Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys,
The parts in yellow match clip 2.
It must have been about 1909, I came up to Dublin from Limerick in that year and I was delighted to hear I was being sent to an Irish school. It turned out to be the first school in Oakley road . . .
Then I moved to the boarding school in Rathfarnham. That was a different sensation to anything I had ever experienced at school before, because we were left to ourselves, our honour. We were told it was up to us to be honest and straight – ideal qualities generally.
Next morning I was told to go in and see Pearse. Pearse talked to me like a father as he always did. That was the astounding quality he possessed. He looked upon us as his children. He always did. He didn’t see us just as pupils paid by our father and mother to go there. He really helped us everyway that someone could have helped a boy.
He spoke to me as a father and said I’ll leave it to you now. You know you did wrong – now find your own punishment.
That shows the mentality he had when he actually dealt with a boy. He put it up to the boy himself to realise where he was at fault.
He also of course instructed us in shooting, BSA .22 rifles. I remember out in the back garden firing at target. Conn Colbert of course was the man who really got us into that. He was the drill sergeant there. He was a man we all admired. A great athlete, sturdy – who gave his life for the very cause that he always spoke to us about. We never visualised that happening in the end, but he always did speak as if there was going to be sometime in Ireland a fight for our freedom.
That’s a thing that I don’t think was ever taken into account by people. You fell for his words. He had a magnetic quality. And he had a lovely voice. And he had of course absolute logic. If you listened to him you couldn’t deny everything he said was what you should do and what your aim in life should be.
Of course we none of us realised that he was himself going to die on the very type of build up and mind and training that he was trying to install in us.
Well was it apparent that he was building you up for something?
‘Oh definitely. It was afterwards we realised. At least I did afterwards. everyone who was at St Endas. And indeed he brought St Enda’s boys down into the Post Office with himself. I wasn’t with them as unfortunately my parents [?] as the years went on decided that it wasn’t worldly enough, that Pearse was too idealistic.
That actually he was putting the wrong things first from the point of view of the world. Like his poem, "The Fool".
But in any case I was taken away from school and an effort made to send me to another school from which I ran away and spent 3 days up in the Wicklow hills and certainly that was an experience, as I had only a very light water-proof, no blanket or anything else of course and it was September. Of course it shouldn’t have been cold, but up in the mountains at night I never slept a wink . . . (Dick walked to St.Enda’s and asked could he go to school, but they said not if his parents [guardians] didn’t allow it)
He (Plunket) sent me a message to bring our family car to the Post Office on the Monday morning. But he didn’t know at the time that we hadn’t a car of our own. It was half and half jointly owned between O’Rahilly and Humphreys. So of course O’Rahilly had already brought the car into the Post Office, so I wasn’t able to do that bit of work for him.
‘Pearse was that type of educationalist that he wanted to bring out every side of your character. He had music of course. For anyone who could play the piano or the violin. He had the art class with his brother doing sketching, painting or sculpture if you were interested in it – to give you a chance. In regard to the plays – he himself had 2 or 3 plays that he wrote, but he also had a wonderful passion play. I’ll never forget Willie playing Pontius Pilate in it.
Dick remembers pageants in the countryside:
‘We had the usual feast that boys look forward to and then we went out in the field and fought with wooden weapons and wooden shields. It was a marvellous experience.
Did you see much of Pearse?
‘No, he was busy doing other things. He used to turn up always though, at night time for the Rosary. He used say the Rosary in Irish. Boys would get different turns saying the Rosary every time so that you’d know your Irish anyway! I’ve often thought how he got so much done in his short life.
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Some research "things to do" are not done for years, because I do not have the money to do them.
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