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Ceol Phádraig

Music at St Patrick’s College Drumcondra, 1875-2016


Edited By John Buckley and John O'Flynn

Since its foundation in 1875, the activities of St Patrick’s College Drumcondra and its graduates have been closely woven into the educational and cultural fabric of Irish society. This volume charts how music and music education have fulfilled a major role throughout the history of the Dublin-based establishment that began as a teacher training college and later evolved into a college of education and liberal arts. Graduates of St Patrick’s College have taught hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pupils across the country, have made significant contributions to various facets of professional and amateur music activity, and have had an invaluable influence on the wellbeing of individuals, the development of communities and the advancement of the nation as a whole.

The book records and interprets key musical developments, appraises the work of major contributors, and captures the activities of students, staff and visiting musicians at St Patrick’s College up to its incorporation into Dublin City University in 2016. It represents a major scholarly work that details the progress of music at a university college in Ireland, and it is envisaged that its varied chapters and themes will evoke further memories and discussions among graduates of the College and others.

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Chapter Two: Music Performance at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra (John Buckley)


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Chapter Two: Music Performance at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra

John Buckley

Early Years

The performance of music has consistently played a highly significant role in the life of St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, since its foundation in 1875.1 In the intervening years the sound of music has been woven into the fabric of daily life in the College, in academic, cultural, and social contexts. Music has been heard on formal and informal occasions in classrooms, lecture halls, practice rooms, church, canteens, student common rooms, and of course, in the college auditorium.

The first available formal reference to a musical performance in the College appears in the Freeman’s Journal of 30 September 1885 and describes the visit to the College on the previous day by the Rev Dr Walsh, Archbishop of Dublin. The principal purpose of Dr Walsh’s visit was to inspect the new buildings, which had just been completed: ‘When the Archbishop entered the hall, the hymn “Ecce Sacerdos Magnus” was sung by the choir, under the direction of the Rev John E. Flynn, Mr Goodman presiding at the organ’.2 The report continues with a description of the hall as magnificent and gives the dimensions as eighty-four feet long and forty feet wide. This study hall would remain in general use for a range of formal events including a series of symphony concerts in the 1960s and would be superseded only by the opening of the new auditorium in...

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