Special Union EVENTS

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28 February 2001

During Collette Mhic Giolla Eoin’s Presidency of DCPPU, Mary McAleese was President of Ireland. President McAleese, very generous of her time in her busy schedule, invited representatives from the DCPPU to attend a Community Groups Reception at Áras an Uachtaráin from 2.00 to 4.00pm on 28th February 2001. To enable as many community groups as possible attend, the numbers representing each group were limited to seven people in total. The lucky seven from DCPPU were Collette Mhic Giolla Eoin, President DCPPU, Sr Vivienne OP Prioress, Sr Victor OP, Loretto Diskin, Denise Griffin, Mary Galligan and Carmel O’Connor.

President McAleese welcomes the Past Pupils' Union Executive Committee

Committee members met at the gates of Áras an Uachtarain in the Phoenix Park first, and then all went in together. Refreshments were served while all the community groups assembled. The President, with her husband Martin McAleese, welcomed everyone to an Áras,  and later met and spoke to each group individually.

Martin McAleese welcomes Committee member Loretto Diskin

Refreshments and entertainment were provided by young Irish harpists and there was an opportunity to view the formal rooms of Áras an Uachtaráin, and the small but very interesting museum.

Young Irish Harpists provided some entertainment during the visit

It was a great honour to be invited, and a great occasion.

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Dominican College (founded in Eccles Street and now in Griffith Avenue) organised a series of events to celebrate 125 years (1883 - 2008) of education for girls. The Union was proud to participate in all these celebrations. The first event (11 May 2008) was a 'Back to School Day' to which all past pupils were welcomed. Mass celebrated in St Vincent de Paul Church Griffith Avenue was very spiritually uplifting, with music performed by choir and orchestra made up of past and present students. All were then invited back to Griffith Ave for light refreshments, where younger past pupils rediscovered their old haunts and classrooms and reminisced of their days in school. The DCPPU presented a display of photographs from Eccles St which was of great interest to all past pupils, young and old. Sr Chanel published an anniversary booklet - a history of Dominican College, which included a fine collection of photographs depicting the 125 years of Dominican Colleges in Eccles Street and Griffith Avenue - staff, students and buildings - a wonderful souvenir for all past and present pupils. A special Mass for Staff and present pupils was held later in the year on 7th October 2008. A magnificent Gala Dinner in The Great Hall of Clontarf Castle on 9th January 2009 brought to a close the 125 Celebrations with a final flourish. This was a double celebration, as it was also the 25th Anniversary of the opening of the new Dominican College on Griffith Avenue. The Union was honoured when the President, Carmel O'Connor, was invited to deliver one of the keynote speeches at the Gala Dinner. Click here to see photographs of the event from the Photo Gallery.


125 Years Celebration Souvenir Booklet

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Visit of PÉre Pire to Eccles Street, 22 February 1963

Pére Pire OP joined the Dominican Order in La Sarte in Huy, Liege, Belgium, and took his final vows in 1932. He obtained his Doctorate in Theology in Rome in 1936. Returning to the Priory at La Sarte, he dedicated his life to helping poor families live according to their dignity. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1958 for his work helping refugees in post-World War II Europe. On a short visit to Ireland, Pére Pire called in to Eccles Street on 22 February 1963.

Girl Guides form a Guard of Honour (left). Pére Pire is welcomed with Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh (right)

The senior pupils of all the schools assembled in the Concert Hall. The Girl Guides formed a Guard of Honour in the entrance hall and on the stairs when Pere Pire arrived, accompanied by Chief Justice Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh. Some choir items (including gregorian chant) and Irish dancing were presented, and a short address read in French. Pére Pire then spoke in French which was translated for all.  He encouraged everyone to work for peace. The Golf society fundraised for Pére Pire for many years, running a small competition during the annual society outing. The ‘Pére Pire Plaque for Refugee Homes’ was won by Nan Nagle in 1962. During his visit, past pupil Kathleen Taaffe, hon sec of DCPPU Golf Society had the privilege of being presented to Pére Pire, when he expressed his sincere gratitude for the help given towards his Refugee Fund. To quote Kathleen in the 1963 Lanthorn: “For the fifth year in succession a handsome contribution was made available for the Pére Pire OP Fund”. Later, in the 1967 Lanthorn, she stressed the pride she took in learning that ours was the first ladies golf society to help in the Pére Pire OP Freedom from Hunger Campaign.

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Visit of An Taoiseach Eamon De Velera to Eccles Street, 30 May 1953

“On the evening of May 30th a most unexpected pleasure came our way in an informal visit from An Taoiseach, Mr de Valera. It afforded us the utmost joy to greet him and to recall with him the days when St Mary’s University College, 23 Eccles Street, numbered him on its staff as Professor of Higher Mathematics.  His memory of his students and the sisters then in charge, was indeed remarkable and gratifying. The visit also provided an opportunity to express our heartfelt wishes for his health and happiness and success in his devoted, tireless work.”

Excerpt from The Lanthorn 1953, Page 20