During the celebration of Mass for St Kieran’s day, earlier this year, I told the lads a story about a wealthy builder who had called his top assistant to explain that work would have him travelling for the next ten months. While he was gone, however, he wanted his assistant to oversee the construction of a new home as the owner was planning to retire soon and he wanted to begin to make preparations. Now immediately after he had gone, the assistant thought to himself that he had worked tirelessly for this man for years and now in preparation for his retirement he was still only thinking of himself. So in building this house the assistant decided to use cheap material and cheap labour to save costs at every opportunity. The house when finished would look fine but it certainly wouldn’t last.
On the owners return the assistant showed him the house in all its apparent finery but when he went to hand over the keys the owner refused to take them. The owner explained that he wanted to care for his assistant in his retirement and that he had this house built, not for himself, but for his loyal friend. We each will live in the house that we are building…
How do we spend our days? Are they anger, hurt, confusion, exhaustion and complaints or are they happiness, family, friends and fun as we energetically chase some dream. We might like, on occasion, to blame others for how we are but deep down we know the truth – we each live in the house that we are building.
This is true for us all, throughout life, but it resonates as particularly true for those working on the foundations of that house – in their school days – and what houses they are building… Our Leaving Certificate students once more excelled in their results. We again won the All-Ireland Applied Maths along with our 23rd Senior College’s All-Ireland. We are Leinster Junior Champions, All-Ireland semi finalists in poetry, Irish record holder in 100m obstacle swimming; Junior Champion of cross county, the best overall cross country school in Leinster, music awards, academic awards and so much more.
It is a privilege for us to be part of that work, to watch at first hand all that our students do in their relentless pursuit of perfecting the person they are; it is a joy to witness the houses that they are building.
In this past year we signed the Service Level Agreement with the Department of Education and Skills to ensure the delivery of a major project for St Kieran’s College. This work will see the complete refurbishment of our existing buildings which have a floor space of over 3,000 square meters and the construction of additional buildings of over 5,000 square meters. Thereby delivering a most wonderful facility for education here in the midst of our iconic campus.
In fact, during the course of this past school year we have appointed our Design Team for this project assembling all the necessary specialities to help us ‘build that house’. Thankfully, the delivery of this project has been devolved from the Department of Education and Skills to the College and this will allow for greater control and input at every stage of the realisation of this exciting major project. These negotiations have also ensured that a new, more suitable, location has been found for the City Vocational School and in time they are set to leave the campus, felling the buildings, and returning that space to the College. Much work has been done in getting to this stage and more will be done to help to continue to progress these exciting developments.
St Kieran’s College lies at the heart of the Diocese of Ossory both literally and figuratively. It is wonderful, then, to see the continued, and ever growing, diocesan activity here in the College. The Diocesan Forum, the Ossory Diocesan Pastoral Council, the Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator, the Diocesan Faith Development office, and the Diocesan Retreat team all find a home here and their work helps animate much of the life of our diocese. This past year has seen the Trustees, along with Bishop Dermot as our Patron, do much to progress this mission of the College.
In fact, during this past year two of our Trustees, who had given many years of service to the College, have retired. I thank Mgr Kieron Kennedy and Mgr Jim Cassin for their long years of dedicated service and tireless commitment to St Kieran’s College as Presidents and then as Trustees. I welcome also the addition of some new Trustees and I greatly look forward to working with them. Sadly too, however, this year saw the death of Fr Nicholas Flavin a former Principal of St Kieran’s College. Nicholas was a great friend of the College and gave a great number of years tirelessly working to ensure that the quality of education here was second to none. As Principal here during my own school days I saw first-hand his dedication to St Kieran’s College, its staff and pupils. This past year also saw the death of our former Patron and Bishop of Ossory Laurence Forristal. His interest in, and his involvement with, the College continued long after he retired as Bishop of Ossory. He too is fondly remembered and sadly missed. We say goodbye also to Michael Forrest as he retires from the teaching staff of the College. Having given many dedicated years to students inside the classroom, and outside it in so many extra-curricular activities, Michael now steps back. I thank Michael, and through him this year, all of the wonderful teachers who gave so much to the College while they served here – ensuring that the education we offered was always the very best, and improved year-on-year.
Wonderful work continues with our Alumni Association and at our now annual corporate networking event in Dublin. The Alumni Association and this event now play a vital role in widening our footprint and in deepening the awareness of all that St Kieran’s College and its pupils, past and present, can achieve.
On a daily basis I am fortunate to work closely with those who make all this possible. I thank Adrian Finan as our Principal, Ken Maher and Liam Smith as our Deputy Principals. Both individually, and seamlessly collectively, they work tirelessly do everything that is necessary to ensure that the College remains at the forefront of every aspect of education. Their real passion for the work, their ceaseless energy, their drive for and commitment to every aspect of the College life and their vision for its future is breathtaking. Their ability to balance a relentless pursuit of the highest standard of education with a deep care for each individual involved ensures that the College remains a special place.
It is humbling to see the houses our students build. As the appointment of our Design Team taught us, construction involves many partners. I have, therefore, a real debt of gratitude to the students and their Council, the parents and their Association, the School and College staff, my colleagues on the Board of Management, the Trustees, Bishop Dermot our Patron, the Alumni Association and its past pupils and all those who make St Kieran’s College the special place that it is.
Rev. Dr Dermot Ryan, President
Chairperson, Board of Management