The Brugh Padraig Boys’ Club was opened in 1942 by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid. It was run by the Legion of Mary. It catered for boys aged 14-18.
Activities included woodwork, metalwork, arts and crafts, boxing and physical training. Each class had mentors. The club had a chaplain.
I joined in 1946 with my pal Benny Gregg. Every year we went on camp, and in the year 1946 we were in a farm called Knockroin – it’s just before Wicklow Town. It now has a sign ‘Lakelands’ outside.
One memory that stands out in my mind is how we would fall asleep to the noise of the machines milking the cows. Over the years, we went on to camp to such places as Glencree, Carne in Wexford, Timahoe (in the turf cutters’ huts), and Tipperary.
These were great events where we could play all kinds of games: soccer, rounders, table tennis, and always a swim. In Glencree, a square was cut into the bog and we swam in the coldest water in Ireland.
A sister club, Brugh Mhuire, would join us on some camps and we would compete against each other. We played our home soccer games in the technical grounds in Terenure. In the early years we travelled by tram from Nelson’s Pillar.
We had a sodality held every month in the Poor Clare church on Merrion Square facing the ESB offices.
Your life time in the club was four years, 14-18. Around 1951, when I reached 18, the leaders decided to offer the boys to join the Legion of Mary and become leaders in the Brugh. The first ex-boy was Jimmy Butler from Pearse House. George McDermott and myself also became leaders. As they reached 18, Eamonn Thomas, Henry Kelly and Michael Synnott put their all into the Brugh and became leaders.
I mentioned Benny Gregg, who became a League of Ireland player with Transport AFC, whose home ground was in the greyhound stadium in Harold’s Cross. Shelbourne’s home ground was the greyhound stadium on South Lotts Road. The Greggs were a well known soccer family in Ringsend and Podge was a good player with Rovers.
Growing up in Whelan House and going to St Patrick’s Boys National School was a good time. We had Mr Seamus Kavanagh as our master, as we called them in those days.
On one occasion he had two weeks off as he was making a film, The Courtneys of Curzon Street. In later life he became a full-time actor and performed in many plays.
Living in Ringsend at the time in Whelan House were two of Shamrock Rovers’ famous forward line, JJ Flood and Bob Fulham. There is a small statue of Bob Fulham somewhere and it says ‘Give it to Bob’, which the crowd would roar when Rovers won a penalty.
Up until 2013 we had a Christmas party held in Sportslink in Santry. At Easter time Pat Carroll brings together a group to meet in Lynch’s pub in Pearse Street. Pat also brings us together again at Christmas time. The annual mass for deceased chaplains, leaders and members of Brugh Padraig takes place in St Andrew’s Community Centre. The date of mass for this year is October 29th at 7.30.
My reason for writing this story is that some ex-Brugh boys may not know that this mass takes place and might like to take part. A list of deceased people of the Brugh is placed on the altar at the mass. Michael (Mick) Synnott and Joe Corcoran are two of our friends who passed away this year. R.I.P.
Our thanks to Liam Brennan for producing the list of names and the mass of the day. Thanks also to St Andrew’s Community Centre for the use of the hall.
For information contact Jimmy Purdy 086 3315 201, Pat Carroll 01 455 7114.
By Jimmy Purdy