School Days, — June 14, 2010 12:43 — 0 Comments

Brother Dempsey dies

The Christian Brothers had only just (April 1903) moved to what we later referred to as the Masters House in Abbey Yard. Much later the adjoining three buildings would be purchased and united to become the first Abbey Grammar School. The originals had been built a century before by the Corry family – cousins of the Chancellor Isaac Corry (of Chancellor’s Road fame).


Brother Austin Dempsey was Superior of the Order in Newry and our teacher at the Carstands School, Margaret Street. He was a most impressive man, dark visaged with flashing white teeth, gleaming, penetrating eyes and burnt up with consuming energy. Then he would rush up stairs three steps at a time. He would fling his silk umbrella and black bag aside and with restless fingers button his soutane with the fluent technique of a maestro running along the ivories in a presto study of Chopin. 


Before the decade was out he was stricken with sickness that led to his death. Even from his sickbed he continued to teach, until eventually he was no longer able to speak. He died in February 1910 and was succeeded as Superior and School principal by Brother Geoghegan. Perhaps a new regime reigned for, when the Vicar-General inspected in 1911 he commented that there was ‘too much visiting and entertaining of seculars!’


… more later …

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