Apr 26 2013

THE SCOUTS by Amos Walsh…

Published by at 11:21 am under News

Fr. Valentine Burke, B.Mus. came to Cabra West from Donore Avenue where he had acquired the nick-name “Toucher Burke” in recognition of his success
in raising funds to build a church there. While in Donore Avenue parish the
local scout troop flourished under his chaplaincy and shortly after his arrival
in Cabra West he set about forming a troop there. A small number of boys (I think no more than 6 – I was one) met in the porch of his house on Navan Road, close to Screen Road, and were introduced to the obligations involved in becoming members of the Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland. That would be sometime in 1947/8. I think Joe Campbell, Jimmy Sullivan, Billy Fay and myself were at that meeting. Needless to say, as prospective catholic scouts, we were chosen because we were seen to be good boys!

Soon we moved to a larger den ( that’s what a scouts meeting place is called ),
Fr. Burke’s garage! and later still to the coat room of Finbarrs school. More
boys joined and more importantly officers/leaders recruited on loan from the
Donore Avenue troop. It’s rewarding to be able to record the names of those
officers: Our first Scoutmaster was Skipper Kelly( cant remember his first
name, though not “fiddler” – he came later), two Assistant Scoutmasters
“Ebbler” Bourke and Ando Gibson. I believe Joe Campbell became Senior
Patrol Leader with yours truly made Scribe i.e recorder of minutes and events.
In later years Tom Murphy and Gerry O’Meara were ASM’s while George Crosbie
became SPL. At this point we were allocated a distinctive neckerchief of pale
blue and purple and registered as the 53rd Dublin Troop C.B.S.I.

Among my fond memories of outings and camps over the following years, and in no particular time order, is of a small number of us cycling to Virginia, County
Cavan, carrying everything we needed weighing about four stone apiece in panniers set over the back wheels of our bikes – I believe this was a reconnaissance trip for our first Annual Camp on the shores of Lough Ramor in 1951. As I write I have in front of me a memento of that Annual Camp in the form of a piece of a tree
branch carved with the highly original (!) phrase “from Virginia Annual 1951”. Another memento came from sitting on a B90 saddle for the 52 miles
there and the same back – saddle sores!

Then again, a trip to Rathdrum, County Wicklow, led by Gerry O’Meara, getting
there too late to find a suitable camping site and utilizing the local curate’s
front garden in which to pitch our tent. We got an insight into
“country” customs when, at Mass the next morning, it was announced
with some feeling by the Parish Priest that among the collection taken up was
“a farthing from the tall scout (Gerry O’Meara) standing at the back of
the church”. O mortification!! O blushes!! Still later, a Cub Pack was
started with Joe Campbell as Cub Master and myself as his assistant. We were
then aged about 18 and our links with scouting were soon to end with Joe
entering on his studies for the priesthood and me the Army.

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