Punishment was merciless, especially for those unable to keep pace with the brighter students. Two of last week’s gathering spoke of the nightmares they still suffer from the beatings dished out in those days.
Fear overshadowed all but the brightest. Later, some would find comfort in the words of the famous Irish orator Edmund Burke, “No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”
Fear paralyzed many bright minds in that class. And yet most of that class would have passed the primary, many with honors, despite a public outcry that the Irish paper that year was too difficult.
The furor resulted in the Department of Education reducing the marks for pass and honors papers to 30 and 60 respectively.
The primary was the limit of most pupils’ formal schooling. Proficiency in the three Rs was regarded as a solid foundation for the future.
Painful memories of the regime, however, rather than any real sense of nostalgia dominated the conversation of the gathering last weekend. St. Patrick’s NS was opened in 1888 staffed by the De La
Salle order of brothers, some of whom were warm and generous. It was burned down in 1957, with few regrets from the class of 1949.
The reunion might never have taken place were it not for the fact that some people wanted to pay tribute to Mickey Garvey, one of the 40, who has been in Chicago since 1957 and who has facilitated and obliged members of various Castlebar clubs during their visits to the windy city.
Cleaning a Rat House
RATS the size of small dogs have been spotted around a house piled four feet deep with domestic rubbish, which neighbors fear represents a biohazard.
A special cleaning team will need up to five days to clean and secure the three-bedroom house at St. Joseph's Terrace, in Passage West in Cork, whose condition has horrified neighbors and council officials.
The house contains an estimated one ton of domestic refuse and rats have eaten through the kitchen floor and skirting boards.
Locals were horrified to discover that an infestation of flies was linked to the dumping of more than 300 soiled diapers.
"It is absolutely horrific -- we just cannot believe the condition of the house. All we want now is for the rat and fly problem to be dealt with," one man said.
Neighbors had repeatedly expressed concern over the condition of the house. The property was vacated in June, but neighbors only discovered last week that the house was packed four feet deep with rotting domestic rubbish.
Locals first became concerned when they noticed an increase in the local rodent population and a terrible smell emanating from the house.
Cork County Council yesterday arranged for specialist cleaning contractors to begin work at the premises.
Moloney’s Mexican Award
THE Mexican government has honored one of the founders of the Chieftains with an award to recognize the contribution he has made in strengthening ties between Ireland and Mexico.
The Ohtli Award is the highest cultural award that Mexico gives to citizens outside of the country. Paddy Moloney is one of only three Irish people ever to have received the honor.
Mexican Ambassador to Ireland Carlos Garcia de Alba said Moloney received the award in recognition of his strengthening of Mexican and Irish ties.
In 2010, the Chieftains released the album San Patricio. The collaborative album was inspired by the story of soldiers in the Mexican American war, led by Sergeant John Reilly, who deserted the U.S.
Army and fought for the Mexican side at the St. Patricio Battalion.
“John formed his battalion, and fought on the Mexican side until the bitter end,” Moloney said.
Taken by the story, Moloney fused the sounds of nine regions of the country along with the Chieftains own music.
He said he was deeply honored to receive the award.