On September 2, 2023, the Rhetoric ’93 boys drove up the avenue in a Bartons bus, feeling the mix of apprehension and excitement we all have felt after a long break. This break was slightly longer. On a gloriously sunny day this moderately older bunch of young lads were greeted in front of the castle by Fr. Sheil, who welcomed us warmly. We were then ably guided on a tour of the school by current Rhetoricians Liam-Simon Fellows, Mark Kelly, CC Boateng, Daniel Schacht, Ben McGuigan, Rián O’Kelly and Eoin Cunningham, who connected the two Rhetoric groups across the years as (through no fault of his own), he is Mark Cunningham’s son. The boys took us on a tour through the Serpentine, Library (The Theatre in our day), Big Study, Dorms, Sports Hall, Ref and Bellarmine. The tour also included a Hogwarts style old staircase connecting the ’29 Building with the ’99 building, which none of us ever knew was there. We were amazed by the new facilities, built onto the ever solid old ones. Of all the newer things, we were most amazed by the cruise ship style menu on display for the boys that evening in the Ref. The fact that a) the food was apparently edible and b) there was a choice of courses, left us all feeling like we were born in the wrong generation.
Shiny new facilities aside, Clongowes is always about the people you are with. We all thoroughly enjoyed the chat with the current Rhetoric lads, as we remembered the many escapades from our six years. After a few hours of touching base with our former home, we were granted overnight leaves and asked for our Barton’s bus to head towards Manzors to celebrate.
Rhetoric ’93 is a special bunch and the ease and esteem with which we hold each other was apparent right away, and throughout a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. We had 15 lads on Friday night, 30 toured the school on Saturday and 44 sat down for dinner at Killashee House on Saturday night. Our guests of honor were the inestimable Tony Pierce, Chris “Ivan” McNulty, our 1st Year Prefect (and man who also frequently headed for Manzors, after lights out), and our friend, Ray Lenehan. Ray has been feeding Clongownians for at least 35 years, so we were glad he could let someone else do the cooking for a change. Martin Nugent stopped by on Friday to see how we all were and to ensure we were all still using the tuiseal ginideach correctly.
Our thanks to the Headmaster and Steven Gray for opening our erstwhile home to us once more. It was deeply appreciated and reminded us how lucky we were that our parents probably didn’t like us that much, so they sent us to be educated by erudite Jesuits on the plains of Kildare. Lucky men indeed.