Posted: 22nd May 2015

In recent years the Sports Hall has come to embody the growth of Clongowes as it enters it’s 200th year. Doubling as the school chapel to facilitate growing numbers, the building has also shown itself to be a versatile amenity on campus. Yet on Saturday night, its utility beggared belief.

May 16th will go down as one of the greatest nights in Clongowes’ history as 600 people descended on the school to celebrate two centuries of continued excellence. They were not to be disappointed.

With Nick Hewer (OC’62), formerly of ‘The Apprentice’, at the helm, the night opened to speeches from the various dignitaries assembled. As President of the Union, Mr. John Bruton (OC’65) represented the past pupils, who wished to convey their congratulations and thanks – particularly to the Jesuit community. Mr. Bruton’s message was embellished by a series of video clips featuring several Clongowes personalities who could not be there on the night.

As he enters the final weeks of his office, Fr. Leonard Moloney SJ charged those present with ensuring that Clongowes remains the influential institution it has become. Coming on the day of Steven Gerrard’s final appearance at Anfield, it had already been an emotional afternoon for the Headmaster. However, such has been his impact during his tenure that the evening could not pass without a moment of gratitude for his services to the college. In his role as Chairman of the Board, Mr. Peter Gray made a presentation to Fr. Moloney as You’ll Never Walk Alone reverberated around the unrecognisable hall.

There then followed a unique raffle with each table claiming a prize, before a momentous auction took place. With items including a first edition copy of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man up for grabs, alongside Rugby World Cup and Wimbledon tickets, the sale generated a lot of interest.

Having enjoyed food prepared by Johnnie Cooke and his team, many guests then devoured the dance floor as The Bentley Boys took centre stage.

Following months of preparation, there was no stone left unturned on the night with food, drinks, music and craic all in full supply.

Pictures of the night are available here, video footage of the speeches may be viewed here and video clips featuring several Clongowes personalities are here.

Mr Richard McElwee

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