Chose your option:

        1. NEWS (2011)
        2. NEWS (2010)
        3. NEWS (2009)
        4. Eugene's Newsletters
          — as distributed to all Pelicans by post or email by the late Eugene MacBride, co-founder of The Pelicans. These include some of the photos taken at reunions

        5. UPDATE: Recent and previous additions to the website

Below are the regular Newsletters that the late Eugene MacBride used to send to all Pelicans. The following issues make interesting reading and will give you some idea of what has has taken place since Eugene and Jarlath Hynes formed The Pelicans association in 1992.

Please note:
No apologies are undertaken for Eugene's tendency to switch to Latin on occasion — or his attempts to sell you a Pelican badge — o
r to persuade you to travel to foreign climes to weep over lost youth — or for humming long-forgotten items from the Liber Usualis in his sleep (allegedly)— or pretending to be a Rangers' supporter when looking for sympathy — or for blowing a fuse when rallying the troops. etc

Yes, we miss him.
Newsletter 50:     June2006
Newsletter 49:    January 2006
Newsletter 48:    May 2005
Newsletter 47a:  February 2005
Newsletter 47:    December 2004
Newsletter 46a:  March 2004

Newsletter 46:    February 2003

Newsletter 45:   January 2004
Newsletter 44:    Autumn 2003
Newsletter 43a:  Christmas 2003
Newsletter 43:    February 2003
Newsletter 42:    September 2002
Newsletter 41:    May 2002
Newsletter 40:    April 2002
Newsletter 39:   January 2002
Newsletter 36:   June 2001
Newsletter 35:    Easter 2001
Newsletter 34:    March 2001
Scottish Region Meeting -
January 2001
Newsletter 33:    October 2000
Newsletter 32:    Eastertide 2000
Newsletter 31
Lenten Rigour (2000)
Newsletter 30:    Christmas 1999
Newsletter 29:    October 1999
Newsletter 28
Midsummer Madness 1999
Newsletter 27:
Lenten Hortatory Edition 1999
Newsletter 26:   September 1998

Scottish Region Meeting - 24 Jan 'O1.

Dear Pelicans

Just to keep you informed find below brief notes from the meeting that took place at Rutherglen.

l) In attendance: Frs Chris Wallbank and Pat Boyd, John Kelly, Pat Tierney, Bobby Brown, Eric Creaney and Vinny Callaghan. Frank Dillon joined us for tea after the meeting.

2) Apologies were received from: Fr. Albert Gardener, Therese Donnelly, Mrs. Christine Hughes.

3) Introductions and Welcome:

Fr. Chris extended a warm welcome to all of us. He expressed the views he held relative to our being able to support each other in the furtherance of the White Fathers missionaries activities. Fr. Pat re-stated the previous offers made, in that, the Scottish Pelicans should look to Milrig Rd. being the gathering point for meetings. Other events could be considered. Fr. Chris pointed out that the Pelicans would be welcome to attend at the Annual Mass for deceased White Fathers, Relatives and Friends on the Sunday following Easter Sunday and also to support the Annual Gathering hosted by the Parents and Friends Association. Both these events are advertised well in advance in the Magazine and the Catholic Press.

4) General Remarks: Vinny Callaghan highlighted some of the points made in his letter of the 16 Jan '01 and opened the meeting to discussions.

5) Discussions: Ideas were kicked around relative to the need for either a Co-ordinating Group, (made-up of a Co-ordinator, Secretary and Treasurer), or for someone to take on the role of Co-ordinator and co-opt additional help or support as needed. It was agreed that we pursue the latter course and appoint a Co-ordinator. Views were expressed relative to the need to consider younger candidates for this role as there was a real need to try and attract and make contact with ex-students of the late '50s and the ‘60s years.

6) Scottish Region Co-ordinator: Eric Creaney was invited and reluctantly agreed to take on the role.

He can be contacted at -
l4 Laird St.
01236 422751
and,if you happen to be 'on-line' for E'mails then use eric @

He tells us the latter route is his preferred option as he is not really into this letter writing business! Alas, he will just have to live with what my 'off-line' word processor produces. Apart from that he has been assured of our total support.

7) The Way Forward: Some time was spent in deliberating how we could best proceed with a view to meeting the Pelican objectives previously set-out in part of our letter of 16 Jan' Ol. The meeting together was not too much of a problem but that was not the case in the expanding of the membership. At the moment we rely upon existing members remembering who they had known when at WF Houses and ,thereafter, trying to locate them. But tapping in to those who came after us tends to be a bit of a lucky-dip at the moment. Two ideas were agreed upon and put forward for further consideration. They were as follows:

a) A block advert be placed in the Scottish Catholic Observer under a suitable heading such as "Ad Salvandos Afros" with the names of the Houses of Study/Formation and an invite to all former students to attend a Mass at Rutherglen on Sunday 1 April 'O1 at 2.OOpm.

b) Try and get the Scottish Catholic Observer to produce an article giving some details of the Pelicans achievements to date and, in the article, to extend an invitation to all former students to attend at the Mass as above.

Eric Creaney mentioned that some of his friends were having a St. Patrick’s Night Dance (16 Mar 'O1) and would be prepared to donate some of the proceeds from same to a nominated White Father on the Missions.

It was felt that we could use this event with point b) above by having a White Father at the Dance, wearing the Habit, to receive the Cheque and also having the paper and their photographer to capture same and produce an article that included the invite. The photo might be the eye catcher! Eric and Vinny are to meet with a view to firming-up on one of the above options. In the event that we go the St. Patrick’s Night Dance route then we will contact you to give details of venue and cost so that Pelicans can consider supporting same.

8) Pelican Events in 2001.

From Eugene's last Pelican newsletter and to be confirmed:
2-3 June : Pentecost Gathering at Bishops Waltham.
5-7 Oct : Annual Gathering at Templeogue, Dublin.

From this note:
1 April 2001 : Scottish Region at Rutherglen: Mass, 2.00pm.
22 April 2001 : WF Relatives and Friends, Rutherglen: Mass for Deceased.

9) Next Meeting:
We will try to have a brief meeting following our Mass on the 1 April 'O1

Once Eric has had time to fully assess what he has got himself into (or should it be what we have talked him into?) then I am sure that he will be in touch with you to advise on further events and gatherings. In the meantime, accept our best wishes and our prayer that the good Lord will bless you and yours in the year ahead.

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Newsletter 30: Christmas 1999

My dear Pelicans

I hope to launch a directory of those receiving this newsletter each October. Two of them have now gone out for October 1998 and 1999. Tommy Price had the 1999 edition in his jacket pocket and it did not half come in useful at Stanstead Airport on the way to Rome and in Rome itself, so it shows you. As ever, there will be mistakes. For instance, Brian Geraghty's 'phone number in Canada is 613-230 1236 and not as printed last time. The White Fathers in Rome are now on the mailing list: Via Aurelia 269, CP 9078, 00100 ROMA, Italia. Telephone: (39) 06. 39. 36. 34. 1; e-mail: The Padri Bianchi gave us an overwhelming welcome on our first Monday in the Eternal City with a tour of the Generalate that took us up in brilliant sunshine to the roof, followed by a visit to the archive where Fr Ivan Page read to us from Mgr Livinhac's actual diary about the about the Martyrs of Uganda. Some of us went back there for evening Mass on the feast of Saints Simon and Jude, celebrated by Pierre Féderlé WF, whom I hadn't seen since Totteridge 1961. Fr Page and Fr John O'Donoghue then came out with us for our last supper to the Ostelleria dei Pontifici near St Peter's and the Casa tra Noi where we stayed.

Before leaving for Rome I attended the funeral of an old Pelican (93), Mary Logan. Mary used to get this newsletter until her sight went. She was the cousin of John Ryan (Brother Aidan) WF who was boss of the Brothers' team that built so much of St Edward's and did so much fine work in the British province in the late fifties and early sixties. John recruited Mary as a WF housekeeper and she served in Heston, Palace Court and Holland Villas until retirement. I lost track of her for many years but began to visit her in Balham and Streatham when John Boase WF gave me her address. She loved to reminisce about the White Fathers and her favourites were undoubtedly Father Prentice ("Wee Pren") and Frank Briody. Every so often she would come out with a howler e.g. "He left the White Fathers and joined the Church"; "Father Moran had the 'flu so 1 made him a pot of tea and he got into bed with it." She died on October 16th and was cremated on the 22nd. She would have been 94 next April 12th. She used to ask me what age she was and I would tell her and she'd let out a gasp of air: "Dear God, who would have ever thought it!" She was strafed by the Luftwaffe near Arding and 'obbs at Clapham Junction in the early days of the War (she saw the bullets kick up in the grass) but undoubtedly, to hear her talk, service with the White Fathers was the most exciting time of her life. May she rest in peace.

HAVE YOU BOUGHT YOUR PELICAN LAPEL BADGE YET? This is a limited edition of 100 only so don't be disappointed if they sell out and you haven't got one. They cost £10 each p & p. The design is a replica of the old Priory cap badge. We wore ours with pride in Rome and very were much admired. To order, ring me at 01476-561890. Do it today!

Something I forgot in the last letter was to ask: PLEASE TELL ME IF YOU'RE GOING TO RUTHERGLEN FEBRUARY 19 and 20 AD 2000. It's no time at all now until the middle of February and Rutherglen will be asking me for numbers. I hate having to say, I dunno, so, please, if you intend to go, don't think I can take it for granted. Our hosts need to know how many so please pick up the 'phone and tell me: 01476-561890.

The Pelican website is making progress under the aegis of Paul West. If you have any WF material, ancient or modern, which you think might enhance it, Paul will be very glad to hear from you at 5, Carlton Villas, Sontley Road, Wrexham LL13 7EH (01978---263085).

I got a quote from Sligo for Peter McKenzie's headstone which would have set Africa back £2100. However, Tommy thinks he can have a headstone made in Newry, good quality, in the region of £600 with a party in Enniskillen able to do the installation for £200 more or less. I have sent him photographs of the grave to give an idea of what needs to be done. I am quite anxious that we spruce up wee Pete's lying-place as a Pelican project. If you want to do something for Peter, please send your donation to Pat Gibbons at 84, Albert Road West, Bolton, Lancs BL1 SED (01204-842525).


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Newsletter 29: October 1999
My dear Pelicans

Have you got your lapel badge yet? It's an absolute beauty, a stunner, a miniature of one of the old Priory cap badges and remember it's a limited edition. Contact Derek Biewer with a tenner and Derek will oblige you p & p included. Thank you, Derek (and May).

No web-site yet but Paul West and I are about to work it out.

Fiery Cross: Rutherglen will receive us on February 19 and 20 AD 2000; the WFs will provide the food but southerners will have to ask their Scots buddy for accommodation; Bishops Waltham (via Terry Butler courtesy of Fr Buckley) on June 3 and 4; and Chris Benton has been in touch with the Dryburgh Abbey Hotel to take us for October 2000. The DAH would be a Friday to Sunday reunion but will cost £55 per head per night! In order to qualify for a discount we must get our numbers in soon for a block booking. WILL YOU PLEASE BE SO KIND AS TO TELL ME ASAP IF YOU INTEND TO GO? No tell, no discount. No discount. no go. Lionel Holland hopes to organise a reunion at Totteridge for March 2000 AD and I hope to get another letter out in this regard before Christmas. As with Bps Wa and Dryburgh AH, Totteridge will also be a wives' do.

I want to put a new headstone on Peter McKenzie's grave at Blacklion as a beau geste on the part of the Pelicans. Zelda and I stood guard of honour (?) over him this year on Cemetery Sunday at the end of July. Bud Greene (as we found out) had put a posy of flowers by his head. Peter's grave is surmounted by a tall cross which is in a very shabby condition. It needs a good cleaning but even if we went at it with bleach and brush, the inscription still needs repointing. It's in among a lot of new graves with simple black headstones which need only a sponge-down to keep them looking at their best. I have been in touch with Fr O'Mahoney and he has no objections (the grave is registered to the WFs); Bud went up to see the PP and he is very pleased that we should be taking this initiative; I've spoken to Pat Gibbons who has asked me to get him a price so I have written to the stonemason in Sligo for his latest brochure and am waiting. I didn't feel it was a grave at all on Cemetery Sunday in the sense that the cross was being used as a support for sore feet by the party in front. It's like an abandoned grave. Peter is left alone bar the kindness of Bud and Caithe Greene and I do believe we will be better people for doing something.

Caithe needs your best prayers as she waits to go in for surgery. Pray hard too for Paula Yeomans of the Burdett-Clark family. Jarlath may not be entirely fit to open the bowling but I have no doubt, all else being equal, he will rise to the occasion this June at the Priory and address the congregation with all his customary wit and fortitude. Shop around the saints for him and also for Brian Geraghty and Louis Fitzmaurice. In fact, at the age we are (even you, Melling), oremus pro invicem.

Addresses at Bps Wa: 1) Brent Villa B&B (Tom Wilkie): 01489 890188; 2) Bridge Hotel, Shawford: Ol962 713171; 3) The Priory Inn: Ol489 891313; 4) Upland Park Hotel, Droxford: 01489-878507; Marwell Hotel: 01962 777681. Let's get our bookings in early.

Don't forget that our first Pelican visit ad limina apostolorum takes place from Oct 23 until Oct 29. +Michael Fitzgerald has fixed us up with accommodation and got us tickets for various functions in the Eternal City. He took Walter and Margaret Perry and Jarlath and Ann Hynes behind the scenes at the Vatican on their recent visits (and I think John and Mary Kelly too?). Anyway, this is a Pelican visit to Rome. Who would have thought it? We shall take no major decisions without clearing them with you know who (we're booked in for a General Audience). Let's go for 2000AD: Glory to God on high and on earth ENTHUSIASM!

God Bless, Eugene

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Newsletter 28: Midsummer Madness (1999)
My dear Pelicans

It seems an age since the Lenten Hortatory Edition but we have not entirely gone to sleep here at the Editor's Desk. We had a reunion at Preston over Whitsun courtesy of Fr O'Donnell and those wonderful ladies, Muriel and Marion who laid on two days of meals you could not have bettered at the Savoy. Pelicans present were Chas Robinson, John Morton, Pat Gibbons, Bernard ('Babe') Melling, Fr Bill Russell WF, Fr Pat Boyd WF, Lionel Kearney, Hugh Campbell, Fr Tom O'Donnell WF, Pat Menzies, Chris Benton, Frank Dillon, Bro Joe Mullen WF and me.

We always get stimulating fare from our speakers at these reunions. This year was quite exceptional with Brother Joe giving us about two hours of his time on Saturday night and Fr Bill slightly less time but no less heartening on Sunday morning. Both had travelled specially in order to speak to us, so we were honoured indeed. At the pow-wow stage of things, it was decided to ask Paul West to go ahead with the setting-up of a Pelican web site incorporating information about who we are; a notice board; the WF badge; Ebby's auntie's painting of the Priory, Maurice Billingsley's sketch of St Columba's and any other brainstorms. Are you out there, Paul? Will you contact me? Or shall I send you an up-to-date list of our membership? Probably the latter first with this letter.

Now for a few questions? Do you have an e-mail address? If so, why not let me have it? Mine is I think I mutilated a few e-mail addresses earlier in my career as editor of this newsletter but am more mature now. Are you getting the WF/WS magazine? If not, please contact Fr Bill Turnbull WF at 129 Lichfield Rd, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands E374 2SA ( The magazine is free but costs a bomb to produce so donations are not unwelcome.

Have you heard of Fr Kevin Wiseman WF? Kevin was one of the WF internees at St Denis in 1940 and was ordained at Jedburgh on 3 June l 949. He was twice prepared for execution by the Germans and has now written his story. If you want a copy, send £10 to KAAS Publishing, PO Box 8900X4, Houston, Texas 77289, USA. If you want the formal order form, ask me. The title of the book is: DESTINED FOR A MISSION.

Do you wonder where your Pelican lapel badge is'? It is on its way! Are you wondering about the next Pelican reunion? It's in Rome, Oct 23-29 and there are ten of us booked to fly: Gibbons x2, Morton x2, Price x4, MacBride x2. Are you wondering what our plans are for twenty hundred? I hope to ask Rutherglen to receive us in March; Bishops Waltham to receive us for Whitsun (I believe we disappointed quite a few people by not being there this year); and if Jimmy (Johnston) can swing it, Dryburgh Abbey Hotel in October.

Right, that's enough questions. Before l do the financial report, Jarlath tells me Jimmy scooped over £3000 for the missions from his Derby Draw and Craigneuk Cabaret at the end of May. Doesn't it warm your heart? Now this is Pat's financial report from 1 December 1997 to 14 May 1999 for which we are very grateful. The opening balance was £690.16. Income for the Priory Chair Fund was £1820.16; for Tod's and Pat's Golden Jubilee Fund: £650. Interest on those amounts was £28.15. Donations came to £2054.00, a total of £5242.31. Where then did your money go? The Priory Sanctuary Chair took £1220; flowers for Muriel, sick in hospital (she loved them!) £47.99; TO'D got £350 for being 50 years a priest; Pat (no less loved) got £300; and the rest went to the Missions: Bro Trevor £1170; Packy £310; Bro Bailey £220; Fr Cullen £620; Fr Easton £350; which is not bad going when you think of it. But Fr Bailey, surely? Vincent Bailey?

How, you ask, reverting to questions, is the Golden Jubilee Fund going in respect of Dan Sherry and Tom Rathe? Well, we have £210 in so far but this represents only TWO donations for this appeal. Dan taught some of us at St Columba's and Tom put some valued time in at the Priory. Roll up!

Back to Preston we sang Plain Chant Compline on Saturday night, absolutely rattled through the psalms in the manner of the ancient Hebrews and sang Missa de Angelis on Sunday morning followed by the WF Magnificat (brilliantly sung, not a mistake anywhere) and then the Priorians' Farewell for the Holidays: Sweet Jesus Bless us ere we go. Great stuff, yet the stuff that causes us to confront the charge that we are exclusive. There are those who would like to join us but are frightened away because of our Priorian ethos. But Fr Bill was not an ex-Priorian, nor was Joe Mullen. Both of them seemed to be totally at home. Fr Boyd says he is only reporting what has been said to him. It reminds me of the farming co-operative in Northern Ireland, a success beyond belief until one night somebody stands up and says what a shame! We're bound to fail. Catholics and Protestants can't work together. And from that moment on ----- Doom! Who is saying these things? Why not contact me or come to our reunions? I was not at all eager to start the Pelicans in 1992. Now I feel slightly cheesed-off if this back-biting really is going on. Whoever's doing it put up or shut up. Pray for Jarlath and Brian Geraghty.

Thank you, Eugene
. (And Louis Fitzmaurice!)

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Newsletter 27: Lenten Hortatory Edition 1999

My dear Pelicans

The main aim of this Lenten encyclical is to announce that Fr O'Donnell, having consulted Marion, who as you know was not well with her heart last year, has agreed to receive us for a plenary session at Preston on May 22 and 23 (i.e. Whitsun eve and Whit Sunday). It was Chas who approached TO'D and TO'D consulted Marion. Marion has to go back into hospital sometime but is willing to receive us at Pentecost. I suggest that we do as much as possible to keep her load light, e.g. all the clearing-up and washing-up after meals. Please book in with TO'D. If you've already mislaid your directory, he's at 37-39 Victoria Parade, Preston, Lancs PR2 lDT (telephone 01772-722378). 1 think we should all be booked-in by April 30 but as soon as possible to give Father a chance to arrange things if accommodation gets tight. Thank you very much, TO'D.
Rome in October may be under way for a small group but I am waiting to hear from Bishop Fitzgerald. Bishop Michael was in Tamale (Ghana) where he "was chuffed to see a monument to the "founding fathers" of the Church there, including Tom Tryers and John McNulty!"

My most recent message from Treasurer Gibbons reads as follows: "Bernard Melling sent £100 from the Bispham (Blackpool) "Help the Hungry" Group. They have been very good to us over the years. I sent £150 to Fr Alec Easton; this leaves us with £38 in the bank. Hoots, mon!"

Do not despair if you have not received your lapel badge. Derek has got 57 orders and will be placing them with Fatterini shortly as soon as a certain ship comes in.

I've had a letter from Paul West. Paul proposed to create us a web-site but in the meantime has not had his troubles to seek in terms of business problems that a corrupted hard disk did nothing to allay. Now hear this from Paul: "I need to ask you now about what you would like the Pelicans website to contain. Would you give it some thought and let me know so that I can get on with fulfilling the promise I made to get this facility up and running?"

I've told Paul I think this is outwith my brief and I'd need to refer it to the Pelicans in this letter. We are in no hurry, so I suggest it is something we might profitably discuss at Preston. If you have a brainstorm in the meantime, contact Paul at 01978 263 085. Thank you, Paul.

Now hear this from Peter Finn:

"I am compiling a list of former Priory, St Columba and Philosophy students. The list currently has over 700 names but it is far from complete. I would appreciate any information readers can give me about their own dates and colleges attended and of any other students they recall even if it is only their names. I am also accumulating information about the Priory and would like to have any recollections, stories, facts, myths or anecdotes. Even what may seem inconsequential may be of interest for the record. I would particularly like to borrow copies of The Priorian, The Columban, and The Pelican, with a promise to return them very quickly. Already 1967-68 is fading into the mists: Where did the 6th formers live in Southsea? Who were they? Who was their superior when the Priory closed? If we don't capture the record now it will be lost for ever."

This is the sort of thing Peter would appreciate: Think of the big guest parlour below the oratory at the Priory. In wartime it was a dormitory, l2 beds packed tight. “. . . the blackout had been pulled back when the siren went off denoting an air raid in progress. Then a whisper: “There's one caught in the searchlight." The result was a headlong rush of bodies in pyjamas to the windows. The l2th man, meanwhile, rolled up all of Hoss's bedclothes including the mattress onto a locker at the foot of the bed opposite and meandered casually to see the sights in the sky. It was like firework night. Then the inevitable: "Here comes Connie!" (Fr Kinsella). There was a dash to get back and curl up under the covers–except for Hoss who hit the naked spring and moaned out a cry for help: "Where's ma bed?" Connie came through the door. As the only one in the know, I was eating my pillow. Connie was aware that something was afoot but the Grand Silence was electric. . . we might as well have all been lying gassed. . . I don't know if I relented, I don't know if I told Hoss where his bed was, I don't know if I said I was sorry. What I do remember is the pain trying to hold back the laughter at Hoss's high speed landing on the wire spring..."

Fr Stevie Collins has a new address: St Francis House, POB l 0241, FONTEINREIT 1464, RSA: "l gave a workshop on AIDS, tried to get the sick to take the AIDS test but no one wants to be tested. Some gay lawyers have persuaded the government to insist on the human right of people to keep AIDS confidentiality and so the virus is spreading in secret. S Africa has the fastest growing rate of AIDS incidence in the world. .. Uganda is the only country where the rate of incidence is falling... "

Dan Sherry and Tom Rathe, who taught some of us, are 50 years ordained this summer. Donations please to Pat Gibbons towards a presentation to these two fine lads.

God bless, Eugene.

P.S. Prayers needed for Jarlath and Hugh Campbell, also Brian Geraghty. £288 received from Tony Guilfoyle. THANK YOU!

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Newsletter 26: Lenten Hortatory Edition 1999

My dear Pelicans

This is to announce that Derek Biewer, after much legwork for which we should be grateful, has made contact with Fatterini, the Birmingham people who (very probably) once made the Priory cap badge, and has negotiated terms for a metal lapel pin in blue and gold based on one of the 40s/50s style examples lent by Chas Robinson (who has two — see picture).

In matter of quality we have decided to go for the metal instead of cold enamel which would be cheaper to buy but inferior in terms of product. The metal lapel badge will cost ?10 postage and package included (which will naturally be extra for overseas readers in Miami, the Toronto suburbs, NZ and elsewhere). Derek would like to place an order for 10 badges but there is no way he can dress May in finery and have ?1,000 to lodge with Fatterini. We have to get our orders and money in to him to enable him to go ahead.

If you think you would like to have a lapel badge (and what about one for the lady wife who accompanied you so faithfully to the Priory on May 31 and Tod? do on June 27?), please send a cheque for the appropriate amount to:

Derek Biewer, 27 Hambledon Road, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, Cleveland TSS 5EE.

Derek? phone number is 01642-873917 and he can be contacted on the Internet at You can get me at

Thank you, Derek. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Were you at Blacklion? I went back during the ?ummer? The rain was pelting on the night of July 27, anniversary of the fine day on which I left the Black in 1956. Jack Maguire promised us Philosophy would be the happiest two years of our lives. How could he be so sure and yet so right? I had one great year at Broome Hall and one at St Augustine? and the rest was anti-climax not to say dishwater.

I took to my feet on the morning of the 28th to compensate for 42 lost years. I could not credit this was the road to the Marble Arch Caves (photo left). It was as if they had been relocated backwards and would never come. Where by the roadside was the Saltman? Rock, most prominent of landmarks? Gone, all gone. (I found it on the way back, ivy all over it). On the return journey I saw a cow give birth and (post hoc) collapsed into the first pub in the village. My knees could take no more and yet as boys we had bowled out that road for a day? camp in the Claddagh Glen, skipped back in the evening but with no stop in Blacklion for a beer, straight out along the road to the college, another couple of miles still to do. Effortless.

I was likewise amazed at the revised distance out to Cuilcagh mountain, a mere stroll surely there and back for a day? fun in the old time but now 300 miles distant. Up at the college, I was allowed into my old room which I had seen in my dreams. There are two beds in there now and a lock on the door. I doubt if I will dream of it again. There? a sad poem here somewhere.

I just couldn? find Peter McKenzie? grave, search as I might. I was near to giving up when I gave him a shout. ?ome on, McKenzie, show yourself!?and in that moment I had him. Now that was a happy experience. Wee Pete was drowned two days before the death of John XXIII and about six months before the assassination of JFK. Another era entirely.

I went up to Glenfarne to see the church we opened (rehabilitated) in April 1956 and through to Kiltyclogher to view the statue of Sean MacDermott, the joker of the 1916 Rebellion. On my last morning before up to Donegal, I did something I never did throughout 1995-6 and I can? understand why not: visited the Shannon Pot and saw at last the shining hole of black water below Cuilcagh where Ireland? great river rises.


God bless, Eugene

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