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re: Fire in boys' school

Posted by Bernard Halligan on October 02, 2009 at 21:09:26:

In Reply to: re: Fire in boys' school posted by Brian Hoban on October 01, 2009 at 07:03:56:

The memories come flooding back of those days long ago. I remember it well as I was 11 years old at the time and I was heading up to church to serve the 8.00 am mass. As I turned the corner into Chapel Street a male passer by said to me "There will be no school for you today boy". I didn't have a clue as to what he was talking about as it was a regular school day.Well, when I turned the corner into Chapel Street I saw all of the fire engines outside the school and I realized that the school had been burnt to the ground with only the stone walls left standing. My first thoughts were "great, no school today". I didn't have a clue as to what the long term effect was going to be.

Eventually we had to attend school at the "rat infested" soldier's barracks and my classmates and I had to go to the church every few days with the nuns as we were being prepared for our confirmation.

Now, how about this for a bit of Irish luck. Bro Dennis was in the process of starting a school band and I was going to be part of it. I had managed to get my parents to spring the one shilling and sixpence ( a relative fortune in 1957) for the flageolet (an instrument akin to the penny whistle). The instruments arrived the day prior to the fire and Bro Dennis handed them out to us and allowed us to scratch our names on them. He also told us that we could either take them home or leave them at school in his cabinet. I elected to leave mine in the school. Well, would you believe it, when the ashes of the fire had been cooled the fire department salvaged whatever they could from the rubble and lo and behold if they didn't rescue our flageolets. When we got them back I tried to play it only to discover that the wooden piece in the mouthpiece had been destroyed by the fire. Believe it or not I could still see my name scratched on the instrument. That ended my participation in the school band as I could not afford to replace my musical instrument as it was not covered by the school's insurance policy.

I often reminisce about this and I think of how the world had been deprived of a famous flageolet player by that terrible fire. Ah well, I still have my memories.....

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