September 1959 I arrived at St Patrick's with a strong notion that I was God's gift to education but Seamus McCracken soon put me back in the humble box. He then taught me more about school in the next three months than I had learned in four years at college.
Additional wisdom came from the big guns of Glenravel, Michael Mc Donnell and John Duffin, the latter having introduced me to all manner of things that occurred in CWMBRAN ( which was not a breakfast cereal even then.)
My dearest friend and colleague for ten years was Leo Logan of blessed memory.
Second in command of the whole establishment was Patsy Mc Mullan, humorous, versatile, skilled in the arts of lunch-time poker. That original "dirty dozen" has been decimated over time but will stay in my mind and heart always.
I learned of hitherto unknown places called Altananum, Aughafatten, Buckna and Ballyvaddy and was once conned into doing Geography on a bike ride down to the coast. Those involved on the quick return journey probably still tell the story at my expense.
P.E. classes were always great fun, even though one Fr Kelly was horrified to see "that woman out at the Broughshane Rd in a short skirt." The other cleric with a poor opinion of feisty females was the famous Dean McGrattan.
Girls from the first netball teams I still count as friends. They may remember having to play matches against other schools in their chaste long lisle stockings - by order of Sister Attracta.
In all these years since I have met men and women of great talents who are proud to have been at St Patrick's. Several past pupils have been, and still are, on the staff and others have excelled in business and professions at home and further afield. Those who had parts in The Happy Man and Riders to the Sea can tell of sharing a stage with Liam Neeson.
I love it when someone (particularly a bald man) approaches me in the street and says, "You taught me." I am blessed to have the good health to be here 50 years later and be remembering so many people with great affection.