For the ninth consecutive year Kilkenny College held it’s very own tractor run this week.

Given the global pandemic, for the second year the tractor run had to be virtual.  The students in senior years video recorded themselves at home over the previous weekend.  The run was launched online on its traditional day, which is  the Thursday evening prior to the May bank-holiday weekend.

In previous years the girls and boys gathered in JVW Transport in Gowran and drove the 16km in to the College on the Castlecomer Road.  The original tractor run had 16 tractors while the last real event had almost 60.Those original founding students George Coyle, Wesley Byrne ,Ben Tompkins,Stpehen Agar and Dara Bulfin continue to take part.

Last Thursday the usual excitement of 450 boarder students welcoming the drivers on campus was missing, however the  girls and boys watched it online in evening study. As well as shots of students driving a number of past pupils sent good wishes, which are included in the ten minute video.

The organising Committee had nominated The Good Shepherd Centre as their charity for this year. Donations welcome.

Kilkenny College participated in the Move For Your School challenge organised by Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership from March 1st to March 28th.  The aim of the challenge was to encourage as many staff and students from secondary schools in Kilkenny to be active.

The Challenge was organised using the Strava app which measures distances recorded and gives a breakdown of average pace along with other features.  To qualify for the challenge 15% of the school community minimum was needed and the results were based on the average km covered per participant.

There were over 200 members of the Kilkenny College school community who participated in the Challenge and there was lots of friendly rivalry between family members, year groups, staff members and friends.  Some of the pupils enjoyed getting one up on their teachers! After an exciting 4 weeks (fortunate with good weather), Kilkenny College finished overall in 1st place. The College also came 1st for three of the four weeks.  Collectively Kilkenny College  covered 31,353km.  The breakdown was as follows:

Form 1:                 2919.1km

Form 2:                 5483.61km

Form 3:                 5266.1km

Form 4:                 3364km

Form 5:                 2829.3km

Form 6:                 2773km

Staff:                     8717.89km

Well done to each and every participant who went above and beyond at times.

There were a number of participants who walked a full marathon over the course of the 4 weeks.  A marathon is 42.2km.  Those students were:

Wendy Fairbrother, Emma Cooke, Lauren Grace, Hugh Dagg,  Matthew Dragoi, Emily Fitzpatrick, Shaun Dalton, Rose Smyth and Ava Langrell. (Hugh Daag actually walked 2 marathons on the one weekend.)Three students completed a three quarter marathon too.  They were Aaron Langrell, Sass Thompson and Aphra Wallace

Sincere thanks to Mr David Lowry who led and encouraged the school community with such good humour. 

While the challenge is over, the message from Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership is to keep active and stay healthy.

The community of Kilkenny College, current and former, joins with all across the Diocese in mourning the death of Dean Norman Lynas, former Dean of St. Canice’s Cathedral, parent of past students Tristan and Adam, former Governor of Kilkenny College and Leinster branch Referee. Dean Norman is remembered as a Christian leader who brought wisdom, generosity, insight and good humour to all he did. His contribution to the life of Kilkenny College was a lasting one. Norman is remembered with warmth and affection by all who knew him. Kilkenny College extends condolences to Norman’s wife Marie-Claire, his children Tristan, Adam and step-daughter Aly and their extended families.

May Norman Rest In Peace.

The following tribute from Bishop Michael is on behalf of the Diocese.

"News of the death In the United States of Norman Lynas, dean of Ossory from 1991 to 2009 will undoubtedly and rightly cause a wave of sadness to pass over Kilkenny and beyond....yet that sadness will be accompanied by a myriad of grateful memories. Our sadness is of course accentuated by our awareness of the extraordinarily difficult times Norman and his family have experienced since his catastrophic accident last summer. Reading online posts describing their courage, positivity, faith and resilience in the intervening months has been an inspiration.

Inevitably we look back now at Norman through the lens of recent suffering, and our memory is textured by the mood that Good Friday inevitably brings. Yet it is right that we remember Norman as he really was and as we knew him - full of energy and ideas and faithfulness and fun. Norman was a hard worker, a devoted priest and a kindly pastor .... and he was the life and soul of a good party too. He loved to view the whole of life as a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.

I’ve known Norman since our paths first crossed in TCD in the late 1970’s. I recall his scholarly yet enthusiastic contributions at Synods, his rich sense of the very tapestry of Anglicanism. His appointment to Kilkenny as a really very young dean and rector in 1991 was in so many ways inspired. He brought the experience and wisdom of his Ulster background to the South East, and came rapidly to relish the life of the Southern church. He was one of those people who seemed to straddle successfully the various facets that make up the layered life of the Church of Ireland. He was a true pastor, who shed godly cheerfulness but was never trite. People in situations of sadness and loss welcomed his presence in the midst of their need. His impact on the wider civic life of Kilkenny was remarkable. Amid his many liturgical duties he found time... as a good dean must do know, love and understand the fabric of the cathedral. He rejoiced particularly in the rebuilding of the organ. Curates with whom he worked and for whom he was an inspiration loved him.

Norman gave hugely of himself to strategic planning regarding educational matters in Kilkenny ; both the Model School and Kilkenny College owe much to his vision and wisdom, and he was a much-loved presence in the everyday life of both.

Norman welcomed me to Kilkenny in 2006 with memorable warmth ; I remember him coming to the house with presents that first Christmas when I felt new and rather strange. His smile on the doorstep and his generosity made Claire say (and I suspect her reaction was by no means untypical) - ‘That visit made Christmas for us!’

Soon after  I arrived Norman realised that having served for close on two decades in a ministerial  task of vast proportions it might be prudent to consider something very different. Hence his departure to Bermuda, a place he had come to love was an adventurous and noble decision, which brought much sadness to Kilkenny at the time. Yet for him it was the commencement of a whole new fruitful chapter of which others can better speak. Tragedy struck soon after the move with Nichola’s sudden death (and many had regarded them as almost inseparable), yet Norman displayed courage and resilience, stuck it out in Bermuda, and eventually found great renewed  happiness in life and love. It is now fitting that all that is mortal of him should return to Hillsborough to be buried alongside Nichola.

Our hearts go out especially to Tristan (happily still in our midst In Kilkenny) and to Adam as they mourn their father; we are conscious of how unspeakably difficult recent months have been for them.  They, and we, can be sustained by the memory of a larger-than-life figure, characterised by generosity, whose priestly ministry cheered as well as sanctified so many of those with whom he had to do. The ancient stones of St Canice’s will somehow know that they bear the footmarks of a very fine dean.

As a hymn sums it up regarding Norman and others like him -

‘These stones that have echoed their praises are holy, and dear is the ground where their feet have once trod;

Yet here they confessed they were strangers and pilgrims, and still they were seeking the city of God’."

Please see below a recording on the Parents Association Career Evening that was held recently.

Past pupil Sam Matthews has been appointed editor of The Kilkenny People newspaper. Sam was a member of the Class of 2007.The eldest of three, Sam’s sister Jennifer and bother Evan also attended the College.

The Matthews family has long connection with the College with Mum Avril and dad (the late) Neville being involved with our Parents Association.

He replaces editor of 13 years Brian Keyes, who has taken on the role of Group Editorial Operations Director of Iconic Newspapers, the regional newspaper group of which the Kilkenny People is a part.

Sam, a senior journalist at the Kilkenny People for over eight years, is a graduate of Dublin City University and past pupil of Kilkenny College. He lives in Kilkenny City, and has family living throughout the county.

“I am honoured and delighted to have this opportunity. I have been privileged to work with and learn from Brian Keyes, alongside a talented and experienced team who ensure the Kilkenny People remains a staple for households throughout the county. We are blessed with expertise and ability across our news, sports, production and commercial departments,” he said.

“We will continue to report on the important issues of the day — from the courtroom to the pitch side, on politics and all other matters, without fear or favour. Our popular website and strong presence on social media show that regardless of age, location, or interests, the people of Kilkenny are keen to be informed of what’s happening locally. This newspaper has been key to that since it was established in 1892.

“These are strange and uncertain times, but I have no doubt Kilkenny is equal to the challenge of the pandemic. A local newspaper is at the heart of a thriving community, and I believe there will always be a demand for local news. We will also continue to proudly champion this county and its people, to be a platform for and to amplify their voice.”

Outgoing editor Brian Keyes wished him well.
“I wish Sam every success in his new role, it’s encouraging for local media in general to see a talented young journalist take charge of one of the country’s leading titles,” he said.

The Kilkenny College school community wishes Sam continued success in the year’s ahead.

The 2020 Christmas Newsletter is now available to view or download from the link below.