O’Laverty Library Outreach Programme
A College in Turbulent Times: The 1916 Rising and the Alumni of St. Malachy’s College
On Thurday 23rd June an appreciative audience were treated to an informative and entertaining lecture by Dr Eamon Phoenix on some of the key figures of Ireland’s revolutionary generation. Students, staff, ‘old boys’ and local historians were among the large crowd who filled the College Library. This was the inaugural event in the O’Laverty Library Outreach Programme and marked the beginning of a project to honour the achievements of famous past students and to unlock the rich heritage of St. Malachy’s College.
Principal Mr Paul McBride welcomed everyone and reflected on imminent changes which will re-purpose and modernise much of the interior of the College’s 19th century building. He introduced Dr Phoenix as one of Ireland’s foremost historians, a well-known commentator and an expert on Northern nationalism before and after partition.
The careers of prominent Malachians such as Eoin MacNeill, Major John MacBride, Patrick MacCartan and Sean MacEntee were examined in detail. It was fascinating to hear how these ardent republicans who all suffered imprisonment and, in MacBride’s case, death by firing squad attended classes, walked the same corridors and played in the Big Field just as our students do today. Drawing on a wide variety of sources from political memoirs to records of the Military Bureau, Dr Phoenix emphasised how these men were among the architects of modern Ireland.
Head boy Michael McNamee made a presentation to the guest speaker with an excellent speech before archivist Mr Gerry McNamee brought proceedings to a close.
Matthew Kendell provided the music and entertained us with some very fine pieces drawing much deserved applause. The work of the catering staff along with the efficient stewardship of the prefect team was much appreciated by old boys and visitors alike.