The Crescent College Comprehensive Past Pupils’ Union annual dinner was held at the Strand Hotel on Saturday 11 November 2023. It was hosted by Union President, Jeannie O’Malley. There was an attendance of just over two hundred, one of the largest seen at our annual dinner. Among those present were past pupils who had travelled from the USA, the Philippines, Singapore, Germany, France and Britain.
A minute’s silence was held before dinner was served for deceased past pupils, but especially in memory of Geraldine Heslin, President of the Union in 2020-21, who died in June after a lengthy illness. Geraldine served on the union committee from its inception in 2011, was a tireless worker at most union events and attended her last committee meeting less than a month before her death. We were happy to welcome her extended family to the dinner. She is greatly missed. I measc na naoimh go gcastar í.
The President’s guests were Helen O’Donnell, Chair of the CCC Board of Management, Diarmuid Mullins, School Principal, George Heslin, recipient of the roll of honour and after dinner speaker, Pat Rickard, President of Old Crescent RFC, Peter O’Meara, President of Clongowes Past Pupils’ Union and Justice Kevin O’Higgins.
The President, Jeannie O’Malley, welcomed the guests and outlined the events organised by the Union during the year. She announced the upcoming launch of CUSP (Crescent Union Solidarity Programme) which will offer advice and support to past pupils experiencing difficulties in their careers or personal lives. She indicated that the Union is putting together a panel of past pupils with legal, financial, employment, redundancy, counselling and other expertise to assist in providing such support. She congratulated George Heslin as the 2023 entrant to the Roll of Honour.
Diarmuid Mullins, Principal of CCC, welcomed the closer liaison which had developed between the school and the Union in recent years and hoped that this would continue to grow.
The guest speaker, George Heslin of the Class of 1987, is currently Executive Director of the New York Irish Centre. Following a career as an actor and director in Ireland, Britain and the USA he became founding and artistic director of the Origin Theatre in New York. He spoke of having wanted to be an actor since the age of five, and said his education, and introduction to drama and theatre, at CCC contributed hugely to his subsequent career.
Two groups – the Leaving Certificate classes of 1963 and 1973 – held their reunions at the dinner. Eighteen members of the Class of 1963 attended the event. Three of these diamond jubilarians – Joe Hayes SJ, Myles O’Reilly SJ and Michael Wallace – were members of the team that brought the Munster Schools Senior Cup to Crescent College for the fourth time in 1963. They were introduced by the President. Also introduced was Father Martin Daly, who captained the Crescent team that won the Munster Schools Senior Tennis Cup in 1963.
Seven of the twenty nine members present from the Class of 1973 travelled from abroad to attend the reunion and dinner – Leonard Moloney SJ and Aidan Long from the USA, Peter Walpole SJ from the Philippines, Father Bennet Tierney from Germany, Peter Conran, Michael Hayes and Kieran Horgan from the UK. Seven others travelled from outside Limerick, an impressive level of commitment.
Eoin O’Sullivan acted as Master of Ceremonies for the evening, having also compiled the slide show for the dinner. Music for the evening was provided by celebrated pianist, Frank McNamara. The overall success of the evening was primarily due to the organising committee of Keely Cantrell, Eva Clarke, Rachel Harnett and especially Aedín Prendergast.
The Video Slideshow from the Dinner is on YouTube on the link below – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_SbGEAeJkU
The Photographer for the evening was Shauna Kennedy from Morning Star Photography (morningstar.ie), who performed an excellent job of capturing the evening in this amazing selection of images.
Thanks to everyone who attended and supported the event and hoping to see many of you again and some old friends and new faces in 2024.