It’s difficult to understand what the IRFU was thinking of when it invited the All Blacks to the Aviva Stadium on November 17. Didn’t it know that was the Saturday of the Class of 88′ 30th reunion? Come on! No one thought the Test between the No. 1 and 2 in the world was a warm-up for something else, but that’s what it was.
Getting in early
The reunion lasted a bit longer than the 80 minutes it took for Ireland and Joe Schmidt to down New Zealand. Though the main gathering was on November 17, an advance party stormed Adare a night early and went to dinner at the 1826 restaurant, opposite the Dunraven Arms, the venue for the reunion dinner on the Saturday.
On the Saturday it was up early and out to Glenstal to gatecrash another anniversary – the mass marking Br Cyprian’s 25 years as a monk, though it was nice of Abbot Brendan to mention us in his introduction. After lunch in the senior and inter ref we roamed the school and the grounds, noting the impressive upgrade of facilities and stopping for the obligatory homage to the Munster Schools’ Senior Cup, which the SCT won so memorably earlier in the year. It was also good to see some familiar faces such as Frs Denis, William, Philip, Simon, and Christopher. When we reached the pitches, some just had to try to recreate scenes from matches in the distant past – Truff, the posts still didn’t move!
The dry weather lent itself to photo opportunities around the chapel lake and bridge, and in front of the castle. Shane Vaughan operated his drone expertly to provide some memorable images from the day.
We regrouped at the monastery reception, before taking in the retail experience that is the shop – and very impressive it is too. It is a long way from the monks’ CDs and jars of honey, which was about the extent of the offering in our day. Brown Thomas watch out!
Then it was back to the Dunraven Arms and dinner, but before that, the match (see below). A dominant Irish performance meant we sat down in good spirits – apart from those that were already down us – for an evening of fine food and drink, and reminiscing with the aid of an album of over 300 archive photos dating back to 1982. Many of the images were seeing the light of day for the first time
Dinner included other special moments: the letter and poem Br Patrick, as he then was, wrote for our leaving dinner in 1988 got another airing 30 years later and Peter O’Meara, who was unable to attend due to filming commitments in Prague, recorded a video message for the class which was played at dinner
After dinner, it was time for more catching up in the bar, with Paul Hegarty entertaining us at the piano, though a sing-song failed to take off.
Given the action-packed couple of days and nights, it was a credit to us all that we appeared for breakfast the following morning as early as we did. Then the drift away happened, as travel connections had to be made and appointments kept. The weekend happened too quickly.
Thirty one made it to the reunion, including travellers from afar, such as Rolf Hogan from Moscow, Jaime Ordovas from Majorca and Henry Farrell from Washington, as well as our very own monk, Br Luke (John) McNamara. Richard Tierney, Stephen Walsh and Matt Bruton were the event organisers extraordinaire.
However, the reunion would not have been the same without a bit of drama. After all, this is the class that stretched the school’s disciplinary strings as far as they would go and back again. In the same week as the reunion, Andy Beatty, our Western warrior, was caught in a medical misadventure. Thankfully, the medics got to him in time and he is recovering well. He was even spotted with an empty pint glass in front of him not long afterwards. We’re not saying he drank it but…
Here’s to the next 10 years – though no doubt, we will meet again before then – and continued good fortune to the Class of ’88.
Here is a link to photographs
Report by Ralph Cunningham
Photos by Stephen Walsh