Email Us My Blog




Added to on March 15, 2007

Paddy Crosbie was a famous teacher and broadcaster. He went to St Paul's Christian Brothers School in North Brunswick St in the 1920s and later spent decades teaching there - until the 1970s. The following is an extract from his 1981 book "Your Dinner's Poured Out" subtitled "Boyhood in the Twenties in a Dublin that has Disappeared". (St Paul's was the original "School Around the Corner").

"But the man who 'made' the school, the man who set the school on an upward trend was Brother Murray, who succeeded Brother Curley as Superior.......

The Brothers had no finesse about dishonesty. Everything was in black and white. One day a boy - now a prominent and respected citizen - was discovered with a fountain pen belonging to another pupil. He admitted the theft and was expelled. The actual expulsion was a physical, visible one and we, the pupils, were allowed to crowd the windows and the exit from the yard to watch the scene. The ?thief? was brought to the front gate by Brother Murray, gripped by the collar of his coat and the seat of his pants, and heaved out onto the roadway. His schoolbag was thrown after him plus his cap. Then the Brother, dusting his hands symbolically, gave the signal to return to our classes. That punishment was very rough and very severe indeed, but during the Twenties there was no pilfering or dishonesty in our school, directly as a result of that vivid expulsion. Another thing, there was no such thing as impertinence and 'yessir' in all conversation with teachers signified a respect for authority.

"William Dunn, were you at school yesterday?'
'No, what?'
'No boots, sir'

Whatever the reason, and I feel respect for authority in school and at home was ninety per cent of it, there was little or no vandalism during the so-called turbulent Twenties.

Brother Murray was a real live wire. He brought us to factories, the museum and historical places. He prepared us for scholarships like a trainer preparing a fighter for a championship bout, and when he finally left the school, he left a trail of scholarship holders behind him, some of whom forgot to thank him. He died in 1974 at the age of ninety-four. I could never have repaid my debt to him. To me, he was the Daddy of all Christian Brothers."

My novice master Brother Maurice Kirk was killed in a car crash also in 1974. (He was a De La Salle Brother). Paddy Crosbie retired as a teacher in 1978 and died four years later. It was a time of great change in Irish life. In fact a whole culture was disappearing. In his introduction to Paddy Crosbie's book, James Plunkett wrote:

"No better company in which to contemplate that world than that of Paddy Crosbie. And to wonder afterwards how it could have slipped away so utterly and so entirely, yet so quietly that it had gone before we noticed. Gone physically that is. The ghosts are innumerable."

Rory Connor

15 March 2007