Irish Examiner 11. 12. 1981.
Clonmult School Reunion.
The Past Pupils Re-Union to mark the closing of the national school in the historic hamlet of Clonmult was a memorable affair with the young and not so young rubbing shoulders and recalling the “good old days”.
The school closed in June 1981 and now the students attend nearby Dungourney where a new school was opened just before the summer holidays.
Edmond Fitzgerald, well known for his great work in producing shows, told me that when the Clonmult School closed a group got together to “keep it for Clonmult” and purchased the building. Two of the oldest members present at the Past Pupils gathering were Captain Michael Hennessy and Willie O’Mahony, both veterans of the War of Independence.
Michael Hennessy is father of two of County Cork’s leading businessmen, Kevin and Pierce, both formerly outstanding racing cyclists. He was born in 1892 and at the tender age of four began attending the school which was next door to his home. He is the oldest past pupil. He told me the first teachers were George and John Cashel, some of whom relatives still live in Cork. Captain Hennessy said the school was built in 1864 and the classes were not as big as today.
A unit leader in the Old I.R.A., he was in Crumlin Jail in 1920 and was one of those who went on a 39 days hunger strike after which they were released. This was just for a short time for he was again interned in Ballykimbler in County Down where he spent thirteen months, being released after the Truce. During his spell in Ballykimbler he learned to speak Irish. Captain Hennessy was Clerk of the Court in Midleton for 45 years and was Clerk of the Court for the Old I.R.A. before the Truce in 1922.
Willie O’Mahony was interned in Spike Island and Kilworth Camp during the Troubles. He, too, took part in many engagements of the time.
Among the gathering, too, was Very Rev. William Buckley, appointed Parish Priest of Imogeela last year. During his term he has seen two new schools built in the Parish and two new spacious halls, one in Dungourney and the other in Castlemartyr. A native of Midleton, Fr. Buckley was an outstanding hurler with the “Magpies”, played minor for Cork in 1935 and 1936 and also played senior for Midleton and Cork. He is also remembered in Coachford for his production of several splendid pantomimes.
Dan Kenneally well known East Cork G.A.A. personality helped to make it a memorable night for all in the historic East Cork village of Clonmult.