Pupils meet up again fifty years after their Leaving Certificate

by Eoin McGarvey

OVER 20 pupils from the first year class of 1969 at Dungloe High School came together in the Waterfront Hotel, Dungloe on Saturday evening to go down memory lane about their good times at school.

Some past pupils travelled from abroad and others from down the country, while many living locally made up the evening that was filled with chat and memories galore.


On September 1, 1969, thirty-two pupils, 16 boys and 16 girls, from various parts of the Rosses headed to Dungloe on the Swilly bus for their first day at the High School. Five years later in 1974 they completed their Leaving Cert.

The High School was located on the Chapel Road adjacent to the old church, this at a time before the amalgamation with the Loughanure Technical School.

In 1973 the amalgamation took place, and the Rosses Community School was founded. The new RCS premises opened in 1978, is still operational and is currently being extended. The High School building still remains and now houses the offices of CDP Na Rosann.

On their first day the 32 pupils all gathered in class and met their classmates for the first time. They had, we’re told, a great mixture of personalities, the jokers, the football fanatics, and the singers.

Within a week everyone settled into their groups of friends, and friendships were made that were to last a lifetime.

Anne Boyle (née Mc Cole) said the first thing about secondary school was the freedom to be yourself. “Whether it was debates with Peter Brennan who really got us to think for ourselves or the relaxed atmosphere of John Conboy’s (RIP) class who taught us so much in his calm, lovely way. John was interested in us and especially in hearing what we got up to away from school and at the weekend,” she told the Donegal News.

She recalled Tom Neville, Miss Byrne (RIP), Daniel Gallagher, and in her own words, “who could forget the late Paddy Murray”.


“Paddy was an exceptional English and History teacher instilling in us the love of both subjects. He is fondly remembered,” she said.

Her classmates asked Anne to put a little piece together for the reunion and in it she remarked that their attendance at Dungloe High School was possible with thanks in part to the great Minister for Education at the time, Donagh O’Malley TD whose foresight, she said, enabled children from a working class background to receive free education.

“So many memories of a carefree time.

“Our trips at lunchtime to the chip shop to listen to the jukebox. There was a few of us always late back after lunch, much to the annoyance of the headmaster Eunan O’Donnell. Looking back, we lived as teenagers in the best of times.”

She said they couldn’t let the occasion pass without recording the fact that their secondary school would not have existed was it not for the late great Eunan O’Donnell who came back to the Rosses and opened the school so that children could avail of secondary school education in
their locality, adding that for this the people of the Rosses are forever grateful.

“The education we received in the High School in Dungloe sustained us all in our journey through life. It gave us the confidence to go out into the world and establish ourselves,” Anne said.

As the group gathered together in the Waterfront Hotel on Saturday evening for their class reunion, they remembered classmates no longer with them, Crona Ward, Paul Scanlon, Angela O’Donnell and Danny Sharkey.

May they rest in peace.

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