Donal McGahon BComm (1960)


I cannot sit in the National Concert Hall without my spine chilling. The walls turn battleship grey with peeling paint and I am sitting at a rickety fold-up desk. Once again it is the Great Hall of UCD and an exam is in progress. At other times a huge platform would be erected to accommodate university officials for a conferring of degrees. The Hall was simultaneously the place of judgement and despatch. I studied Commerce at UCD from 1956 to 1960 and the Commerce Faculty was located in Earlsfort Terrace. UCD had other faculties at College of Science (now the Department of An Taoiseach), the Veterinary College Ballsbridge, and the Dental School while the Agricultural Faculty sojourned on the northern plains of Glasnevin at the Albert College. Economically the country still had many problems with high emigration, relatively little manufacturing and a wall of protective tariffs and quotas. In many ways the UCD scenes in At-Swim-Two Birds were still valid and recognisable.

Commerce was a tough course with all of 12 hours of lectures a week. In First Year we did some Arts subjects which extended our circle of friends considerably as we did strange subjects like Middle English. The Dean of Commerce was Professor George O’Brien who was a kind but intensely shy man. From time to time I had to see him to get decisions about the Commerce Society and you caught him as he came into the corridor on the third floor. He would listen carefully but would be edging all the time with his back to the wall down to the staff room, beating his tweed hat on the wall. He was very well-regarded although his days of publishing influential work had passed. He was a bachelor and lived in a mansion in Burlington Road, attended upon by his butler. He did not however neglect his annual holidays which were spent in the exotic location of Sutton. His was the generation of the club man and the Faculty staff spent many happy hours dining together and exchanging gossip.

Professor James Meenan lectured on National Economics and the main work at our time was in analysis of the report on Migration. One thing which James Meenan taught relentlessly was the correct spelling of ‘immigration’ and ‘emigration’. His National Economics lecture was attended by both Commerce and Arts students and the lecture hall was so crowded that it was photographed as part of the College’s submission to the government commission on UCD’s future accommodation. The lower picture opposite page 296 in McCartney ‘UCD- A National Idea’ shows the students waiting to enter the hall. John O’Donovan as well as being a lecturer served variously as a TD and Senator for the Labour Party, He won a constitutional case which required the State to ensure that the votes in all constituencies were of equal strength. Professor Paddy Lynch was an advocate of the European Economic Community (now the European Union) and wrote widely on the topic. Gerard Quinn was a young lecturer who taught Price Theory. A newcomer was Michael J McCormack who had spent time in the USA and would spearhead the introduction of MBA Courses in UCD. We also had a visiting American academic, Professor Dye, who expected us to do essays between lectures – hope on.

Some of the specialist subjects were taught by part-time lecturers one of whom was Garret Fitzgerald, then with Aer Lingus. He gave his Transport Economics lectures on a Saturday ( it was that long ago) and afterwards would take a number of students to the DBC restaurant near Merrion Row for coffee and cakes. However he spoke so rapidly that many could not keep up in their notes. A secretarial course was put to good use by one student who took them down in shorthand and sold the duplicated product later.

The College was administered by what we would now call a Troika. This consisted of President Michael Tierney, Registrar Jeremiah J Hogan (who would succeed Tierney) and Secretary/Bursar Joseph P McHale, who played bridge and lawn tennis for Ireland.

President Tierney was a divisive figure. An accomplished Classics scholar, he had variously been a TD and Senator in the Cumann na nGaedheal/Fine Gael Party in the 1922-1940 period. He was a control freak and did not take criticism lightly. College politics could be very dangerous for the unwary. However he had vision and his principal vision was that the College should relocate to the estates at Belfield.

You entered the Main Hall of UCD through the huge doors on Earlsfort Terrace. The floor consisted of large black and white tiles, like a country kitchen. Around the walls were locked notice-boards, some for College purposes, and others for student societies. In the centre, flanking pillars, were free-standing noticeboards. These were memorably described as ‘leg-testers’ meaning that the male students lounging on the benches at the walls could judge the legs of the female students reading notices.

To your left was the entrance to the College public office presided over by Mrs Hilda O’Brien. This was the focus of our attention when examination results were about to be posted. In those days the lists of those passing were published on a notice-board. Now data protection laws require you to consult by computer using your CIA-proof passwords. Beyond the office lay the corridor for the offices of the senior administrative staff. Before you came to that corridor a large staircase led to the first floor and down to a coffee shop known as the Annexe.

The Porter’s Lodge was on the right, and the man in charge was Mr Paddy Keogh. For many he was the embodiment of Newman’s idea of a university and his diplomatic and organisational skills saved many academics from disaster.

The corridor to the right led the Ladies Common Room and the office of the Women’s Dean of Residence. At the end was the Physics Department. Below was a corridor flanked on one side by lockers for college societies and a row of benches occupied by nuns who were not at lectures. They looked like black battery hens. The Ladies Common Room was where the gossip of the day was exchanged.

The responsibilities of the Deans of Residence related only in part to the accommodation of students. Their principal concern was the moral safety of the College. There was a Women’s Dean of Residence, Miss Norah Greene, while the men were catered for by Catholic priests. There were Deans for other faiths that operated on an on-call basis. Principal Dean was Fr Patrick Tuohy, a genial and shrewd man who saved many students from themselves, arguing tirelessly for them where discipline was being forced on delinquents. He patrolled the College every day, greeting one and all and offering cigarettes as a conversation starter. In those days the Lenten fast was kept rigorously but on Ash Wednesday Fr Tuohy granted dispensations to all he met. He quite understood the need to eat properly. I remember three of his assistants, Fr Thomas Menton, Fr Andrew Boland and Fr Joseph Dunn who went on to another career as a TV programme producer with the Radharc team.

Ostensibly these priests were the agents of Archbishop John Charles McQuaid in UCD but the one to watch was Monsignor John Horgan. He headed the Metaphysics Department but could turn up at anyone’s elbow, all interest and enquiry as to their work and progress, Example: one sunny Friday afternoon I was walking along Earlsfort Terrace reading the Spectator which had a great stable of columnists at that time. I was chortling over an article when this shadow fell across me. It was the Monsignor, known in some disrespectful circles as ‘the Sheriff’. He enquired politely as to what was amusing me so much. I told him that it was an article by Alan Coren describing how the Duke of Windsor, when Prince of Wales, had tried to start a fashion of ironing your trousers like sailors, that is from side to side instead of from front to back. He started, looked at me curiously and never bothered me again.

Most students lived at home. Those that did not had a variety of accommodation. Some stayed in the Halls which dated from the days of the Royal University of Ireland. The girls had Dominican and Loreto Halls while University Hall welcomed the men. Parents liked these because there was proper supervision. Indeed if you dated a girl from Dominican or Loreto, you had to return her before curfew and there was to be no misbehaviour on the doorstep because Sister was watching you through a mirror.

In parents’ books the next best supervision was the landlady in your digs. These were lodgings where you had a bedroom, possibly shared, and breakfast and evening meal supplied. Others broke out into bed-sits, usually a bedroom in a house with shared bathroom and cooking facilities. At this date there were relatively few flats for students and few students who could afford them. Rathmines and Ranelagh were great student lodging areas.

Eating out at a reasonable price was a constant issue. In the Terrace you could have morning tea/coffee and biscuits in the Annexe. A restaurant critic of today would give it minus points for ambience but the conversations were great. The black phalanx from Clonfiffe College also came for morning coffee although their sisters-in-religion had no such sustenance. In the evening you could have your tea in the basement restaurant at Newman House, also known as ‘86’. Going towards ‘town’ there was the DBC and in Grafton Street you could find Robert Roberts and Bewleys, the latter maintaining a ‘men only’ policy for the basement tables, except on Saturday. (At this date there was a ‘women only’ public house in Moore Street.) The Commerce Society usually repaired to the Singing Kettle in Lower Leeson Street for a plate of chips and tea.

Newman House was where much social activity occurred. It was like a clubhouse for students with lounges where people could chat, a supply of the day’s newspapers, usually with the racing cards torn out and rooms available for the Students Representative Council (SRC) and other societies. The fine salons were off limits and were seen only rarely by privileged students. The porters here were great helpers, led by George Williams. His aides were Dick Burton, Frank Brown and Jack Nugent.

Presiding over Newman House was the Warden, William Leen, a retired Garda Superintendent. He was very kindly and wanted the students to enjoy the facilities and worked hard to achieve this aim. He identified that there was very little to do on a Sunday night so he started a kind of cinema club. He got relatively recent continental and art house films and showed them in the Aula Maxima, which was the hall adjoining 86. The projectionist was a man addressed as Lennie. It was years later that I found that his full name was Lennie Collinge and that he had been James Joyce’s projectionist in the short-lived Volta Cinema, Mary Street. While talking one day to Mr Leen, he remarked to me on the amount of theft from the restaurant. I asked what sorts of things were being stolen, thinking of small objects like condiment sets or ash trays. His reply was that in the term to date 80 tea pots had disappeared.

Belfield was where the playing fields were and Seán Toomey was the Warden here. The argument about moving the College there was in progress during my time. Finally the Dail approved the move in 1960.

UCD provided a culture shock for almost all students – it was co-educational. Finally the sexes could get up close to each other. So what could one do for a date? Cinemas were all over the city, with what were termed continuous programmes. You came, watched a three-hour programme and then left at the part of the film you saw first. The budding film critics went on Friday afternoons to see the new programme at the Green Cinema on St Stephen’s Green. Their word of mouth recommendation or condemnation had a huge effect on the cinema. In those days cinemas had female ushers to guide you safely to a seat. There were also very large male commissionaires to keep order where there were queues or misbehaviour inside the cinema. This gave rise to the Alarm Clock Joke. It was Friday, and as usual the critics turned up. But this week they were all armed with alarm clocks, carefully set to go off at five-minute intervals. The first one went off and the commissionaire was summoned. No sooner had he quelled one set of rowdies than another clock went off. It went on for about 30 minutes.

The Grafton Cinema had become a newsreel and cartoon house with an hour-long programme with several newsreels and some cartoons. If you timed it properly you could go in and see a particular reel twice without being too long there. A number of us did that with The Running, Jumping and Standing Still film. It was made by Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and their pals to try out Sellers’ new cine camera. You can see it in You Tube.

The other great amusement was dancing. There were huge dance promotions organised by student committees fundraising for ‘study’ trips. There were the Yerrawaddies (Engineers) and the Ags. The big commercial ballrooms were The Crystal and the Olympic, while informal dances known as ‘hops’ were held in the Aula Maxima. Most student societies had annual dress dances where formal dress was worn. The Gresham Hotel with Neil Kearns’ Orchestra was the usual venue.

Money generally was tight but pint drinking was the usual treat. Girls did not generally go into pubs. The one most used by Earlsfort Terrace drinkers was O’Dwyers with its terrazzo floor – none of your lounges with carpets. A few doors away on the corner of Leeson Lane was Hartigans, frequented by medical students coming out the back of St Vincent’s Hospital and by rugby types. Women were not allowed although there were stories of very brave girls sneaking in on Christmas Eve. In later years these two pubs were to be owned by Alfie Mulligan Across the road was The Green Bar which the Ags favoured. At the corner of Cuffe Street was to be found the Winter Garden which had the reputation, important in those days before standardised delivery, of being a ‘good pint house’. Adjoining it was the Green Lounge where the embryo Dublin Jazz scene tried to get under way with ‘Rock Fox’ (Charles Meredith) and George Hodnett.

Nearly every faculty or speciality had a student society. Some arranged learned papers from recent graduates, others focused on debates about topical subjects or those connected to their field of learning and there would also be a social side to the group. There were also societies that anyone could join like Pax Romana or the DramSoc. The highlight of the year would be the Auditor’s Inaugural, held in typical Irish way at the end of the Auditor’s term of office. This would entail the Auditor writing a paper on a topic of current interest. Supporting guest speakers would come and speak to the paper enlarging on it from their own personal perspective and experience. The platform party usually wore evening dress. The Inaugural served a number of purposes. It gave a shop window for the Auditor about to enter the world of work, allowed guest speakers to interact with the College, and obtained some publicity for the Faculty. Mind you the guest speakers had to be approved by the College authorities. Following the formal proceedings the student members would go off and have a party, particularly if the auditor had a large house that could be used.

The DramSoc led a cloistered existence at the top of Newman House in its Little Theatre where lots of experimental work was done. At this period they also put on revues, largely written by Fergus Linehan. The star turn was Rosaleen McMenamin who later married Fergus and they provided great entertainment in later years with their contemporary, Des Keogh. I well remember Richard Parnell Fitzgibbon Johnson premiering the lovely parody ‘I’m an Irish tenor, I sing high and low’.

Some students were interested in politics in practice as opposed to those in lectures. Their main theatre of operations was the Student Representative Council (SRC). In this particular time it was a relatively simple organisation and the race was to be President and to ensure that as many of your supporters won seats representing the different Faculties. I fondly remember Michael Kehoe from Wexford who won on the slogan ‘Kehoe for Go – Go for Kehoe’. I also remember Maeve Binchy running unsuccessfully on the slogan ‘Ravers for Maevers’. But the master of all was Gerry Collins, one of the Limerick Fianna Fail dynasty. He ran what was known as ‘The Machine’ and every week close observers were entertained to a master class in politics – how to influence particular groups; how to scent the popular view and express it; even how to react to anonymous leaflets attacking oneself. To be fair, Gerry also kept election promises, bringing a television set into 86 and inventing the big black blue and yellow woollen College scarf, still in use.

The different reactions of Kehoe and Collins to possible adverse press comment were instructive. As Awake reporters we would try out some scandal we had heard. Mick would get very flustered, drag us into a corner and say ‘Ah lads, you can’t print that’. Gerry Collins on the other hand would raise an eyebrow and say genially ‘I don’t care what you say so long as you spell my name right’. Guess who became the government minister.

Societies were a cheap way of enjoying oneself and you could attend one or two a night if you were up to it. But the principal society was the Literary and Historical Society which met on Saturday nights. It was a society which every student could join. The meeting was held in the Physics Theatre, Earlsfort Terrace. It was a large room with tiers of seats, each row with a dividing rail in front with a surface which could be used for notebooks. On either side was an entrance. Between the two entrances was a huge timber workbench with fittings for scientific work. The actor Joe Lynch chaired a meeting and ended his summing-up by demonstrating his step-dancing skills on this workbench. The Auditor sat in a special chair and the committee ranged on either side. The motion for the evening and the name of the guest Chair would be written on the blackboard behind the auditor. The location of the doors led Seán McBride SC to remark ‘that the atmosphere of a railway station was created by people constantly going in and out.’

The members’ private business at the L&H was mainly for fun, teaching many of us the rules of conducting a meeting and the tactics necessary to throw it into chaos. The bible was Palgrave’s Chairman’s Handbook and one could get lost in the claim and counter-claim of amendments, amendments to amendments, putting the question now, points of order and even points of information. The L&H had not yet become a franchise of the Comedy Store so many serious questions of the day were discussed and the Society could be used to voice concerns about the college administration. On one occasion I borrowed a flashgun from Albert Glaholme of the Archaeological Department and took a series of photos of private business. These are now in the College Archive. The discussion of college business at the L&H was reported by the Sunday newspapers in their city editions. The Sunday Independent was particularly keen on any bit of a buzz and the Irish Times would rehash it on Monday. Apparently this set President Tierney wild.

The public business was the debate, usually on a topical motion and with a distinguished Chair with authority upon the subject. There were excellent speakers as well as those of us who spoke to satisfy the conditions for a vote in the annual elections. My cousin Vincent O’Doherty had been a distinguished debater, winning the Society’s gold medal and representing it in the first final of the Observer Mace in 1957. My Dundalk cousin, Niall P McGahon, also contributed regularly to debates.

Debates could be fun too and in 1959 the topic was ‘That this House does not regret the Civil War’. The student newspaper You Who reported:

Tribute must be paid to Mr Hogan for evoking the only spontaneous laughter of the evening. The incident occurred when Mr Brian McSwiney entered the house and tried to interrupt Mr Hogan, who was referring to the killings of the Civil War, quick as lighting the latter retorted ’These men had only one chance to be shot, McSwiney, not like you, every Saturday night.’

Speakers who did not keep the attention of the audience were liable to be heckled and some of this could be fierce. But speakers could turn a heckle:

Heckler: ‘Does your mother know you’re out?’
Speaker: ‘She sent me!’

In Dermot Bouchier Hayes’ term of office the L&H had its ‘reading rooms’ in a Lower Leeson Street basement. As a result of the coldness between the Society and the College outlined below, the Governing Body no less investigated whether or not the Society’s funds were being used to provide a venue for late-night drinking after debates. It was in fact tenanted by John Horgan and Joe Mulholland.

To digress briefly – in 1959 the grown-ups at UCD became very fractious with each other and there was a backlash on the students, most of which fell on the L&H. A dispute arose over the appointment of college lecturers, as opposed to statutory lecturers. College lecturers were paid a bit more, given the title of lecturer but did not have fixity of tenure. UCD appointed them and claimed that they were needed for the rising number of students and that the procedures for recruiting and appointing statutory lecturers were slow and cumbersome. A lecturer in the Law Faculty, John Kenny SC, argued that these college lecturer appointments were illegal in that neither the NUI or UCD charters provided for the posts. The controversy became so heated that the government appointed a three-person Visitation under the terms of the Charter. This found against the College. It was something of a pyrrhic victory as legislation had to be passed to legitimise the existing college lecturers and to allow the process to continue. Some of the internal heat was taken out of the dispute by the elevation of John Kenny to the bench of the High Court.

The L&H got involved in another attack on President Tierney. It was led by Michael Hogan, Dermot Bouchier Hayes and Aidan Browne. It centred on a gift of books made in 1920 by Archbishop William Walsh of Dublin. The books were the Chief Baron Palles Library. He had been the Chief Justice in the time of the British. The three students claimed that the terms of the trust were being broken in that the books should be housed in totally separate quarters. They complained first to the Commissioners of Charitable Donations & Bequests who passed it to the Attorney General. The College had little space in Earlsfort Terrace and it proposed the compromise of storing them in special bookcases in the Arts Library (O’Curry Hall) and the AG accepted this. (They can be seen in the photograph on page 79 of Farewell to the Terrace.) The Palles Three complained then to the UCD Governing Body who rejected the complaint. The L&H had been drawn in to the controversy with resolutions in private business. It was a bad year to be drawing attention to yourself as an opponent of the regime.

Sadly, Dermot Bouchier Hayes was to be one of the first of my contemporaries to die. This happened after a mountaineering accident in Switzerland.

The SRC had a magazine called The Student which appeared fitfully but did so in February 1960. The edition was edited by Peter Donnelly, a third-year Arts student. He included a story of his own that was considered inappropriate by a disciplinary committee. He was ordered to be excluded from all college premises until the end of term; required to apologise and to give an undertaking not to write in any student publication. The committee would then consider allowing him to attend in Trinity Term and to permit him to sit his BA examination. This ruling was endorsed by the Academic Council.

He was a member of the L&H which immediately swung into action to defend him. My recollection is that during a Saturday night meeting the register of members was brought to the railings along the Terrace and that Peter signed it through the railings, thus not entering college lands. This was to complete the formalities of membership renewal which he had forgotten. The Society earnestly debated the matter, supporting Peter but it was to be Auditor Brian McSwiney who lost. As a mark of disapproval his inaugural was ‘prohibited’ and despite the support of an influential group of ex-Auditors Brian decided for the good of the Society not to defy the instruction. He was succeeded by Des Green who had to negotiate the return to the Physics Theatre and the restoration of the College grant.

Brian McSwiney’s Inaugural should have been held on Saturday 7 May 1960 on the topic of Samuel Beckett and entitled The Partially Purged. His guest speakers were to be Owen Sheehy-Skeffington (who was not a speaker approved of by the College), Anthony Cronin and Niall McCloskey.

In contrast the Commerce Society seemed a model of decorum as was suitable for the future leaders of Ireland’s industry and commerce. It met on Monday nights in the Medical Library. It had members’ private business but this was more usually related to the organisation of the Society’s activities such as attending the annual Universities Economic Congress or social events such as the annual Dress Dance which was run jointly with the Law Society or the annual Picnic usually on Dalkey Island. The debates were usually on topics closely related to business and economics. The Society got many prominent business people to chair the debates and give their own views at the conclusion. These were exciting times because the whole economic scene had been electrified and focused by the publication in November 1958 of TK Whitaker’s First programme for Economic Expansion.

The most popular debate was the annual Impromptu debate. The chair was always taken by an ex-Auditor, Reggie Redmond. Reggie ran a confectionery factory producing count lines for children’s pocket money. He always brought prizes for everyone including his top brand, Orby toffees. I had the honour to serve as Treasurer for two Auditors, John Bastible (1958/59) and David Horkan (1959/60).

The Auditor’s Inaugural address was the highlight of the year. Our kindly Dean, Professor George O’Brien would invite the Committee and speakers to a dinner beforehand which was in one of the salons at Newman House. It was on one such occasion that I first met Charles J Haughey and concluded he was to be dealt with cautiously.

David Horkan and I, together with our counterparts in Trinity College formed the Irish branch of AISEC. This is an organisation providing holiday internships with firms in other countries. David and I had great fun dealing with some of the incoming students. I remember two arising from the fact that some Continental students did not realise that Ireland was a different state and an island. We had to disabuse the Dutchman who thought he could get a direct train from London to Dublin. Another had saved up all his rotten teeth to have them done on the British National Health Service. We quickly introduced him to our friends in the Dental Hospital. AISEC is still going strong.

Outside my studies my main activity was in student journalism. In 1959 John O’Donnell (Architecture) and Mary Humphreys (Arts) decided to start a student newspaper. They did this under the title You Who. It contained news, poetry, reviews, and articles. Its format varied a few times but generally people liked it. However, for reasons which I have never fully discovered, it was banned by the College.

At the start of the first term 1959/1960, my schoolmate James Boylan III decided to continue publication but under the name Awake. The College insisted on providing a ‘censor’ in the shape of Gerard Quinn of the Commerce Faculty. This was a blessing in disguise. He was sympathetic to our publication but was aware of the political scene amongst the staff as outlined above. He was able to guide us on how to present certain subjects and we did not have problems in this area.

Jim recruited me to act as a business manager while Terence Brien was his deputy as editor. Terry and I are still going strong having been each other’s Best Man. Amongst those involved were Brian McLoughlin, Michael Smith, Stephen O’Sullivan, John Boland, Jarlath McKenna, and John Horgan of the flat. Our Sports Editor Gerry Horkan liked UCD so much that he did not leave it until he retired.

Another initiative by Jim Boylan was to revive the magazine St Stephen’s which had been the first publisher of work by James Joyce when he was a UCD student.

The paper reported on the general student scenes, the politics of the SRC, the activities of the societies, the sports achievements and we also had some very good feature writers. The topics were varied and included philosophy. This was supported by a team who stood out every fortnight selling the tabloid in all areas of the College.

There always was much interest in our gossip column on the back page – ‘The Party Line – A Column of Social and Very Personal Comment’. The by-line on this was Michael Farrell. Gerry Daly of Drogheda was one of our advertising agents and he always turned up to the editorial meeting. One night he kept looking around in an agitated manner. Finally he asked why Michael Farrell never came to the meetings. We had to break it to him gently that Michael was non-existent. Where did the name come from? I held that it was President Tierney’s first name coupled with the last of Brian Farrell who ran the adult education programme. Another school of thought said it was taken from the lintel of the Capitol Cinema bar where Michael Farrell was the licensee. Our keenest reader was the Women’s Dean of Residence, Miss Greene, whose assistant was always our first customer in the Main Hall.

The economics were finely balanced. We needed £24 for the printers so this generally meant reaching sales of £8 (at four pence a copy) and £16 from advertising.

In those days printing was done by ‘hot metal’. The copy was handed to a Linotype operator who typed it up but instead of it appearing on a piece of paper, a slug of metal type was produced, in reverse. This was then made up into a page on a sort of metal tray. It then was run into a flatbed press repeatedly and pages printed off. The used metal type would be stored if necessary but otherwise was thrown back into the melting pots on the Linotypes.

Our printers were the Cityview Press of Portland Place whose main business was in printing The Irish Catholic and the United Irishman. I should say that internment in the Curragh was in progress. Sometimes we would go in to the printers and find things a bit distracted. The explanation on one occasion was ‘We had the Special Branch in earlier, sub-editing the United Irishman with their sledge hammers.

The Irish Press was publishing at the time and under its masthead carried the slogan ‘The Truth in the News’. We decided to adapt this as ‘The Truth or the News’. It took the Press newsroom two years to spot it.

Contributors I remember included Professor Denis O’Donoghue who had written a learned volume called The Third Voice. For some reason we could not find a reviewer so he said he would do it for us. We got this beautiful paragraph, 26 words long. Each word was a commendatory adjective each starting with the consecutive letters of the alphabet, A-Z. Maeve Binchy also did some pieces for us and the one I remember was the interview with Orson Welles which did not take place. Welles was staying at the Shelbourne and the piece told of Maeve’s efforts to get to the great man; to find out his room number; to phone him – all to no avail. At the time her style reminded me very much of Patrick Campbell. Orson Welles – I wonder what became of him?

Awake was great fun and taught me the skills of interviewing and of sub-editing and condensing material. We only had six or eight tabloid pages and reporting on a 20 page paper in a hundred words or so needed skill.

Remembering my UCD experience is an exercise in recalling not only events but the people who made them and reflecting on how many have left us. What did I get out of UCD? Some body of knowledge which was to be of use in my employment; the ability to research and correlate material to reach conclusions; the start of my address book; new friends and experience in identifying nutters and liars. I never cease to thank my parents for allowing me the opportunity to spend some time finding myself.