St. Colman’s College, Fermoy proudly and poignantly commemorated Proclamation Day 2016 by recalling the great Irish patriots of 1916, especially those who had direct links with this famous College. Fourteen years before he read the Proclamation from outside the GPO, Padraig Pearse visited St. Colman’s College in 1902 as part of his 'cycling tour of Munster'. He would have walked on the same terrace  that saw the re-enactment of his proclamation over one hundred years later. Pearse included an account of his time in Fermoy when he contributed his “Travels through Ireland” articles to “An Cliamh Solais”, the Irish language newspaper of the Gaelic League of which he subsequently became editor. Pearse wrote of Fermoy and St. Colman's thus:  “The most heartening place I visited was Fermoy, where Irish has long ceased to be spoken. Like many other English-speaking towns, it is throwing itself into the Language  Movement with an energy one looks for in vain in Irish-speaking districts. Fermoy has a strong Irish citadel in St. Colman's College. The young priests there, the whole professorial staff from the President down, are enthusiastic to a man. Irish is taught, cricket has been banned, the bats and balls are for sale and the camán now rules the playground. The boys wear jerseys with the legend 'Ar gColaiste Fein' and a piper is to be introduced to teach Irish music to the boys and to march at the head of the hurling team. St. Colman's undoubtedly deserves to rank with Newbridge as a real Irish College”. Thomas MacDonagh, poet, playwright, teacher, soldier and signatory of the 1916 Proclamation was a teacher in St. Colman’s College, Fermoy  from 1903 to 1908. He taught Latin, English and French and it was here that he developed his love for the Irish language. During his time in Fermoy he was instrumental in  founding a branch of The Gaelic League . During his last year in Fermoy, Thomas was also one of the founding members of the ASTI (Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland) an organisation which began in St. Colman’s College in 1908. MacDonagh and Pearse were both executed on the morning of  Wednesday, May 3rd, 1916. Proclamation day  2016 in St. Colman’s was marked  by the raising of the Tricolour, the Reading of the Proclamation,  a rendition of the National Anthem, a reflection and musical accompaniment. SCC Teacher Mossie Barry was  MC and welcomed all to the school while Fr Eamonn Barry began proceedings with a prayer. At 12 noon the National Flag was raised by Senior Prefect Cian Lau aided by John Tobin from the History Dept and in the presence of the assembled students and dignitaries including Captain Andrew Shaughnessy, himself a past pupil. The ceremonial reading of the Proclamation from the terrace was given by student Pierce Kent, a direct descendant of Thomas Kent and this was followed by a Seamus Heaney reflection read by Ted Pyne. A rendition of the National Anthem, led by a piper and the St. Colman’s music department, closed the proceedings on the historic day. St. Colman’s musicians were David Roche (Bagpipes), Cian Donnellan (Snare drum), Jeremy Saich, (Accordian), Colm Curtin and Eoin Foley (Fiddle), Brendan McGee (Flute) and the St. Colman’s College Choir under the directorship of Ms Elizabeth Egan.
Honouring Proclamation day 2016 were Jimmy Condon, Richard Terry, John Tobin (SCC History Dept), Principal Veronica O’Donoghue, students Padraig O’Cofaigh, Cian Lau, Ted Pyne, Pierce Kent, Alice O’Calaghan (teacher), Elizabeth Egan (Music), Mossie Barry (teacher)  and Fr. Eamonn Barry (Chaplain SCC)
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