The class of 1962 -1967 from St. Eunan’s College, Letterkenny held a reunion in Letterkenny on Saturday 21st October.
This was the first reunion since leaving the College in 1967 and for most former classmates, the first time they had met in fifty years. Around 40 former students participated in the reunion; some from the UK and as far away as Beijing.
The group gathered in the College Chapel on Saturday morning for a short service in memory of the eight former classmates who had passed away. The service was conducted by Fr. Philip Daly who had also been in class with this group. After the service, the group moved to the ‘Ref’ or Refectory where Michelle and Donna treated them to refreshments.
The ‘Ref’ was a very significant location in the lives of these lads back then and an apt location for the first opportunity to get talking. Even at this early stage of the Reunion, stories and yarns were flowing as old friends quickly re-established rapport. The group was shown around the College by current teacher, Michael Kelly and it’s probably true to say that Michael also learned much about the lifestyle of boarders in the College back in the 1960s.
Bit by bit, the returning classmates reoriented themselves in the now somewhat changed interior layout but there were enough key markers to ensure that many memories returned.
On Saturday evening, the group gathered in Dillon’s Hotel for another phase of the reunion. After the meal, former classmate Kieran McFadden addressed the group. Underpinning his address was a recognition that life in schools in that era was quite different from that today and he tapped into the feeling, memories and emotions of this group in a frank and balanced way.
This was followed by a presentation ceremony where mementos, which had been specially commissioned for this occasion, were presented by former classmate Dr.James McDaid to each attendee. These mementos were made by local sculptor Redmond Herrity from a stone connected with the College and in the shape of the College Crest. Each one had the year ‘67 engraved on it and was presented in a box that also contained a replica of the crest as worn by students in the 1960s. Each attendee was also presented with an original penny dated 1967. These pennies had been purchased many years ago by Pat Dunleavy, one of the organising group, and it was only while involved in planning this event that he realised that the date on them corresponded to the year they all finished in 1967.
Although this marked the end of the formal part of the reunion, the crack was only starting, with many retiring to bed closer to dawn than they normally would. Even the following morning, after breakfast and before checkout, small groups could be seen in huddles here and there around the foyer, squeezing out the last story and yarn and exchanging contact details.
Harold Reid and Eddie McDaid, two of the organisers of this reunion, said that every person who came back to this first reunion in fifty years said to them that they were really glad they had done so.
Photos: Stephen Doherty