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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 Eleven: Graduate Perspectives (John Buckley)


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Chapter Eleven: Graduate Perspectives

Introduced by John Buckley

Until the introduction of BA programmes in the early 1990s, all students of St Patrick’s College encountered the music department or its earlier manifestations, to one degree or another. From the beginning of the college in 1875 student teachers were required to engage with methodologies and appropriate materials relating to the teaching of music in the primary school. Prior to 1993, two possibilities for musical study were available to students, at least from the 1950s onwards: the obligatory study of classroom or curriculum music and an optional module of academic music, initially referred to as ‘special music’ until the introduction of the BEd in 1974 when it became known as academic music. The BA in humanities and university linkage initially with University College Dublin and subsequently with Dublin City University brought a new dimension to the academic life of St Patrick’s College, including the Music Department.

While many of the students attending St Patrick’s College emerged from a broadly similar social and educational context, their musical experience and identity varied widely from the almost negligible to the highly sophisticated and focused. Many of those students with a strong sense of musical identity had already been engaged with Irish traditional or classical music while others had been members of brass or wind bands or, in more recent times, musical theatre or popular music. All brought their own particular musical identities and gifts to...

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