Mountmellick Vocational School's former students and teachers enjoyed a recent reunion, touring their old school before retiring to Turley's pub next door.
The reunion was for the Class of 1981 to 1986. It was organised by past pupils, Mick Lynch and Catherine Young, over the May bank holiday weekend.
Along with 20 past pupils, a dozen teachers came to the day, a surpising big number for the organisers.
“I think the tour of the building was a massive attraction for the teachers, The minute we opened the doors they were reminiscing, and looking at their old classrooms, most of them had never been back since it closed,” said Mick.
They included the former principal Leo de Barra, who had not stepped foot inside the school since it shut in 1990, amalgamating with St Mary's College to become Mountmellick Community School.
Many of the teachers had not seen each other since. Among those attending were John Morris, who was the first principal in the community school, and artist Tom Joyce who was a metalwork teacher.
About 50 students started first year in 1981, with many leaving before the Leaving Cert to start jobs. Mick had got their names from Leo de Barra, and contacted as many as he could find.
“We had one from Derry, a couple from Galway and one coming back from Cork. It was a great evening,” he said, thanking caretaker Joe Thompson for allowing them to revisit the school, now a Further Education Centre.
“Many ghosts were revisited and funny stories were exchanged. They were innocent times. A happy time for me anyway, I loved it. I don't remember bullying, and we didn't know what drugs were,” said Mick who has written books on the Beatles and the Eurovision song contest.
A highlight of the evening was a video that his father had recorded of the school Sports Day in 1982.
“He did wedding videos and he had only got his new camera so he recorded about 19 minutes. of the teachers bike race, and high jumps. I had saved it to DVD a few years ago. Most of the teachers there were on it, and everyone had a good laugh at the hairstyles,” said Mick.
“I hope we do one again in the years to come,” he said, thanking Turley's pub for their kind welcome to the reunion party.