Visit to Ballyroan Boys School
In September 2016 I had reason to visit my friend and neighbour Trish Mullen, at her place of employment, Ballyroan Boys School. While there she introduced me to the Principal Mr. Des Morris and other staff members. She spoke to one of the teachers and than asked me to speak to the pupils from 3rd. classes and tell them about growing up generally over eighty years ago. Although unprepared I was glad to do it. There have been so many changes it is almost unbelievable.
Firstly I told them how we lived before electricity became generally available. We had paraffin oil lamps then gas light and I think I was about ten when the electricity came. Even then, and until I married, we were still cooking and heating by an old fashioned coal fired range. During the war years it was only turf and wood blocks for that. We were lucky as we were living in army barracks and had indoor toilet and water but my dear Grandmother had to go outside for both. Very common at that time.
School days appeared to interest the boys greatly. Slaps for many different reasons and by cane and leather were so common. My descriptions took their fancy alright. Still I told them that despite that I had great teachers in an excellent school. St. Teresa’s in Donore Avenue in Dublin. I still enjoyed my schooldays. One odd incident really tickled them. We used to write with ink from inkwells and I was a bit messy. Another boy and I were asked to visit all the classes with the offending pages pinned to our backs. The teachers in Ballyroan were shocked but strangely I never had any problems with it. Better than a few slaps I suppose.
I was sent some pictures of my visit which I attach. Subsequently I received a number of individual letters from the boys which I enjoyed very much. I have added them below.
I wish to thank Trish and the teachers Ms. Mazzoni and Miss Rooney for their courtesy and encouragement.
I received these letters from the boys.
My reply to the boys.
Today, We’d 21st December, I received a letter fro Harry Bolton, on behalf of the boys which invited me to a carol singing they were having in Ballyroan Church.
I accepted The boy’s invitatation and attended their carol service. Harry was tight. Their practising paid off and they
sounded very good. When they came to thr last carol. ” Joy to the world” I thought the roof would lift off. I was delighted to meet up with Miss Mazzini and Mrs Mullen with some of their charges before they returned to the school for their Christmas break-up. It was great to see them all and thank them for their letters. Attached is one snap I managed to take. Can’t get used to my phone camera yet.
OnWednesday 9th February 2017. I revisited the school on the occasion of their celebrating Grandparents Day. It was to the boys of 3rd classes once again. A large number of grandparents attended, and several told the boy’s about their young days. We were also entertained by the boys both singing and playing their recorders. A very pleasant visit indeed. At the conclusion I was introduced as an honorary grandad for those boys who Han no grandparents. I will attach some photos which wer sent to me afterwards. They show some of the speakers.
March 2017. New invitation.
Insert photos of invitations here’s
Hi again boys.
Thanks a lot for your lovely invitation to hear Sean’s great-grandad telling all about his time with the army. It was a great idea to ask him. Well done. I will be delighted to go to hear him, and am looking forward to it.
If you remember, I told you that my Dad was in the army and I grew up in an army barracks. A little secret for you. We were afraid of sergeant- majors. They used to shout out orders to the soldiers and had great big voices. However, Sergeant Major Colton looked a nice man, so we should be alright.
I was jealous of all his lovely medals. They made a great show. I have only one and it doesn’t shine well. I was in the medical corps in the L.D.F. (Local Defence Force) while the Second World War was on. Soldiers will tell you it was like Dad’s Army ( that was on the tv). It was not that bad, but we never had to go into danger, as Ireland was neutral. Different these days, as you will hear from Sergeant Major Colton.
I would also love to go with you all to Arbour Hill on Tuesday, if there is room. Great place to see and is importantq with regard to Irish history.
Thanks again and see you all soon,