This piece was originally published on LaoisToday on March 1, 2017
Knockbeg College boys secondary school has been home to thousands of Laois lads since it first opened in 1793.
Originally a boarding school only, it opened its doors to day pupils in 1980 and now only accommodates them after the boarding closed completely in 2011.
For those who attended the highly-regarded school, there are many fond memories.
We’re sure the list below will bring back some of them.
- The smell of Johnny Behan’s pipe emanating from Room 8.
- The day Chris Conway broke the record (which he previously held) for saying ‘Ok’ 167 times in a 40-minute class.
- How the words ‘Oi garcon’ would strike fear into every student who knew that Mr Cashman wouldn’t be far away.
- The ghost who supposedly haunted the school. Many, still to this day, will swear that they spotted him at least once.
- How meeting someone at lunchtime on ‘the touch’ actually meant going for a walk around the sports fields.
- The hurlers spending their lunchtimes trying to smack sliotars off the sign on the side of the pav. The pav being the changing rooms. The sign being so badly damaged that it was unclear what was actually written on it in the first place.
- The excitement at seeing your name listed on the team-sheet for a hurling or football match on the notice board. And the devastation if it wasn’t there which meant you’d have to spend the day in school while the rest of the team went off.
- The smokers heading to the far corner of ‘the touch’ to avoid the eye of Mr Cashman. Which worked until he purchased a set of binoculars to catch them in the act.
- The sound of Mr Killoran keys’ jingling as he walked down the corridors in the morning to open every room. That man really was a legend.
- The way Ms Fenlon could cut you in two with a sarcastic comment.
- Tony the caretaker and the banter he enjoyed with the farming pupils. Especially on the ‘Tractor Run’ days when lads would bring in the finest tractors that you’ve ever seen to raise money for charity.
- Mr John Maye and his obsession with all things running. And all things Brian Kelly. Rumour has it that he has gone in to coaching football teams these days, surely only a ploy to poach the best lads for athletics competitions.
- The smell of chicken curry from the Ref which made all of the day boys (before they were allowed in in later years) jealous.
- Mr Frankie Lyons’ hatred for all things Liverpool and love for all things United.
- Arguments over whether the school was geographically located in Laois or Carlow. The Laois lads ultimately winning every time by using the River Barrow as the border.
- The epic games of indoor soccer in the gym after school while the day boys were doing supervised study. Even though the odd one would sneak down to make up numbers if required.
- Sneaking out from the dorms in the dead of night and making the long trek up the avenue to meet a delivery man in order to bring back food to feed a starving dormitory. The elation on your fellow borders faces when you made it back without getting caught was a joy to behold.
- The day the intercom was installed brought great joy to every student. It meant that you could hear the sound of principal Mr Cyril Hughes wherever you were in the school.
- Having the words to “We are the Knockbeg Army” beaten into you as a first year by a sixth year holding a megaphone at your very first match.
- Mick Brennan the bus driver. The man drove the Knockbeg bus since the beginning of time and only retired recently. His tartan hat was iconic and his knowledge of all things GAA and Knockbeg was second to none.