Jun 11 2013

St Joseph’s School, Cabra West…

Published by at 8:07 pm under News

Today I was invited to meet Liam Breen who is a former pupil of St Joseph’s School for deaf boys in Cabra West. Liam is involved in recording and preserving the history of the school and the setting up of a museum there. He introduced me to lots of very interesting people who are like minded to himself and also former pupils of both St Joseph’s and St Mary’s schools. Now like many of yourselves I don’t know how to do Sign Language but Liam did organise for Sylvia Nolan to act as interpreter for us. Also present was a fella from Annamoe named Kevin Stanley who also attended the school. Kevin’s parents and family have lived on Annamoe for donkeys years.

Now I always reckoned that the walls around the school were there for a good reason i.e to stop the orchards and rhubarb being robbed by young lads like my brother and his pals. But it also kept communication and understanding between the two communities at a minimal. Why didn’t our schools have us all mix together? We should have had someone from St Joseph’s and St Mary’s come into our schools and educate us in the ways of those young boys and girls who had difficulty in speaking and hearing. They could have brought some of the young boys and girls with them to let us see that they were as normal as we were.

Well today was certainly a great education for me as this was the first time I ever met and spoke with anyone from either of these school. I got to see first hand the great work that was carried out behind those great big walls that were a part of my young life growing up in Cabra West. Liam and Kevin shared their own experiences of their times here as young boys and were very proud to have that connection. Kevin is working on his first book about what it was like for him growing up in Cabra as a young boy who attended St Joseph’s.

There is a great wealth of history and information on the schools being made available through the museum. They also have terrific film footage of the school showing Cabra West in the background in its infancy. I so look forward to meeting with Liam and his team again soon and sharing the history of our two communities and perhaps blending them into one great big story. The above picture shows some of the young boys from St Joseph’s on their sports day. When I first saw it I thought how posh they looked with their tyres when all we ever had were hoops from old bicycle wheels…

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