Michael McLaverty began his schooldays at St. Gall’s primary school at Waterville Street adjacent to the famous Clonard Monastery and from there went on to St. Malachy’s College on the Antrim Road.
He went on to Queens University and acquired a physics degree in 1927 but it was when he decided to become a teacher in his native city that a problem arose. The Northern Junta in the six counties had recently decreed that teachers qualifications who trained in Dublin would not be recognised. Would be Catholic male teachers decided the way around this was to go to Strawberry Hill Catholic College on London and so he enrolled meanwhile female trainee teachers went to the catholic St. Mary’s College in Belfast.
Michael returned with his Higher Education Diploma in 1928 and took up a teacher’s post at St. Public Elementary School in Colinward Street and completed his scholastic studies with a Masters Degree in 1933.
St. John’s School was built in 1910 to help facilitate the ever growing amount of boys and girls in the St. Paul’s Parish and to alleviate over-crowding at St Paul’s and St. Gall’s Schools. St. John’s was a boys and girls school, the boys classes were housed on the first storey and the girl’s on the ground floor with each entering their part of the school through separate gates.
Joe, your chronicle on Michael McLaverty is testomy to the admiration and respect you had for him as a teacher and a man.
It brings back memories of some of my teachers at St. Kevins. I remember Mr. Duffin the Principal. He was a stern man and big on discipline. I always felt as a kid that he had some terrible burden he didn't wish to share with anyone. It was in later years that I learnt of the terrible tragedy that befell his family. I felt sorry for the man after that and wondered how he carried on and kept his sanity. He held "forbidden" Irish classes as extra and I used to attend.His outer shell was tough but inside he was a gentleman. I also liked Mr. Duffy. he was a great teacher in the sense that he got his teaching through to you in a holding way (got your attention) and still allowed some slack.
I remember Mr. mont. he was a great story teller, big on Zane Grey (western) and Edger Allen Poe. He scared the hell out of me with his readings of E.A.P. "THE PIT AND THE PENDULEM". He would have made a good candidate for "The man in black" A story teller on the radio that scared the hell out of me. he got me stuck on Zane Grey books. He was a master in decribeing western scenery. Some of his books were made into epic western movies later on.
so ther you go Joe, thats my 10 cents worth of school memories. great topic.
Phew that was a nice input from you Rusty , it seems we all had 'favourite masters' and no two better men were destined to teach children than Mr Duffin and Mr McLaverty, men who valued all things Irish and knowing much about them both I would agree they stood head and shoulders above the average teacher in impressing values and respect into children under their care, firmly but with gentility when required.
If this is the same Michael McLaverty who wrote the lovely novellas, one about Rathlin Island that was my introduction to him, then may I make a comment. Thanks for this reminder of a favourite author of mine - I first read his books as a student nurse in the 1980s, as an antidote to all the studying I had to do at the time. Was never lucky enough to meet Mr McLaverty but had friends who did and said he was inspiring.
My own inspriational teacher who got me interested in reading fiction and poetry was Mrs Irwin at Carolan Grammar in the 1970s. She was a bit of a maverick and we all secretly admired her as well as finding her classes fun and informative at the same time.
Yes that is the same Michael McLaverty Roberta.
Joe as you know we both had experience of "Mickey", he was a great man, teacher and Irishman but so to was"hat and coat" ould Bill another great teacher, you would have to wonder with all the great teachers we had at St John`s we didn`t turn out smarter than we did, I remember Bill saying to us one time,"why do St pauls and St galls have all the smart ones and I have all the jail birds?" he was joking of course at least I think he was.
Ach I don't think wee St. John's school done too bad Tommy sure look at you and me conversing here on the internet across the continents and I can not only spell Jam...but Marmalade .
I have nothing but the nicest memories of having been taught by Michael McLaverty,he was one of lofe's gentlemen. I only knew him from St.John's Scool Colinward Street .
I was passing through Ballyhornan a few weeks ago and I saw a big house overlooking the beach with a blue plaque on the wall stating that Michael McLaverty lived there and that he did a lot of his writing from there.
I also remember him as my headmaster at St.Thomas's School on the Whiterock Road in Belfast in the early 60s,a very fair and kind person.
Yes, I remember Michael McLaverty from my days in St Thomas's Secondary. He retired in 1963. He used to go round the first year classes reading some of his short stories.