Forty years of history and anecdotes in what started off as the Regional Technical College and now holds the title of the Letterkenny Institute of Technology is contained in a new book launched this week.
The publication was compiled by former lecturer and Head of the Department of Law and Humanities, Dermot Cavanagh, who retired in 2008 but continued to contribute hugely to the college with the work he has put into the book.
Among those in attendance at Monday’s launch were, apart from the current incumbent, Paul Hannigan, past Presidents Peter Gallagher, and the first holder of the post, Dr. Dan O’Hare.
The occasion was also marked by the presence of staff member, Patricia Gallagher (McGinley) who holds the distinction of having been there for every single one of those forty years.
The book includes a range of accounts by staff and students, both past and present, relating to their time at the College. Recalling her initial association with the then R.T.C., Patricia said that in 1971 she had spotted an advertisement for a job of clerical officer at the “new college” and was happy to be accepted.
“As I lived outside Letterkenny and as there was no public transport I had to cadge a lift from a factory worker whose shift started at 8am. So it was that on the 1st September, 1971 I found myself standing outside the front door of the College at 7.30am. There I stood until 9am when I heard a key turning a lock and inside was a caretaker opening the door. I stepped inside and so began a lifetime career in the College.”
Commenting on the book after being the recipient of a bouquet of flowers, Patricia told the attendance: “There are some good stories in there but you’d have to believe there are some great ones out there!.”
Also addressing the launch, Dermot said 200 pages and 50,000 words later it had finally been completed. Going on to thank all the contributors and others who helped, he hoped the publication would strike a chord and offer some resonance to the people associated with the college over the years.
Praising the latter for his efforts in compiling the publication, Dr. O’Hare said the college had gone through many challenges, not least at its outset but the achievements over forty years were noteworthy. It was, he said, a privilege to be have been a part of it even if, in his case, it had only been for three years. The inaugural President referred to the work of the late Neil T. Blaney in helping to get the college established in Letterkenny and lauded all who had contributed to its success.
The current President described the book, entitled ‘From RTC to LYIT’ - Forty Years A-Growing’, as a “really important publication” and said it had been the first time the story of the college had been brought together. It provided great insights into the development of the LYIT over the past forty years.