Roisin Ingle

Full article. Just in case anyone wants to read it.

Róisín Ingle: Turns out Blackrock College was a
world away from us Pill Hill girls


I’m a proud college dropout. I lasted only a year at Maynooth University. It
was too far from home, spiritually and geographically. Admittedly, it was only
a 45-minute train ride from Connolly Station in Dublin, but it might as well
have been Mars in terms of the culture shock I experienced on that campus. I
wasn’t cut out for college, for tutorials or for college societies. I’d had enough
lectures all my life. Now I just wanted to live.

It didn’t help that the university shared a campus with St Patrick’s Pontifical
University, aka Maynooth College, a seminary where young men went to
become priests. By the age of 18 I had long rejected Catholicism for reasons
that seemed obvious to me – too cruel, too patriarchal, too many rules – and
there were too many priests-in-waiting and their elders around for me to ever
feel properly comfortable in Maynooth. For all the theology swirling around,
it always struck me as a soulless kind of place back then. I’m sure it’s
different now.

The situation wasn’t helped by the fact that I was living in digs – a bedroom in
a family home – longingly sniffing somebody’s else’s spaghetti Bolognese but
confined to my room, never welcome at the table. I knew I was not long for
college when, in the first few days of the first term, my landlords made me
take down my giant Morrissey poster from the bedroom wall to save their
magnolia paint. Heaven knows I was miserable then.
In another life I’d have been studying drama at Trinity College Dublin, but I
left Sion Hill, in Blackrock, with a bad Leaving Cert. It was entirely my own
fault. Other people did far better in exams, but then again nothing much was
expected of us academically by some of the people in the school next door.
Our neighbour over the wall was the fee-paying, private Blackrock College, a
place we all knew Official Ireland sent its boys to become men. The idea was
they would emerge as future leaders, future lawyers and – in a couple of
curve balls – future Late Late Show presenters and Sinn Féin TDs.

“Rock boys are we/Our title is our glory/Fearless and bold...” some of the boys
there sang. Some of them still do. Kids can be cruel, and some of the
Blackrock boys called our school Pill Hill. The nickname was designed to
shame us young women in our red jumpers and grey skirts. It meant that
some of the Blackrock boys thought we were all sexually active and on the
pill, not being as well bred as them. Not having parents who could afford to
send their children to schools that support social segregation, schools where
the have-a-lots are educated away from the have-lesses.
They were both Catholic schools, but it turns out Blackrock College was a
world away from Pill Hill philosophically if not geographically. We now know
that Blackrock College and Willow Park, its junior school, employed some
sexually abusive priests whose heinous attacks on children over three
decades were never once reported to the Garda. Strange how these things go.
We now know the Blackrock boys had nothing to feel superior about. All
those years us Pill Hill girls should have been looking down on that school,
pitying the boys who were learning in the shadow of a dark regime that had
festered in corridors and classrooms and dormitories. All those bad days and
nights in Blackrock.

And not just in Blackrock, as we know. Talking to a male friend recently, he
told me about his experiences at the hands of the Christian Brothers in
another school not so far away. It was a place where the Brothers employed
tactics of “constant grooming, testing of tolerances, seeking out the
vulnerable ones”. The Brothers backed off if you were able to convince them
of your “defiance and spirit”, he said, but otherwise you were easy prey.
“Basically, if you are an Irish man over the age of, say, 45, part of your feepaying
education was running the gauntlet of violent psychopaths and sexual
predators. I am grand. So many are not. This country has so many grubby
secrets. A national day of atonement would be a lot more useful than a
decade of commemorations.”
Then he spoke movingly of the PTSD being experienced now by men in their
50s and 60s and older. About how the abusive priests may die off but the
victims, if they survive, are left to live with and attempt to unravel all of that
trauma.

Wouldn’t all of it make you wonder about all sorts of things? For a start, will
people still pay thousands to send their children to these schools, even after
all these abuses have been revealed? Will Irish people, outraged by the
revolting truth of abuses we’ve been learning about ad nauseam, still go to
Mass and get married in churches? Will they still watch at a font as their
newborn babies are washed clean of “original sin”? Will parents continue to
dress their small daughters up in white dresses and send them happily off for
their First Confession? Will Fr Seán Sheehy, in Co Kerry, continue to be
vilified for his homophobic views while a homophobic institution called the
Catholic Church, which preaches that sex between two men or two women is
“intrinsically evil”, continues to play a huge role in schools and hospitals and
at family events? Is hypocrisy still as big as it used to be in Ireland? Is the
pope still a Catholic?
I went to Ringsend tech to repeat my Leaving Cert; it was a place some of the
Blackrock boys would have sneered at even more than they did Pill Hill.
Second time around I got a slightly better Leaving, and it was off to Maynooth
with me. But my heart was never in it. I ran away after that first year to
London, where I busked in the Underground and got a different kind of
education. I have no regrets.
I listened to the radio the past few days, thinking of all the Blackrock boys
and the Pill Hill girls. I know many of them were richer, posher and more
privileged. And I know which of us were better off.

roisin@irishtimes.com
 
What an absolutely evil piece of writing.

“Your daddy’s rich and you were a snob. You got raped in your fancy school. LOL”

What’s an editors job ffs.
 
What an absolutely evil piece of writing.

“Your daddy’s rich and you were a snob. You got raped in your fancy school. LOL”

What’s an editors job ffs.
Roisin has never got beyond the emotional pain of her youth clearly, she has a way to go if thats where her head is at. On the other hand it is understandable how much she and her friends might have despised those Rock youngfellas sneering at them as they grew up, because they would have. If I lived next door to the place and they waived the fees I wouldn't have my youngfella attend the place under any circumstances, because I have seen enough of the Rock lads in action as adults. They're like fucking apes in a pack and never manage to get over the superiority complex bred into them as the foundation of that school. Go to any wedding involving this crew and see what happens

I have lectured kids coming from most schools in Dublin at this stage and what you get coming in from Rock and a few others would make your mind up for you.. lazy, entitled shits who see you as the next guy that will work for them because thats what they have always had... and when they realise there isn't a hope of this materialising they are well on their way to struggling to get through the course. Obviously this is not every one of them, but the trait repeated far too often in certain groups.

Still, Roisin needs to mature as a nation and realise its national press she is publishing those views in


The new editor at the Times is young, maybe he's trying to be a bit too edgy, or lenient with established writers?
 

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