The Wild West’s Awake for Calamity Jane

By Claire Dempsey

Ballinasloe was transported to the Black Hills of Dakota last week as the Transition Years of Ardscoil Mhuire donned their plaid shirts and cowboy hats for rejuvenated version of Calamity Jane. The young cast brought a freshness and energy to the old musical society stalwart.


The cast take to the stage for the grand finale

Clare Callaghan imbued the heroic tomboy with sparkle and wit. On stage for nearly every scene, this talented youngster showed real star quality in the pivotal role. Jack Kelly, as Wild Bill Hickok was a perfect romantic foil for his talented leading lady. Their harmonious rendition of Secret Love was one of the standout moments in the show.


Clare Callaghan and Jack Kelly in Ardscoil Mhuire’s Calamity Jane

Nadine Kenny as Francis Farmer and Grace Dooley as Katie Brown displayed excellent comic timing and stage presence. Kenny wowed as the gauche young actor forced into a corset to satisfy the wild Deadwood crowd in The Golden Garter Saloon and Dooley showed her versatility, deliberately singing and dancing badly as the ill-prepared Katie Brown takes to the stage before showing us exactly what she is really capable of in a subsequent scene.

Local director Eoin Croffy kept the audience on their toes with cowboys and cancan dancers running through the aisles of the Town Hall Theatre and the lively choreography by Aoife O’Grady harnessed the youthful exuberance of the young cast.

All in all Ardscoil Mhuire’s Calamity Jane certainly proved to be an entertaining and energetic production of the classic “rootin’ tootin’ shootin’est show.”


Hanging out in The Golden Garter Saloon

St Joseph’s College Class of 1953 Reunion


Back row standing L-R: Brendan Flynn, Tim Allman, Pat Madden, Dathi Frawley, Mickie Brennan, Tom Killeen, Michael Killeen, Tony O’Reilly
Seated L-R: Seamus Ryle, Ken Kelly, Michael McCullagh, Jame Meehan, John O Beirne

Students of St Joseph’s College in Garbally Park were reunited after 60 years of being scattered all over the world.

The class of 1953 first met to begin their secondary school education together and some had not seen each other since graduating in 1959 until the recent get-together in Gullane’s Hotel.

Organised by Michael McCullagh, classmates were only too happy to pick up from all over the world for the reunion, having laid down roots elsewhere after school. Some travelled from as far as Louisville, Kentucky, to reminisce about ‘the good old days in Garbally’.

Some 25% of the class is no longer with us having passed on but were lovingly remembered by those present at the reunion. The gathering was decorated with photos of school-days gone by, which brought back strong memories and pride from the early days. Many of the class were boarding students, being educated many miles from home, so firm friendships were created all those years ago, which have stood the test of time since.

Everyone at the gathering was able to acknowledge, looking back, the top-class education they received in Garbally and how well it prepared them for the outside world. Along with great praise came great sadness at finding the school no longer catered for boarding students.

The class of 1953 is scattered all over from Australia to Florida, and Spain to Toronto. Some of the class unfortunately could not make the trip from so far away but all hope to reunite again next November, 2014.