School Days, — June 11, 2010 8:43 — 0 Comments

Carstands Entertainment

We took our schooling seriously. From Easter until June we returned there at 5.30 for evening classes that ended at eight. There was no ‘summer time’ then either so we often returned home in the dark.

Professor Moneypenny whose masterly organ-playing is still remembered in Newry taught us singing. One particular two-part song we learned was ‘The Cuckoo’. We also sang in the Town Hall a four-part arrangement of Caitlin Ni Huallachain (in Irish) and Let Erin Remember, assisted by the basses and the tenors of the Cathedral and the Dominican choirs. John McAteer, the possessor of a particularly rich beautiful baritone voice, stands out in my memory. 


He owned the stone-cutting yard on Ballybot Bridge and we used to wait for our train there and warm ourselves by the fire at the forge.


Musical celebrities at the excellent concerts organised by the Christian Brothers, included Agnes Tracey, a magnificent soprano and Mr Patrick Delaney, an accomplished violinist. 


There was also a humorist called Mr Kearney who never smiled but whose extempore allusions to school matters (he actually sang about Brother Dempsey’s umbrella ) filled us with irreverent joy.


One day Ludwig, the famous singer, whose favourite opera was Wagner’s Flying Dutchman, visited the school and sang to us. 


Willie Ennis, a pupil of ours, was a really fine piccolo player and delighted us with a recital one afternoon. 


What a great number of things flash into my head when I recall these days. Donn Byrne with his sparkling brown eyes and high bright complexion. He wore a Norfolk suit and cycled in from Camlough. Brilliant raconteur and amazing mimic he sadly passed away very young.


… more later …


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