St. Geralds

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Posted by murrisk on February 24, 2001 at 05:35:28:

The old St. Gerald's was a great place. You entered by the gate next to the old national school and a multitude of bicycles were left against the railings on any given day. Many a youth "borrowed" a good looking bike without permission to go home for dinner only to encounter an angry mother upon return! Up the hill, past the out door toilets on the left (over looking the toilets in the national schools - same drainage?) and around to the back - we always entered by the rear door. The surround to the rear door was carved out of the little hill, upon which the new national school was built, within a concrete surround. I remember a very popular second year boy, whose family was about to emigrate to America, who tumbled from the surround, lost a shoe and was discovered to be wearing nylons - embarrasment all around. The coat room and a toilet were just inside the back door and separated by swinging doors? from the hall which led to the entrance foyer and the stairs which gave access to the upstairs. Looking at the building from the front, the first year class room was on the ground floor to the right hand side. The science room, which for me also doubled for religous education, a happy coincidence, was directly across from it on the ground floor. The front double doors which were rarely opened were separated from the foyer by glass swing doors? I had my leaving cert. class photo taken outside of the front doors. From the foyer you went up the stairs about 10 feet vertical height?, to the prncipals office. I remember visits there to see Bro. George and his swinging cane - admitedly only administered for serious breaches. He was an expert at slashing just the tips of the fingers. There were tales, "urban legends?" of Henry Downes and others blindfolding and hand tying another principal and sliding him backwards up the bannister until he promised not to administer violent caneings. In "urban legends" the same group were supposed to have left a donkey in the principals office. Round the corner to the top of the stairs. To the right, a passage to the middle years class rooms. A "glass case museum" with an ostrich egg and other exotic items flanked this passage on the left. Every leaving cert class tried to acquire a trophy - I still have mine - a brass allegator with a spoon for a mouth. The passageway to the left from the top of the stairs gave access to the upper year's class rooms. A hellion from Main Street reputedly fired a 0.22 calibre rifle at the building during his "time out". I don't remember any bullets striking the building. Class rooms on the upper floor were separated by partitions which rolled back to give a large space for whist drives etc. Mr. Nally waas a particularly noisy teacher. He scared younger pupils and had a terrifying reputation. Yet, in five years I never knew him to strike a pupil. He could elicit abject fear by his facial grimances, his raised voice and his tantrums, but in my memory, he never struck a pupil. I only remember two teachers who used "physical means". One was lay, the other a religous. The lay teacher punished by gripping the hair at the temples and raising the pupil to his toes. The religous liked to wield a window pole. When Mr. Nally was in full spate he was heard for one end of the school to the other. Both pupils and teachers grinned and enjoyed his performances, and to this day I truly believe thats what they were.

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