A walk down memory lane

A walk down memory lane

They say that school days are the best days of your life, well I never subscribed to that but over the last couple of weeks I have connected with past classmates of mine via FB. This got me thinking about my school days and my childhood back home in Ireland. I lived in an area called Inchicore, right beside Kilmainham Gaol, which was at the center of Irish history in 1916. 

I attended primary (elementary?) school in St Michael’s CBS, also in Inchicore and across the road from Richmond Park, the the home to St Patrick’s Athletic and McDowells pub, two places I would frequent a lot in my adult life. St Michael’s CBS was also steeped in the history of 1916 and between there and Kilmainham, it’s no wonder I have a huge interest in not only Irish history, but 1916 and the fight for Irish independence. School back then was completely different to the way it is today, teachers didn’t think twice about taking out a leather strap or hurling a duster the length of the classroom at you if you weren’t paying attention. 

As a young lad my sporting interest was football (soccer) , but I also played hurling and rugby but more times than not I was out with a ball having a kick about with friends and playing matches on the weekends. I was quite small but quick and I really loved playing football and as a little 10 year old I was part of a great team who nearly all attended the same school and lived in the same local area. Now below is a photo of me in the team photo and it was the year I was named player of the year. It was the highlight of career! 

As I said I have recently connected with some lads I attended secondary (high school) with on FB and this weekend they are meeting up for a few beers back in Dublin. I seen a photo of our class that was taken just before we finished school for good and I have absolutely no memory of the photo ever been taken and it was the first time I ever seen it. It was taken in 1984, before we sat our final exams in June of that year. 

I hope you have enjoyed my brief walk down memory lane and I am delighted I have been able to reconnect with my ex classmates and that I am still in touch with some of the lads in the football team photo nearly 40 years later. 

Just a note on school days! 

Just a note on school days! 

So after my post the other day where I led with school days are not the best days of your life, well I don’t really change that opinion and some of the teachers I had were pure mad and/or evil. But to clarify, I also had some great teachers who cajoled, nurtured and guided as they knew I hated school but they still helped me get through it as best they could and to the best I wanted to. 

Even in college my lecturers were great at guiding me through adult education, which believe me wasn’t easy but with the help of lecturers and classmates I made it through it and done a lot better than I had ever done in school. Being more mature, older even, going to college helped a lot as I choose exactly what subject matter I wanted to study and worked hard to achieve the results I knew I was capable of. It took the hard work and study hours to get the results in exams and assignments but I enjoyed it as I enjoyed the subjects I had chosen. 

I know a lot of teachers, even my mother in law was a teacher, so I wouldn’t tarnish them all with the same brush of being egotistical, mad or evil. A lot, and more than likely the vast majority are brilliant educators but I was talking about 1970’s and 1980’s Ireland were corporal punishment in schools was considered the norm. And remember if you got a whack of a leather from a teacher, the chances are you were going to get another one when you got home, innocent or not! 

Above is a typical leather strap that was used in schools for years. I had one teacher who wore it strapped to his belt and could draw it faster than a western movie cowboy to give you a clip of it across the arm as he walked passed you if you were looking around or not concentrating on class. 

I won’t say I was bullied or worse as some children were but my school days were not my favourite time of my life. Now I am older and can look back on it, I still can say they are not the best days of your life. To all the past and present teachers I know, good luck in the hard thankless job you do and I am glad education has moved on from where it was in the 70’s and 80’s in Ireland.