Wish We Were Here
This year we all wish we could be here together on the UCD Belfield campus to reunite and celebrate the 2020 Golden and Diamond Jubilee with the Class of 1970 and the Class of 1960.
We marked this special occasion online. We held a special webinar on Thursday 17th of September with alumni from the classes including Bride Rosney, Úna Claffey, Doireann Ní Bhriain, Colman Pearce, Mary Finlay Geoghegan and other special guests for a fireside chat where we took a trip down memory lane. Watch it below!
Memories Competition Winner
Civil Engineering Graduation 1970
(Left to Right) Peter Butler, Paul Carty (deceased), Brendan Halpin, Jim Holohan.
Four friends on graduation day. Peter and I shared various bed-sits for four years and so we got to know each other pretty well. We had a weekly kitty into which we paid four pounds each. (Two towards rent and two towards food). That left me with one pound to squander on beer and tobacco. Luckily I smoked a pipe, and an ounce of plug tobacco cost 2s 4d, (that’s two shillings and four pence). The rest disappeared on Friday night on three pints and a smoked cod and chips. The ounce lasted the week, and the pipe was often passed around on a Thursday evening amongst cigarette smokers desperately awaiting the Friday postal order. Despite genuine poverty and a constant hunger they were the best four years of my life.
Jim Holohan, 1970
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. Read more.
Donal McGahon, BComm 196o
“Great fun, great friends to this day, great learning.”
Bcomm Graduate, 1970
“Just being there, it was a great experience, and I made a lot of very good friends, it is a great experience for any young person.”
Ellen Davern, BComm, 1960
“My wedding in the Newman Chapel on a cold December afternoon in 1958. My wife and I were both 22 years old at the time and marrying at that age as an undergrad was considered by many to be unusual and probably unwise. My wife and I have recently revisited Ireland and UCD to participate in the Woodland Walk at Belfield and visit the Newman Chapel. Our marriage in 1958 was certainly not unwise.”
Steven Millan, BSc Special 1960
“I have great memories of Paddy arriving in the lecture theatre to tell us the lecturer could not turn up and then proceed to give a parody of a lecture on some outrageous subject to great acclaim. A super memory of my time in Earlsfort Terrace.”
John Hogan, BComm, 1960
Memories Live On – A Poem
Some Memories of UCD at Belfield
When I began in September 1967, some FCJ Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus, were in their third year in Science. One had graduated and was doing further studies in chemistry. Hence, I had help in finding my way around the campus.
The “lads” in Mathematical Physics were very friendly and many were a lot of fun. Fergus Conheady and Martin McGuire in particular asked me several questions one day during chemistry lab. Finally I realized that they were not really looking for information but that they wanted to hear my Canadian accent. I also recall Wallace Sheridan helping me with some words that were unfamiliar to me such as “decant”.
Sr. Maria Goretti (Catherine) Comerford from the Sisters of Mercy, Sr. Brigid O’Dea and Sr. Diego (Dorothy) McMahon of the St. Louis Sisters of Monahan, Sr. De Montfort (Brigid) Carroll of the St. John of God Sisters and Sr. Rosaria King of the Presentation Sisters were all good friends throughout the three years in Belfield. Sr. Dorothy taught me my first Irish phrases which I practised over and over on the bus to say to the community when I got home. Dia dhuit a Mháthair and Oscloídh mé an doras dhuit. Read more here.
Theresa Smith f.c.J., 1970
On the 6th March 1968 after lunch break I went straight to the Physics department to read the cards and letters which I had picked up on my way out to catch the two buses to Belfield, the 6th March being my birthday. I was so engrossed that I didn’t notice that none of the other people in my class had come in.
Then Dr. Tony Scott opened the door and said something like ” where is everyone ” ?. I began to gather up my post and I said ” Do you want me to go ” realising exactly where they were. But Dr. Scott said “no ” and proceeded to lecture to me for an hour. I just sat there and took notes the way I always did.
After he had finished I went and joined the rest of the class who were staging a mild protest in solidarity with the students in Earlesfort Terrace where the protest was far from mild. When I told my story their first reaction was to wish me a happy birthday and then someone said ” Did you take notes ” and ” can I have them ” and all the others made the same request. The Physics students were all boys after Second Science except Sr. Vincent and myself. All of them about 40 were great friends and knew that I would support them in every way and that I was free to make my decisions according to what I believed rather than what might have stemmed from something to do with my status as a religious.
My memories are almost endless, all of them good and for nearly 33 years I am in the happy position to be able to visit UCD nearly every day for Mass. When I am not there I can look out to where I am separated by the boundary fence from the Campus at UCD
Perhaps with encouragement from Fiona I may share some more memories because reminiscing makes me very happy.
As I’m now living in Paddington, Sydney, Australia, I may not be up on time to watch your event.
During my time as a BA night student, I became Secretary of the Night Students’ Union. When a decision was made to cancel BA and B.Comm degrees for night students, we held a mass meeting at Belfield, to which we invited well-known personalities who had earned their degrees as night students. A mass demonstration was then held in front of the Department of Education, protesting such a move. Here the day students came out in force. The aforementioned decision was rescinded.
I was also the English students’ representative and, in that capacity, sought a meeting with Professor Denis Donoghue as night students of English were unhappy about certain aspects of the course and the fact that we didn’t have seminars or discussion groups or, in some instances, senior lecturers. ( Jeananne Crowley represented the day students.) If I recall correctly, Professor Donoghue advised that the BA examination structure would be changed in the future. Inter alia, he mentioned (it was the first time I’d heard a man mention the word “period”) that some women were disadvantaged at examination time if they were suffering from period pain etc. Soon after, I understand some form of gradual assessment was introduced. One of our visiting, English, lecturers recommended we read “Lolita”. The following day there was a headline in a Dublin newspaper to that effect. I recall he also recommended “Laughter: An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic by Henri Bergson”. On attempting to borrow it from the Belfield library, the librarian advised she’d have to get permission from the Chief Librarian – or someone with higher status. I never did manage to borrow it! Gus Madden was one of my favourite lecturers, while Nuala O Faolain – our very first lecturer – on seeing what seemed like hundreds of us arrive, suggested that most of us should “go home” as the vast majority of us would fail English. She wasn’t far wrong.
Rushing off to bed in down-town Paddington. No more time …
Wishing you an exciting and memorable discussion, which I hope will be recorded.
Marie Therese McMillan (née Murphy), BA 1971, B.Soc.Science 1974
I have great memories of Medical School; never thought I’d get through but I did. Catherine O’Kelly(Lloyd)
Dr Catherine Lloyd
MB BCh BAO Class of 1965
I recall arriving at The school of engineering On 1st day and was about to turn on my heel when I spotted one other girl in a sea of boys. I think we were the 1st two girls to graduate in civil engineering at UCD . Watching the 4 ladies all from Dublin. I was from the country and had a very different experience of college life!!! Interestingly the secondary school I attended in the midlands taught honours maths in leaving cert. I think the fees were as follows 60£ arts 90£ engineering and 120£ medicine. I recall a wonderful celebration on graduation day in July 1970 and am mindful of all the graduates of 2020 who did not have that privilege of celebration with family and friends.
Is Miss Le Meas
Helen Cuddy nee Buckley, BE 1970
Memories Competition Winner
From the bottom of the stairs going up:Maura O’Higgins; Mary O’Sullivan; Maura Laverty; Patricia Hawkins (me, in long dress), and Una Cafferty. Don’t know names of all the escorts! Mine was Don Cooney (dentistry). I think it was the 1961 Arts Ball
It always bemuses to read about the storm in a teacup regarding the wearing of trousers. I wore dresses/skirts all my time in UCD, and indeed most of my life. Few women look well in trousers, in my opinion. Marlene Dietrich possibly being the exception!
I don’t recall the male students demonstrating and protesting to be allowed to wear a dress or skirt.
Do you know that Maura O’Higgins (in that photo) and I were the only two girls from our secondary school leaving certificate class that year who went on to U.C.D. Maura had been a day pupil and I a boarder at that school (Holy Faith in Glasnevin). At no point was U.C.D. or indeed any university ever mentioned to our sixth form, no more than if Ireland didn’t have such institutions. A university education wasn’t discussed at all as a possibility. I have often talked in the intervening years with past students and other people about this strange attitude. Mind you that school was a strange place anyhow when I was there and I have never been back. Forward and outward thinking would not have been on the schedule! There’s a book somewhere in me about that place.
If my father (himself a U.C.G. graduate) hadn’t announced that I was going to university I probably wouldn’t even have heard that a certain building stood in Earlsfort Terrace.
That said, there were a goodly number of women students then at U.C.D. and the first raft of soon-to-be nuns from the teaching orders, as B.A. had become a requisite for becoming a secondary teacher.
Those nuns sat by themselves in the front rows of the lecture halls, they were not allowed to talk to us women students, and not even look at the male students! It sounds mediaeval, doesn’t it? The poor things would scuttle off, we know not where, and I assume they had some kind of common-room of their own so that they wouldn’t be adversely affected and morally ruined by the likes of us.
The student nuns were not Professor Louis Roche’s favourite people and he really leaned on them, throughout the lecture, which kept him from leaning on the rest of us.
It would be very unusual for a woman to go into a pub back then. We didn’t drink, or certainly not beyond the odd glass of wine in our parents’ home. I thought I was living madly when a date brought me to a wine bar (so refined!) in Baggot Street. Was it Bartley Dunne’s?
I worked in London for the Summer in my final UCD year, and the atmosphere was so different. After work we could go into a bar, no one stared, and wonder of wonders, have a lager and lime.
We kept body and soul together thanks to a very large Chinese restaurant in Wicklow Street (called, I think, the International). Very affordable, and plentiful helpings. Long queues formed down the passageway into the restaurant and outside along Wicklow Street.
In the basement café in Earlsfort Terrace we crowded together, drank the absolutely dire coffee and talked at length about our plans to change the world!
My husband Carlos (RIP) and I got married in University Church (Stephen’s Green) in May 1984. Photos in Stephen’s Green. Brought back the past when I and fellow students would stroll around the green at lunchtime. And standing on those stairs in the Shelbourne, in that photo, did I ever dream I would be having our wedding dinner in the Shelbourne and that I would have married an Argentinian.
Anyhow those are just a few memories from the past.
Patricia Hawkins de Medina, BA 1964
This is to say that I watched the conversations yesterday and many happy memories came flooding back. I will just take one. I was in Colman Pearces’s student orchestra and every Wednesday I loved going for practices in Newman house, also for the choir. Thanks to Colman we took the playing very seriously, whilst enjoying the practices and we also put on some concerts.
Colman was thoroughly focussed on what we were doing and it is no surprise that he made such good use of his talent in later life. We thank him for those wonderful musical evenings and for all his later contribution to music in Ireland and further afield.
May he be richly blessed.
Sister Teresa (Madeleine) Mundow.
Renewed thanks to you and your team for bringing this event into our very homes!
Hope to see you next year!
Sr Teresa Mundow, BA 1960
During the Rag Week in 1968 I tried car-cramming but was almost suffocated in the process so it was suggested that I may not have been quite suitable for the task which was to appear on the Late Late Show.
I was advised to try selling copies of Kleen, a student magazine with ‘blue’ jokes and cartoons (It would certainly be ‘cancelled’ -if not burnt – in today’s PC hysteria).
I tried to woo upmarket customers by standing inside the door of Switzers in Grafton St.. In stentorian tones I advertised as follows: ‘Get your copy of Kleen, ladies and gentlemen. All for a good cause. Dirty jokes and cartoons galore!’
Suddenly, I was seized by a giant security man who lifted me off my feet and flung me out into the street. ‘Get your sausage-fiingers off me you Fascist gorilla. I have rights!’ I cried but to no avail. He disappeared inside the stores leaving me to sell my Kleen to the less-well-off public.
I did make money for the St Vincent de Paul but later I watched the Late Late Show to see my more flexible student colleagues cram into a VW Beetle much to Gay Byrne’s amazement. I wished then that I had held my breath longer!
Dr Declan Collinge, BA 1970
My memories are entirely positive (apart from a 0% – YES, 0%! – result in a German mid-term exam, first year; and losing my place in a college football team). I made friends with fellow students, and even teachers, some of whom I’ve remained in contact with for decades. Though a teetotaller, I loved dropping in on a local pub with “the gang” most evenings after class.
My outstanding academic memory involved learning from many excellent teachers, most of whom were themselves Irish, that history, especially Irish history, is far more than a matter of good guys/bad guys. History is, “an argument without end,” and endlessly complicated. The critical, thought-provoking, stereotype-shattering history teaching propelled me to my own later career as both teacher and historian. I tried to bring it all together in my 3rd book: American Indians, the Irish and Government Schooling: A
Comparative Study (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008). It should be in a UCD library, so have a dekko!
Michael C Coleman, BA 1970, H Dip 1981
I have so many memories I wanted to make the journey back along memory lane before I wrote. That’s a very long journey.
As for going to college even to 2nd level education, Well my grandmother didn’t approve at all, “education”, she said “would only give you notions above your station in life.” She thought it was a complete waste of money.
Well money couldn’t buy what was to be gained from going to UCD. I just loved it. If I had notions above my station in life I was soon disillusioned. There was such a vast amount that I didn’t know. I learnt many things at UCD some academic and some anything but.
I loved the lectures, they were more than lectures they were entertainment of the highest order. Professor Swan used to illustrate his lectures with reference to Hawaii 5 Oh a popular TV Detective show. It was lost on me as I had no TV, I recall a phrase “book em Dano”. That was said when all was solved and sorted.
There was a French tutor called “Jean Loup(?)Drubigney (I think) who was a deadly aim with chalk if he thought someone wasn’t paying attention.
They Irish lectures are precious memories because they taught me who I am and what an amazing race of people I come from. I love my language and since UCD I value my knowledge of it and I am proud to speak it and understand it. I love the folklore and the literature. Learning Spanish and French helped me to learn Irish more and appreciate its worth.
One crazy thing I remember concerned a fellow student called Jane Phelan. Jane had a brilliant idea. She painted her locker a bright yellow. This made it easier to find. It made life easier for the those of us who had neighbouring lockers.
Examinations were a different story. They needed discipline and focus and this was a difficult lesson to learn. Happily I eventually got through.
I loved going to Mass in University Church it was beautiful. Saturdays were wedding days and I attended as an uninvited but delighted guest.
There is so much more but life is short. Thank you for sparking of many happy memories.