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 jim.conway7@gmail.com.


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 jjmcullen@gmail.com.

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 jim.conway7@gmail.com and maybe they will get to see their names in Lights!!

Remember the direct link to News Blog is https://westlandrowppu.blog or just Google westlandrowppu.blog.

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 ppu.ie. 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 jim.conway7@gmail.com 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 jim.conway7@westlandrowppu.blog. 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 https://westlandrowppu.blog

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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Annual Mass

The St. Andrews Day Mass was celebrated in Westland Row on Sunday November 28th. The main celebrant was Archbishop Dermot Farrell. Our PPU Chaplain, Fr. Eugene McCarthy, was a co-celebrant and eight past pupils who died during the last 12 months were remembered in the prayers.

John Murray was present with his trusty camera and the following are a selection of his photographs.

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New Ways to Pay

The PPU recently undertook a review of its banking arrangements with a view to making it easier for members to pay their subscriptions and make donations. the old “cheque book and pen” system stood us in good stead over the years and many past pupils were very generous in responding to requests to complete Standing Order Mandates and make donations in response to numerous appeals.

Banking methods have changed a lot in recent years and many people now use on line banking facilities. The PPU is currently making arrangements to bank on line and we are making additional facilities available through our website rowppu.ie. Members can continue to use the Standing Order Mandate for payment of the annual sub (complete and send to your own bank branch) and we now have a PayPal option to pay the sub by debit/credit card using PayPal (as a guest) or directly through PayPal for members with a PayPal account.

Donations can also be made using your debit/credit card or PayPal or directly from the donor’s bank account to the PPU bank account by the Electric Fund Transfer (or SEPA) system.

The website contains full instructions on how to access and use the new systems. After entering the website, by clicking on the old school bell, click on Annual Subscription and/or Donate and click on the drop down boxes to get all the information.

Whilst we would encourage members to use the new facilities if at all possible, don’t worry if you are not comfortable with the new technology. You can always send a cheque to the Hon. Treasurer, Jim Conway at 23 Orchardstown Park, D14 R7A4. If you need to update your Standing Order and don’t wish to download one from the website you can get one by texting me on 087 2557298. Don’t forget to include your address.

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me, Jim Conway, on jim.conway7@gmail.com or phone/txt as above.

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Home Thoughts From Australia

Conor Dwyer (class of 1962) was prompted to write, from his home near Brisbane, with some memories of our days at the ROW, when he learned of the passing of our old friend Eamonn O’Malley RIP.

Conor hailed from the Shelbourne Road/South Lotts Road area and, like many lads at the ROW, was a keen soccer player. He played with Home Farm and his talents were recognised at an early age as he was capped for Ireland against England at under 16 level.

Conor remembers the late Eamonn and Tony Rowe very well. Tony and Pat Canavan were also keen soccer players and, of course, in those times they played on the school Gaelic Football team as well. He recalls one incident very clearly. In September 1958 Bro. Hickey called Gaelic training on a Saturday which corresponded to the start of the Soccer schoolboys under 14 season. Conor was picked to play for Home Farm. Tony and Pat were both picked to play for Bolton Athletic in Ringsend. Unbeknown to each other the lads decided to line out with their Soccer clubs as the Gaelic was only a training spin.

The next Monday at 12 noon, Hickey called the three lads up to the top of the class and informed them that Bro. Moynihan required their presence in the science room immediately. The lads, sheepishly, presented themselves before “Billy” who stood in typical pose, with hands in cummerbund, asking why they had not shown up for Gaelic training. The boys explained their positions and were told that, if they ever missed training again, they would be expelled from the school.

Another “football” incident recalled by Conor, occurred in a Gaelic match against Drimnagh Castle at Island Bridge. The Brothers in charge were Treacy, the American and a young Collins. We won the match but a highlight was when Pat Canavan secured victory with a goal which he coolly headed to the net. All hell broke loose for the wrong reason; not joy at winning but anger at the manner of scoring the goal. The charge was led by Treacy, who had a reputation for toughness, but the boys stood their ground and demanded to see where, in the rules of Gaelic Football, did it state that a goal could not be scored by the ball being struck by the head of the scorer. The authorities were stumped but, of course, the mutterings about the “influence of foreign games” lingered for a time.

After Leaving Cert, Conor joined Irish National Insurance company. He later emigrated to England and from there he went to Australia where he worked for Sun Alliance and Stenhouse Insurance Brokers. He later opened his own brokerage based on the Gold Coast. Conor retired from the Insurance Industry in 2006 and lived, with his wife Marlene, in Robina on the Gold Coast. Conor and Marlene were great hosts when my wife, Teresa and myself visited them in Robina in 2014. Conor gave us a tour of Brisbane and introduced us to some of his Irish friends there. We were there on a St. Patrick’s weekend and the craic was at least as good as that which we enjoy at home. There was only one difference; the weather was lovely and we were able to watch the parade in tee shirts and shorts.

Conor and Marlene recently downsized to a Retirement Living Apartment north of Brisbane. The complex is near Moreton Bay. Conor sent a couple of photos taken from his balcony just to make us all jealous as we shiver in our winter weather. However, we have to say that it looks great and we wish Conor and Marlene long life and health in their new abode.

Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on the above or if memories of schooldays are stirred by the blog.

If any of our readers are away from Ireland and would like to contribute any “Home Thoughts” we would be delighted to hear from you. You can email Jim Conway, at jim.conway7@gmail.com.

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