorship and purchase of raffle tickets when we held our Covid delayed dinner in April last. This time around, we are asking members to donate something small, like the “bring a bottle or unwanted Christmas present” system of previous years. You will find envelopes on the tables and we will ask guests to write their names on them and put in a donation of no more than €20.

An interesting feature of this year’s dinner will be presentations by the PPU of bursaries to assist two students who graduated last year, with their third level study expenses. It will be interesting to hear from the recipients and to see how members’ donations are being spent to benefit our old Alma Mater.

The highlight of the evening promises to be the presentation of the PV Doyle trophy for Row Person of the Year to Gerry Davey. It will soon be all of 60 years since Gerry scored the goal to win the 1963 All Ireland Football for Dublin. We are hoping to secure some footage of the match and to show it on the Westbury big screen. Frank Whelan is working on that at present.

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Bryan O’Higgins RIP

Row Man of the Year 1997, Bryan O’Higgins died peacefully at his home in Shankill, Co. Dublin on December 22nd 2022. Bryan was a valuable member of the PPU committee for many years and his wise advice and assistance proved invaluable on many occasions.

Bryan graduated from the ROW in 1957 and was already a legend because of his intellectual, sporting and other achievements. He achieved first place in Ireland in higher Maths in his final year. Full details of Bryan’s many achievements in the academic and sporting arenas are set out on pages 171/2 of Cuimhneachan 1864 – 2014.

On leaving school, Bryan joined an Garda Siochana and went on to reach the high rank of Superintendent which included a stint as head of the Garda Press Office.

After his term at the Press Office, Bryan served in Bosnia as UN Chief of Operations and as Contingent Commander and Department of Foreign Affairs representative on Irish Affairs. This was at the height of the Balkan war and during his time there, the majority of his senior command colleagues were killed.

When Bryan was elected Row Man of the Year in 1997 our Newsletter at the time published the following tribute –

Congratulations to our old friend Superintendent Bryan O’Higgins, a truly worthy Row Man of the Year 1997. As Garda Press Officer, Bryan was daily in the public glare. His cool and efficient handling of this high pressure job, in the violent and troubled times won him many admirers and plaudits. To those of us who remember Bryan from the ROW this period comes as little surprise”

Bryan will be greatly misssed. Ar Dheis De go raibh a anam.

Bryan’s funeral Mass was said at St. Anne’s church Shankill on Friday December 30th. 2022. PPU Chaplain, Fr. Eugene McCarthy was among the celebrants on the altar. There was a good turn out of past pupils including President, Dan Ferrari. The photo below was taken from Bryan’s funeral Mass leaflet

Bryan with his wife Marisa who pre deceased him

Bryan in more recent times with his sons and grandchildren

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Irishtown Hero Helped Dubs Back To Top Table

Author’s (Jim Conway) Note –

This article, reproduced in full below, was written by Finbarr Dolan shortly after the 1963 All Ireland Football Final and was focused on Gerry Davey (Class of 1962) and Row Person of the Year 2023. Finbarr did a great job of capturing all aspects of a great occasion for Gerry and his family. It’s also great as a dose of nostalgia for ROW past pupils especially those of us who knew Gerry and who delighted in his contribution to Dublin football at the time.

With regard to Gerry’s Biography, published in News Blog on December 15th, John Cullen has pointed out that the players highlighted in the team photo were all from Clanna Gael for which the Row was a feeder school. John also mentions that Gerry was quite an accomplished hurler and he was on a Clanna Gael hurling team that won a Junior Dublin County Championship around the same time they won the County Senior Football title in 1968 or shortly after that.

With regard to the photo of the Inis Ealga Dancers in action, published in the December 15th article, it may well be that the male dancer in the foreground, facing the camera, is actually another ROW boy and from the Class of 62 also, Anthony Dowling. As far as I recall he mainly used the Irish version, Antoine O’Dunlaing, of his name. Maybe some of our readers will be able to confirm this and, hopefully, give us some information about Antoine. Don’t forget to use the Comment facility on this, or any previous Blog if you want to get in touch.

Don’t forget also to get in touch with old classmates to organise your numbers for the Dinner on January 28th. Booking is now open and you can pay on line. If not paying on line simply text me on 087 2557298 or contact any member of the committee.

Finbarr Dolan Article published in 1963 –

Dublin had not contested a final since 1958…..a full 5 years. Rumblings among supporters were that this was not acceptable for a county that had brought swerve and swagger to our national game. Heffo was drafted in as a selector which kick started his managerial career. The mantra was that Dublin should be eating at the top table again so plans were put in place to restore pride back to the city.

St. Vincent’s and Clanna Gael were dominating club football, so both teams were watched regularly to see what they could contribute to the campaign. In those days, the average age of county players was 25 plus. However, one player, aged 19, from Clanna Gael caught the eye.

Gerry Davey was an athlete of great fitness with the speed of a gazelle and a keen eye for goal. He was the son of Eugene (Sligo) and Ellie (Clare), not hotbeds of football and to this day, neither county have won the Sam Maguire.

Gerry was the second eldest of six children born in an 11 year span, the first boy in the family of four boys and two girls. His early GAA influences were Ted Cooling, schoolmaster at Star of the Sea, then onto Westland Row CBS where Brothers Hickey and Treacy nurtured Gerry’s talent to the extent that Bro. Hickey predicted he would play for Dublin.

The question was – could Gerry cut the mustard with the Foley Brothers, John Timmons, Des Ferguson and Mick Kissane? At 19 he had massive competition from older players to get a starting spot in the campaign. Gerry grasped his chance in the League. The Championship saw Dublin brush aside Meath, Kildare and Laois in Leinster before beating Down on the way to the final.

Gerry, playing his part when called upon as starter or sub demonstrated a physical and mental toughness way beyond his years. The tension mounted throughout the other 31 counties as Dublin, once again, brought style, charisma, pride and passion both on and off the field of play.

The team was announced at training the week before the final and it was no surprise that Gerry, the Irishtown Hero, was selected at number 12. A week of almost sleepless nights in the Davey household by everyone but Gerry followed. He took his elevation to hero status in his community in his stride and shouldered his responsibility like Eugene and Ellie had taught him.

The morning of the final, Gerry did not break with tradition and travelled alone on the number 3 bus to the city, walking the remaining distance. There were no pre-match meals in those days. The crowds in their thousands flocked to Croke Park by bike, bus, horse and foot. The ferry crossing the Liffey from South to North had extra boats in use due to the demand and many from Gerry’s surrounding parishes availed of the ferryman.

A crowd of 87,106 thronged Croke Park for the final, the third biggest ever attendance on record. Two of Gerry’s brothers, Brendan and Eugene Jnr. paid through the turnstiles at the Canal End, the home of Dublin Southside fans for years. Gerry’s parents and the rest of the family, Nuala, Veronica and Paddy, took their seats in the Ard Comhairle (a premonition of victory in their blood).

The scene was set, the cauldron of noise as the players paraded could be heard far and near. The match was a tight and tense affair played in a sporting manner, as play switched from end to end. Half time saw Galway leading by 0-6 to 0-4.

In the changing rooms there were no stats men, no physios, no clipboards, no TVs for reruns. However, there was a group of Dubs who knew that the city was calling, the desire to bring Sam back to his rightful place was the focus.

Every player in the 32 man squad knew that they had 30 minutes to show they would not be found wanting. Although still a teenager, this was Gerry’s opportunity to live the dream, to play his part, to deliver on the biggest stage both as an individual and as a team member. Gerry was playing for himself, his team, his club, his parish, his city and he was not going to let his family down.

The Davey name would play a huge part in Dublin GAA in the years ahead and this was his stage to kickstart the tradition as his brothers Eugene and Paddy also became leading lights through the decades, both playing, managing and in administration within Dublin GAA.

The players took their positions for the second half and what came next was a moment never to be forgotten. Dublin attacked into the Hill and worked the ball forward to our Irishtown Hero who scored the only goal of the game to turn the tide in Dublin’s favour 1-9 to 0-10.

Gerry recalls the noise from the stands and the terraces after the goal and then his teammates fighting tooth and nail for the rest of the game. The referee, the late Eamon Moules (Wicklow), blew the final whistle and the rest became a blur.

Every player was hoisted onto shoulders and carried to the Hogan Stand for the presentation to captain Des Foley by President de Valera. The holy grail was reached, the pain since 1958 ebbed away, pride was restored to every man, woman and child in the city. A trip to Glendalough was the reward to the squad on the Monday, schools were visited over the following weeks as a motivation for future generations with a special hurrah every time our Irishtown Hero was introduced.

Chris and Gerry with Sam 1963

Chris Kane and Gerry Davey with Sam at the school in 1963

Dublin All Ireland football champions 1963 with Clanna Gael members, including ROW past pupils Gerry Davey and Chris Kane, highlighted.

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Gerry Davey – ROW Person of the Year 2023

The PPU Committee is delighted to announce that Gerry Davey has been elected ROW Person of the Year 2023 and will be presented with the PV Doyle Trophy at our Annual Dinner at the Westbury on January 28th next. Gerry graduated from the ROW in 1962 and he becomes the third person from that class to receive this honour.

Gerry played football and hurling with Clanna Gael from the tender age of 6, winning the club championship in 1968. He continued to develop his football and hurling skills at the ROW and he credits the coaching provided by Brothers Hickey and Tracey with helping him along the way. He says that Bro. Hickey predicted in 1962 that he would play for Dublin and, in October of that year, he got his first game with the senior Dublin team. They famously won the All Ireland in 1963 when Gerry scored the winning goal in the final against Galway on a score of 1-9 to 0-10. They beat an up and coming Down team in the semi final by 2-11 to 0-7.

The writer remembers that campaign very well because I attended all Dublin’s matches. All their games were in Croke Park. Those were the days when you could just turn up, pay your shilling and get a good vantage point under the Cusack Stand.

The ROW was also represented on that 1963 team by another great ROW man, Christy Kane, who, unfortunately, passed away in early 2020. Below is a great photo of the 1963 winning team with both Gerry and Christy highlighted separately for good measure.

Dublin All Ireland Champions 1963 with two ROW Boys to the fore.

“IRISHTOWN HERO HELPED DUBS BACK TO THE TOP TABLE” was the title of a fascinating magazine article, setting the scene and giving an account of the match, with focus on Gerry, written by Finbarr Dolan after the match. I hope to publish that article in full is a separate News Blog in the near future.

Gerry was a regular on the Dublin team for nine more years and he won a National League medal in 1964.

in 1969 Gerry married Colleen Sweeney from County Fermanagh and they settled in Portmarnock. They have four daughters and one son.

Gerry was (maybe still is?) an accomplished Irish Dancer and and featured prominently with the Inis Ealga Dancers. The photo below shows Gerry stepping it out on the RTE programme Beo go Deo in 1966.

Maybe Gerry will show us a few steps at the Dinner??

Gerry had a 33 year career with Bord Na Mona managing sales and procurement. He also covered logistic management roles of Moss Peat in the European and Far Eastern markets.

Gerry has been busy with Naomh Marnog Gaelic Football Club over many years. He managed many teams and was involved with setting up the Nursery Academy to nurture football and hurling skills in the young boys and girls. he involved Transition Year students in coaching sessions.

Gerry was also involved in community development in the expanding area. He canvassed the community in a campaign to provide education facilities and this resulted in the opening of Portmarnock Community School in 1979.

Author’s Note: I would like to acknowledge the assistance provided by Gerry’s wife, Colleen, in compiling this article. She sent me a lot of the material including the photographs which, I think, readers will greatly enjoy. As I write, I’m thinking of our old classmates from 1962, including our old friend Eamonn O’Malley RIP , as well our friends like Marius Sykes and Conor Dwyer who may be reading this article in their homes overseas. Spare a thought for all the great ROW sportsmen who have passed away in recent times. I am also mindful of our many past pupils who were players with Clanna Gael, including Christy Kane RIP. There is a lot of sadness around Christmas time when one recalls absent friends. May those who have gone before us rest in peace and may all our readers have a Happy and Holy Christmas. Looking forward to 2023 Make sure to book your place for the Dinner on January 28th and help give Gerry and Colleeen the celebration they deserve. Happy Christmas, Jim Conway.

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ROW PPU ANNUAL DINNER

WESTBURY HOTEL, SATURDAY JANUARY 28TH 2023

BOOK NOW TO CATCH UP WITH OLD FRIENDS IN THE WESTBURY

WE’RE BACK TO OUR TRADITIONAL JANUARY DATE PROVIDING AN OPORTUNITY TO MEET OLD FRIENDS, CELEBTATE CLASS GROUP ANNIVERSARIES AND ROW PERSON OF THE YEAR 2023.

GERRY DAVEY (CLASS OF ’62) HAS BEEN ELECTED ROW PERSON OF THE YEAR 2023 AND WILL RECEIVE THE PV DOYLE TROPHY AT THE DINNER. YES, IT WILL BE 60 YEARS SINCE GERRY SCORED THAT MEMORABLE GOAL IN CROKE PARK TO WIN THE ALL IRELAND FOR DUBLIN.

THE PPU BURSARIES AWARDED TO TWO STUDENTS WHO GRADUATED IN 2002 AND WENT ON TO THIRD LEVEL EDUCATION WILL ALSO RECEIVE THEIR AWARDS AT THE DINNER.

WE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO A GREAT NIGHT WITH THE USUAL WESTBURY HOSPITALITY AND EXCELLENT FOOD. HAVING ATTENDED PPU DINNERS IN NUMEROUS VENUES, PRESIDENT DAN FERRARI, SAYS THAT THE WESTBURY IS WELL OUT IN FRONT.

TICKETS THIS YEAR WILL COST €70 AND EARLY BOOKING IS ADVISED.

PLEASE PAY ONLINE DIRECT TO THE PPU BANK ACCOUNT AT BANK OF IRELAND, COLLEGE GREEN TO THE FOLLOWING IBAN IE16BOFI90137810367025, BIC BOFIIE2DXXX. PLEASE MAKE SURE TO SHOW YOUR NAME AND PUT DINNER 23 IN THE INFORMATION BOX.

Chris and Gerry with Sam 1963

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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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