The result is a very handsome volume of fascinating photographs of the College from its earliest years to 2013, with accompanying text. The new supplement includes much material on sport, drama, new developments such as the Library, the Sports Hall and the Cadogan Music Centre, and features on prominent academic and non-academic staff such as Patrick Gray, Bud McMullen, Peter Kielty and Jimmy O'Connor. Page 47 has a striking photograph by Peter Watts of many of the small children of the teaching staff of the school, who in recent years have contributed to the distinctively family atmosphere on campus. The new pages also frequently refer to the College's first-ever independent assessment last year through the extremely positive Whole School Evaluation by the Inspectorate of the Department of Education and Skills.
Last night guests gathered in Whitehall to be welcomed by the Warden, who paid tribute to the editors for their initial project, and to Ninian's dedication, meticulous attention to detail, and hard work in putting together the new book. He also welcomed Professor David Dickson (Old Columban, 1960-65), Associate Professor of History at Trinity College, Dublin, who formally launched it.
In his comments, Professor Dickson said that a strong sense of place struck him on reading the book, of the place that had been the College's home since 1849, and also that the College was pretty much the same age as photography itself. Some of his favourite photographs were striking ones of the former Chaplain, Bert Walsh, preaching in Chapel (page 122, in 1988), of the former Sub-Warden, Norman Lush, at the reopening of the cricket pavilion (page 38, 2010) and especially of the staff in 1959 (page 95), a small and hugely talented group of men who were very very good teachers and, as has been throughout the College's history, were educators who left a permanent influence on so many pupils. Did the teachers make the place, or has perhaps the place itself made these teachers through the ages? He ended with an appeal for photographs and their 'meta-data' to be preserved digitally in the future.
Ninian Falkiner then voiced his appreciation to all for coming to support the venture - a real gathering of the Columban community. He said that the College and the Old Columban Society had always had a close and happy bond, and this was plainly still the case, especially in the complete support the Warden and Sub-Warden had given him. He thanked the latter, John Fanagan, several members of staff, and especially Peter Watts for his photographic expertise, as well as Robert Doyle of the printers A.D.&D. He reminded all that profits will go to the Bursary Fund of the Society, and help the children of Old Columbans attend the College, and concluded by thanking his original co-editor, Patrick Wyse Jackson, and stating, once again, 'Floreat Columba et Floreant Columbanenses.'
Copies of the book can be purchased from the College Office at €20 each.
Pictured: Professor David Dickson, Ninian Falkiner, Patrick Wyse Jackson, Warden Lindsay Haslett.