The Boys of St. Columb's
The Education of a New Ireland
248 pages, 6.14 x 9.21
Paperback | 9780268107543 | February 2020
Hardcover | 9780268107536 | February 2020
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268107567 | February 2020
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268107550 | February 2020
The Boys of St. Columb's chronicles the schooldays of eight illustrious alumni of St. Columb's College in Derry, Northern Ireland, and the political consequences of their education. A companion to a BBC/RTÉ documentary film, The Boys of St. Columb’s (2010), this book traces the first generation of children to receive free grammar school education as a result of the groundbreaking 1947 Education Act in the region. The boys were Bishop Edward Daly, SDLP leader and Nobel Peace Prize–winner John Hume, poet and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney, critic Seamus Deane, diplomat James Sharkey, activist Eamonn McCann, and musicians Phil Coulter and Paul Brady. Maurice Fitzpatrick incorporates extensive interviews with this group of extraordinary figures five decades after they graduated, and their stories still resonate today with unique reflections on their backgrounds and their coming of age. The book’s historical relevance has continued to grow since it first appeared in 2010, and the narrative can be viewed in a new light as a result of the current political realities in the UK and Ireland.
Maurice Fitzpatrick is a film director and author of a number of books, including John Hume in America: From Derry To DC (University of Notre Dame Press, 2019). He is the 2020 Heimbold Chair of Irish Studies at Villanova University.
“A no-holds-barred portrait of a school that was in its day cruel and brutal—but also liberating and energising.” —Garbhan Downey, Culture Northern Ireland
“The Boys of St. Columb’s is . . . a sort of parable for how education—not arms or armies—can be the vehicle for change not just in one particular context but globally.” —Thomas O’Grady, Boston Irish Reporter
“Full of energetic and concise formulations, the interviews make this an indispensable document.” —Edward Larrissy, Irish Times