PPU President, Dan Ferrari, recently launched an appeal to encourage past pupils to update their PPU subscriptions and/or make donations to help with the on going development of the school. The hard work put in by all the staff and others involved with the school in recent years has paid off and big improvements in pupil numbers and students going on to third level. The Irish Times put matters succinctly in 2020 as follows –
“The school which has shown the most dramatic improvement in the rate of progression (to third level) over a six year period is Christian Brothers Westland Row, Dublin 2. In 2014 two of its 12 students who sat the Leaving Certificate progressed while in 2020, 15 (71%) of its 21 students who sat the Leaving Cert accepted a third level place. This turnaround has much to do with the excellent leadership of Principal, Kate Byrne and Deputy Principal, Eddie Kelly (who retires this year after serving 41 years in the school)”
The PPU has supported the school in many ways, including financially, over a number of years and in 2020 we launched a scheme of bursaries totalling E2,000 annually to support students to meet some of the expenses in starting their third level education. Kacper Jaroszynski was the first recipient and the following video shows how important our help was to him.
The challenge now is to continue and expand our support (we hope to give even more bursaries in the coming years) but we cannot do this from dwindling resources. We rely entirely on the generosity of past pupils and we need to expand the number of past pupils who pay their annual subs. This is only E25 payable by Standing Order. The President’s recent email enclosed a downloadable Standing Order but if you did not get that you can contact Dan by text or phone call to 087 6238136. Donations, of any amount, will also be welcome of course. Thanks and good luck.
The PPU has learned that, Eddie Kelly, Assistant Principal at CBS Westland Row will retire at the end of the current school year. Eddie has been a great stalwart of the school staff for 41 years and he leaves with good wishes from all his colleagues, pupils and the PPU. Many past pupils wish to pay tribute to Eddie and, as we couldn’t possibly fit them all in, we picked the one submitted by Ken Doherty to represent them.
Ken says –
“I would like to wish Eddie Kelly all the best in his retirement and take this opportunity to thank him for all the great service he has given to the ROW over the years. He was a great teacher to me and we all loved being in his classroom as it was always a relaxed atmosphere and easy to learn. The ROW will miss him greatly. Thanks Eddie.”
Eddie’s ROW years 1980 – 2021
Eddie was raised in Swinford Co. Mayo and attended University in Galway. On leaving college he responded to an employment ad with a box number and ended up in Westland Row. He vividly recalls his job interview with Brothers Cullen and Hendrick. Bro. Cullen made it clear that they were not looking for much “just someone not too bright who would not read the Irish Times in class”. Eddie says that they need not have worried because only the Indo and the Press were tolerated in Mayo!!!.
Eddie started in the school in 1980 teaching History, Geography and Religion. There were three classes in each year in those days. The classes were not as big as those of us, who were there in the sixties, remember. Eddie says that there were about 20 per class and the total enrolment was around 220.
Eddie says that the three streams were very different with the A classes being very bright and studious, the B group were more fun and challenging whilst the C classes were sadly neglected.
Discipline was good in those days, the leather only being produced on odd occasions.
Eddie was very fond of sport and quickly got involved in the Gaelic teams. He spent a lot of time in Ringsend Park on the Wednesday half day and after school on many days. The tradition of the Brothers, in their opposition to foreign games, was still alive in those days so Eddie waited patiently for Bro. Cullen to retire before he started a Soccer team. The teams were quite successful despite their lack of resources.
Eddie’s comments about the changes that came to the school in the eighties are very interesting. In the early part of the decade many of the students came from suburbs such as Ranelagh, Rathmines, Sandymount and even some of the North City suburbs such as Raheny. Numbers decreased in the late eighties coinciding with the opening of new modern community schools around the suburbs. The school went co-ed in 1984 and many more local children attended the school. Eddie had to learn the names of the flat complexes in the surrounding streets. The teachers, particularly the older ones, found the changed circumstances very challenging. Literacy and Numeracy became the priorities rather than Shakespeare and Theoretical Physics. The numbers taking higher level papers dropped and staff became very disillusioned.
Eddie says that his most difficult time came when the Brothers left in 1996 and the numbers dropped to an all time low. Despite all the difficulties, Eddie had shown his mettle and he was appointed Assistant Principal in 1999. The fight to keep the school open was in full swing and the tide began to turn.
Eddie pays tribute to a number of people including former Principal Ken Duggan and current Principal Kate Byrne, for their great effort in raising morale and creating a spirit of cooperation all of which resulted in getting the school back to a good place with numbers well up and many students going on to third level.
Eddie says that he is glad to be retiring at a time of growth and achievement in the school. There is no doubt that Eddie himself can proudly take his place at the top table with people who fought the good fight for the ROW. Back in 1988, a very witty Paddy Finnegan, remarked that Eddie’s arrival coincided with the decline of the school. Eddie has proven Paddy to have been very wrong and we would say that the Eddie’s arrival was a great day for the ROW.
Eddie is very complimentary towards the PPU for its contribution to the school over the years. The PPU would like to thank Eddie for his kind remarks and also for all his help over the years, especially during the numerous activities around the 150 celebrations and the 1916 commemoration events. We hope to get a chance to show our appreciation at a future annual dinner or other suitable event. Have a long and happy retirement Eddie, Slan agus Beannocht.
The PPU AGM was held via Zoom on Thursday last May 27. The big news is that Dan Ferrari (class of 73) was elected PPU President for the next two years. Dan will be double jobbing for a while as he continues to hold the Finance Portfolio for the time being.
Outgoing President, Jerry Carroll (class of 62) reported on his three year tenure of office. PPU activities were greatly restricted due to Coveid but a number of Zoom meetings were held, thanks to John Costello and DCU. Committee numbers have increased with the addition of Gerry Cassidy, who zooms in from Connemara, and Pat Neill. Both are very welcome. The incoming committee will shortly bring forward a number of plans to support the school and will seek to revive social activities as soon as possible. Further news, including information about how the school is doing, will soon be published via News Blog on rowppu.ie and alerted via email and WhatsApp, so keep an eye out.
One of our most illustrious past pupils, ROW Man of the Year 1983, Shay (or Ogie, as we knew him) passed away on April 10th. Shay suffered with Parkinson’s disease for about 17 years but managed to work in the entertainment business almost to the end.
Shay had an outstanding career in music and television. This has been widely reported since Shay passed away. The RTE website contains a great tribute containing many videos and photographs. The PPU extends sincere sympathy to Shay’s wife Dympna, his sons and wider family. Ar Dheis De go raibh a anam.
Following a Zoom Committee Meeting on December 17th, PPU President Jerry Carroll, announced the election of John Cullen (class of 1964) as Row Person of the Year for 2021. Jerry said that he could not think of a more deserving recipient of this prestigious award and he looked forward to presenting the PV Doyle trophy to John at a suitable date in 2021 when, hopefully, the “new normality” will come into effect. Further details of John Cullen’s career and outstanding work on behalf of the PPU are set out below.
As well as announcing the award, Jerry wished all past pupils and their families every blessing and good wishes for Christmas and the New Year. reflecting on 2020, Jerry said that this has been a unique year for us all with the impact of Covid19 being felt right across the World. Some have suffered greatly and we should remember, in our thoughts and prayers, all those who have lost, as a result of the pandemic or other illness, a family member, a close relative or friend, or those who have been affected in any way by illness. Cuirmear i gcuimhne iad go leir
The PPU in 2020
Our activities were greatly curtailed during the year. The committee did meet on five occasions thanks to John Costello making the DCU Zoom facility available to us. Decisions, generally, had to be negative, for instance, we had to cancel the annual dinner which was planned for late January 2021. We did achieve some positive things. We gave a bursary of €2,000 to two deserving students to help with their third level education and we elected a ROW Person of the Year for 2021 to keep that great tradition alive.
We kept in touch with school Principal, Kate Byrne and were delighted to learn that the Leaving Cert pupils did very well and many went on to third level. The school kept going well since reopening in September despite the difficulties posed by the virus.
Row Person of the Year 2020 -John Cullen
John was a member of the centenary class of 1964. After school he joined the civil service and continued his studies in the evenings, graduating , from UCD with a Diploma in Public Administration and a B Comm. His civil service career was in the Dept of the Environment and Local Government. John rose to a senior position and headed up a number of important and high profile developments. He joined the Institute of Public Administration for the final seven years of his career and retired in 2009.
John didn’t rest on his laurels when he retired and he joined the board of Oaklee Housing – a voluntary housing association – for a ten year spell and was its chair for five years. He also served as a board director of Choice Housing, the largest housing association on the island, based in the North, for nine years.
John played football and hurling at the ROW with some distinction. He hurled with Fontenoy Clanna Gael until he was “found out” (his own words!) at the age of 46. He was selected to play for Dublin on many occasions in his long career.
John served as President of the PPU in 2013/14 and 2014/15. During that time he spearheaded the 150 year projects and celebrations as well as the 1916 centenary commemorations. These were outstanding successes especially, the production of our 150 Year Book Cuimhneachan. John did an excellent job of editing the book as well as contributing many of the articles. There were many highlights to recall at that time, including the visit of our Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to unveil a plaque to honour the school for its contribution to education over 150 years. John also spearheaded the Archive Project which set up a digital record of the school rolls stretching back to its foundation in 1864. This was a massive research project given the length of time involved and also the poor state of the records available. These important records of our historic alma mater are now available, on line, through the PPU website rowppu.ie thanks to John and the committee he lead at the time.
John still continues to serve the PPU as Hon Sec and his communication and organisational skills are invaluable.
Let’s hope that it won’t be too long until the President will be in a position to present the PV Doyle Trophy to John at a suitable ceremony.
The use of WhatsApp on our mobile phones mushroomed in the early days of the Lockdown. Many families, sporting and other organisations set up WhatsApp Groups to provide a quick and convenient way to keep in touch and send photos etc. The PPU set up a Group called ROW News and a number of classes set up WhatsApp Groups to communicate with past pupils in their own classes. Each class is under the control of a Manager with responsibility to pass on to his class mates any news relating to past pupils which he receives from ROW News. Any member of a class group, not just the Manager, can send messages to his group. All group managers can also send messages to ROW News on my mobile number (0872557298 Jim Conway).
The scheme has been very successful and many interesting articles, news items and photos have been flying around. A lot of ROW history, anecdotes, photos etc. have been passed around. My own Group (1962) has been very active and provided great entertainment during lockdown/cocooning days. That Group is managed by Michael O’Sullivan and now has 12 members, including one overseas member, Marius Sykes, who lives in England. Any past pupil who would like to get on a Group should text his phone number to his “Year Manager” if he recognises him below. If your year is not here just text your number to me (Jim Conway 0872557298) and I’ll put you on a Group.
1973 Dan Ferrari 087 6238136
1976 John Costello 087 9802940
1971 Ed Hanlon 087 2551657
1964 John Cullen 087 2312728
1962 Michael O’Sullivan 086 2591790
1961 Emmet Wilson 087 2492954
1966 Brendan Malone 087 2649144
1967 Denis Kane 087 2546898
Deceased Past Pupils 2020
The PPU became aware of the deaths of six members during 2020. These were Chris Kane, Cyril Stirrat, Peter Dolan, Don Byrne, Charlie Glennon and Ray Duggan. All were prayed for during the Mass for St. Andrew’s day celebrated by the Archbishop on Sunday December 29th.
Chris Kane and Cyril Stirrat were very active on PPU committees over many years. Chris was ROW Person of the year in 1982. He had an outstanding career with Bord Failte and played a major role in bringing the Ryder Cup to Ireland in 2006. Chris was one of the greatest sportsmen to attend the ROW and it was a proud day for the school when Chris and Gerry Davey (class of 1962) featured on the Dublin team that won the all Ireland Football final in 1963.
Cyril Stirrat, who died aged 89 earlier this year, was also a great sportsman and played many sports with Railway Union. He was Treasurer of the PPU Golf Society for many years and helped to keep it going in lean times. May all our friends rest in peace.
Over 70 past pupils and guests enjoyed a great evening at the Annual Dinner in the Westbury Hotel on Saturday January 25th. The PV Doyle trophy for Row Person of the Year was presented to Pat Neill by PPU President Jerry Carroll. In addition to representatives of Synge St. St. Josephs and O’Connells, five Leaving Cert Pupils, Casey Swaine, Kacper Jaroszynski, Safiya Gopee, Caitlin Tucker and Gabriel Batalla were guests of the PPU on the evening. They were interviewed by MC, Jim Conway. All showed a confidence and ability which is a great tribute to Principal, Kate Byrne and her staff at the ROW. Our usual photographer, Patrick Dowling, was indisposed and unable to attend on the night but John Murray filled in and did a great job with his camera. Many thanks, John. Below are a small selection of John’s photos and we will put up some more later.
PPU President, Jerry Carroll, and committee are pleased to announce that Pat Neill has been elected Row Person of the Year 2020 and will be presented with the PV Doyle trophy at our Annual Dinner on Saturday January 25th. Tickets for the Dinner are still available from John Cullen 087 2312728.
Pat completed his Leaving Cert in 1973 and joined an Garda Siochana in September 1974. He was appointed Detective in 1978 involved in the newly formed Anti-Terrorist Unit.
Pat reached the rank of Inspector and trained with most of the Anti-Terrorist Units in Europe and in New Jersey USA.
Between 1993 and 2000 Pat managed the Specialist Training School at Garda Headquarters in the Phoenix Park.
In 1994 Pat was Received the Toast Masters of the Year Award, Hellfire Toast Masters Club.
In 1994 also Pat the Garda National Award for developing a drugs awareness strategy programme for all Garda districts, in order to deliver a single message when lecturing to schools throughout the country.
In 1997 Pat developed and co-ordinated the first course for Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) on money laundering and asset seizing (Garda, Customer, Revenue)
In 1997 Pat completed his academic education with International Executive Master in Business Administration (IE.MBA) Smurfit’s Business School.
in 1998 Pat developed the Batchelor of Arts Degree Programme “BA Degree in Police Management” for Senior Garda Officers, in association with UL.
Pat acted as an advisor to the 2016 Dun Laoghaire County Council Development Plan on matters relating to County Transportation. he ensures that DLR Chamber is represented on the (SPC’s) advisory committees, Public and Social Housing Committees.
Pat represents Dundrum Town Centre retailers on two of IBEC’s advisory committees relating to Health and Safety in Retail and Transportation Committee.
Pat was invited on to the Board of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Chamber of Commerce in 2008. From May 2016 to May 2018 Pat served as President of the DLR Chamber of Commerce. He remains a Director of CLR Chamber to this day.
Row Past Pupil, Shay Connolly and pals, video 5 in a row is what we’re after is enjoying great success. Click on YouTube. ROW boys Gerry Davey and Chris Kane were All Ireland winners with Dublin in 1963 so we have a lot to be proud of. UP THE DUBS.
The PPU was represented by Jim Conway at the Awards Ceremony in St. Mark’s on Thursday last. The PPU award of Pupil of the Year in the Leaving Class was shared by Beloy Nolasco and Robyn Delaney. This was a most unusual occurrence but the two pupils were neck and neck in all aspects and Principal, Kate Byrne, said that she could not separate them. The fairest course, therefore, was to give a joint award this year. Pupil of the Year in the Applied Leaving Certificate was awarded to Mark Steele. An enormous array of prizes for academic, artistic and sporting achievements were presented on a class by class basis and the enthusiasm with which they were received speaks volumes for the dedication of all the teachers and organisers working in the school.
On behalf of the PPU, Jim Conway congratulated all the winners and wished all well in the upcoming exams. Below are a few photos taken on the day. Unfortunately, the quality is not great due to the presence of a couple of red lights on the stage. Let’s hope that they convey some of the atmosphere and enthusiasm of the pupils.