(A slightly abridged version of this appeared in the Ubique. Herewith the original version.)

Alerted, well ahead of time, by various classmates that it was approaching 20 years since we had left Glenstal, we began to organise celebrations which would do justice to this significant event.

We settled on the Dunraven Arms as the venue for a dinner and Br Luke, one of the Class of ’88 but, by all accounts, also a frequent attendee at other reunion functions, pointed out the value in having a separate dining area for the Glenstal old boys so as not to scare the regular diners. The date for the dinner was set for Saturday 3rd May which at the time we did not realise was also the celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the school but which, in the event, turned out to work rather well.

On that Saturday the first of the revellers started to congregate in Murroe. We had planned to have lunch in the Valley Inn (“for old times’ sake”) but it turned out that the Valley Inn no longer serves food so we moved up the road to the next pub. It was here that a suspected American tourist, spotted looking nervously around and overheard asking for directions, turned out to be the long-lost Cyril Downing.

Acquiring additional bodies all the while, the group next moved on to Glenstal where we were treated to a nostalgic tour of the school, greeting as many monks as our beaters could flush out along the way, after which the fitter members of the group headed off for an even more nostalgic game of tip rugby. Thankfully nobody died on the pitch and there was only one serious injury as a result of the game.

After some final photographs under the arch we made our way back to Adare and the Dunraven Arms. Dinner was delicious and we were honoured to be joined by Fr Andrew and Br Patrick, with Fr Abbott (Christopher) putting in a surprise, but much appreciated, appearance. The high spirits were lowered only temporarily by the current writer’s speech, dwelling as it did on the mid-life crisis of meaning, although an epiphanic Matthew Bruton couldn’t hold back his yells of enthusiasm.

Dinner over, the reminiscences, catching-up and music began in earnest. We were lucky to have a great turn-out with 30 of the class attending. Everyone deserves praise for making themselves available for the reunion and helping with different organisational aspects. However, the “can-do” attitude was exemplified by Paul Hegarty who, leaving wife and newly-born baby back in Houston, flew in from the US, partied through the night and then flew straight back again the next morning.

Since then we’ve been keeping in regular contact (much talk of Christmas drinks and golf/skiing trips) and I believe that, even now, Richard Tierney is hatching dramatic plans for the 25th reunion…