The College Library was the venue for a rather unusual film première which took place this week. On the evening of the 23rd June before an enthusiastic audience of 120 Old Boys, staff and friends Father Desmond Wilson presented his film archive to the College.
Father Des, a well known Belfast priest, had been a member of the College staff from 1952 to 1966. As Spiritual Director he taught many students who have become influential members of society in Ireland and abroad. During his time at the College he started a film society and recorded important events and many aspects of school life. This primary historical evidence has recently been sorted and digitised. It will provide valuable material for future historians.
‘Old Boys’ from the 1950s and 1960s enjoyed film footage of life in the College during their school days. The films comprised a couple of drama productions, coverage of Sports Day Sundays, excerpts from a Gaelic football match and some ‘random’ activities such as a snowball fight and a ‘Hobbies Exhibition’. These were just a selection of the tapes which have now been uploaded on to the College website.
In an opening address College Principal Mr Paul McBride welcomed all and outlined proposals for the future of the O’Laverty Library and plans to ‘re-purpose’ the Priests’ corridor on the first floor of the original 1860s building. Dublin-based former student Brian Lennon guided the audience through the film footage in a highly professional presentation and revealed that Desmond Wilson was a few days from his 90th birthday. Comments from the floor were invited and then Father Des, in his characteristic soft-spoken manner reflected on his time at the College. This drew a lengthy standing ovation. Deputy Head Prefect Jack Cassidy gave a splendid speech in making a presentation to the guest of honour. Finally College Archivist Gerry McNamee, accepting the donation of the film collection, thanked those involved in the project.
Malachians from far and wide, some now in their 70s and 80s took the opportunity to catch up with former school friends over a cup of tea or glass of wine. Some interesting stories were told. It seems the school boys of sixty years ago were really not all that different to today’s students. Many old boys remarked favourably on the delightful manner and interaction of our present Year 13s as they helped out at the event.
Conor Hughes, provided splendid entertainment on the cello during the early part of the evening. Gareth Gilvary and Anna Collins recorded the highlights of the evening on camera. The Linen Hall Library provided a display case.
Thanks are due to Mark Cowan, Ciaran McGranaghan, Darryl McNicholl, Conal Fitzpatrick, Paul Owens, Jack Cassidy, Jakub Jankiewicz, Eoin Condit, Ronan O’Fril, Donal McNairney and Lorcan McLean.