Tiaquin School Reunion Weekend, August 1998

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In early August of this year Tiaquin celebrated.  The occasion was the Reunion of its schools Past Pupils for the first time since its foundation in 1926.  It afforded a unique opportunity for a coming together of friends and acquaintances of yesteryear, some of whom hadn’t met each other for well nigh on seventy years.  They arrived from San Diego, Vancouver, Chicago and New York, from London, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham and Swansea, from Bordeaux and Andalucia, from Buncrana, Beleek, Wexford and Bantry – former students all together with their spouses, family members and friends.

On Friday evening 7th August an open-air mass was celebrated in the old school grounds, by Fr.  Michael Kelly R P Ballyvaughan, a past pupil.  He was assisted by Fr.  Tony King P. P Athenry, Fr.  Liam Finnerty O.D.C. Carmelite Abbey, Loughrea, another former student; Fr.  Vincent Lawless C.C. Gurteen, by the President of St. Coleman’s College, Claremorris, Fr.  John O’ Boyle whose mother was the first lady teacher here in 1926, by Monsignor Paddy Higgins, and his brother Monsignor Michael Higgins, Castlelambert and USA, and Fr.  Martin Rabbitt, Castle Ellen, and USA.  The choir was conducted by Ms. Breege Cannon Athenry.  Afterwards, the large gathering attended a gala function of Ffrenchs, Monivea.  The guests were cordially welcomed by the Chairman of the organising committee, Mr Kevin Devally.  The Reunion book ‘Tiaquin National School and District – History and Heritage’ was then launched by a local lad, the Minister for Science & Technology, Mr Noel Treacy T.D. A barbecue ensued.  Afterwards the dedicated danced the night away to the musical strains of Kevin Rohan and Rodney’s Glory.

On Saturday night Burkes of Colemanstown was the venue for another great night of dancing and feasting.  A barbecue fit for kings was provided by Johnny & Helen, Brett & Martin T. Kelly.  Music was provided by the Stream Boats, and also by a very talented local group, The Jordans.  Over one thousand people thronged to Colemanstown on that night.

In the warm sunshine of the Sunday afternoon a garden party was held in Burkes and sweet melodeon wafted in the summer wind, one of the finest Irish traditional sessions ever heard was held on that Sunday afternoon.

Later that night Newcastle Community Centre provided the attraction as Matt Cunningham and his band played till the small hours.  Set dancing was a speciality on the night an assortment of ballads was prepared by Tess and Sandra Rohan, and served by Mary O’ Grady, Bemie Fahy, John Duane and Rosaleen Devally.

The final event on Monday evening occurred in Colemanstown.  Kevin Rohan of Galway Bay F.M. presented his weekly programme of Irish Traditional music and song, ‘The Half Door’, live from this well-known hostelry.  Local talent was to the fore and did us proud on this well listened to Radio Show, J.J Byrne, Tommy Roche, Joe Flaherty, Patrick Ward, Bertie Burns, Helen O’ Donoghue.  Edel Keaveney showed professionalism equal to the top artists in the country.

Among the artists who contributed to the enjoyable programme were local band-man and author Tommy Roche, Joe O’Flaherty, who also sang his own composition “Our Younger Days of Schooling at Tiaquin, Patrick Warde, Stonemason and Seanchaí, with “The Matchmaker” Bertie Burns (recitation), Helen O’Donoghue and Edel Keaveney (violins and guitars).

Among the attendance over that memorable weekend were Mrs Nina Kelly (Craughwell), daughter of the first school principal, Thomas Rohan; Feena O’Boyle, well known radio and television cookery expert and daughter of the first lady teacher, Mrs Delia Flemming – O’Boyle; and Bridget Tynan, Journalist, Tuam – niece of Mrs. O’Boyle; the genial Annie O’Grady and Martin T. Kelly, the last two Teachers of the school at the time of its closure in 1997.

Joe McDonagh, President of the G. A. A. was a pupil of Scoil NAisiúta Thi Dachonna in the late fifties.  His father Maitais was Principal teacher at the time.  Maitais was unable to be present at our celebrations but we are fully aware of the great contributions you Sir, have made over four decades to the cultural and sporting life of our country. We wish you well agus “go móire tú do shláinte.  Despite the busy schedule of his office Joe attended the party at Colmanstown and in his own inimitable style rendered ‘My Own Dear Galway Bay’ over the airwaves.

May we take this opportunity to thank all these who attended the various events, for their courtesy and conviviality.  We send best wishes to our kith and kin who were unable to be with us.

Thanks to those who contributed articles and provided photographs for our reunion book.  Thanks to Frank and Bernie Burke and staff Colmanstown; to Padraig and Eileen McGann and staff Monivea; to Newcastle Community Council for the use of the centre.

Thanks to Brendan Geraghty and his staff at Galway Rural Development, to Kieran Hickland and his staff at Athenry Development Company; to Anne and Tara Gallagher of Autograffit, Athenry.  To Martin Burke, Cahertymore, of Image Creation Bureau, and to Corrib Printers Mill St, Galway.

A special word of thanks to our sponsors, without whose sponsorship the Publication of this Historic Book would not be possible.  They are as follows: Frank and Bemie Burke, Colmanstown.  Fr. Tony King P.P. Athenry.  Denny Glynn Cuddoo /London.  Tommy Coppinger, Draper, The Square, Athenry, Charlie Porter, Colmanstown,  Tommy Roche, Gurteen.  Michael Burke, Loughrea.  John Joe Brady, Butcher, Athenry.  Barney Carroll, Butcher, Athenry.  Tommy Quinn, Trailers and Body Builders, Athenry, Mattie McNamara’s Garage, Athenry.  Jimmy Quinn, Undertaker, Athenry.  Athenry Credit Union.  Martin and Lilly O’Beirne, Hansberry’s Hotel, Athenry.  John and Peggy Moylan, King John Inn.  Michael Finnerty, Plant Hire, Clough.  Fahy’s Centra V.G. Athenry.  John Kelly, Auctioneer/Estate Agent, Old Church St., Athenry.  Ger Cooke, Grocer/Petrol Monivea.  Nora Tuohy, Bláthanna, Northgate St., Athenry.  John Cummisky, Publican, Northgate St., Athenry.  Martin Morrissey, Publican, Cross St., Athenry.  Michael Vaughan, Publican, Monivea.  Oswin and Patricia O’ Grady, Tiaquin.  Joe O’ Hara, Solicitors, Cross St., Athenry.  Ray Glynn, Publican, Central Bar, Davis St., Athenry.  Mid – West Farmers Co – op, Athenry, Mary Costello, Publican, Skehana, Menlough.  F.B.D. Insurance, Athenry.  Frank Sweeney, Auctioneer / Estate Agent, Cross St.’ Athenry.  Paddy Gardner, Undertaker, The Square, Athenry.  Kevin and Carmel Mitchell, Farnablake, Athenry.  John and Josephine Sutton, Ladies Fashions, Davis St., Leo Coffey, C& C, Tractor Spares, Cross St., Athenry. Frank Brody, Veterinary Surgeon,  Prospect, Athenry.  Christy Doyle, Colemanstown.  Eugene Devaney, Menlough.

We thank those outlets who are stocking our books, Cloonan Oil, Athenry. Burkes, Colemanstown.  Fordhams, Monivea.  Cookes, Monivea.  Burkes Newcastle.  Nearys’ Athenry.  Morrisseys, Athenry.  Suttons, Athenry.  Somers Athenry.  The Gift Centre, Athenry. Copies of the Re-union book (Hardback) are still available at above outlets at a cost £10.00 or from Kevin Devally, Athenry.

A video entitled ‘Tiaquin Reunion Weekend’ has been produced by Conroy Photo, Athenry and is available from Burkes, Colemanstown, or Kevin Devally, Athenry, Cost £15.00.

Tiaquin and its environs were the focal point for over two thousand people who converged there in August ’98.  This rural setting has returned to its normal peaceful lifestyle once more, ‘ach beidh lá eile ag an bpaorach’.

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About this record

Written by To be confirmed!

Published here 18 Apr 2023 and originally published Christmas 1998

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